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In the United States, a state architect is a civic official overseeing activities related to the construction, renovation, and maintenance of state-owned property. In addition to a head architect, the state typically hires a support staff to offer assistance. The operations of this office are separate from those of the office tasked with licensing architects, processing consumer complaints about architects, and handling other matters concerning the practice of architecture in the state.
While the state architect does not design government buildings, this government official does play a role in the bidding process, selection of the architectural firm to do the work, and supervision of the work on site. State architects need to consider code compliance and work with contractors and architects tasked to build or renovate state buildings to ensure that they will meet current building standards. These include not just the basic building code, but issues that may include accessibility for people with disabilities.
The state architect can review building plans for medium to large buildings owned by the state and may request changes, if they appear necessary. This party can also physically inspect buildings, meet with contractors, and audit budgets, bills, and other documents. Acting as a representative of the state, the state architect works to make sure state buildings are completed on time, as described in plans, and in accordance with all applicable laws.
State architects can also develop recommendations for remodels and maintenance. When real estate no longer appears useful, the architect may review it and prepare a report with recommendations for ultimate disposition, such as sale or donation. The state's inventory of real estate is a topic for concern in this office, as it may be necessary to buy or sell land for construction purposes. State architects are also typically worried about waste, which can be an issue with large-scale government construction projects, and want to keep the state's assets appropriate to its needs.
This job typically requires a lot of office work, as well as travel around the state to view job sites and meet with architects, contractors, and other parties. Usually it is necessary to have a valid license to work as an architect, and to meet continuing education requirements to retain that license, if applicable. Assistants to a state architect can include fully qualified architects as well as other support staff familiar with the industry and the needs of the state government.