Being in the business of home renovations one often gets asked for architect recommendations. One of the first things we like to ask them is what is it that you’re really looking for. Most of the times it turns out that there is little need for an architect. So we thought we’d try to explain the difference between professionals in this space.
Architects are trained, certified and have a college degree (undergrad, or masters) to show for it. The main job of an architect is to conceptualise the space in terms of the structure (floor, walls, ceilings) and plan layouts. They tend to have specialists on their teams for structural evaluations, plumbing and electrical planning. If you’re constructing a new floor, or a building you need to get an architect involved to make sure the planning is sound. While its not their core skillset, some architects get involved with the interiors and take on things like floorings, walls, ceilings, and even décor & furniture.
Interior Designer or Decorator
Interior designers focus on the interiors of a space. They help you make your space more livable/usable by suggesting how your rooms should look, how can you organize your furniture, what color theme you could pick for your bedroom and so on. They can also help you pick things like the right tiles for your bathroom, the marble for the flooring keeping in mind the overall chosen look and feel.
The contractor is the one who gets the work done – i.e. the demolition, civil, plumbing, painting etc. There is a category of contractors called the general contractors who have teams, either on payroll or as affiliates who can help execute all your requirements. Then there are specialist contractors who only execute one type of task (e.g. painting contractor). Whatever your project involves, you will have a contractor on site. Even if a designer or architect says they do turnkey projects they will be working with a contractor to execute.
A project manager is someone who keeps track of your project and makes sure work is proceeding on time. It is their responsibility to firefight in case of issues, remind you when certain product decisions need to be made by, and push the contractors when their teams are not showing up on time. As with PMs in any organization, a good construction PM is an extremely useful resource during the execution of the project.