Roles of an Architect

Do you know what an architect does and when you need the services of an architect?

This page is specially created for you to understand more about the roles of the architect.

What is an architect?

An architect provides design consultation and project management services in the course of a property development.

In Singapore, an architect needs to have on average 5 years of formal education in Architecture and minimum 2 years relevant experience in architectural practice, before he/she can sit for an exam-based application to register with the Board of Architects (BOA), Singapore.

The registered architect is also known as a Qualified Person (QP), in matters concerning compliance issues with the building authorities.

Even though some architects may specialize in areas of expertise, every architect is expected to be proficient in the basic aspects of the architectural practice and regulations related to building development.

An architect is commonly viewed as the leader of a construction project, leading a team of consultants and making sure the construction stages and details are being adhered to as depicted in the design.

Besides understanding what the client needs and prefers, the architect needs to be well versed in details like material types, building costs, regulations, aesthetics, etc. A strong flair for creative and practical design is also inherent, to create satisfying solutions to building projects.

What is an Architect

How is an architect in Singapore different from other building professionals?

Architects are professionals in the construction industry and have to abide by a set of laws and regulations under the “Architects Act”. The Architects Act regulates the standard and code of conduct and ethics of architects.

It ensures that architects must look after the interests of their clients, as well as the public interest. Architects are not allowed to have vested interest in the outcome of the services they provide.

The word “Architect” and its derivatives are also protected by the laws.

An architect is in a profession, different from project managers, interior designers and other construction personnel. Examples of other professions in the economy are lawyers, doctors and engineers who are all regulated by their respective governing bodies and laws.

How is an Architect different from the other building professionals?

When do I need an architect?

In Singapore, a registered architect (QP) has to be engaged when submission documents to the relevant authorities are required, such as getting a development control approval, as well as various permits to start construction work at site.

Almost all types of construction work require the services of a QP. An architect usually works together with the support of a Civil & Structural Engineer, a Mechanical & Electrical Engineer and a Quantity Surveyor to form the fundamental consultancy team for a development.

Having a good team of Architect and consultants on board is an essential factor leading to the success of a project. A good team will design and administer a project that meets client expectation in term of cost and quality, on top of enabling a smooth completion of the development.

When do I need an Architect?


Development Process

The following information and procedures will provide you with a better understanding of the design and construction process, as well as of the architect’s roles:



During initial meetings with the client, IXA obtains information, requirements and client needs for the project site or building. The client may also receive initial appraisal and preliminary advice on the project feasibility.


At this stage, IXA conducts various feasibility studies and analyses. IXA will advise the client whether there are needs for planning permission, building approvals and other statutory approvals.


Depending on the individual requirements of each project, IXA will advise the client on the need for appointing other consultants such as Quantity Surveyor, Civil & Structural Engineer, Mechanical & Electrical Engineer, etc.

Similarly, the client will be advised on whether site staff will be necessary, for example Resident Engineer(RE), Resident Architect(RA) and/or a Resident Technical Officer (RTO).

After the preliminary services, IXA proceeds to the basic services:



This stage involves several aspects. IXA will take instructions and design brief from the client to formulate a concept and to prepare the preliminary sketch designs. These sketch designs enable the client to visualize the overall design scheme. Next, a preliminary estimation of the construction costs is tabulated.

Submissions for planning approvals are then processed via Corenet to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and other relevant authorities.

Throughout the whole progress, frequent close discussions with the client are held to smooth out details, make changes and address latter issues that may crop up. The client is updated regularly to ensure mutual agreement and consensus is reached at each stage of the project.


When the schematic design is approved by the building authority, the project goes into full swing. During this design development stage, IXA develops the schematic drawings further to enable other consultants to commence in their areas of expertise.

In addition, many types of documents are prepared and submitted to obtain building plan approval, such as detailed drawings to the Building & Construction Authority (BCA) and other statutory authorities. IXA will also review with the client on the project budget and the project schedule.


This stage is the finalizing of all the working drawings, specifications and documents, after which these papers are handed over to the Quantity Surveyor to prepare for the bill of quantities.

More importantly, IXA’s responsibility is to manage the whole process on behalf of the client. The tender process consists of preparing the tender documents, inviting and evaluating the tenders, presenting IXA’s unbiased recommendations to the client and awarding the contract to the most suitable builder as the Contractor of the project.


Construction begins! IXA is the overall project manager, issuing instructions and directions to the contractor, examining the building programme, making periodic inspections, and issuing certificates as required.

IXA conducts site progress meetings and helps ensure the smooth administering of the construction project, with much emphasis on quality control.

Meanwhile, the client will receive a set of architectural drawings, depicting the final constructed building, as well as a set of the M&E’s for future reference.

Depending on the scale, type and complexity of the project, the construction process may take from 12 months to 24 months or even longer.


When the building is completed, IXA carries out the final inspection, prior to issuing a contract’s Completion Certificate to the builder. On behalf of the client, IXA applies for the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) and Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC) from the statutory authorities. The building is now ready for occupation.

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