Many people think architects just draw plans and that is the beginning and end of their job. However, the actual drawing of the plan is only about 40 percent of what architects in Miami do. People do not realize the amount of time that goes into the research of code issues, materials and ordinances that affect the final outcome of a project.
There is a common misconception that building departments and their jurisdictions have the same building code. The reality is that building codes vary from city to city and from county to county. Cities and counties take the international building code and add their own amendments and ordinances. For example, you can put a 1,500 square foot Starbucks in one city and that store is allowed to have one unisex restroom. However, if you put the same 1,500 square foot Starbucks in an adjacent city, then you are required to have separate restrooms for men and women. The reason is that the two different jurisdictions use different plumbing codes. There is no right or wrong code. Many architects do hope that building codes will become more uniform over time. It is important for people to understand the time and effort architects spend to make sure all projects meet all the different codes.
It is also important to recognize the time and effort that goes into creating those drawings and specifications for a project. It is not as simple as sitting down at a computer, clicking a couple of buttons and instantly creating a building design. Before the final set of drawings and specifications are given to a client, more time is spent doing more research to make sure the building is as safe as possible.
Architects have a longer period of liability than many people think. Many people think that once the building is done and completed, the architect can just walk away and not worry about that project anymore. However, architects are liable for all those design decisions, specifications and everything else that goes along with the design for 10 years after the project is complete.
Architects have many things they need do to make sure a project is successful on multiple levels. Having detailed drawings and plans is only one part of an architect’s job. The time spent researching all the different aspects of creating and constructing a building will pay off in the long-run with something people can enjoy for years.