Architectural Technologists

Outline of Job

Architectural technologists will work to make sure the design and planning of a building is done in a practical and accurate manner. They will do this based on their knowledge of building design, and will have a part to play in projects from start to finish. This will involve them negotiating with clients and making sure creative ideas work according to building regulations. Architectural technologists work closely with architects; monitoring project development and making sure deadlines are met.

Daily Activities

  • Meeting with clients to understand their building requirements
  • Researching how a design will affect building function
  • Helping to attain planning permission
  • Advising on building regulations
  • Managing the design process
  • Using computer design software
  • Planning building specifications on materials to be used
  • Overseeing the work of trainee architectural technologists
  • Assessing the results of developments
  • Investigating the maintenance of buildings and advising on renovation
  • Distributing contracts

Skills Required

  • Good communication skills
  • Good written and drawing skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Competent with IT design packages
  • Able to manage a team and project
  • Aptitude for mathematics and finance
  • Able to relate ideas to others
  • Able to understand building designs
  • Analytical skills
  • Practical approach
  • Understanding of building regulations and planning permission

Expected Earnings & Conditions

The typical starting salary for a junior architectural technologist is £15,000 - £22,000, increasing to £24,000 - £28,000 after three years experience. Once around ten years experience is acquired you can then move up to senior level, salaries ranging from £35,000 to £42,000. Income levels will vary according to level of experience, and the ability to run large projects. Other benefits may include a company car and a pension scheme, with freelance work a possibility.

Typical working hours are nine to five, but it will be expected you work over-time should a deadline need to be met, likely to occur at weekends and during evenings. Work is mainly office-based, though you will have to visit building sites and clients, as well as planning regulators. When visiting building sites you will need to wear safety equipment such as hard hats. Working abroad is an option with some construction agencies.

Qualifications & Experience Required

Entry to the position of architectural technologist can be done by way of educational study or a work-based route:

  • Educational route: A degree will be needed, but only one recognised by the CIAT (Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists). Degrees such as building services engineering, surveying and architectural engineering would be related, but it is best to check with the CIAT. Courses typically last three to four years, and include one year of practical experience. Once a recognised course is completed you can apply for associate membership of the CIAT. This will enable you to apply for related work and to gain additional training
  • Work-based route: It is possible to enter the profession through a program offered by the CIAT, which is work-based. This can lead to positions such as architectural technician, a similar role, as long as the CIATs professional regulations are met. Apprenticeships Schemes currently running in the UK are a good way of getting work-based skills, though openings will depend on the area. It is possible to start out in a junior position, but only if you have around four GCSEs or two A Levels in areas such as science, or equivalent qualifications. During your time working you can then learn in your spare time to attain the necessary degree qualifications

There is no age limit to entering the profession, work experience an advantageous asset for all candidates. To find placements check the CIAT website and with local recruitment agencies.

Additional Training & Development

An architectural technologist will gain experience with an agency at the beginning, often working alongside one or two other technologists. Promotion to senior level is possible once you have gained enough experience, and if you have attained the necessary qualifications. Promotion might require you to move between agencies. Over time you may decide to move into one particular area, such as construction based work or teaching.

Once you are working and are recognised as a member of the CIAT, you can work to industry qualifications, such as the Technician Membership of the CIAT. The POP (Professional and Occupational Performance) examination will then need to be completed as part of CIATs membership requirements, lasting between one to two years, and allowing you to work your way up to the position of chartered architectural technologist, taking a further three years. Additional study will also need to be done through the CPD (Continuing Professional Development) programme, to keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date.