Starting an Architectural Firm

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Whether you are an Architect or not as long as you have interest in Architecture, you could easily create an Architectural Firm Business. This simple guide will help you figure out how to start your own Architectural Firm.

Architectural Firm Business covers a large scale because Architects have a variety of qualifications. Your firm can do projects in both structural and aesthetics.

Your Architectural Firm Business can make more money by accepting projects in several Architectural fields like landscaping, structural designs, and residential and commercial building designs. Large projects may also include sports facilities, arena, sport complex, malls, and many specialized and larger structures.

What exactly an Architectural Firm can do?

As a short overview, your Architectural Business Firm might be able to do drafting designs, modeling, creating scale models, and wide array of landscape designs. If you wanted to be more specific, you may also start offering services that covers your field of specialization. For instance, if you are good in drafting, you may accept just drafting jobs in the first as start-up projects. The possibilities to bigger opportunity are endless if you have the right talent and skills, and trusted people to work with you side by side.

How to start your Architectural Firm Business.

As mentioned above, you can start whether you are an Architect or not but bigger credits are always given to those who have areas of specialization. If you have knowledge and enough experience in doing the jobs your business is about to offer, better start your business today or else you may lost a bigger opportunity in the future.

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Every business starts of course with Business Permit. Secure one from your local Internal Revenue Office and select a good place to house your operation. Good Architectural Firm locations are always near to big construction company or any civil Engineering or Construction Firms. I am not saying that you are going to compete with them. Their customers might notice your business in anytime.

Advertising and promotion of your business is the next thing to do. A business card is highly suggested in this type of business. Maintain a close contact with your former colleagues and inform them that you are opening your own Architectural Firm Business.

Because this business offers service and there are no raw materials or resources that require higher capital, you can always offer a better and lower price while you are starting your business. This helps a lot in building customer and gaining clients’ trust.

For the needed capital, Architectural Firm Business needs equipment like computers, design software, printing equipment, and some brands of drafting papers. If you have a tight budget for these equipment and materials, you may find some surplus but useful Architectural Equipment and Peripherals at ebay.

You must also have a lot of resources like magazines, photos, or even presentations of unique Architectural Designs to show to some prospects. A good and cheap website is a must for you are not going to offer your service just in your country or province. Internet can bring you a lot of customers.

This business will be a great source of permanent income if you are doing it right.

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  • 1. Elle said on 6/21/2008
    This information is incorrect. Architecture is a highly specialized field and you need to have an architecture license to practice architecture. It takes several years to accomplish this including going to college and finishing a 3 years internship period.
  • 2. tylee said on 7/18/2008
    Not true Elle, you don't have to have an architecture license to practice architecture. You can be a designer and practice architecture; you’re just limited to what an architect can do. Anyone can design as long as they know the by-laws and building codes, and experience in designs, you can be successful!
  • 3. RW said on 7/28/2008
    Ellen is correct in stating that an architectural license is required to practice architecture. The practice of architecture is defined by the law of individual states that almost all require an education from an accredited school, professional internship, as well as passing the nine required exams. Anything short than that is just design and it is in fact unlawful to use the term "architect" or variations thereof if one does not hold the credentials and license. Architecture, like the field of law and medicine, is a "profession".
  • 4. sam said on 7/29/2008
    Not true Tylee. There is a difference between practicing the profession and doing what you want based on experience. You can be successful on both but only one allows you to do it legally.
  • 5. Arch said on 8/2/2008
    If you are not a licensed professional you can not use the word architecture or architect. Please visit and
  • 6. r3e said on 12/7/2008
    this is bullshit, write has no idea about architecture.
  • 7. Roy said on 12/31/2008
    Each state has different rules regarding "design" and "architecture". In all cases however, you are correct, you can not use the word "Architect, Architecture" if you are in fact not registered. I think the article was titled "how to start your own "Architectural" firm". So the article is incorrect in that "anyone" can start a firm. Actually, there is nothing relevant, accurate or of any value in this post. If it were as easy as getting a business card and a business license, everyone would be doing it. Some of the buildings look like they have been designed without Architects input. I am registered and it is not that easy!
  • 8. Paul said on 1/27/2009 10:32:54 PM
    I am not an architect but I am a business man with lots of connections in construction and design field , I can start an architectural firm and hire licensed architect and make him an officer of my corporation and bring clients in my firm and start architectural business.I don't think its wrong it is perfectly legal and professional firm.
  • 9. George said on 2/24/2009 2:11:26 PM
    I don't know if I'm an architect but I can stuff a #9 with a #7 at Burger King without the need for a license.
  • 10. Benjamin Nguyen said on 3/15/2009 1:04:30 AM
    do you have a business plan in opening an architect firm that describe the start-up costs to 3-5 years financial projection? I'll love to see that. Kind Regards, Benjamin HN.
  • 11. ANDREW HAMILTON said on 3/19/2009 7:51:43 PM
    I am an Architectural/Engineer Designer who is in the process of starting my own designing firm. I am trying to get some insight on what is the correct and legal way in getting my firm started.
  • 12. Andrew said on 4/6/2009 3:41:39 PM
    I think the article is misleading. After reading it and the comments, there are valid points. I am a licensed architect and has my own practice. It is true that everyone can attempt to design and some unlicensed "architect" have great ideas and skills. However, without a licensed, the designer cannot use the term "architect" legally and cannot stamp or certify any project. Without the stamp, most state inspectional services, building departments, zoning boards, or historical agencies would not grant a permit/approval for construction. I agree with Elle that architecture is a highly specialized field. Just because I can do my tax return, I would not claim myself as a CPA or start offering tax advices. I advise reader who are interested in this to visit the AIA and NCARB website to learn more about the field of architecture as ARCH has suggested. Who wrote this article?

    On the otherhand, the article could be correct in some sense as well. I have worked for a good architectural firm and the startup principal was not an architect. He was a businessman who control the business aspect of the practice while the staff architects take care of the design and the technical aspects of projects. A couple of licensed architects are principals and they stamp the drawings. So, you don't need to be an architect to run an architectural firm but you do need to be an architect to practice architecture (not just design).
  • 13. Ced Chambers said on 6/10/2009 7:25:53 PM
    I am an Architectural/Engineer Designer who is in the process of starting my own designing firm. I am trying to get legal insight on starting a drafting firm.
  • 14. KB said on 6/16/2009 8:27:08 PM
    I am also a licensed architect. I cannot believe how much bad advice is being offered in this article. The author of this is clearly unaware about what the architectural profession entails and certainly should not be misleading people on beginning a practice.

    If one would like to get the facts contact the American Institue of Architects (AIA)in the U.S. or any provincial architectural association in Canada. Personally, I would not get start-up advice on a self governed and specialized profession such as is the practice of architecture from a website.

    In response to another comment I read from Andrew regarding practices where the owners are not licensed professionals, I would caution that, at least in Ontario, I have heard that a licensed architect must have at least a controlling interest in the firm. This makes sense since the architect assumes the professional risk and liability.
  • 15. dheeraj singh said on 8/4/2009 3:42:10 PM
    license is must to start architectural profession but in India all start the profession with interiors and then architecture, thus any one can start the interior office any time if wanted to do so.
  • 16. joel sims said on 8/20/2009 10:17:11 PM
    Well, lets focus on the word "Easy". it is not easy to start an architectural firm. It is easier to start it if you are a licensed architect and more difficult if you are not. If you are not, you will need to team with a licensed architect or call yourself a "designer" and focus on interiors or (in some states) residential. I started an architectural firm 6 years ago and it has been great.... but not easy. You need professional liability insurance, cad software, a plotter, clients ... and the list goes on. joel at schooldesigner dot com
  • 17. california_architect said on 8/23/2009 12:44:42 PM
    Remember, you MAY NOT call yourself an architect (or "architectural designer" or any other clever derivative) unless you are licensed by the state you are in to practice architecture. States and NCARB pursue these matters aggressively and there are severe fines (and worse) when, not if, you get caught.
  • 18. Tad said on 9/14/2009 7:32:30 PM
    this article has a few good points and is misleading, I am an architectural designer with a degree and 6 years experience in the field. I am starting my own design firm AND I AM NOT AN ARCHITECT. I do not agree with Andrew as of the part where if you are not an architect you will not be able to pull permits and so forth, for i have quite a few projects the have been completed without an architectural stamp. As long as you have a very extensive knowledge in construction methods and are on the up and up with your code research you will be ok. Now as for needing an architectural stamp you will need one if a building is over a certain amount of S.F. if it is under you will not need a stamp but you might need an engineer to look over your calls. I agree it is better to be an architect if you are looking to build or design huge structures, but if you are like me and you are interested in residential and tenant finish a designer is all that is needed and some people prefer it for i don't come with the added cost as do architects do.
  • 19. Tash said on 10/5/2009 10:08:15 PM
    What if you were to open up your own design drafting company. You definitely do not need to have an architectural license for that. I have a degree of architecture, did a 2 year internship and I have worked in the field for almost 6 years. I have amazing knowledge in construction and structural design and even though I am technically not an Architect, most of the work I have done in the companies that I've worked for were equal to the responsibilities of a licensed Architect. With that said, I was able to work my way up to a Project Manager position as well. Now I am at a point where I would like to open up my own business, however, even though I am not a Licensed Architect, I am an Architectural and Industrial Designer. I don't call myself an Architect because I do not have a license. I believe I can utilize my skills as a designer to open up my own business. Please let me know what you think. I could use some advice on how I can go about this.
  • 20. Felipe said on 10/9/2009 2:50:25 AM
    Can we get pass the legal part. I want to hear about how others have started to grow a firm. I am trying now. I have a license in ca.. I go to many networking events, some trade events, meet many people in the trade and even more outside the trade but so far (1 year) it has yielded near nothing. The economy is poor and is a major reason for that. But i will not accept that it not possible to do better. Others out there, many reading this have done it and i am interested as to how. Just so i can provide direction- i have many years of restaurant, market and retail experience but the contacts i had have moved on.
  • 21. california_architect said on 10/11/2009 6:39:10 PM
    Tash, please let us know where you work so that we can see if "Architectural and Industrial Designer" passes the legal test. Why is it so hard for people to understand that if you do not have a state license to practice architecture, you may not use the letters "architect" in your job title. Yes, large firms usually have one insured principal that signs the plans, but no matter how high you rise at the firm, and no matter how much experience you gain, you will not be an Architect. Call yourself something else and good luck to you. Just don't pretend to be an Architect. Or take the tests already. This, Felipe, is what makes it so difficult for architects to get a foothold in an industry that does not respect the professional title of "Architect."
  • 22. Eric said on 10/15/2009 9:09:07 PM
    Architect w/license & 13 yr experience. Considering opening my own firm. Could anyone owning their own firm offer insight with regards to liability insurance? Thanks in advance
  • 23. metalmulitia said on 10/17/2009 2:55:29 PM
    I will say one thing. I've seen far more progressive designs coming from non-ARCHITECTS than I do licensed architects. Eff the legalities and look at the end product. legalism sucks, but if a design is good and it passes the threshold from simply existing as a building to living and breathing as architecture, then the person who designed it is an ARCHITECT despite what the arbitrary orgainizations such as NCARB and AIA suggest. Every one of their bureaucratic rules are based on an arbitrary council system with means of making money and those of you who like those organizations should spend more time studying theory and constructivism then wasting time worrying about their pathetic hangups.

    After I completed those lame ass exams which were also such a joke, I obtained my license,(which is only needed for commercial work permits) and I only pay those bastards to keep it renewed. Def not giving them my time or money for any lame AIA membership or any of that bs. 90 percent of licensed architects will never produce a single piece of architecture in their careers. Produce buildings? -yes Architecture? - seldom

    Everyone should stop worrying about legalities and just produce amazing design, whether you are an ARCHITECT or not. Hell, call me whatever title you want, as long as I'm producing strong design, i'll be fine to be known as the kid in the basement. I'd rather be forgotten then remembered for giving in. eff the system... and start designing.
  • 24. california_architect said on 10/27/2009 4:33:36 PM
    @metalmulitia, I agree that a lot of junk gets designed by architects. A lot of junk gets built without an architect at all and architects still take the blame. It's not fair. I agree that great design is its own reward and that overall, people should expect more of their built environment. But that's not going to happen until architects, lame as they may be, stake out a professional territory that respects itself. Part of that is respecting the term "architect." Part of it is embracing good design, no matter where it comes from, because somewhere along the line, people will come to see Architects (big A) as professionals and as part of a life that is more functional, convenient, beautiful - whatever you'd like. You don't see paralegals pretending to be lawyers; you don't see paramedics pretending to be doctors; but you do see scores of contractors, interior designers, decorators, stylists, hairdressers, whomever - calling themselves architects. It degrades the brand, you know? And no one wins. And no one need go through the pain of becoming an architect and all the headache of starting a business as one when no one cares about the value the profession brings to the table, including architects themselves.
  • 25. Architect_major said on 10/30/2009 6:51:13 PM
    I am a freshman in college and I am majoring in Architecture. I want to do residential drafting and after the research I have done I know that in order to be an Architect I need a masters degree but after all these comments I am a little confused about if I actually need to spend eight years in college to get my masters or not. Does anyone have any advice they can share?
  • 26. california_architect said on 11/2/2009 7:26:18 PM
    Architect_major: You don't need a Master's degree in Architecture to become an Architect. At least in California - you actually don't need to go to school at all. Basically, you will have to work for a licensed architect for eight years to get your training - then you are eligible to take your licensing exams. Formal academic training (general undergraduate degrees, undergraduate architecture degrees, and Master's degrees in Architecture) cuts time off that "apprenticeship" period. I'd suspect that other states have similar rules.
  • 27. Architect_major said on 11/8/2009 12:21:51 AM
    Thank you for the info. I live in Texas and I'm not sure if it's the same but it most likely is similar. Right now I am working getting an associates degree concentrated on drafting.
  • 28. juan dela cruz said on 11/10/2009 10:12:37 PM
    you can start a architectural firm even you are not an a architect, just hire a license architect and designer to do a job and you be the manager.
  • 29. Gin said on 12/1/2009 5:24:08 PM
    I am an "Intern Architect" working on my NCARB credits to take the rest of the test 4 my license

    In New Mexico, anyone can design a residential building under 2 storey without a license (no commercial)

    You can start a firm w/o a license and hire Architects....Duh

    Repeat clients, networking and kicking ass on the bid process get you in biz. We all know each other in this small market in NM; poach a couple of good folks from bigger firms, try focusing on employees and the bottom line, not exactly haute couture architecture, but I've seen it work... Good employees can bring a client or 2 with them often, use that, hire a branding agency to promo ur biz, work hard & remember 'dont blame the game, blame the player!' - peace
  • 30. In the field said on 12/2/2009 3:35:56 PM
    Hey California_architect, get off your high horse and freakin worry about your own issues! It sounds to me that you are to busy worrying about what everyone else is doing/saying, that you couldn't find the time to design anything if the world came to an end! You claim to be such a superior being than everyone else, yet you state yourself that you have a measly 2 year undergraduate degree and some experience in the field. I am so sick of you cake eating pre-Madonna’s flapping your gums about what everyone else is saying, that after 29 years in the field myself with over 200 projects completed, I wouldn't take the darn exams just to sit and snoop my nose up at everyone who is out there working their asses off trying to make a living and not worrying what everyone else is calling them selves. Get a clue, clients are wising up to the fact that they do not need to pay an “Architect” 10-20% of construction costs, when they can find a suitable designer for considerably less money. Credentials alone do not design, it takes the mind and experience of the individual!!!
  • 31. Swifty said on 12/10/2009 10:39:46 PM
    Am a graduate of Architecture "not an architect". I started designing excellent affordable residential homes since before i had my Bsc (Hons) while working with a professional Architect who ended up claiming my designs with his stamps on it, cos he really didn't have the natural design flair. After some experience and working with a large construction firm, i got a Msc in construction project management and am about to start my building design/construction firm. Focusing on sweet residential designs. Having the technical background I discovered i can do a lot better and command more patronage by simply calling myself a building designer while stating my academic qualifications on my card and displaying a portfolio of my excellent built works in my office. Its not what u claim to be, but what u can really do.
  • 32. california_architect said on 12/11/2009 7:05:42 PM
    hi In the field - I agree that builders and building designers can do great work. I agree that not everyone NEEDS an architect. I even think that juan dela cruz's idea is pretty clever, if you want to do non-residential stuff. But doing the work and calling yourself an architect are not equivalent. And stealing the credit for someone else's good work, Swifty, is unprofessional even if it has become typical. I don't think I said I had a two-year degree, though. I put many years into education; undergraduate and graduate degrees and for some clients, given a good portfolio and a track record of coming in on-time and on-budget, that counts for a lot. Swifty is right, it's really all about what you can do.
  • 33. Stephen Mesich said on 1/16/2010 11:10:35 PM
    Check your state licensure rules and regulations regarding architecture firms ownership regulations. Usually st least 66 1/3the % of the firm must be owned by licensed design professionals. This prevents someone like Paul owning an architectural firm.
  • 34. Terry said on 1/29/2010 7:50:54 PM
    Does anyone know the laws on using the term "Architectural designer" in the state of Wisconsin? Do you have to be a license architect if you have a engineer working for you to look over all your work and stamp all of your work?
  • 35. Carrol A. said on 1/30/2010 6:36:37 PM
    Could mean a fine and prison, according to statutes, to use the word "architect" represented anywhere in one's title, if not a licensed architect or landscape architect, etc. Statute 443.18(1)(a). In Wisconsin the term "designer" is also protected.
  • 36. Tom Cohen said on 2/8/2010 6:13:59 AM
    i've been a "designer" for years. i have found that this is limiting. it's better to be licensed for when the big opportunity comes around you can say, yes I am an architect, not a designer. i am tired of telling people who introduce me as an architect, not to. or when i explain to people i am a designer not an architect there is deflation of excitement. ANYWAY.... can anyone tell me what else one can do with their state license in the building field. i.e building inspector, etc.
  • 37. tstone said on 2/15/2010 11:59:02 AM
    imo it is important to get educated but education isn't everything, lets not loose focus, frank lloyd wright is considered an "ARCHITECT" and he never had a lic, so was mies and he never went to school, infact both of these guys are considered masters of modern architecture, and people with degrees and lic's copy these guys all the time!!! do wuts right but do wut makes you happy and you!!
  • 38. Raul said on 2/16/2010 10:51:37 AM
    I have a degree in architecture from a foreign country. I've been in architectural business for more than 25 years. I started doing drafting services. (working drawings and renderings) My clients were architects, contractors and small real estate developers. As I learned more, I expanded my services, which include entitlements, construction administration, code consultant. Now I'm doing my own shows, I'm a small time real estate developer (custom residential) I am not a licensed architect. MARKETING is the key to this business.
  • 39. Luke Clayden said on 2/24/2010 6:55:12 AM
    What about a qualified Interior architects, Can they call themselves Interior Architects with the below qualification BA(hons) Interior Architecture. Obtained in the united kingdom following various design related courses at A level followed by a FOUR year course at university in Interior Architecture? Surely this is acceptable. Please reply with responses, regard, Luke clayden
  • 40. rebar said on 2/26/2010 7:09:02 PM
    "Architect" is also a protected professional term in Britain. Check out the ARB's website for more info including qualification standards. The EU may be different.
  • 41. joel sims said on 3/9/2010 9:18:15 PM
    What are the most important questions to you have regarding starting your own firm? I may be writing an article on the the subject so email me joel at schooldesigner dot com. I will also be glad to answer questions you have - as time permits.
  • 42. gcpandey said on 3/16/2010 7:35:41 AM
    I am graduate civil engineer from N.I.T Allahabad, & I am having +20 yrs experience of construction field, now i want to start my own company along with civil engineers at Haldwani uttarakhand state INDIA. please advise. I am having only Rs 2 lacs in my pocket for investment.
  • 43. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 1:21:02 AM
    Only Licensed Architects can own, operate or be partners of an Architectural firm - - ALL states and including the European union strictly prohibits otherwise - regardless of experience or field.

    It would be like not being a lawyer and owning and operating a Law Firm - - i would stay clear of people selling legal services without actually being licensed.

    Raul and others here are skirting the law and will be only a matter of time before it catches up with them - usually in the form of someone getting hurt and the resulting lawsuits and criminal charges.

    The use of the word Architect and Architectural is strictly for Licensed Architects.

    Fancy terms like Building Designer will also catch up with you as people will only report you to the state and they will send the state police for you - it's only a matter of time and one disgruntled client who figures he doesn't have to pay you if he reports you.

    there was a man here in NYC that just was jailed for 8 years by practicing Architecture and engineering with a made-up a result all plans examiners and inspectors check credentials of all professionals via State Websites.

    Interior Architects - NO - but Interior Designer - yes - - as anyone can call themselves an Interior Designer - - although you are restricted to only finishes, furniture and items not requiring a building permit.... although i have seen some interior designers try to cover up fire alarm devices and have had their work removed to alleviate the code violation before the client got a fine and court summons...
  • 44. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 1:30:47 AM
    Stealing credit for work or even designs and the technical specifications is protected under US Copyright law and is punishable up to $250,000 per offense and loss of license - - like a lawyer being disbarred.

    I had a client who thought he could not pay me and build my designs after the drawings were done. Had another Architect copy my designs - to which i just responded with a lawyer. He got the first story up before permit being permanently removed by court order on my quick actions. it's been 2 years and the house frame is just sitting there. The Architect's privileges of professionally certifying ANY project within NYC has been permanently revoked......
  • 45. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 1:34:37 AM
    GIN - - you can design the house BUT - the State Education Law as well as various other laws ALL state that you need an Architect to professionally sign off on the project - - this is the same as CT. Please don't get sucked into that lie - it is mis-leading and only leads to people getting hurt from their own stupidity.
  • 46. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 1:36:00 AM
    TYLEE - - you are absolutely WRONG!!! you are not qualified to do so including if you work for someone who is - YOU still are not qualified - only your boss is at that point....
  • 47. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 1:38:11 AM
    This article may be B.S. - however it does more harm than any good - - our input here is the only good - well - only for those who actually are licensed Architects like myself...
  • 48. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 1:41:39 AM
    Benjamin - - the only business plan you need to start up an Architectural Firm is TALENT and a LICENSE. the rest is all convincing people to hire you until you establish word of mouth and shit loads of hard work and stress..... business plans are horse shit for Architects - one day stocks are up and your phones are ringing - next day there's a crash and your clients disappear like the cock roaches in your house Benjamin when you turn the lights on...
  • 49. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 1:44:10 AM
    Andrew - Start with the State Education Dept. in charge of licensing then talk to the State Department in your state - - it's easy to get the business name and to get going officially - - it's a bitch and a half to get the clients though - especially in this economy with a lot of competition.
  • 50. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 1:44:57 AM
    Stephen - only Architects can own a firm or be partners of a firm ....
  • 51. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 1:47:11 AM
    Ced - - drafting service firms are abundant - just start amassing the work and then start hiring people to do it - as you will be working directly with Architectural firms who are in dire need of drafting help - it is their license and liability not yours - - however be careful of the "designer" word trap....
  • 52. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 1:51:11 AM
    Tad - you are certainly wrong when it comes to the definition of your projects not needing an Architect or Engineer stamp = = = ALL states require one of the 2....
  • 53. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 1:55:32 AM
    metalmulitia - you are very naive - - most buildings in the US are designed by engineers that are licensed and are tons cheaper than Architects - this includes commercial and residential alike.... also - - - in order to do the cutting edge stuff you preach about - you first have to get the clients with the deep enough pockets to let you play...although lofty are your thoughts - go back to philosophy, let your registration lapse and get out of my way so i can make some money damn it.
  • 54. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 1:59:49 AM
    Architect_major - - you need at the minimum a 5 year prof. bachelors degree and 3 years of apprenticeship before being eligible to sit for the exams. oh yeah - also a lot of perseverance in the work environs, life and keeping your head screwed on straight and staying focused - - and that's all of the fun stuff.....good luck to you.
  • 55. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 2:01:52 AM
    Swifty - unfortunately having a licensed professional "rubber stamp" your drawings is illegal and will only be a matter of time before you get caught.
  • 56. zschweter said on 3/23/2010 2:08:55 AM
    I strongly urge all licensed Architects here to report any of the above "violators" to their State NCARB, State Education Dept., Attorney general and State Dept. of the state - - as they all represent a clear and present danger to the public.
  • 57. Stock said on 3/31/2010 2:15:47 PM
    NJ. Architects and Landscape Architects are traditionally poor business people. They go to school for 4/5 years for design, because to them design and controlling the environment around them is more important than money. Not that there is nothing wrong with that, but they come out into a business world and spend the next 5 years trying to catch up, some never do. We call them worker bees…for life. Many architects/designers are great designers, and that’s about it, but I wouldn’t let them sell lemonade on a hot day in July.

    As a businessman, you just need to hire the right licensed architect/PE and promote and develop the brand, just as you would with any business. Focus on your customers and the type of product you want to offer. Form a team or peers, architects, engineers, designers and go after the work. Of course this is all marco.

    If you look at many of the larger engineering and architecture firms, 90% all are headed by a CEO with only an MBA, maybe PE/MBA. There is a reason for this.
  • 58. california_architect said on 4/27/2010 12:44:17 PM
    Well said, zschweter.
  • 59. Daniel said on 4/27/2010 7:09:25 PM
    You all sound like little babies !! Firstly what do architects know?? They put sheets of dwgs together after engineers others do the hard work. They really need to separate architect from designers because what architect do is simply manage a dwgs prepare them to submit they do very little design work infact. design work takes a person to soley do design that person should be called designer not architect. ****Frank Loyd Wright once said he's not an architect hes a designer, ****the architect school in Hardvard is called the school of design. email me we can over throw architects and keep them as managers we can be the main designer of project. Anyway, its really who you know, what you can do, and how you can get paid for it. You hire an architect because you have to not because you want to. really engineers should play the architect role because architect can't do swat without them. LOL
  • 60. gez said on 5/6/2010 1:50:56 AM
    All True. I was a building designer before I studied 6 years to become an architect. Difference is you gain respect in the industry, get more work from it and get paid more, because you are seen as a professional.
  • 61. rebar said on 5/15/2010 7:54:50 PM
    Daniel should get his facts straight and learn how to spell first.
  • 62. gabriella martin said on 5/27/2010 3:24:52 PM
    i am a 20 year old 3rd year architecture student and even i know that you need to be registered to practice architecture. It is law. in other words it is illegal to design if you are not registered
  • 63. CinciNate said on 5/27/2010 9:51:45 PM
    In most of the US, "architect", "architecture", and "architectural" are terms which are only to be used by licensed architects or accredited/sanctioned educational programs. If one uses those terms for commercial purposes and are not licensed, they can be fined. For instance, the Ohio Board of Examiners are very aggressive about investigating and pursuing legal action against violators.

    Even when my company asked me to put "architectural intern" on my card, I would not because of the law, and my respect for the process and the discipline. People work very hard and long to develop the craft, the artistry, to understand the socio-economic ramifications of building and design (both good and bad), the legalities of the construction industry and the health, safety and welfare of the public. That breadth of knowledge, and experience deserves a little more respect than it currently has. When I passed my last test, I then felt worthy of calling myself an architect.

    Can a person not be an architect and own an architectural firm. I am not entirely sure how this always works. In Ohio, I believe a licensed firm must 51% of the firm must be owned by licensed architects or other design professionals such as engineers. Otherwise, the firm can not tout architectural services. This could very easily be wrong depending on what type of firm you are... llc, llp, s-corp, etc.

    Can you be unlicensed and still perform design services? Most single family residential homes can currently be designed by anyone... most of the time, the owner gets what they pay for. In Kentucky, as of a couple years ago, an individual could design up to a twelve unit multi-farm without a license... scary.

    Can a graduate from an accredited architectural school, who has worked in an architectural firm call her/himself an architect, architectural designer, architectural intern? No, not in Ohio or in most any jurisdiction.!!!!
  • 64. Old Builder said on 6/30/2010 3:46:32 AM
    I've been a builder for nearly 40years now. If you want to understand how to cantilever a home over a 100 bluff, ask someone with experience. Really, we just glance at the plans. Does it take a hundred ton crane or a fifty ton crane to lift 18 ton drill rig with 50' of boom? Where is bedrock, 25' down, or 65'down? The engineer asked me how we are going to de-water the foundation. HOW MUCH IS THIS GOING TO COST? Would your accredited architectural school professors be able to answer any of these questions. Do you know the answer to any of these questions. Weather you are licensed or not, if you know what you are doing, people will hire you. Please end this posturing thread. BTW, I do draw details in CAD for engineers and architects so they understand how we build unusual structures.
  • 65. rebar said on 7/3/2010 4:27:27 PM
    The only posturing I see here is from non-architects trying to argue around that fact that they are not architects. Architects (or professors) don't need to know everything, least of all how to see underground - Old Builder's rhetorical question makes no sense. Would a qualified architect (or professor) know how to get the right answer? Yes. Does knowing what kind of crane to use qualify you to design a school, a hospital, or a church? No. Is there anything magic about CAD? No - I've seen shop drawings on napkins approved by architects and built perfectly.
  • 66. C_Say said on 8/3/2010 9:18:40 AM
    Well, My husband has an AAS in Architectural Drafting AND 10 year in various construction trades and my Father owns a home building company, being in this business my whole life, I do know a thing or two about the subject. The word "Architecture" is NOT copyrighted. However, to operate as an Architect, yes you need a license. Now, someone with an AAS in ARCHITECTURAL DRAFTING can design anything under 10,000 square feet. So, this usually limits them to residential, which they tend to call themselves Residential Designers. Builders PREFER them. Why? Because most of them have actually worked in the field. Just like Old_Builder said, (unfortunately, rebar, being in the business, you would have UNDERSTOOD what Old_Builder said) that a Builder can give a rats a__ whether someone has a 2 year degree or 4 year degree, a builder wants to see plans, and NOT have to have them changed. Do you know why? Does any of you architects know why? Because it COSTS money. If the drawing is wrong or some architect wants dome design that is not only difficult but nearly impossible to build without going over budget than no one but the Architect is making money. Why pay an over priced Architect, who should have gone to college for something else, when you have drafters who actually know what they are doing, and are cheaper? After sitting in many meetings with Architects who just CANNOT grasp the concept that you cannot have 1/8" between these two walls, or trying your hardest to explain to them that it something is IMPOSSIBLE or that the wall is a 45 degree angle, I prefer someone with FIELD EXPERIENCE. I do not care what kind of degree you have, if you have not worked in the field, grunt labor construction, than you do not know what you are doing. PERIOD. Yes, any one can clean up a job site, or use CAD or get the carpenter a tool but the actual skill of home building or building itself is a special trade and they are NOT respected as they should be. Can you build a house with your hands and a few tools and pass building codes and inspections? These people CAN. I am NOT saying that is ALWAYS the case, as there are many Architects who are wonderful and many Drafters who cannot do their jobs.

    Rebar--Yes, knowing what kind of crane does qualify you do design!! Why do you ask? How do you build it if you are unaware of what kind of materials to use? How do you know if it is possible to build if you do not know what kind of materials would be needed or how much it would cost to build it? If you are unaware of the materials then how do you design something in a budget that the home owner/person PAYING can afford? Architects tend to want to be famous designers rather than doing the job they are being PAID to do!! Using someone else's money to make a name for yourself, or be the next Frank Lloyd Wright is wrong! Pay for that yourself! Cad is a great program and those napkin drawings were put together from a shaky hand on a napkin that has been damaged into an actual building or residence! If that is not amazing to you than you have no business on this forum!

    Bottom line, just like old builder said, If you CAN do the work, people WILL hire you. Regardless of how many years you spent in school. Your fancy 4 year degree is NOT going to account for the million dollar job you screw up, if someone has a 2 year degree and CAN prove they CAN do the work, then there is no reason not to use them.
  • 67. rebar said on 8/8/2010 4:56:34 PM
    C_Say; I enjoyed reading your note. True, architects don't do themselves, their clients, the profession, or society ANY favors by satisfying their egos first and not understanding the business they are in. That's too bad, but it doesn't negate the fact that "Architect" is still a protected professional title that describes a certain level of competence that a prospective client can rely on to succeed at that million-dollar project. Individual mileage may vary, but the terms Residential Designer (of single family wooden homes) and Architect (of single-family homes, multi-family development, skyscrapers, airports, museums, hospitals, etc.) are not equivalent. If someone is thinking about becoming an Architect and doing the work that Architects can do, they should weigh the pros and cons of attaining that title and what that may mean to their career prospects. It's not for everyone.
  • 68. jimmy said on 9/13/2010 10:42:51 PM
    i dont know why everyone trying to be more important than the next person, i'm an architect and i realize we all have our roles to play in making a building/structure happen, architects work with engineers etc to design the building, and builders make it actually happen, without one of these key professions, nothing happens, its simple, so get over yourselves, we are all just as important in the whole scheme of things as the next guy
  • 69. architect said on 9/15/2010 3:45:21 PM
    I am a licensed architect in Ontario, Canada. Do I need to register a firm & get professional insurance etc. to practice as a freelance?
  • 70. Gary said on 9/21/2010 10:02:59 AM
    In Pennsylvania and NY the word Architect and it's derivatives are protected by state law. Despite the title of this article, if you are not an architect and offer to provide architectural services you will wind up in prison and pay heavy fines. Be my guest.
  • 71. Jason said on 9/24/2010 4:01:10 PM
    In summary, a strong architect should have a strong grasp of all of the following... design, drafting, structure, MEP, contract administration, construction administration, business, code knowledge and on the job experience on a construction site. A good understanding of local politics and the major players in town can go a long way too. States that require architects do so to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. Know the Life Safety Code! A seal is usually required for buildings over 5000 sf, over 3 stories in height or for assembly, educational or institutional uses. other than that, a seal isnt usually required. I've seen bad architects and just as bad engineers. It's what you make it and how much you want to put into your career and how much liability you want to take on. Decide on what you want to do. If you want to be a designer, then you will be limited to what a designer can legally do, if you want a shot at whatever comes your way, get a license. Do your homework, decide, put in the time and do it. If you cant do that, quit the complaining and name calling. We are all in the same industry and rely on each other for support on different phases of a project. We bicker and fight over clients and money and in the end its all of us that suffer via lower fees.
  • 72. Jason said on 9/24/2010 4:07:58 PM
    Old Builder- Clearly, means and methods are up to the contractor. I agree that you have to know what you're doing to get hired. Architects/engineers have learned some things from you I'm sure, but there was probably a time when you learned a thing or two from them as well. Really, we are all on the same team.
  • 73. Sadiq said on 12/14/2010 6:11:17 AM
    I want to build my firm with studios and offices, how do i start.
  • 74. AEI Williams Group said on 1/6/2011 5:11:08 AM
    This is probably one of the most guarded secretes out there, but yes it is true to stamp drawings and use the word architecture you must be license at least as it relates to commercial or government work, and all states are different as it relates to the in's and out of the requirements to become a license architect. Yet to own a architecture firm you, yourself do not need to be license, but you must have a license architect working in the firm to solicit architectural services same with engineering. Think of it like this, Henry Ford was the greatest car builder ever but he was no engineer he was just a great mind and even more so than that a great manager of people that's sometimes all it takes.
  • 75. carla said on 3/1/2011 2:46:20 PM
    Albany NY United States. My husband has his own drafting business for building construction and design with a Bachelor's in Architecture but he is not licensed he pays a license architect to oversee, review and stamp his drawings is this okay. He., himself is not a licensed architect is this okay in the state of NY? Thanks for any input on this
  • 76. floridarchitect said on 4/6/2011 6:42:31 PM
    Carla - that does not look okay to me unless the architect manages your husband's work directly. He may also have to have 51% ownership in the company, or partnership! If something goes wrong, that architect is liable for work he didn't create. NY is pretty strict about stuff like that in my limited experience.
  • 77. joanna ruiz said on 4/7/2011 9:27:05 AM
    was frank lloyd wright a licensed architect?all of his huge structures until now still recognized...come to think of it..........
  • 78. dom cam said on 4/8/2011 10:14:59 PM
    Zschweter gone all quiet since old builder + friends stepped in the Frey with logic? Z Architects do Not have a Mortgage for good design. I'm a proud BUILDING DESIGNER from down under & I actually Employed Architect geese like you from all around the world, only to have to Correct your mistakes!!! Yes a minority of licensed architects have raw talent & ability, however, its the bow-tie-wearing, bigot-headed, self-absorbed, capatilist-minded, elitist Parra-professionals like YOU that Don't listen to their client or builder because their Head is too far stuck-up their proverbial ass.... that give good Architects a bad name! Cheers, Non-architect
  • 79. Pyae Phyo Naung said on 5/11/2011 11:20:39 PM
    My name is Pyae Phyo Naung.I am from Myanmar.I am not architect engineer. But I really interested in architect design.One Day I will Run Architect Design company. I want to join with Other Friends. Now I am working Autocad Job. I have A lot of Projects. Contact Phone 0973099468 Contact Email
  • 80. Botak said on 7/8/2011 6:16:28 AM
    To become an architect is a lot of hard work. 5 years of professional degree plus 3 years of practical experience and passing 9 subjects in the license exam. It could take over 8-10 years of time. So have some respect for the title, not even doctors or lawyers require such tedious time and effort.
  • 81. Kaisaa said on 7/9/2011 11:21:45 AM
    GYAAAAH! if that's the case... that even w/o license and without studying architecture, you may design and be in a firm.... then it's unfair for students/graduates of BS architecture like me.! do you know how hard it is to study architecture just to graduate, pass the board exam and have a license?? it's indescribably hard! it kills! it makes a person malnourished! you have to be nocturnal just to finish plates and stuffs.
  • 82. LLOYD said on 7/27/2011 1:02:37 AM
    The world is full of SAD AND PATHETIC ARCHITECT WANNABES who didn't make it to Architecture school. Most of them are businessmen who engage in real estate development and construction.
  • 83. LLOYD said on 7/27/2011 1:44:19 AM
    Very funny. We would always here these words: Architects don't make money, Prostitutes earn more than Architects. If you wanna be rich don't aspire to be an Architect. How in the world there are all sorts of businessmen, property developers, computer geeks and j**ks, contractors, engineers who all wanted to practice Architecture or use the word Architect. To all of you Architect wannabes, F**K YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 84. LLOYD said on 7/27/2011 2:00:10 AM
    And lastly, Architecture is not a business, it's a profession, a REGULATED PROFESSION. If you're just interested in Architecture but without a professional license, forget it. Before practicing Architecture, you're supposed to study Architecture in a university (The days of Wright and Ando are over), take the required training, then pass the licensure exams. So you become a BONAFIDE-FULL-FLEDGED-REGISTERED ARCHITECT. Not like those pathetic builder-contractors-carpenters, real estate developers, and all sort of FRUSTRATED Architect WANNABES WHO DIDN'T MAKE IT TO ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL.
  • 85. Heggi said on 7/28/2011 8:11:52 AM
    Kkkkk, Just finished part II in the U.K., after studying a Year foundation, 3 Years BA, another 2 Years Dip Arch and still a few Years until I get my part III and finally the title “architect”, not counting the whole PEDR - forever investing in developing my knowledge if I want to keep that tittle. It’s no surprise you see so much rubbish in the world! After all the crap I just read; If you do your research you will realise that good architects do little architecture throughout their lives because this is a hard thing to do - it is a long, arduous process, let alone all the responsibilities and liability they carry on their shoulders. Good architecture is like a piece of art, a painting or a statue that becomes timeless and therefore priceless, yet the architects themselves are like the artist who never make any money while alive and work off their asses trying to live behind something worthy in this world. Not like speculative contractors and builders who construct thousands of boxes and make huge amounts of money in a short period of time. The difference however is how unsustainable, inappropriate, plastic, unhealthy and ugly this places become, what in many ways and for many reasons make them extremely expensive, not only for their clients but also for generations to come. So, do yourselves a favour and start thinking about those generations because they are nothing less than your own continuation in this world and you should take responsibility on that fact.
  • 86. kanika kundal said on 8/31/2011 1:32:56 PM
    i am an architect in new delhi,india. i want to get my architecture firm name in english starting with alphabet a,s,r. lp me out. it should be meaningful.
  • 87. Drafty said on 9/9/2011 7:35:42 AM
    I am a self employed Architectural Draftsman with a diploma in Architectural Drafting and "Architectural Drafting Invoice" is what goes on my invoices. This is perfectly legal because its what I do. But I also know its quite highly illegal of Mcdonald Jones Homes in the state NSW Australia, a big builder who advertises their current series of homes as 'Architect Designed' when in fact the guy who designed them ; Stuart Everett only has a Diploma and is therefore only an Architectural Draftsman.
  • 88. me said on 9/24/2011 4:02:20 AM
    in the uk the only constraint is that you can not call your firm an architectural PRACTICE. but it can be a consultancy, or something along those lines. As long as you have PI insurance, there is no stopping you from doing what a PRACTICE does!
  • 89. Magoo said on 10/1/2011 11:19:12 AM
    I'm planning to engage in the Construction business, and I'm planning to call it OTHERS Construction Company. I think it would get plenty of commissions as Architects always specify the words "BY OTHERS" in their construction drawings.
  • 90. Vijay Kumar said on 10/1/2011 11:24:15 PM
    I am a Businessman and carrying currently Interior Decorator business for last 15 years in New Delhi, India. I have much experience in Architecture. But I havent licensed architect. But now I want to hire lincensed architect in my firm and increase the service criteria of my firm to Architecture Service & Design. So, Can I able to do this as per legal rule of architecture council.
  • 91. LLOYD said on 10/1/2011 11:35:56 PM
    @ Vijay Kumar: You are one of those Architect wannabes I've been talking about. Read my comments on No. 84
  • 92. MOHAMMED AZAHARUDDIN] said on 11/3/2011 4:07:51 AM
    hi my name is azaharuddin i am opening a small architect and cad designing company. but i have no contacts how can i develop my small business my designs are excellent design .any clients u have mail me .. my mail id= thank u...
  • 93. chris said on 11/3/2011 4:13:54 PM
    Remember guys, many famous buildings were creatively designed by non-architects. If you are an architect, I'm sure you studied Architectural History. From ancient to Renaissance period until this modern times, and foundation of architecture was laid as you see those historical buildings/ structure that still there such as pyramids in Egypt, St. Peter's Basilica. We idolized Michaelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci but were they licensed architects? Are you greater than them? The creative minds still dominates in spite of legal hindrances whether you are licensed or not.
  • 94. pinoyARCH said on 11/27/2011 11:35:40 AM
    Bottomline: Starting a business on architectural field is not an easy one, needs a good product which is design services legally. Starting an office is an easy one, having a good break on client and project is the hard part. We as an architects tends to focus more on architecture and I'm not saying we don't have to, what we need is the skill of being entrepreneurship or businessman to manage efficiently the company with great satisfaction from the clients and end users which great impact to their day to day lives. By the way I thought this article was helpful and i found it's not. I'll start my own company because I got a new project to start with, I hope I can grow my company with great practice and good building design as my product. Cheeeeeers GUYS! Don't let your EGOS inflate!
  • 95. Rommel said on 12/2/2011 12:29:02 AM
    I practice architecture design and doing fine...while it's true that you can't use the name architect but still you can practice and have an architectural firm...but must have someone with a license to sign your plans. The most important thing is the Know-how.
  • 96. LLOYD said on 12/3/2011 9:31:19 PM
    Those who practice Architecture without license are the equivalent of QUACK DOCTORS in the field of Medicine. They can not use the title Architect, although I suggest they use the title "QUACK ARCHITECT".
  • 97. M- said on 12/23/2011 11:35:56 AM
    Those practicing without a license would do well to read the "Professional Practices Act" which governs what one can and cannot do without a license by law. That's right ... "by law", meaning that if one is in violation, he/she can face fines and/or imprisonment. Basically an individual without a license is limited to wood construction, 2 stories or less plus a basement, single family home or 4 units or less as long as it is not part of a larger project, appurtenant structures (i.e. garages or additions - again wood construction only 2 stories plus basement), and in some cases agricultural buildings as long as the local jurisdiction provides permission. Producing plans and having an architect stamp them is a major violation of the act and the associated architect can face fines, imprisonment and face losing their license. The act clearly states that the "architect" must be in control of the production of the documents. Finally, an individual not licensed is restricted from using the word "architecture", "architect", or "architectural" OR anything confusingly similar. "holding oneself out as an architect" is the most frequent violation listed in monthly prosecutions. The individual licensing boards take a very strong stand in protecting these practices since they understand the rigors of what it takes to become licensed for the purpose of protecting the health, welfare and life/safety of the community in which one practices. Each month a long list of individuals are listed for violating this act. I would strongly encourage those in violation to cease, and find out what it takes to attain the license ... it is an achievable and rewarding experience!
  • 98. Leanne said on 1/17/2012 8:09:32 AM
    The word "architect" is protected by statutory law in Australia. It is illegal to call yourself an architect in Australia if you are not legally registered by the regulating governing statutory body in each state ie. the architects registration board in each state. It is impossible for anyone to unlawfully register a company, partnership or business in Australia without the approval of the Architect registration board (statutory body) and also checks with business registration. At least one director must be a registered architect with the required PIInsurance and obtain approval from the Statutory architects board. People posing illegally as an architect and using the words "architect" without registration approved by the architects registration board in australia to do so have received criminal convictions and have been charged with fraud, received high fines and imprisonment by courts in australia. It is illegal in australia to start an business illegally using the words Architect and architecture without approval by the architects registration board. Anyone can use the word design or designer as it does not have a profession or a specific level of expertise required of them. Go and get registered at the architects registration board and start your architectural company correctly and stay out of jail !!!!!
  • 99. Sachin said on 1/30/2012 8:37:26 AM
    In india architecture profession is protected by architects act 1972. To start the firm u need to register your firm in local authority(firm act)after submitting your COA(council of architecture new delhi registration after 5 year of graduation, B.Arch)& registration in Indian Institute of architects(IIA, mumbai).Using name 'architect' without qualification and COA/IIA registration is a offense.
  • 100. Edson said on 2/6/2012 11:17:47 AM
    I think you can start an Architectural firm even if you are not one. You just have to partner or hire people with the relevant qualifications to do the work as all Architectural projects have to be approved by the relevant authorities before work can be started. You will also have to register the firm with relevant authorities and councils. If you have the passion and the resources, why not give it a try. Nothing is easy so don't be discouraged with those that say its difficult.
  • 101. sanjeev kumar said on 2/19/2012 10:48:08 AM
    I wants to do own architectural at own residence i have experience of 25 yeas need freelance architectural work and wants to make own construction company need partner my mobile number 9958409700 i am residing in delhi 7 D pocket -3rd mayur phase-1 delhi 110091
  • 102. Luke Clayden said on 3/2/2012 2:17:48 AM
    My name is also Luke Clayden worrying that this article is on the internet really with my name, I Studied in Interior Architecture, for four years i would like to be able to call myself an Interior architect although, I am aware of my legal limitations until/if i return to Architecture school in the UK to proceed through the RIBA part 1,2 and 3 standards (7 years 5 YEARS IN SCHOOL) to become a fully qualified architect where i would then have full legal rights to call my self an Architect in the UK. However it is becoming increasingly acceptable for someone to call themselves a INTERIOR ARCHITECT which is fair to someone who chooses to do a BA (Hons) In Interior Architecture.(4 YEARS IN SCHOOL)IMO.
  • 103. Luke Clayden said on 3/2/2012 2:54:20 AM
    Although the above is a great comment, I still would like anyone to be making or theorizing about architecture to be well informed and have studied in architecture school or a studio for a number of years before thinking about making architecture. (Apart from the Egypt pyramids which were built by slaves, The magic and interest of Egypt, has always been about the adventure and discovery of the tombs and temples and the cracking of the hieroglyphs by great British french and Italian explorers IMO.)

    When I was studying in Architecture school ( Interior Architecture ) I attended the same long lectures as the Architecture students did, I worked in the studio as long as they did if not longer, built and designed with the same detail and complexity. I think people in a similar situation to me would be excused in this case and allowed to call themselves interior architects, But understand there legal limitations until if they qualify as an Architect.

    The best Architecture is not about the very bad built expressions of good ideas,Architecture is about ideas not the built reality. Books theory,philosophy of architecture and drawings are more important, Theory ideas and philosophy will last longer than a building does. its the idea that will survive. there is no such thing as paper architecture all architecture is about ideas whether its on paper or built. people that think about architecture will always think about ideas they are the people that matter.
  • 104. lukwago peter said on 4/10/2012 3:54:27 AM
    please help me with sites which have good architecture referrals and sites to help me with my designs for residential houses i mostly do thanks
  • 105. DC said on 4/15/2012 1:00:40 AM
    Bottom Line: Of course you can have your firm, but if you are not licensed, you can not sign and file your projects. Sorry, somebody else would have to do that for you. That person is called - Architect. :)
  • 106. DC said on 4/15/2012 1:13:38 AM
    @Luke. Architecture is all about physical buildings that represent the time in which they were created. Research, design and exchange of ideas that leads into the project construction are also important, but without actual physical building or interior as a result, they can not be regarded as architecture.
  • 107. LLOYD said on 4/17/2012 10:32:37 AM
    Those who insist that they can have have their own Architectural firm even without having Architecture license are proof that there are a plenty of SAD AND PATHETIC ARCHITECT WANNABES all over the world who didn't make to Architecture school.RFOL!
  • 108. Evan Jarvis beginner adviser said on 4/19/2012 4:58:00 PM
    Before you take any "advise" from anyone commenting on this subject I suggest you first check with the State Board of Architecture/licensing in your state. There are certain criteria that demands that a licensed architect or engineer design structures. These categories are usually size, use, number of stories, spans and so forth. Then check with the city/local permitting jurisdiction to see if the requirement correspond. However, be careful and clear not to state that you are supplying "Architectural/Engineering Services". You can design anything as a concept however being the Architect/Engineer of Record and or getting paid for services that require a license is specialized based usually on what kind of facility that is being proposed.

    In any case clearly define what you are providing a how it fits into the project in contract and by a service statement. Not all architects know what is required in high rise hotel design -vs- an architect that specializes in one story retail. That being said a good tenured practitioner would be able to design most any structure using good design practice, building codes and their own experience. I know of several services that only do architectural drafting or provide specification writing. I also suggest asking a lawyer that specializes in contract law and looking up the statutes yourself.

    P.S. The suggestion of checking out the AIA guidelines is a good one which I would recommend. However the AIA does not make the law and is not a governmental agency, so check out the Board of Architectural Licensing in your state and the permitting jurisdiction of your project. The AIA is a guardian of Architectural, Landscape and Interior Design Practices and they promote professionalism and good design. They also provide documentation and edit specifications. Every state can be different in their requirements. Even the requirements for Licensing.

    I love it the OLD Builder has a point. However doing something illegal is probably not the best Idea. There is a need to good builders, good architects and fast accurate CAD designers. In a large project they are serving the same master. A safe well built project that serves its intended purpose. Further more plans are drawn for the Builder. Not for the Architect.

    Several institutions give out awards for good design, construction and even plans that are well organized and make it easier on the G.C. I know of a project where a change order was put in for and approved probably by the owners rep. but NOT the Architect Of Record. A small detail was change that was the suspension for a suspended walkway.

    The bridge fell because of the contractors change and people died. The stamped engineered plans did not allow for a single cable suspension for a two level cat walk in a mall. There is a reason for the chain of checks and reviews from all of the different disciplines bar all other comments and that reason is Human Safety.
  • 109. kirenzi abby said on 4/25/2012 11:37:49 AM
    Am still having my lectures to see me through the world of architectural draftsmanship. Am planning to start an architectural training firm, training different design softwares, interior and exterior designs. Would it be affected even though i have not got my license yet? ABBY IN ENTEBBE UGANDA.
  • 110. Cornerstone said on 7/19/2012 1:03:22 AM
    I'm not an architect, but I'm starting a firm right now with a licensed architect in Denver, Colorado ( I ran a "design and drafting service" for 10 years prior to this, mainly focusing on residential design (additions & custom homes) so that's where most of my experience lies. My partner has done a lot of commercial and multi-family projects, so we're now combining our talents. Best piece of advice: get to know contractors - mixers, cold-calls followed by meet-and-greets, emails, have to get busy and get those contacts.
  • 111. victor said on 7/19/2012 11:16:37 AM
    am presently working in an architectural firm in nigeria, i have a bachelors and masters in architecture, also HND in civil engineering, though am not yet licensed, recently am being hunted by my own thoughts to start up my own firm. here in nigeria you need good contacts to start up a firm in order to get jobs. well all thinking of running a cyber cafe and an archi firm, but also looking at the possibility of partnering with any interested good established firm in other countries. if you are we could work together and share the same company name. victor.
  • 112. Kevin James said on 8/22/2012 9:01:25 AM
    HI, I'm only 12 years old but I have a true passion and talent in the architectural designing industry. I already know I want to go to Temple University, get my masters degree in architecture and my major in engineering after I get my under grad. Then, after college I would be an architect for a few years then I would create my own firm afterwards. Please any additional info would be great.
  • 113. Terry L. Walker said on 8/26/2012 7:37:16 PM
    I am an Architect and in practice in the State of Washington. This is the worst and most misleading aritcle I have ever read. Architects make money by performing Architectural services, they do not make money by doing landscape design, or structural design both of which require separate licensing and insurance coverage. Types of projects tend towards specializing in two or three building types rather than one. Architects may build models but often specialists are engaged to do physical as well as photo realistic renderings. Revit models are frequently built by Architects however and other modeling software. Making money in Architecture is difficult and having a career in Architecture is not probable nor profitable as a general rule, success is rare! It takes more than business cards to start a company in the Architectural services industry with start up costs probably close to $500,000.00.
  • 114. Vitruvius said on 12/12/2012 4:52:17 AM
    I am afraid the author is writing a subject matter that he/she has no total grasped at all. If I would have to write an article about the same subject, the first thing I would have covered is the LEGAL requirements of starting an architectural firm. This is step no. 1 because you need to find out if your business services legally qualifies to the laws of the land.

    For instance, sometime ago I applied for a business license with architectural design as one of my offered service. The State of Washington promptly wrote me to refrain from using the word "architectural" because there is no record that I am a licensed architect. How did I feel? Of course not good because I thought that I am a very good architectural designer and even better than any of the registered architects I have worked with. Obviously, this was not the point why I received the letter. The reason will come to light as I move on to pursue my license.

    Getting an architect's license is excruciatingly painful and takes years of labor. Expensive education, long years of experience and the exam studying/testing is brutal. No wonder a huge number of aspiring architects quit and give up. I believe that most of those that quit are those that complain a lot and bash licensed architects. Been there. If only they have continued and learned a very valuable and simple wisdom why there is a need for licensure. The answer is Public Safety.

    Ask yourself the following questions:
    1. When you have medical conditions who do you seek?
    2. You have legal problems who do you look for?
    3. You are building your dream house, would you hire an unbonded contractor?
    4. Would you drive a car even if you do not have a drivers license?
    5. Would you send your child to a school that has no credentialed teacher?

    See, all of the above boils down to Public Safety. And Public Safety, in the eyes of the State, is all about RESPONSIBILITY. The State, the entity that we task to maintain civility in all of us, cannot do its function without licensing or other forms of credentials that they can use against irresponsibility. This is one way of enforcing public safety. Act irresponsibly to the detriment of the public good and the State will revoke your license/credentials. The State gets a spanking from the public if there is no measure to enforce accountability. This was the reason why the State of Washington refrained me from using the word "architectural". What they were saying was I need to prove that I have the (1) training,(2) education and (3)testing to dispense architectural design services to the public. Since I only have 2 of 3 at that time, my credential is not good enough to handle responsibilities that MAY HARM THE PUBLIC. It does not matter if I am the best designer, the best driver, the best defender of the poor around, the State still requires me to prove my claim. This should be very very clear and easy to understand. And I learn this simple wisdom or rule the hard way, not through education and work experience but through the rigorous studying and testing for the licensure exam administered by the State I wanted a license for.

    Can you imagine if the status quo during the time of Wright, Mies and others still applies today. There would be MORE medical malpractices, legal lawsuits, collapsed/ugly buildings, contractors running away from contracts and accidents caused by drivers. I am certain that, if Wright & Mies (two great men who are my idols) were alive today they would be the first one to seek licensure knowing that it is the RESPONSIBLE thing to do. After all, these are intelligent and responsible men that know what they want and strive hard to get it.

    I am also certain licensure in every profession will get harder and harder because society gets so complex as we march forward. Even now that I have a license I still need to study the laws of the land of other States that I want to practice architecture (currently licensed in CA and WA). To stay current in my profession, I am required to study some more every time I renew my license. Bond/insurance, too, is an important aspect of a successful architectural practice. When I was a designer, I didn't have to worry about all the challenges I ran into when I pursued and obtained my license because obviously my knowledge and skills then were limited. As a designer you need not worry when lawsuits arrive because you do not lose anything except your pride. You lose so much when you are an Architect. Looking back, I should be glad that the State allowed me to design limited in scope projects back then. What was I thinking?

    Why am I responding to this thread? Because I am researching how to grow my architectural practice responsibly and I came across this article. Unfortunately despite the myriad of good things the internet has provided us, it has also given us irresponsible articles such as this thread. You will be frustrated and ran into problems if you follow and do not see the inconsistencies in this article. As this article claims, it is easy to create an architectural firm business. It is not. Architect or not.
  • 115. oxo said on 1/18/2013 9:32:54 PM
    I am not licensed and have completed four thousand projects in mostly California, also, Washington State, British Columbia, Japan, Tonga, and Africa. Remember that Frank Lloyd Wright was not licensed. Neither were Craig Ellwood (case study homes), and many others.
  • 116. haha said on 1/25/2013 12:01:28 PM
    Am i reading this correctly? All you need to start an Architecture firm is... business cards ... and some brands of drafting papers? Ha ha ... i enjoyed reading this post because it made me feel intelligent... now i just feel callous for laughing... To practice architecture and/or start an architectural firm you need to be registered in pretty much every country you could make a living off the profession... it would be deceiving yourself to think you are doing architecture if you aren't an architect. It's definitely a case of semantics here but they are what they are. You can sell drugs to someone but that doesn't make you a pharmacist Of course anyone can start any firm with the right resources. In this case i think you will find they are significantly greater than some cards and some drafting paper. Most significantly of all is an Architect and not far behind that the "Architectural" jobs... oh good luck with that last one!!! lol
  • 117. LLOYD said on 1/25/2013 6:45:11 PM
    @Oxo, no matter how many projects you have completed. You remain nothing but a quack architect. The days of Frank Lloyd Wright is over.
  • 118. Luke Clayden said on 1/26/2013 1:03:23 PM
    @DC I agree with what you are saying But I would go as far as saying that some paper architecture is a lot better, intelligent and more respected than a built building by a bad Architect. I would rather have paper masterpieces (these masterpieces would include super clear beautiful construction drawings that make clear that this building would be wonderful in reality. It would be perfectly worked out and there is no question that it would work in reality.) than say a stream of ugly insignificant built buildings, but yes you are correct, no matter how intelligent or sophisticated the intellectual ideas and concepts are behind the design, the physical reality of what the drawings look like is the reality. What the physical form looks like is the reality and more important, Also no matter how sophisticated the drawings, the models , the ideas and concepts are, it is the built physical piece that matters and that like it or not is a physical shape or form, and no amount of intellectual conceptual bullshit behind your form or shape will stop it from being a form or shape, that you walk in and out of. You need to study architecture for 7 years to be qualified to call yourself an architect, you can start an architectural firm if your firm includes at least one architect its really quite simple why is this thread still going?. If you study Interior architecture then you are a legal interior designer although you don’t need to study interior architecture to call yourself that, you are A very very over qualified interior designer in legal terms but not quite the next legal threshold an architect. But yet someone that studies interior architecture does not have the skills of a interior designer your stuck in limbo land!, well they may have interior design skills but they are not explored or nurtured in interior architecture.

    Anyway I think the most talented building designers of the 21st century may emerge regardless of whether they completed an architecture degree or not to be honest, we will have to wait and see, But probably they will have done so. Let’s see what the history is in 2080. This is still going since 2008 amazing. I heard the British government wanted to decrease the amount of years it takes to become an architect but I think that would be insane?

    @LLOYD the 21st century’s frank lloyd wright would probably be slower of the mark and not start building until a lot later this century than wright did in his 2oth century. Falling water was done 1934-1937 - so we have until 2034 -2057 even up until 2059 to find a 21st century wright to be fair. I wonder if this guy or girl will be a fully qualified architect, That creates the most genius elegant contribution to 21st century architecture. Now that will be interesting to see in 2080 – 2090. Nobody really knows how many centuries we have left maybe in 3 centuries time we will have the most amazing elegant contribution to architecture in the history of all time, done by a non-qualified architect. The qualified architects that studied for seven years might be a bit pissed, green eyed and envious. maybe they study for 10 years then who knows.
  • 119. Luke Clayden said on 1/26/2013 1:26:56 PM
    I studied for 10 years blah blah blah, worked insanely hard at the exams to be able to call myself an architect blah blah blah, I worked hard to be able to work hard at the top architecture firms in London. blah blah blah and this common muck comes along and creates one building that is the greatest of all time that poos on anything that is done by any of these pretentious smartly dressed "talented person wanabes" that miraculously got through architecture school with zero talent. But with endless so called intellectual conceptual bullshit, Rem koolhaus wannabes with zero talent. what a joke blah blah blah. Get over it. maybe thats the real bottom line If your so convinced architecture school only creates great built environments then why are you passionately annoyed at people who try do otherwise. Like lloyds comment above "you remain a quack architect" blah blah blah - what wonkers - Anyway become an architect or find an architect bottom line legally. In the debate outside of the legal system the debate is endless.
  • 120. Lex said on 1/28/2013 7:47:54 PM
    Australia. I have designed/documented (and sometimes built) close to 3000 buildings over a period of forty years. Some are very minor projects others quite large; at no time have I called myself or advertised as an architect. I may have been called one many times, however, in terms of running my own business I can honestly say it has been a true success.I have a network of builders, private clients, developers and through my own technical/artistic skills earn a considerable salary. I do not prostitute my talent, because I understand each project is like a recipe - I tailor to the demand - I charge what the market affords. I have traveled extensively; won many awards and possess lots of qualifications from: diplomas to degrees (post grad too) and am member of many institutes and associations. I am a can-do person with a number of consultants in support.In many respects I am a free agent - preferring not to have a label!
  • 121. Mark said on 4/28/2013 9:59:34 AM
    you may form a corporate and work in architectural field, hiring architects, but you can never call yourself an architect as long as you are not licensed. I have worked for several years in architectural field and soon will become a registered architect. Here in the United States, in order to become successful in this business it is essential to be registered. just starting with the clients to believe your abilities. Not being licensed means you will depend to somebody else to approve your designs.
  • 122. Joe said on 6/26/2013 3:38:10 PM
    I can do anything I want and call myself anything I want and start any business I want if I want to with or without any license or degree or training in anything. This is a free country and I can do what I want. I have no training in architecture and have designed and drawn houses for hundreds of people and made lots and lots of money and I'm working on a sky scraper right now and a fire station. All you gotta do is draw it. No problem.
  • 123. jaishree said on 7/12/2013 8:26:13 AM
    my qualification is diploma in civil engineer, i have 15 years experience in architectural firm , i have my technical license which is given by local municipal authority ,my working area in limit as well as g+2 building and 200 sqmt. plot area. as per local authority norms. so can i do this business?
  • 124. Spaces said on 8/5/2013 12:00:44 PM
    can a Indian Architectural form open their office/branch in USA and provide architectural services..?
  • 125. unknown designer said on 12/7/2013 10:50:17 PM
    as a university and self-educated can build your experience as a draftsman designer by doing small projects for families and friends with no pay/or exchange compensation. you may present or submit a propose drafted design project to a licensed institution/professional to have it reviewed and signed approved to be able to move forward with any production work. knowledge is in fact a first hand understanding of constructing a design building (your license/degree is just certifying your extensive knowledge in the field that would make your title be an Architect. your drafted works and presentation behind the design is what your qualification should be to allow you to file a business permit in your local area. and before a permit is issued it has to meet all the required criteria to run the business (ex. what type of service are you actually providing to your local community). best of success to all!!
  • 126. Roland Anderson said on 1/2/2014 9:39:33 AM
    I am presently working as administrative officer in an Architectural/Engineering Firm. I want to set up an organogram for the firm. How can I go about it? Anderson
  • 127. ARKITEK said on 2/14/2014 6:17:29 AM
    One who is calling himself / herself " Architect " without Architecture qualification , should be hang till death ! Because they murder the real architecture practice and may kill many innocents on site if any mistake occurs.
  • 128. ARCH. EPI said on 2/23/2014 3:12:26 AM
  • 129. elias iyamah said on 3/17/2014 6:02:46 PM
    Who ever needs the title should go study architecture n get illegal and suicidal to call, practice architecture. when u r not properly breeded and u can only do dat by going to an accredited school of architecture!simple
  • 130. peter said on 4/19/2014 11:13:43 AM
    As an Interior designer what can I do? I plan and sell these ARCHITECTURAL DRAWING. Is wrong to run an Architectural firm. Yes am not an 'ARCHITECT' What next?
  • 131. dave carbonel said on 5/22/2014 11:40:22 AM
    I strongly believed that anyone can be a designer but not anyone is entitled to use the title "architect" if they are not legally qualified. They maybe can put up an architectural office by using or hiring a licensed architect with group of designers but still nothing can compare to the level of confidence of firm who runs by a manager who carries a title especially to this type of service.
  • 132. Sanda said on 5/25/2014 6:13:28 PM
    I'm thinking of starting my own architect firm, yet i have no license, i do design n get stamps from pro architects to sell them...what i wish to know is How Do I Start!?
  • 133. PRASAD said on 5/27/2014 10:01:10 AM
  • 134. ridge architects said on 7/9/2014 8:48:58 PM
    nice media to connect to clients...
  • 135. LLOYD said on 7/14/2014 9:58:26 AM
    My advice for prospective clients, You may hire these QUACK ARCHITECTS (developers, contractors, decorators, etc.) but never pay them a single cent. Tell them to submit a quotation or proposal, let them submit tons of drawings. In the end do not pay them anything. They can not offer Architecture formally by way of a proposal so they can't sue you. You may even use their proposal as an evidence against their illegal practice. Report them to the Architecture licensing authorities. ROFL!
  • 136. Jeremy said on 7/19/2014 7:54:30 PM
    @Lloyd. Thanks a lot for the idea!
  • 137. Robby said on 7/19/2014 8:07:09 PM
    In the Philippines, architecture may be practiced by a corporation as long as 80% of the incorporators are licensed Architects. So if you have 3 incorporators, all of them should be licensed. If 5 incorporators, 4 out of 5 must be licensed. 7 incorporators? Forget it. You may end up earning crumbs with the little profit being divided into seven.
  • 138. rahul sharma said on 8/6/2014 5:24:11 AM
    hey, i'm a civil engineer and have knowledge of structures designs and autocad software also....but i want to internship under a professional architect. is anyone here to help me in new delhi....mail me
  • 139. venu said on 10/7/2014 7:13:15 AM
    planning to start a company. pls help
  • 140. Charles Chen said on 11/5/2014 7:44:00 PM
    I have been licensed to practiced architect in US. Can I practice in Philippine through some sort of applications?
  • 141. ninalush said on 1/7/2015 1:40:25 AM
    In kenya noone can be called an architect without studying and getting the license. No one can start an architectural firm without the main guys being registered architects. This article is showing us how quacks can ope their firms who will do for them approvals and all. Accountability is also important as an architect. The fact that you dont have registration how r u accountable for what has been built. This article is very misleading. Seems most countries have the same rules. No wonder so many quacks r deisgninh buildings and thats y in my country so many are timbling down!!!! Use professionals. Its like saying a pharmacist can open his own clinic and become a doctor. Wrong!!!!
  • 142. Anguraj.S said on 1/17/2015 9:26:22 AM
    Hi, Am a B.E (Civil Engineering)graduate. Am interested in starting a new architectural firm in India. Am having nearly One year exp. in construction field. Can i able to Start the firm? What are the requirements to start the firm? Can i get the license?
  • 143. LLOYD said on 1/17/2015 8:35:29 PM
    To those who insist they can practice architecture without being certified, I suggest you use the title QUACK ARCHITECT. Then organize an organization and call your group the American Institute of Quack Architects. ROFL!
  • 144. Get A Life LLOYD said on 3/28/2015 8:13:11 AM
    @LLOYD, I just came across this article and read through the thread. Respectfully, get a life. Everyone else is living theirs and yet you have been rudely and obnoxiously commenting for FOUR YEARS, not growing in maturity. Other than all the quacking you're doing, I really appreciate everyone's comments, concerns and perspective.
  • 145. LLOYD said on 5/16/2015 12:25:15 AM
    @Get A Life Lloyd. You're just one of those butt hurt Architect wannabes. Get a life by joining the American Institute of QUACK Architects. ROFL!
  • 146. LLOYD said on 6/4/2015 12:56:51 AM
    The blogger began his topic like this: "Whether you are an Architect or not as long as you have interest in Architecture, you could easily create an Architectural Firm Business". My posts are all correct since almost all nations have architectural laws that prohibits Architectural practice of non registered individuals as attested by other posters who are obviously Registered Architects. Secondly architecture is not a business but a regulated profession to be practiced only by duly registered individuals. So To all architect wannabes out there, go back and make money from your original trades, industries or professions instead of remaining QUACK Architects the rest of your lives.
  • 147. Irshad said on 7/27/2015 5:47:41 PM
    Architect term can't be used by non licensed architects before their name. A person who has passion for architecture and wishes to practice this profession, he does it either with help of another licensed architect or he compels the world to accept him as architect by his expertise and innovative work, like some of the legendary architects. A PERSON IS KNOWN BY HIS DEEDS (WORK) NOT BY SUFFIX TO HIS NAME. That is the major difference. I have started new architecture firm in India, with aim to deliver finest and innovative design solutions and to have have large worldwide presence. Intention is to expand its practice in various countries and I seek intelligent qualified or experienced architect to join us for long term from different countries in the world. What you need to have is passion for design and determination to excel and deliver new innovative designs at every given interval. Please contact me at Irshad
  • 148. Chris said on 8/9/2015 8:56:16 AM
    Another 'cookie cutter' business idea blog by someone who doesn't know the law, and doesn't know the business they are advising people about. Since it is unlawful to practice as an architect without a license, I suspect advice in favor of doing so can also land you in court. I wonder how many other forms of potentially illegal advice this site offers people.
  • 149. LLOYD said on 8/18/2015 9:19:58 PM
    Hey QUACKS! What's up? I's been quite awhile, and I miss your architecture practice illusions. Hope to hear later from you QUACKS! (real estate developers, contractors, some engineers, carpenters) ROFL!
  • 150. Mpho McNaughton Songo said on 9/5/2015 5:36:25 PM
    i live un Geluksdal city and province Gauteng and country south Africa , I want to start a Firm
  • 151. MrTaipan55 said on 9/19/2015 9:46:24 AM
    @Lloyd, the latest is Pizza Architect. LOL
  • 152. Chris said on 11/5/2015 6:30:29 PM
    The original author should be especially concerned, as, if he/she states you can do something in a business capacity, and you cannot, he/she can be held liable in a lawsuit, for distributing fraudulent information about a very specialized industry toward people wanting to enter into that industry. The AIA may also want to have a friendly chat with him.
  • 153. Myrna said on 11/4/2016 8:39:47 PM
    So many bad feed back for architects and architecture describing it as one of the unimportant majors. Yet there are so many architect wannabes out there who wanted to practice architecture. I observe one of today's unimportant college majors is Civil Engineering whose practitioners illegally practice architecture with the aid of some architecture students and interns because they claim to know architecture but are not actually capable of performing it.
  • 154. Tebogo Matlala said on 11/7/2016 9:48:50 PM
    hi folks I live SA in brits northwest I 'm study architectural draughting. i am already practicing
  • 155. MrTaipan55 said on 11/15/2016 7:36:17 PM
    To @Myrna: Many civil engineers practice architecture because of the broader scope of clients in architecture. Where in the world would you find a homeowner commissioning you to design a bridge, a dam or a highway?
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