In the architectural profession, technical and environmental knowledge, design and construction management, and an understanding of business are as important as design. Architects must have a broad range of knowledge and skills to be able to understand, among other things, structural analysis, heat loads, electrical distribution, and traffic flow, and be able to prepare cost estimates based on those and other considerations.
In Canada, architects are professionals and licensed by provincial or territorial associations. The goals of these associations are:
- to encourage members to improve their skills and
- to maintain high standards in the practice of architecture.
Like other professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, architects are legally responsible for the decisions they make. In New Brunswick, licensed Architects must have professional liability insurance if they wish to practice architecture. This insurance protects both the public and the Architect.
As well, each province and territory has an “Architects Act” which regulates the practice of architecture. It is against the law for anyone who is not licensed to use the title “Architect”.
Other designations such as designers, technicians, architectural technologists and intern architects, may perform some design services outside the professional restrictions, however they are not able to provide stamped (sealed) plans, and will engage the services of an architect when stamped drawings are required.