As Per Architect Specifications

Updated on January 4, 2022 in Debates, Ideas and Discussion

architecture construction drafting technical manual
image source: Notebook © 2005 James Wheare

Blog reader James dropped a comment on the previous post “Architects are lower down the pecking order now!”, I thought it was really interesting and straight to the point, here goes:

I’m not an architect/architecture student. I’m a cad monkey. I did not chose architecture but I chose building design because the course was only two years, vs 5-6 and a 5 digit HECS debt.

It wasn’t just that, though.

I called lots of architects and building designers and the continuous complaint I heard from both is “grad architects are useless, they don’t know anything about construction or costing.” Also, there was the fact that building designers (evil, soulless creatures that we are) get 85% of the design work out there – and the grad architects I spoke to were only making 35-40K a year. Looking at Job ads, I realized that a building designer with 5 years experience earns around the same as an architect with 5 yrs experience (85-100K)-and the building designer has no HECS debt.

From my contact with the building industry so far (very minimal) it seems that architects have gotten a bad rep for often being impractical with actual building and structural specifics.

Construction is at the heart of building design and architecture. Whichever is better, if you don’t know construction and are depending on others to provide it you’re wages will reflect this. It’s that sentence, “As per engineers specifications” – everytime you write that, what you’re saying is, “I’m not capable of working this out, I’m referring it to someone who can -” and that engineer will be better paid than you because his skills are more necessary. A long time ago architects did all this technical planning themselves. The only modern equivalent is Santiago Calatrava. He says, “As per MY specifications.”

The more divorced architects become from the origin of their profession the less necessary they will be to it, and they’ll be paid less.

That is the answer, specification. Either you take the project or forget about it, architects are replaceable, what makes your design unique and thick?

The author is not a CAD expert nor a web genius. Just another guy spending too much time online. The tutorials featured here are meant for basic level understanding.


  1. That’s exactly the reason why I took a course of civil engineering after my architecture course.. The same as Calatrava did in a way, because I myself wanted to know how all the constructions work..

  2. i m final year student of architecture n sir i m not agree wat is mentioned above i belong to a school where art n archietcture is thought (univeristy of karachi) and here we thought both technical and conceptual pipe lines and for ur kind information engineer no doubt can be good structural engineer but cant be an archietect but an architect can be great engineer we learnt from pass 5 years what an architect to be how does he think n sort out whole project n took from small point to sky scraperss i mean that wat an architect mentality is n if u think that arechitect to paid less is very literal thinking ur work is 2+2=4 but architect think why 2+2=4 why not 5 or 6 n how could we make it possible its matter of imagination u confined in u small box, box of limited thoughts come out from it n think beyond which u cant sorry with all respect u only think 2+2=4…. hmmm i love my profession n i belive an archietct job is think n produced far beyond it n we are not engineer but we know that much only how deal with enigeering stuff … but we dont need to have a civil engeneing diploma or any sort of certificate to prove ourselves that we are good architect and one thing more its matter of time n experince many engineer do blunders n kill plenty of peoples then whose fault is ??? hmmm think sir think which i know u cant u just jeloused to eb very frank

  3. it is the architect who makes the surrounding and people ask abt architect…can u name famous engineers in the world?? the ans is “NO”…..BUT there are hundreds of famous architects in the world and their name become immortal and goes in printing and becomes history….and architecture is abt passion and creativity and not abt making money…

  4. There’s only one thing I can say to this, which is purely in the architecture quotes that I’ve heard over the years in Arch School:

    ‘God is in the Details’

    Architecture is a mix of deep theory and real-world building. We are architects, and at the end of the day we want our designs to be realized. If not, what’s the point? SO what I’m saying is, it is important to pay attention on how construction works.

    It’s sad to see that the profession of Architecture have been plagued by fluffy ‘artists’ that have no clue of how the real world works. Much respect to the Engineers who put up with them, although collaboration is a must in any endeavour.

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