Duties and responsibilities
A Senior Design Manager manages all the processes in relation to producing a set of drawings that a building can be built from. They will oversee both internal and external teams and control the development of the design concepts into manufacturing. Their typical duties and responsibilities will vary depending on the size of the organization they work for. However, senior design managers can expect to tasks such as:
- Overseeing and managing the whole drawing design process
- Supporting, understanding and advising the clients as to the requirements and obligations in the creation and development of a building design
- Ensuring the design process adheres to current legislation, standards and codes of practice where appropriate
- Ensuring all designs are of the right quality and keeps pace with project timescales
- Aiming to keep financial cost and risk as low as possible and to eliminate health and safety risks
To become a senior design manager, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in architecture. You will also need to complete a paid internship and to have passed the Architect Registration Examination. It may also be advisable to complete a masters degree and/or achieve voluntary certification to give yourself a greater change in a competitive environment with slow job growth.
Skills and relevant work experience
Senior design managers receive extensive training, which teaches them all the key skills they need. They will also need skills such as:
- Leadership skills, as they are responsible for managing and directing other professionals involved in the drawing of buildings
- Communication skills, as senior design managers must share their ideas, both in written and verbal format, with clients, architects, construction workers and all other professionals involved in the process
- Creativity, as senior design managers are responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the building design are aesthetically pleasing
- Organizational skills, as senior design managers will need to keep on top of paperwork, contracts and arrange meetings with clients
- Analytical skills, as senior design managers must understand complexed designs and the context in which they were created. Furthermore, they must be able to explain this to other people
- Technical skills, as senior design managers need to use CADD technology to create plans as part of building information modeling (BIM)
- Visulization skills, as senior design managers must be able to look at the big picture and envision how a building will look once completed
Senior design managers are likely to work full time hours. However, architects can expect to work additional hours when nearing project deadlines or if unforeseen circumstances and issues arise.
According to Salary.com, the median annual salary for a senior design manager in the United States is $119,876. The lowest 10% earned less than $84,501 and the highest 10% earned over $158,547.
The employment of all architects is expected to increase 1% from 2019 to 2029, which is slower than the average for all occupations. This is expected due to advancements in technology making architects more efficient and therefore increasing the demand for more. However, senior design managers with masters degree, relevant work experience and voluntary certification are likely to have the most job opportunities. Design managers can progress to working on larger projects, which will involve supervising more people. Or, to working for themselves.