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Can An Architect Act As Project Manager

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  • 06-12-2021
Can An Architect Act As Project Manager

A common question related to building projects is; can an architect act as project manager? We look at the advantages of using an architect for construction project management.

The words project architect and project manager get thrown around a lot, appearing interchangeable at the best of times. If you're confused about the differences and what your project will benefit from, this article will discuss everything project manager related.

Bob Trimble is a chartered architect registered with RIBA with 30 years experience in the industry. Trimble Architects work throughout Hounslow, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston Upon Thames, Teddington and the surrounding areas of London.

 Can an architect act as a project manager?

Project Architects and Project Managers are incredibly similar roles, and there can be a lot of crossover between the two. However, they are generally separate entities, and it's good to understand the differences.

Firstly, the term architect is legally protected and can only be used by those that have passed an exam and received a qualification from the Architectural Registration Board (ARB). Anyone practising without acknowledgement from the ARB or Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is not legally registered as an architect and cannot identify as one.

You will also find people identifying as architectural consultants, where they will perform an analysis of your design or offer advice, among other things. These people can have qualifications, so they can be trusted, but you should be wary.  

Project Managers do not need a formal qualification, but it can help solidify their legitimacy. Some project managers will even have a qualification in architecture, but this isn't necessary. 


Understanding the business, managing, and scheduling of design and construction work is recommended. 

Their entire career may be built around working alongside architects on buildings, or they are a qualified architects themselves.

For this reason, an existing architect has the ability to perform project management. You will often experience this on a number of building sites, specifically smaller ones that can't afford two separate entities. 

However, a project manager cannot act as an architect without the proper qualifications; this is where the deviation remains. Both responsibilities are incredibly high, and sometimes both are needed on more complex sites.

Can An Architect Act As Project Manager?

Benefits of Hiring an Architect as Project Manager

There are multiple benefits to hiring an architect as your project manager, and deciding to do so can bring great success to many projects. 

When deciding on a project manager, you must look for someone with experience in your particular build type, and you must ensure you personally like them. This can prevent misunderstandings and business interactions from going poorly, as you need someone you can trust. 

If you've worked with an architect and like how they work, consider asking them to be your project manager.

Understanding Your Needs

For any project to be completed, an understanding between all members must be reached. This means that a project manager has to understand the clients wishes and desires and ensure they bring them about as best they can. 

Of course, deviations and surprises happen on a construction site, and sometimes the result isn't what was planned, but a project manager should steer all teams towards the same end. 

However, after working alongside you throughout the building process, an architect will understand your goals and preferences and can help realise them through project managing.

A consultation comes before the architect creates any drawings, and this is the perfect session to explain your plan while they listen to everything and build the needed relationship.


Design Without Error

Some customers choose to hire a designer as opposed to an architect. The one key difference between the two is that (most of the time) a designer does not have an architecture qualification and therefore cannot call themselves an architect. 

This can mean they have less experience, but you get a trusted and trained individual who carries years of experience when you hire an architect. 

Any good project manager will also guarantee a good construction and project team and only employ those with relevant experience and good credentials. If you try to navigate this yourself and hire builders that aren't suitable for the job, you will have a faulty design and perhaps structural issues down the line.

Creative Solutions

Project Managers cannot only be strategic thinkers; they must also be creative ones. This is why hiring an architect as your project manager will ensure that both are being fulfilled, as they can think creatively about problems that arise. 

For example, when designing the build, it's revealed that you can't have the material you originally wanted because it doesn't fit into your budget; this can be disheartening. 

Instead of offering the most cost-effective one, an architect will also offer materials that aesthetically match the surrounding houses and is comparable to the original material. If you're concerned about storage space and want some modern options, an architect will have unique ideas and offer critical thinking.

Trusted Advisor

With years of experience comes a plethora of advice that an architect can offer. If they are worth their money, they will know about many different building industry sectors and can answer your queries. 

When you trust an architect fully, you will begin to find the overall process much easier to navigate. The best way to get a trusted architect is to either go via a firm that has the best reviews or find an independent worker that you gel with and has the right credentials.

Although most architects can adapt to any project, you will find individuals with more experience in your building style or type.

TRUSTED ADVISOR - Architect As Project Manager

Act as a Negotiator

An architect must remain impartial and unbiased on a project, so they can settle disputes with control and an objective mind. They are used to negotiating with local councils, contractors, builders, and even project managers on sites where they are not the same person. 

The necessary documents and legal paperwork or contracts will need a professional to oversee them. An architect is familiar with the building regulations, so they can fight in your corner if any problems arise with the group. 

When you have peace of mind that someone knows all the laws and regulations in your area, you will find yourself worrying less overall. 

INCREASE VALUE - Architect As Project Manager

Increase Value

Any architecturally designed building can have a potential resale increase of up to 15%, along with a lower running cost throughout the lifetime of that property. 

This means that when you hire an architect, you are getting long-lasting value for your property, whether you intend to sell in the future or not. 

Their experience on-site also brings you value, as they are respected and professional, meaning they become responsible for the outcome of the entire project, mitigating more risk.

Are Architects Better?

So, now you've learnt that you can hire either a project manager or a project architect, and sometimes they are the same person. The question arises of 'which is better?', and there isn't a simple answer to that. 

While architecture takes a long time to practice and develop the necessary skills for designing and planning a building, it doesn't mean that everyone with a qualification is a good architect. 

Some architects excel at design and visualising your dream through technology but lack the leadership abilities to handle logistics, scheduling and budget management skills. This is where you need a skilled manager on-site who can make it a successful project. 

Project Managers may not need a qualification in managing or architecture, but it doesn't hurt. Typically, you will find someone who has a degree to back up their experience. 

Project Managers

A poor site manager will ruin the entire project, and you will notice a significant drop in the schedule and budget distribution. Small jobs will take twice as long, and you end up spending more money than you ever wanted to. 

A technical-minded person who can interpret data and handle scheduling is as important as the creative thinkers you have on-site.

Generally, these two roles gain experience from one another. You'll find the best project managers have worked closely with architects, perhaps through a company or office and have learned more about design processes. 

An architect would have done the same and sometimes prefers working alongside a manager. 

However, we can't deny that architects have to go through a lot more to get where they are. Minimum of seven years worth of training, exams, and learning get them to their qualification. 

Unlike project managers who will only see a project's overarching framework, an architect will be familiar with the inner workings. 

One of their primary duties is to ensure that the project is completed on time and on budget; otherwise, they have failed and can be sued. Architects are generally better at communication than any other profession because they are trained to do so. 

Their qualification means they can listen to your brief, realise your goals and intentions, and then communicate the best possible way to do that with your budget.


A project manager may not care about your project as much and will say whatever you want to hear. An architect will speak the truth and is bound by many laws and regulations, as outlined by the Architectural Registration Board (ARB), meaning you'll have conversations of much higher quality. 

The systems in place for creating a building are there for a reason, and bypassing them could lead to more money being spent and laws being broken.

So, while it's a sweeping statement to say that an architect is better than a project manager, you should be aware of what to look out for and what both roles have endured getting where they are today. You must work with someone trusted and knowledgeable about the law, which will be an architect most of the time. 

Doing your research ahead of time to find an architect is essential to realising your building goals and can be a great financial decision. Any good architect will realise the major responsibility involved, so won't mess you around.

If you would like further advice, get in contact with our team today. If you're based in the Hounslow, Twickenham or greater London area, we are one of the best architectural services around.

 Architects Near Me


If you are looking for architectural services throughout Hounslow, Twickenham and the greater London area, then get in contact with our team today. We can offer advice and begin guiding you towards making the right decision.


Bob Trimble is a chartered architect registered with RIBA. Bob Trimble has 30 years of experience working with residential and commercial property projects. For 4 years, Bob Trimble has worked from his housing association and private architectural practice for clients throughout Hounslow, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston Upon Thames, Teddington and the surrounding areas of London.