An architect’s job entails designing the building, maintaining the aesthetic appeal of the building, allocating space usage surrounding the building and finally overseeing the construction. The architect’s job is limited to the layouts and the designing of the building; however the architects must also follow the local rules of the location where the structure is being built, such as how many stories can a building be before an extension permit is required, the legally defined distance between two walls or ceilings and the floor, etc.
Engineers are responsible for designing materials, systems and structures while considering the practicality, safety and cost. Engineers are responsible for calculating the math behind the whole structure. They oversee the feasibility of construction; if the building can be built in the way it is designed. They are also in charge of how much materials are required and deployed for construction.
A builder executes/constructs the building and makes it a reality. He organises the purchase of all the material required, deploys the right type of construction equipment, organizes skilled and unskilled labour required, plans the schedule for start and finish of the various activities and manages the actual construction. When construction is finished he hands over the building to the client.
In terms of designing structures such as bridges, flyovers, etc. a structural engineer is solely responsible for the designing as well as the construction of that particular structure. In other words, architects are the vision behind the project, while the engineers are the brain.
Some projects will require the services of an architect, a structural engineer and a builder.
The architect will take into consideration certain factors such as location, direction, functional and space requirements and constraints. He will then plan the layout, decide external appearances, what the facade will be and internal facilities and spaces to be provided, locations of columns, sizes of rooms, doors, windows, staircases. He also decides how high the building needs to be, how wide, how long etc. The architect will take note of rules and regulations that in are place for construction and be mindful of the budget to ensure all requirements are met. The architects work precedes the work of others.
The structural engineer takes off from where the architect has completed his design. The engineer figures out which materials to use and how to safely construct the building the architect has envisioned. He determines what will happen to the structure, under its own weight, determines the loads that act on the structure, the effects from winds, earthquakes etc, The engineer will study the effect of these loads on the structural elements/skeletal frame of the building and determine safe and economical sizes for all beams and columns. He also estimates all the quantities of various materials like steel, cement, etc that is required and determines the depths of the foundations and the type of the foundation. He prepares detailed drawings describing every part of the structure.
The builder, who is also called the contractor, finally executes all the plans developed by the architect and the engineer.