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On any architectural project, an architect has to keep track of a great deal of information. Often, it isn't possible for the architect to handle all tasks related to the architectural project alone. At the same time, others interested in becoming architects need a way to gain some practical experience and network in the field before they become full architects. Consequently, many architects use architect assistants.
An architect assistant is an architectural professional who is just entering the architecture industry. His job is providing basic support to the primary architect and other members of the architectural project team. Architect assistants complete work that is very basic, which frees the architect to concentrate on more complex tasks; the assistant simultaneously gains practical experience.
Architect assistants study buildings and their designs under the supervision of the architect. They also make up initial and final drawings that show the vision and technical details of the completed project. Assistants coordinate others working on the project, as well. Assistants are additionally responsible for overseeing compliance with current codes and project specifications. Other duties for architect assistants include answering bidder inquiries, managing bidding and budgets, preparing written reports and providing general support to project members, such as document preparation.
Architect assistants fall into two categories: Level I and Level II. Level I assistants are the most basic assistants. They generally do not have any previous work experience in the architectural industry. However, Level I assistants usually have four-year degrees in architecture or a related field. These workers require more supervision, due to their lack of experience. Level II architect assistants have the same basic educational background as Level I assistants. Unlike Level I workers, however, Level II assistants usually have at least one year of experience. Subsequently, architects give them more independence and ask them to perform slightly more complex tasks.
Architectural assistants often serve as liaisons between members of the project team and their vendors, regulatory officials and clients. They, therefore, should have excellent communications skills and enjoy working directly with people. An understanding of math, computer assisted design (CAD), office procedures and analysis are also important. The assistant should be comfortable sitting for long periods, but should also be prepared for the physical requirements of on-site architectural inspection. Technology skills are desirable, as well -- particularly for recordkeeping and architectural drawing. Typically, a valid driver's license is also required.
Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.