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Understanding The Hierarchy Of Architects In Florida Construction


With most Florida construction projects, there are many moving parts and roles taken on by owners, developers, design professionals, contractors, and subcontractors. You might not think about who is leading the efforts as far as architecture requirements, but there is a small army of architects with specific positions and duties. Their efforts are critical for making the vision of a project become a reality, so there is a designed chain of command under rules established by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). While they share common training and backgrounds, a hierarchy of architects exists to ensure the project flows smoothly.

Depending on your position in a Florida construction project, you may be dealing with different architects regularly during the process. It is helpful to get some perspective on the roles of these individuals, since they could impact liability in terms of construction plans and specifications. A Florida design professional liability lawyer can help you understand the hierarchy of architects, and an overview may also be useful.

Types of Architects for Construction Projects: Just as there are licensing requirements for individual architects, there are rules about running architectural firms in Florida. These statutes and regulations are part of the reason for a hierarchy, but AIA has also established definitions of positions. For example:

  • Only a licensed architect can act as CEO, President, Managing Principal, and Director of Design. This person oversees all architects falling lower in the hierarchy.
  • A Principal Architect is the license holder for a firm, responsible for the overall design objectives and delegating duties to other architects.
  • There may be several Project Architects, who oversee all activities involved with meeting the construction project plans and specifications.
  • AIA establishes three classes of architect, starting with Architect 3 with at least 10 years of experience. Architect 2 and 1 have 8 and 5 years of experience, respectively.
  • There may be interns working on a construction project as well, and they fall into three categories under AIA rules. Intern Architects range from entry level to those having up to 6 years of experience.

Factors When Evaluating Architects: As an owner, contractor, or developer, you want to ensure the architectural firm you work with has the fundamentals for teamwork. There is significant collaboration and coordination that is necessary throughout the project lifecycle, and you cannot afford obstacles. Other important qualities include:

  • Open and effective communication, particularly with specifications and change orders;
  • Ability to account for and address Florida weather considerations;
  • Local planning knowledge, which is critical because of municipal building codes, regulations, and related construction requirements;
  • Experience working on similar projects, whether residential, public, commercial, or other spaces.

Speak to a Palm Beach County Design Professional Liability Attorney About Options

There are subtle differences among the types of architects you might deal with during a Florida construction project, but you can rely on Linkhorst Law Firm, P.A. for questions about design professional liability. For more information, please call 561-626-8880 or go online to set up a consultation at our offices in Jupiter, FL.



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