Architects are trained to design buildings and other intricate structures. The job requires both engineering knowledge and artistic skills, which usually means that those in the field have a broad educational background. In addition, because all building and structures must be safe for public use, architects must be aware of all building codes and regulations, and understand construction procedures. Given the range of skills and knowledge needed to work as an architect, those who choose to leave the field for other opportunities typically have a wide range of career options available to them.
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In the same way that architects create building designs, interior designers create design layouts for the interior of homes, offices and other spaces. The same skills that benefit architects -- creativity, attention to detail and an eye for colour, texture and light -- help interior designers perform their job. While most interior designers focus on decor and choose style and colour schemes for furniture, flooring, window coverings, artwork and lighting, many also add architectural details to design plans, such as crown moulding or built-in book cases. When homes are remodelled, they often offer input about where windows, staircases or other structural items should be placed. Interior designers must also know how to read blueprints, so a background in architecture is an asset for those in the field. Some architectural firms employ interior designers on staff, so it might be easy to transition from one career to the other. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for interiors designers was £29,217 as of May 2008.
Building inspectors examine buildings and homes to determine their safety and structural quality. Because architects are trained to design buildings with these issues in mind, they have the necessary insight to inspect buildings and make safety judgments. Building inspectors follow the International Code Council's national model building and construction codes, as well as local and state regulations, to determine whether a building poses a risk to public safety. Some inspectors analyse building plans before construction even begins to ensure that the design is structurally sound. Those with an architectural background have an easier time evaluating blueprints, designs and plans. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for building inspectors was £32,617 as of May 2008.
City planners create plans to develop and revitalise cities, suburbs and rural areas. They work with local government officials to determine where public buildings such as schools and hospitals should be placed, as well as where roads and other infrastructure improvements are needed. To create the best layout for cities and other areas, city planners must be knowledgeable about building codes, zoning codes and environmental regulations that affect construction. Individuals with a background in architecture possess the necessary knowledge of these codes and regulations, as well as an understanding of the design and construction process as a whole. City planners earned a median annual wage of £38,876 in May 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Contractors build a wide variety of structures, including homes, offices, schools, factories, roads and other infrastructure. They build new projects and maintain or remodel existing structures. Most contractors specialise in a particular type of construction, such as residential or commercial, and coordinate construction teams which include painting, carpentry, plumbing, heating and electrical crews. Contractors build structures based on designs provided by an architect, so individuals who have experience in architecture are qualified to work as a contractor or construction manager. While contractors are not responsible for design elements on a project, knowledge of how architects think about design and the structural plan for a building can make their job easier. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction managers had median hourly wages of £24.90 as of May 2008.
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