What does an architectural firm do?

An architectural firm or architecture firm in Malaysia is employing one or more licensed architects and practising the architecture profession. In contrast, an architectural firm offers architectural services in other countries such as the United Kingdom. If the term architect or architect appears somewhere within its title or definition, an architecture firm must employ licensed architects. However, in certain countries, an unlicensed person can offer architectural services without a license as long as they do not use an architect or architects in their description.

Here are a few job descriptions for architects & Types of firms:

Design architect at a large firm – Large organizations have whole teams that are focused solely on a project’s initial design. Working at a large business, they live in a large metropolitan area like Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, etc. Design architects are involved in the creative side of the process: free-hand sketching, creating initial project photos created by computers and putting together client presentations. These architects have strong artistic abilities and a lot of their day is spent on right-brained (creative visualization) activities.

Production architect at a large firm – Large firms have architects and interns who work exclusively on the production of building plans or “blueprints” (architects call these “construction drawings”). These designs are what will be used by the contractor to construct the building. In a production team (up to 10 years of experience), young, unlicensed architects spend their day correcting or modifying building plans with CAD or BIM software.

Principal at a Large firm – A principal or partner has reached the top of a large company. Principals are well paid ($100-200k) because they have large quantities of experience (20+ years) as well as relationships and contacts that are profitable (e.g. they bring in new work). They often bring in six figures plus salaries and are involved in project design and planning. A very small percentage of practicing architects are principals at large firms.

Types of firms:

Sole practitioners

Sole practitioners tend to work and take on small tasks such as extensions, refurbishments, and small one-off houses from home or a small office. As the name implies, they work on their own, which, while that might sound lonely, gives them ultimate flexibility and freedom. Some architects are striving to take the next move and are heading to larger premises to recruit a small team of workers.

Small boutique firms

These studios consist of 2 to 5 individuals, operating in a small studio or even chute off the home concepts. On average, moving on from a sole practitioner, they resemble an up-and-coming practice that gradually takes on new and more extensive projects when looking for the next move

Co-owned:

This is a relatively new way to structure an architecture firm but breeds a cooperative and healthy working environment by making everyone accountable and directly influencing the firms’ success. Each employee will have a share in the company and therefore, its profits (as well as its losses); this helps to share responsibility and creates a vibrant learning atmosphere for young architects.

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