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  • Writer's pictureTravis E. Hills

Design Professionals & Contractors (Defined)


Technical drawing, also known as drafting, is the practice of creating accurate representations of objects for technical, architectural and engineering needs. A practitioner of the craft is known as a draftsman, draftsperson (or draughtsman, draughtsperson in the UK), and recently, "drafter". Today the mechanics of the drafting task have been greatly accelerated, through the use of CAD systems, but regardless of whether a draft is drawn by hand or with computer assistance, the drawing must be reproducible.

Architectural Technologist

The Architectural Technologist, also known as a Building Technologist, provides building design services and solutions and is trained in architectural technology, building design and construction. They apply the science of architecture and typically concentrate on the technology of building design and construction. They may negotiate the construction project and manage the process from conception through to completion.

Most architectural technologists are employed in architectural and engineering firms, or with municipal authorities; but many provide independent professional services directly to clients, although restricted by law in some countries. Others work in product development or sales with manufacturers.

*Architectural Designer / Building Designer

An architectural designer is an architect that is primarily involved in the design of buildings or urban landscapes, as opposed to the construction documents and management required to construct it. Architectural Designers are individuals who should have good creative skills, imagination and artistic talent. Although most students of architecture are trained to be designers in school, not all become designers in practice.

Non-registered designers are similar but cannot legally refer to themselves as "architectural" designers in most parts of the world. Most are referred to as building designers, especially when not employed by an architectural firm.

Many large architectural firms have architectural designers that set what the general public views as the "style" of the firm's projects. These firms may actually have groups of designers (design studios), often divided into their own separate niche markets (education, healthcare, housing, etc.) In smaller architectural firms, the architectural designers tend to remain involved with the project right through completion, and actually take an active role in documentation and management, sometimes to the point of supervising construction. It is worth noting that most "star" architects, that have become household names, are known because of their skill as architectural designers.


An architect is a person who is involved in the planning, designing and oversight of a building's construction. The word "architect" (Latin: architectos) derives from the Greek arkhitekton (arkhi (chief) + tekton (builder)". In the broadest sense an architect is a person who translates the user's needs into physical, built solution. An architect must thoroughly understand the building and operational codes under which his or her design must conform. That degree of knowledge is necessary so that he or she is not apt to omit any necessary requirements, or produce improper, conflicting, ambiguous, or confusing requirements.

Architects must understand the various methods available to the builder for building the client's structure, so that he or she can negotiate with the client to produce a best possible compromise of the results desired within explicit cost and time boundaries. The idea of what constitutes a result desired varies among architects, as the values and attitudes which underlie modern architecture differ both between the schools of thought which influence architecture and between individual practicing architects.

Architects must frequently make building design and planning decisions that affect the safety and well-being of the general public. Architects are required to obtain specialized education and documented work experience to obtain licensure to practice architecture, similar to the requirements for other professionals, with requirements for practice varying from place to place. Although the term "architect" refers to a professionally qualified individual, the word is frequently used in the broader sense noted above to define someone who brings order to a built or non-built situation.

Professional Engineer

An Engineer is someone who is trained or professionally engaged in a branch of engineering. Engineers use technology, mathematics, and scientific knowledge to solve practical problems. People who work as engineers typically have an academic degree (or equivalent work experience) in one of the engineering disciplines.

Urban Planner

An Urban planner is a professional who works in the field of urban planning. They work with local governments to formulate plans for the short- and long-term growth and renewal of urban and suburban communities. They study economic, environmental, and social trends and problems to determine the best use of land and resources. In developing their plan for a community (whether commercial, residential or recreational) urban planners must consider issues such as air pollution, traffic congestion, legislation and zoning codes. They are usually hired by local governments to assist in the large-scale planning of public housing, school buildings and public transportation systems.


Surveying is the technique and science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional space position of points and the distances and angles between them. These points are usually, but not exclusively, associated with positions on the surface of the Earth, and are often used to establish land maps and boundaries for ownership or governmental purposes. In order to accomplish their objective, surveyors use elements of geometry (Greek: measuring the Earth), engineering, trigonometry, mathematics, physics, and law.

Surveying has been an essential element in the development of the human environment since the beginning of recorded history (ca. 5000 years ago) and it is a requirement in the planning and execution of nearly every form of construction. Its most familiar modern uses are in the fields of transport, building and construction, communications, mapping, and the definition of legal boundaries for land ownership.

General Contractor

A general contractor is an organization or individual that contracts with another organization or individual (the owner) for the construction of a building, road or other facility. A general contractor is defined as such if it is the signatory as the builder of the prime construction contract for the project. A general contractor is responsible for the means and methods to be used in the construction of the project in accordance with the contract documents. Said contract documents usually include the contract agreement including budget, the general and special conditions and the plans and specification of the project that are prepared by a design professional.

A general contractor usually is responsible for the supplying of all material, labor, equipment, (engineering vehicles and tools) and services necessary for the construction of the project. To do this it is common for the general contractor to subcontract part of the work to other persons and companies that specialize in these types of work. These are called subcontractors.

General contractors conducting work for government agencies are typically referred to as prime contractors. The responsibilities of a prime contractors working under a contract are essentially identical to those outlined above. In many cases, prime contractors will delegate portions of the contract work to subcontractors.

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