Many people hesitate to involve architects because of the incomplete understanding of the Architect’s role and responsibilities in design, planning and construction processes. Some think that the Architect only designs the building while some think that he designs as well as constructs the building. Others think that the Architect designs and turns over the drawings to the contractors and his work is done. But the fact is that the services rendered by an Architect are far more complex and comprehensive. S/he is usually involved in the project from concept to completion.
Architectural drawings are a part of an Architect’s responsibilities


If you are hiring an Architect in India, you need to have a fair idea of the range of services Architects provide. As an Architect practising in Bangalore, India, I have had to often explain my scope of services, to make things clear to my clients. Here I have described the responsibilities and the comprehensive services rendered by an Architect in 7 or 8 stages in detail:


  • The Architect ascertains the Client’s requirements of the project, like its design appearance, financial budget and time frame.
  • He prepares in agreement with the Client, a program of his requirements.
  • He visits the Site and examines the site constraints, potential and the surrounding environment.
  • He examines the Codes, Legislation and standards as they affect the project.
  • He acquaints the Client with the Conditions of Engagement and Scale of Charges as prescribed by the Council of Architecture.
  • The Client engages the Architect and both effectively enter an agreement by signing a standard Letter of Appointment.


  • The Architect prepares a report on site evaluation, state of existing buildings, if any; and analysis and impact of proposed development on the immediate environment.
  • He obtains from the Client or gets a detailed topographical survey of the site, prepared at the Clients expense. This survey shall include all the necessary data related to the existing structure, existing public utility lines, trees, pavements, roads, restrictions, easements and boundaries.
  • He obtains from the Client or gets soil tests, site borings or such other tests on sub-soil conditions done at the Clients expense.
  • He prepares conceptual designs to explain his understanding of the Client’s requirements.
  • He prepares a rough estimate of the cost of the project on the basis of the area. Under no circumstance does the Architect guarantee such estimate of cost.
Conceptual drawings to explain the basic concept


  • The Architect modifies the conceptual designs incorporating required changes.
  • He prepares the preliminary drawings, sketches, study model etc., for the Client’s approval.
  • He prepares a preliminary estimate of cost on the basis of the area.


  • The Architect incorporates any more suggestions of the Client.
  • He then prepares drawings necessary for approval from the Client / statutory authorities.
  • He ensures compliance with codes, standards and legislation as applicable.
  • He assists the Client in obtaining the statutory approval, if required.


  • The Architect involves Engineering Consultants like Structural, Electrical, Sanitary & Plumbing consultants in the project at this stage.
  • The Architect provides the Consultants with all the necessary information to allow them to perform their specialist work.
  • He prepares Working Drawings, Specifications and Schedule of Quantities sufficient to prepare an Estimate of Cost (in consultation with his consultants).
  • He advises the Client and gets approval on the form of Contract and method of placing the Contract.
  • He prepares a short list of suitable Contractors with appropriate justification.
  • He prepares Tender drawings including large scale details and Tender documents including mode of measurement, method of payments, quality control procedures and other Conditions of Contract, to describe the whole project adequately for the purpose of placing the main Contract.
Detailed working drawings help the contractor to understand the details


  • The Architect invites, receives and analyses Tenders.
  • He advises the Client on the appointment of the Contractor.


  • The Architect prepares Working Drawings and details for the proper execution of works during construction.
  • He issues sufficient copies of working drawings, schedules, specifications, Bill of Quantities and other contract documents to the Contractors for the proper execution of works.
  • He approves the Works Progress Schedule prepared by the Contractors.
  • He approves samples of various elements and components.
  • He checks and approves shop drawings submitted by the Contractors and Vendors
  • He advises the Client to appoint and pay a Construction Manager or Clerk of Works or Site Supervisor, (who shall work under the guidance of the Architect), for the day-to-day supervision at site, in order to ensure that the work at site proceeds in accordance with the contract documents and drawings.
  • He attends conferences, meetings to ensure that the project proceeds generally in accordance with the conditions of contract.
  • He visits the site at intervals mutually agreed upon, to inspect and evaluate the construction work and keeps the client informed on the quality and progress of work. Where necessary, he clarifies any decision and offers interpretation of the drawings and specifications at site.
  • He shall ensure that the drawings are being correctly interpreted at site, and the finishing is of acceptable quality. In case of adverse certification, the payments of the Contractor shall be with-held until the defects have been rectified.
  • He advises the Client if the Contract time is likely to be varied, or if the total authorized expenditure is likely to be exceeded.
  • The Architect checks the Contractors applications for payment (Bills) with the help of the site engineers and issues Certificates authorizing payment.
  • He issues Certificate of Virtual Completion of works.
An architect visits the site regularly to ensure that the drawings are being interpreted correctly.


  • The Architect prepares and submits completion reports and drawings
  • He assists the Client in obtaining Completion or Occupation Certificate from the Statutory Authorities wherever required.
  • He issues two sets of as-built drawings including services and structures. for the project as required.


The Architect’s responsibilities and services rendered at every Stage of the Project have been enumerated above. In addition, the Architect has some more responsibilities that should be mentioned:

  • The Architect shall keep the Client informed about the progress of work in his Office.
  • The Architect shall appoint specialized Consultants, in consultation with the Client, if necessary.
  • The Architect shall be responsible for the direction and integration of the Consultants work. However, the Consultants shall be responsible for the calculations, detailed design and periodic inspection of the work entrusted to them.
  • The Architect shall not make any deviations, alterations or omissions from the approved drawings, involving financial implications, without the prior consent of the Client.
  • No change shall be made at site from the approved drawings and specifications, without the consent of the Architect

In consideration of the comprehensive professional services rendered by the Architect, he should be paid professional fees. In India, the fees is prescribed by the Council of Architecture. However, it is not rigidly followed and the fees can vary very significantly depending on the requirements and complexity of each project and the scope of services provided. So you can negotiate with your architect. Read about it here:

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4 thoughts on “ARCHITECT’S SCOPE OF SERVICES | An Architect Explains

  • March 12, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    Have you ever thought that the architect could be a She?

  • April 12, 2021 at 1:27 am

    Clarifies succinctly the Role, responsibilities – the necessity of an Architect if my dream of building a house ever comes to fruition. Thank you, Sir.
    Thank you for the acknowledgement.

  • July 3, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Very nice blog. things have been made very clear.


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