First, let's consider what an architect is. He or she is a state licensed - in our case - also NCARB, or nationally licensed - professional who spends his working life dedicated to providing clients with the best possible project for the money spent.

He is also responsible, unless the project is formally terminated in writing, for the completion of his contract and project. Design and drafting services are NOT.

To become an architect is an intensive and challenging experience:

Five years of accredited university schooling are required, followed by a two-year apprenticeship with a licensed architectural or engineering firm satisfying all the required disciplines required by a university.

After that, there is a four-day exam, that has recently been computerized for convenience, expediency and cost, that tests the following areas of knowledge:

  • Pre-Design
  • Site Design
  • Building Design
  • Structures - general and long span
  • Materials and Methods
  • Mechanical - Plumbing - Acoustical
  • Electrical
  • Construction Documents
Candidates who pass this exam then undergo an oral examination before the State Board of Architectural Examiners.

You can imagine, after all that, it's exciting when the notice comes that you have passed, and a license number and a circular stamp are being issued in your name! That stamp, incidentally, is very important - by law, every page of all drawings submitted to a building department must be stamped with it.

Beware Of Drafting or Design Services! They are NOT an Architectural Service

To achieve Drafting-Design recognition, one must possess:
  • Skills obtained in high school drafting classes
  • A desire to design
  • That's it!
These services are used mainly for residential and multi-family units (four in number) with limited span and height. Drawings must be signed by an architect or engineer who agrees to oversee such work.

As you can see, there are serious differences between a drafting service and the services and knowledge of an architectural office.

An architect is sort of "one-stop shopping," in that he can oversee any project he designs. The building hierarchy is:
  • Architect
  • General contractor
  • Sub contractors
It makes sense, doesn't it? The architect designed the plans; of course he's going to know how it will be built and he will ensure that all pages are accurate such as:
  • Foundation plans
  • Roof plans
  • Mechanical and electrical plans, among others.
It is our sincere recommendation to you, since we have had to help many people out of some rather deep problems from not using an architect, that you carefully do your research and hire the correct professional to build your structure.

After all, you will be spending a lot of time in it, and you should be fully confident that your home or commercial project is as safe and secure for you and your family as you can make it.

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John A. Rinaldi - Architect  |  3506 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422  |  Phone: 805.466.5896