Project Management for Architects – A Must or Just a Career Option

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Project Management for Architects

Project Management for Architects: Is this a requirement or an option? In contrast to years gone by, when architects were only involved in the design and creative aspects a building project, Companies that specialize in architecture now understand the importance of being involved with the project’s delivery, cost control and construction quality. These factors are crucial for both the client and the user and ultimately help to get all that hard work paid off. The architectural portfolio now includes Project Management.

Because there are so many people involved in creating the final product, architects naturally have the ability to lead the team. They can direct their efforts in a positive and productive manner, where everyone is motivated to do their best to reach the shared goal within the timeframe and at the lowest cost. It is a plus to be able to sharpen your skills and become a project manager in today’s highly connected world. 

As a PM, (Project Manager) the expertise lies in not just the architectural projects of different typologies, but projects of all kinds in different fields, as the generics of management, remain the same. Because of the many factors and players involved in an architectural project, there is more complexity and uncertainty. Management of the project directly correlates with the efficiency of construction and delivery. Enter the Project Manager!

Real estate players, Artificial Intelligence, post-construction demands, new construction techniques- all exert pressures on the ‘creative’ architect to keep abreast. Technology is accelerating and the architectural community is reluctantly embracing it. It is now that technology has its place and it is time for architects to recognize the benefits and find their right place in this process. 

As there is so much happening at the front, project management seems like a natural choice. Software, apps, machine-learning, data crunching websites, blogs and research are just some of the many areas that require new expertise. It has also been a growing area of interest. This will be covered separately. We will stick to the project management part of this article.

An Example Job Description for a Project Management for Architects

Architectural project managers must be able to balance technical skills and creative aptitude in a fast-paced environment. To oversee all aspects of the design and construction process, from site preparation to completion. Assisting general contractors in the preparation of construction contracts. This includes reviewing, organizing, and reviewing building plans. Participating in the interviewing and hiring of contractors. Consult with clients to prepare a cost estimate that is based on equipment, labor, and materials. 

Construction projects must meet safety, structural, zoning and aesthetic standards. Client needs will dictate the schedule and stages of the building process. Monitor progress on construction sites and determine if phases are meeting deadlines and conforming to building plans. To communicate effectively with clients, co-workers, and clients, you must be well versed in architectural standards, engineering practices and building ordinances.

Let’s now address the question in the title: “Whether project management is a necessity or just a career choice?”. The answer is that it is a little bit of both ……

Project Management for Architects is a vital addition to any architectural practice in order to grow and meet the demands of the industry. Balancing the creative element of a good design, the human element of keeping the client and the employees’ content, and at the same time, the financial element of making a profit to keep the practice running and successful-are all essential. An architect can also make it a viable career. Because of the critical role they play in the building of buildings, it is not an exaggeration for a project manager to be a key part of a successful project!

Architects want better buildings and we must admit that a great project manager can help them.”

For clarity, the role of a PROJECT MANAGER is to manage technical aspects of a building while maintaining the creative integrity of its design intent. This market demand has been recognized by architectural education, which has created specialized training to fill the gap. Most architectural institutions offer this course as a specialization for Masters, post the 5 years it takes to become an architect. Actually, I’d be willing to suggest a change in the five years of architectural education. Design must recognize that it is a business, and not ignore the tools set up by Management. If you’re interested in Project Management, AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML(Machine Learning) and DDD (Data-Driven Design), as these are very important in the industry.

The times are changing and architects’ project management must adapt to them.