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Architect vs Civil Engineer: What is the Difference?

When it comes to building a Commercial, Industrial, or Residential property, Architects and Civil Engineers are the backbone and leaders guiding the workforce to constructing designed and planned properties as intended and visioned. However, clients often face confusion between both and use them interchangeably.

Though both are highly responsible for property building from the planning stage to the construction stage till project completion, both are in different terms & have specific roles, tasks, and responsibilities.

In this blog, we will walk you through the difference between an Architect and a Civil Engineer and when you should appoint either of them to design, build, and renovate your property.

What is the difference between the term Architecture and Civil Engineering?

Let us first walk you through the difference between both terms. Architecture is the field (science) of designing, modelling, and planning interiors and exteriors of Commercial & Residential Properties & Buildings according to the requirements, needs, and vision of the client or end users (customers).

In comparison, Civil Engineering is more focused on the feasibility of structure design & strength. It considers every aspect and makes concise planning from a mathematical calculation viewpoint to ascertain how much materials will be required for the construction and their quality which will determine the strength of the building and structures.

The Purview of an Architect

Let us walk you through the purview (scope) of an Architect to comprehend their working range. The following is the scope of an Architect:

  • An Architect directly communicates with the client to comprehend their vision, requirements, preferences and needs in the property. They are ingenious and use their creativity to convert the concept into drawings, models, and other precise formats to illustrate to the client how their property will look after being constructed. They mention each & every element in the layout & site plan to ensure all aspects requested by clients are covered, and they make amendments rapidly.
  • Once the client has finalised the planning and ideas, it is sent for approval from local building authorities. After sanctioning the plan, Civil Engineer prepares structural drawings for building the property, which involves designing, drafting, and calculating reinforcement. They contemplate every facet being conveyed accurately, such as the position marking of beams and columns.
  • Architects make site drawings based on the structural drawings provided by the Civil Engineers. Architects are engaged in communicating & coordinating with various consultants for the property’s design, such as MEP consultants, HVAC consultants, Glass & Windows consultants, and even Interior Designers.

The Purview of a Civil Engineer

The purview (scope) of a Civil Engineer is interrelated with an Architect, as mentioned above in Architect’s purview. The following is the scope (range) of a Civil Engineer:

  • The Civil Engineer’s primary role is to ensure the property’s robustness, safety, and structural integrity by ascertaining its strength, stability, and reliability through a thorough assessment of materials that will be used at the site for property construction.
  • A Civil Engineers works on several structural aspects of the property by considering numerous elements, such as soil load bearing capacity, live & dead load of the structure, wind & snow load, and more, to ensure it stays intact for decades and ages by surviving through challenging weather conditions and weather.
  • A Civil Engineer frequently visits the site before casting the RCC foundation, beams & columns, and floor slabs to check that all construction processes, including site reinforcements, are carried out efficiently and resolve obstacles at any stage and on-site issues to complete the project on time.

Similarities Between an Architect and a Civil Engineer

Though Architect & Civil Engineer are different terms and have their own set of roles & responsibilities, however, there are a couple of similarities between the two that are as follows:

  • Architects and Civil Engineers frequently monitor a project’s progress and measure it to evaluate whether it is being constructed as planned and whether all assigned tasks are being performed ideally.
  • Architects are highly trained, qualified, and dexterous to design drawings & models of different project types, scales, sizes, and complexity. In contrast, Civil Engineers are primarily concerned with the structural design and integrity of various projects, such as the construction of city & highway roads, bridges & flyovers, house buildings, and numerous infrastructure projects.
  • Both are specialised in specific skill sets, such as management of people, materials, and processes, leadership qualities, problem-solving skills, analytical thinking, and conversion of concept & vision through drawings to effectively and proficiently carry out planning, designing, and construction stages.

When should you appoint an Architect and a Civil Engineer?

Let us clarify the most asked question – when to appoint an Architect and a Civil Engineer. The following are the scenarios for appointing an Architect and a Civil Engineer:

  • We recommend hiring an Architect when planning to build a new house, another residential property, or a commercial showroom, shop, or mart for the planning & designing of the structure & building.
  • You should hire a Civil Engineer when you want to renovate your existing home or another property, as they will assess the structural integrity of the property, including the foundation, to check for cracks, dampness, and other damages. And accordingly, they formulated a plan to give it a revamped look.
  • For making any amendments in the structure of the house’s interior and exterior, such as adding a new floor or extending the current floor spacing, you must consult a Civil Engineer as they will ascertain the load-bearing capacity of the property.


After reading the blog, you will have a firm clarification of the difference between an Architect and a Civil Engineer and a comprehension of their respective roles, responsibilities, and when to hire either. To summarise, an Architect is the creator and pioneer of a project and is assigned to oversee on-site work. In contrast, a Civil Engineer transforms the client’s vision and architectural design into reality. However, if you need additional clarification, feel free to contact us.

If you are searching for an Architect or a Civil Engineer in Ghana, Skaia Construction is your one-stop solution. We are one of the leading and most trustworthy Civil Construction Companies in Accra, Ghana. We provide comprehensive services from initial planning to architectural design to civil engineering, MEP services, interior design & finishing to deliver the key to your finished project.

Call us at +233 27 000 1245 or email at info@skaiaconstruction.com to book your free Project Consultation.

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