Freelance Architect Jobs: What to Expect

Freelance architect work is a real mix of jobs. You can be designing sheds, warehouses, renovations and houses. You may be doing work as part of the overflow from an architectural firm, another very mixed bag of roles and types of work.

Typical freelance architect jobs include

  • building plans
  • engineering plans
  • CAD work
  • site plans
  • construction plans
  • site drawings
  • interior architecture
  • landscape architecture
  • design graphics (also CAD or TurboCAD)

This may look a lot like your study days revisited, but as commercial work, it's invaluable. This is the entire spectrum of commercial architecture, and the very broad range of experience will get you more jobs.

The work evolves into higher levels of jobs over time, similar to a "normal" architecture career progression. One of the great advantages of freelance architect work is that you effectively progress without being limited within a particular commercial architecture firm, whose roles are often strictly defined into levels of seniority.

The Work Experience

Expect to work hard. This is architecture under very tight quality controls and usually deadlines. You need a very well organized work routine to make reliable progress through your jobs and be on time for your clients.

Also expect some extra work as an adviser. Things like statutory requirements and stress loads aren't self-explanatory to people outside the profession, and you will need to cover these things with clients.

Communication and problem solving skills are critically important. In any architecture business, there can be site problems, drainage, structural issues, etc. In freelance architect work, however, these are your problems as much as the client's. You're contracted to deal with these issues if you're responsible for the plans.

Important: Assume that you're potentially liable for problems. That's a great motivator for making sure you miss nothing in your work. The logic of mistakes in construction is "blame the architect" in many cases. Document any issues fully and give conservative advice that you know is clear and correct.

Finding Freelance Architect Jobs Online

There are some good specialist freelance sites online, notably a big diverse site called www.ifreelance.com, a US site that caters exclusively to freelancers. This is what's called a "bidding jobs" site, where providers of services give competitive quotes to employers.

You'll find a site like www.ifreelance.com also works as a market monitoring service, showing you what's available, qualifications, requirements and commercial rates. If you're new in freelance architect work, you'll soon see the useful opportunities in the market.

Money Issues and Freelance Architect Work

Freelance architect jobs are contract jobs. The form of contract and conditions of payment may vary considerably. It's strongly advised to ask for progressive payment, for consistency of income as well as ensuring payment is made. You can use up a lot of time on projects, and it's best to keep the money issues well covered as normal business practice. 

Networking

Networking through local builders, architects and developers is a basic strategy for freelance architect work. You can find a lot of jobs simply by talking to your friends and contacts in the industry. You'll also find that a good reputation goes a long way in the construction industry. Reliability and quality are much appreciated, and you may be invited into projects on the basis of past work.