Who should handle or supervise your project? Architect,builder civil or structural engineer

There is always a confusion in choosing who to handle or supervise a project especially for a newbie property developer.
Questions have been raised severally on who should handle individual projects, however building types will determine who you should use as an arrowhead onsite.
The larger your project, the more the numbers of professionals and technical people you are expected to have on your building site.
For smaller projects like 2 bedroom bungallow any of these professionals are okay for it, there is no need to have more than one professional on site for small projects.
A young architect, builder or structural/civil engineeer can on their own supervise any bungallow with little or no supervision. But when it is a storey building especially a multistorey building or duplex, then you need the input of the architect not only as the designer but also on site as the overall
supervisory officer, in some cases they may supervise on secondary role basis.
The builder is trained to execute every line of command represented on sheets of paper by the other building professionals, therefore a builder is more at home on a building site more than any other professionals, because that is his major occupation. He can enter the roughest parts of site and see to it that job is done properly and he likes to be physically involves most time.
An architect has very strong ability to detect an error, he is trained to be a perrennial critic, he sees the building as his baby and ready to protect the baby jealously, the pride of an architect is to see his design come out well executed and beautiful.
Now take the architect as the mother of the child (the building), the builder as the nanny. The nanny does all the dirty works, work hardest and may be closer to the baby than the mother. But the mother happens to be the one that conceived and bore the child, so she is more protective of
the child, she has a vision of how the baby should look like in the process of growing, she monitors her and anything shot of her expectations will not be welcomed. she may have to shout at the nanny when the baby is not well fed or taken care of.
The architect surely did the work of conceiving and drawing plan of the building, but he may not neccessarily have much physical impact but technical in actual construction, but he knows exactly how the building should look like and what he wants, so he won’t settle for less.
The structural engineers job concerns the stability of the building, so we may take the structural or civil engineer as  the peadiatric doctor that monitors the health of the baby and prescribed drugs to sustain his or her life. This is also the function of a structural engineer to the building. Architects likes to fantasize and come up with out of the world designs, it takes the engineer to look at the design and relate with the architect about the structural disposition of the building, if its possible to build with the technology and expertise available or not.
An Engineer makes sure the building is healthy by prescribing the right reinforcements/iron rods to stabilise the building and stop it from eventual collapse.
From the illustrations above it is important to have at least two of the major three building professionals mentioned above on your site especially when your building is a storey building or more complex structure, afterall two heads are better than one.
The structural engineer and the architect could take a supervisory role whereby they come to site to make sure their designs are followed strictly and give them opportunities to pass down further instructions and incase of adjustments or redesign, they will be in best position to know what to do.
Whatever case, one of them should be on site preferrably a builder.
For higher storeys and more complex structures, the architect,the building engineer/builder, the structural/civil engineer, the electrical engineer and the mechanical engineer are suppose to be on site. (the mechanical engineer deals with the plumbing works).
An architect with decades of experience


  1. This website is a REAL eye opener, well done my brother i am very impressed. May almighty God continue to enlighten your knowledge. Thanks for sharing!!!! your site should be named “House building for DUMMIES” ah! ah!

  2. To my own view i think the person to hand any construction project is the BUILDER because he does the dirty work and that he is too close to the building. And also the builder is trained to execute every line of command on the sheet of paper of the other professional, therefore the builder is more at home on a building than the other professionals.

  3. Thanks very much brother for ur advise. i want to build a 4 bedroom flat and have seen the kind of building i love but don’t know how to go about it.

    I will be grateful if u can be of help to me.

    Thanks and waiting to hear from u.

  4. You did a good job here, i can see your intention of sincerity as against the selfish, parochial attitude of most professionals in the building industry in Nigeria, most especially. However, i want to provide answer to our friend on the role of Quantity Surveyor in Supervision, QS do not supervise on site, He/She comes to do measurement of work done for the purpose of valuation and payment to the contractor. He is the financial accountant of the building industry as the Estate Surveyor is the marketer of the Building Construction products. i pray, may the continue to keep you on the path of truth that you have chosen.

  5. Your website is quite informative and timely but I disaggre with you on your illustration about the input of professionals in building industry. it is very wrong to say that builders are nanny. I think you need to get a copy of National building code where you will see the responsibilities and input of each professions. Every body has the role to play. also it suffices to say that anybody can be a building contractor but only academically and profesionally trained person is a builder. Calling a builder a contractor is like calling draftman an architect. in conclusion it is only ARCON regisstered person is an Architect. Also CORBON(builders) COREN(engineers) etc.

    1. @Abiodun,
      I think you misunderstood me completely, Usage of nannny in this article is not derogatory is just an illustration to give someone a better understanding of what I wrote abou.

  6. Every building professionals must have their area of specialization, an architect design, a builder interprete, a Qs quantify and make sure that materials onsite meet the British standard, a structural engineer deals with d structural aspect of bld e.t.c The problem between an architect and a builder had been in existence since the 80s. The construction industry need an ACT of specializatn where evry professional does not infringe his role and responsibility onsite.

  7. Thank you very much for this article, although I think it’s only the pediatric doctor(Structural Engineer) that has been trained and has the capacity to bend sidways to be able to do the work of the mother of the baby and the nanny as well to a reasonably safe and satisfactory extent. Thanks

  8. I think a Quantity Surveyor is to supervise the the building from the substructural works to the finishes so as to take care of materials used on site,valuation angd give advice to the structural engineer in term of quality and cost.since the consultant Q S is always on site then the project will be well done and wastage of materials will be minimise since the Q S will bot take such rubbish from the labours and the exalt ratio for materials will be used to attain the accredicted sstage if the project.thanks for making this site a reality

  9. The architect, qs,structural engr. Should be involved the supervision of building. However it depends on the magnitude of the project. If its a bungalow the architect should supervise the building project,because he is vast in construction process.

  10. Well done boss, trying to add you on facebook but oops, you’ve got so many frnds up to the limit…facebook denied me.

  11. most time people oven undermine the role of both structural/civil engineer and builder. These two personel hav very impotant role to play in the actualization of building project either large or small. A civil engineer is not only trained to do reinforcement design as u mentioned, they are also trained to understand functionality of building, selection of appropriate building materia, study behaviour of building materials like corrosion etc, they are also trained to provide infracstucture to residential/comercial house such as water, road, sewage facilities etc. The builder on the other hand help to implement the archi plan by actually transfer what on paper to the ground. In most cases with practical experience a civil engineer well trained and sound in drawing and mathematics can do all of builders work. As for architect they only need to come to site occasionally and should not been seen as a lead supervisor. I’m talking from experience, i’m a civil engineer

  12. Your illustration is correct,and you have said the real truth. A builder is more at home on a building site more than any other professional.

  13. I have to express my love for your kind-heartedness for folks who must have help with your matter. Your special commitment to passing the solution all-around appeared to be extraordinarily helpful and has always permitted employees just like me to reach their endeavors. Your amazing interesting facts entails a great deal a person like me and extremely more to my office workers. Many thanks; from all of us.

  14. The article is quite refreshing,educative and vivid.It remains one of the most unbiased review of the roles of professionals in the building industry.

  15. In this case the architect is the mother of the building, but as for a small project like bungalow the builder can handle it and the architect only visit the site to see if the builder is doing what is on paper, as for big project all of them are expected to be dear cause they all have there roles to be played, but in some cases the so called builder do both the structural work and supervision only him

  16. Well written, almost all the buildings i have designed and did not supervised were changed,deformed abused etc… and the clients finally feel unsatisfied with their homes cos they later see and compare the ones i personally supervise.Remember;most of the builders they give are not professional builders so they tell the client to change somethings to favour them. They forget that the design process had already been followed between the client and the architect to the letter. The client later discovers that something is not as he desired originally.

    True, i dont take a snap shot of those misbuilt designs of mine no matter how fine they look.It makes me feel sad…as if my baby was mutilated…truly that’s how its feels to us architects.

    Yes, the civil engineer/builders’ role is really important yet people seem to be blind about it. Every profession in this industry is equally important too.

    If i may add, certification may make you a complete architect by ARCON,builder by CORBON and engineer by COREN, but the certificate wont do the good job required in the field; its your head,your personal skill,your drive for success, your heart…Its shameful to see many highly certified theory expert that cannot design with creativity,cannot build with common sense…it baffles me how many of them i know of whom have their pride in just using their seals and nothing more. IF YOU HAVE THE WISDOM,THE KNOWLEDGE TO DO THE JOB SUCCESSFULLY, GO BE THAT CONTRACTOR.THERE IS NO LAW AGAINST IT. YOU DONT NEED A B.Ed TO OWN A SCHOOL,YOU DONT NEED MBBS TO OWN A HOSPITAL,YOU DONT NEED B.A/B.Sc TO RUN A BUSINESS, YOU DONT NEED A DEGREE IN POLITICAL SCIENCE TO BE PRESIDENT.If certificate is a must,then employ the ones with the certificate if you dont have.Corporate Affairs allow that.There are theories,but their are practicals…be practical and use the necessary partners to fulfill your goal and nobody will sneeze but tell you CARRY GO!!!Its like saying you need to have a degree to be called Automobile Engineer…and then when your car has a minor problem, you goe to the street side mechanic. Certificate is good if we are really worth it in practical not cram and pass or bribe and pass.

    The APPLE computer you know today is attached to just STEVE JOB by many, but, who is doing the real engineering work? Remember; their is another STEVE that people don’t know about…Steve JOB is on the creative marketing side,the other guy is more on the development side.Now,its how you market the stuff you have or do.

    GET THE PEOPLE WHO CAN DO THE JOB WELL AND MARKET THEM….YOU BECOME THE CONTRACTOR. Even you dont call yourself that,people will call you CONTRACTOR because you are the one they gave the contract…SIMPLE!!

  17. I agree with your analysis of the roles of the professionals in the built industry,but my concern is that of implementation of these roles and the enforcement of same in our dear Nation NIGERIA

  18. I do agree with you,but the problem is repect of each other’s role by the professionals.I think the ministry of works should see to the implementation.

  19. well in term of QS. QS can only work with architect to quantify materials and others but not for ENGINEERS because in engineering we have COST ENGINEERING that carter for costing of materials needed on site and that is the reason why engineers use BEME(BILL OF ENGINEERING MEASUREMENT AND EVALUATION). FOR ARCHITECT : WE Appreciate them because of their IMAGINATION TO COME TRUE as an ARTIST thinking of how something will look like but he or she don’t know how to do it. truly he/she brought the idea but for the idea to come true depends on Civil Engr. While builder follows instructions from Civil Engineer. To cut it short, any beautiful building kudos will be given to Architect while in collapse building ENGINEERS would be held responsible for it . That is to tell you that ; Engineers has an important role in any construction so all the body involve must follow the instructions given by ENGINEERS

  20. I think all professionals re ignorant of the National building code provisions(which I’ll term as an access to failure itself) this issue began long ago and we are nt interested in solving it bt rather complainin. In most foreign countries their building regulations stipulate that a builder chose an architect to design and in turn supervise d designs as well, after which he proceed to site wit full knowledge of d design content and does a perfect job, also in d cause of d design struct. Engr ll be their if struct. Re involved, an elect. Engr, mech. Engr too, whereas in diz country an arc. Sit in his parlour design everytin nd even specify d foundation types nd struct. Without even seen d site for preliminary investigation, I’ll like to state categorically dat architects re genesis of all diz nonsense in d buildin industry, client hav dere part too coz he’s ignorant and can’t produc a plan he pays an architect for dat after which he proceed to quack builders, a professional builder can neva misinterpret archi designs coz he’s professionally trained to execute and actualize designs, he’s also capable of designin, doin d structural work and many others. An architect knows something abt everytin bt a builder know everytin abt one thing and little abt many others.

  21. U really got the xplaination correctly.even wen some stingy minded persons in d field wants to raise there proffession.let d truth be told for ones,though it might be bitter.

  22. peter, u are very correct in ur analysis of the industry. We all in the built environment shldn’t be too much concern in the certificate. We shld be more intrested in upgrading our skills and ideas because that is what rules the industry……….anybody can be a contractor if u got managerial abilities and skills to deliver projects

  23. The industry is experienced based one. Someone that studied Business Education, Medicine, Engineering, History, e.t.c. can build once the experience is there.
    However, going by profession Architect draws (not design or build), Engineer designs (not draw or build) and a builder builds (not design or draw).
    Conclusively, anybody can build or draw or construct, but it is only the Engineer that can design (determination of rebars that can withstand the determined forces acting on a structure.)
    Lastly, Building and Structure are not the same.

  24. Please, can I know how many blocks and cement will it takes to fencing a plot of land an area of 120ft by 60ft
    Your assistance will be much appreciated.
    Martins Awosanya.

  25. For your information.am a builder and a draw plan with autocad, I register most of my plans in town planing..wat I see in Nigeria is dat you must be skillful.

  26. Thanks broz u’re well done, it s true architect z a mother b’cos he’s d one born d child(wc s building design)bt a nanny take a gud care of d baby, he play most role in d aos such as cleaning, cooking, wahshing even take d chid 2 d schl.A builder also s a teacher So, I b’lieve builder ll capable 2 be a manager 2 take absolute care of any building no matter d complex it may be cos dat s only wot he study.architect s a mother biulder s a nanny QS s a food supplier civil/structural engineer s a doctor.

  27. Though an Accountant by training, but I have found out that not all these building professionals are creative and profer building solutions. Quacks e.g Iron bender or carpenter will give you more reliable measurement in term of materials to be used than some of the Engineers that I have met and worked for me. Hence, I prefer any one with creativity to supervise my job and not by certification.

  28. I agree with cliff and some others the engineers are the most important then the builders, the architects job is the design and he can come around intermittently to check that it’s coming along as he envisaged besides that I can’t see what he should be doing on site daily. Most times the designs are not practical and the engineers have to steer them right in keeping with their usually over ambitious designs.

  29. Uve said it all… Bt to some of u mentioning Quantity Surveyors in supervision of a Project… U r jst bn Bias & not wantin 2 tell urselves d truth, 4 God’s sake d Q.S job is 2 “Quantify” jst as d name implies… Not 2 “Supervise”… So I bliv our Professional titles shld provide answers 4 evry Professional Role… Structure Engr-deals wif Structure, Mechanical-wif Mechanical/plumbin wrks, Electrical Engr-wif Elect Elect wrks, Q.S-Quantify materials etc, Builder-Genesis 2 revealation of BUILDings, & Architect-d Inceptor/Originator & DESIGNer

  30. Engineer Emma, I do appreciate ur great works and in-discrimination. May God continue to enrich u. I would appreciate, u also consider material costs and evaluation for curved masonry/structures, and not blocked shaped only. Thanks

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