Architectural firms and architectural service in India


Architecture firms are business entities that employ several architects and practice the profession of architecture. In United States, an architectural firm is a company which offers architectural services. These firms usually have at least one principal, a licensed architect who is the sole proprietor of the firm, either as partner in partnership or as a shareholder in the company.

However, architectural firms can accommodate any number of employees. A firm can usually start with five people without any formal organizational structure. There are also medium sized firms with 5-50 employees who are assigned departmentally i.e. design, production, business development, and construction administration. Large firms also exist with more than 50 people who are assigned departmentally or in studios specializing in project types. The boom of technological advancement has made possible for firms to branch out and establish alliances with other firms in different parts of the world. This has made possible to work at some portions in the US or UK, and other portions in India or Mexico, for instance. In Asian countries, architectural firms usually use lower-cost but high-skill professionals. The firms have also managed to procure two or three shifts due to time differences. In India and China, government is hiring US and European firms to work on local developments. This is a far more effective and co-ordinated work than the singular European firms. Due to globalization, Asian firms are outsourcing the western, especially the European firms.

In a firm, it is mainly the architects’ ability which determines architectural services. This comprises the design, construction, preparation of construction documents and construction administration, etc. Other kinds of services include feasibility studies, architectural programming and project management.

The following services are offered by the architects and their sub-consultants:

  • Project inception: this is the initial phase of the project. This stage demands working together with the architect by sharing your project needs, dreams and goals.
  • Schematic inception: After outlining your project needs, the architect will begin preparing preliminary sketches on your requirements and budget to explore potential and possible options.
  • Construction documents: after the former process, the architect provides the drawings with a physical form and adds specifications to them. They also help in obtaining building permits and bids and guides the contractor during construction.
  • Bidding and negotiation: your architect can help you choose your choice of contractor and prepare the contract between you and the contractor.
  • Construction and contract administration: the architect helps and consults during construction. The will visit the construction site and will determine if the work is proceeding in general accordance with the contract and whether the design, materials and workmanship meet the acceptable standards.
  • Substantial performance of construction/occupy certificate: to keep the customer informed, the architect provides regular progress reports and authorizes staged payments to the contractor. He is resolved and remains involved until the project is completed.

Aside from all these services, the architectural firm appoints architects in project management, feasibility studies, site selection, building condition audits, interior design, renderings and promotional materials, full time site representation and multiple contract preparation.