It is not obvious, at least, to many people. It might be more obvious for someone who owns an empty site with nothing on it, and wants to build a house or a commercial building.
I often wonder how much people know about what we do and offer as Architects. Our profession is often associated with drawing plans and pretty pictures of skyscrapers and large scale buildings that look futuristic. Well it's true, we do have the ability to conceptualize ideas for the built environment that are new and original, and sometimes crazy. I would argue that it is only 15% of what we do, the other 85% is realizing the concept into a built physical and functional building.
But what about the average home owner, what purpose do we serve to her/him. You bought a house, because you liked it, but maybe it's not quite perfect for you. The layout is not great, it might need another room or two as your needs grow, it might look tired and outdated. Architects have the ability to provide a large overview, a masterplan, provide a concept that can fulfill aspects that you may have not thought of or considered.
We are able to unlock the potential of a given property, be it a virgin site or one that has existing building/s on it. They are able to advise on your rights to use the land or expand a building to it's full legal rights and potential.
Beyond the concept and master planning, architects are able to transform the concept and take it through the full process of approvals with your local authority, advise and arrange contractors to cost it, administer the building contract through the construction period and finally hand over a finished project to you.
Consider you looking to change your hair color and style, sure, you can buy the box dye and do it your self, or you go to your talented hair stylist who knows your hair type, how to complement it to your face, life style and personality. The stylist is a professional, she/he knows how your hair will react to the dye and will have a vision for you as a complete makeover package.
What people may not be aware of, is that throughout the process, only you, as the client, needs to deal with your Architect. We do all the schlepping for you!
For more detailed break down of architectural services and what we do as architects you may visit our Services page.