Usually when the term program definition is used relative to an architect, it is understood to mean the clients program for physical space requirements in a building.
With the decline in the office market in the late 1980s came the loss of, or minimum use of, the traditional developer and construction management/ construction consultant roles. As an outgrowth of the developer client era, certain developers and construction consultants turned their emphasis to program management. In this process, a firm is engaged by the client to manage the total development process, acting as the clients agent throughout the total process. The program management approach expanded the meaning of the word program beyond that normally associated with only the physical space program requirements. The term program in this new context defines the process of organizing and executing a project from inception to completion. This process takes into account legal, financial, funding, land acquisition, architecture, engineering, specialist consulting, design administration, insurance, construction administration, and facilities operation and/or management. The client, instead of managing portions of the process as in the traditional client and developer client scenarios, looks to one firm for managing the total process.