The architect’s job is to design and coordinate the realization of houses, buildings or public buildings. It is up to him to study the feasibility of a project, to create it, to make it validate and to assure the management of the works until the last stone is laid and the keys in the hands of the client.
A good architect must have a complete profile. He must be a great technician as well as a great artist to carry out a project.
The profession of Architect
The architect can work for different people. A private individual, a real estate construction company or a local authority can call upon him to design a building (house, building, public building, etc.).
Once this request is accepted, he takes charge of the project and has the mission to carry it out. First, he must study its feasibility (can the land accommodate a building? Is it technically feasible?) and provide his client with an estimate. Then, he makes the plans of the construction by taking into account the requests of the customer while adapting them to the criteria which he must respect (legal standards, economic imperatives, characteristics of the ground, etc).
Once this first part of the work is done and the preliminary project is validated, it is up to him to contact the companies that will intervene in the construction of the building (electricians, masons, painters, plumbers, etc.).
Once this step is completed, he is able to communicate to his clients the final cost of the project, the delivery date and all the details related to the construction site. He submits the file to the municipality which will issue or not the building permit and urbanism authorizations.
The building site can then begin. The architect must ensure the good conduct of the project. He supervises each step and finds quick solutions to each unforeseen problem. He is the link between the craftsmen who carry out the work and the customers for whom he works. He must ensure the qualification of all the works and attends the handing-over of the property with the owners.
Am I really cut out to be an architect?
This profession requires a complete and versatile profile. First and foremost, you must have a perfect command of drawing (whether artistic or technical). You will work on computers with computer-aided design and drawing software (CAD). You must have a perfect knowledge of the history of architecture as well as the architectural style of the region in which you will work. Indeed, it is imperative that you construct buildings that blend in perfectly with nature and respect the style of those they were built next to.
You will also need to know real estate law in order to construct buildings that meet legal standards.
As for your temperament, you must be a serious and hardworking person. It is imperative that you are able to make important decisions and implement them quickly (especially when last minute changes need to be made).
In addition, you must enjoy working with other people and be a good teacher of your clients. They will appreciate your ability to explain and explain technical terms related to your profession.
Clients invest a lot of money in their real estate projects and must be able to trust you, from your first stroke of the pen to the handing over of the keys of the property.
Where to practice this profession?
Like most architects, you can decide to work in the private sector. You will work in a private agency (70% of architects work in agencies). You will then be an employee, partner or even independent if you open your own agency.
It is also possible to work in the civil service, but this one recruits very few. You will have to pass a competitive examination to become a state architect and urban planner. You will then be able to work for co-ownership syndicates that sometimes entrust the management of certain buildings to architects specialized in housing maintenance. You will intervene in particular when it is necessary to carry out work in the building.
What training should I follow to become an architect?
Most students who study to become an architect have a general baccalaureate, stream S. These studies require a significant investment and are known to be difficult.
To become an architect, you will have to go through at least five years of post-baccalaureate studies in order to obtain a Bac+5 degree such as the :
- Diploma of Architecture from the Special School of Architecture.
- State Diploma of Architect.
- Diploma of Architecture from the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA).
- Master of Architecture. Given in many universities.
The selection to follow one of these three courses is tough. Admission is based on an examination of the student’s file and a competitive examination (written exam, oral interview).
It should be noted that these courses offer a degree at the end of the third year (The specific Diploma of Architecture Schools). It allows students to work as employees in agencies and design offices. It can also be used by students wishing to reorient themselves so that they can enter a master’s degree or other training requiring a bac+3 level to be admitted. With the complete training of Bac+5 type, it is possible to exercise the profession of salaried architect.
Once you have your diploma, it is possible to continue for one year to obtain a Bac+6 with :
- The Habilitation to the Mastery of Work in its Own Name (HMONP). This accreditation will allow you to practice as a freelance and to register with the Order of Architects, which is impossible with only a Bac+5.
Two diplomas of level Bac+8 also exist:
- The Diploma of Specialization and Deepening in Architecture (DSA). It includes four options that will specialize you in project management, major risks, heritage or urban project.
- The specific Diploma of Architecture Schools which allows students to specialize in scenography, design, naval architecture, etc.
Once they have completed their training, architects generally succeed in finding a job quickly. 38% have a job before they graduate, 33% find a job within three months of graduation, and 85% have a job six months after graduation. Despite the economic crisis that is greatly affecting the real estate sector, architects are not really suffering from a drop in orders. We are just witnessing more and more the creation of firms grouping several professionals who wish to pool their skills and specialties. Another advantage of this new practice is that the firms enjoy a better reputation than architects who choose to work alone. In terms of career opportunities, an architect can decide to specialize or work in the conservation of historical monuments, as an expert in the courts or as a teacher.
What salary for an architect?
As a beginner, you can expect a salary of about 2,000 € gross per month. Depending on your position and responsibilities, you can expect to earn up to 6,000 € at the end of your career.