Specialists in the science of architecture, building design and construction, architectural technologists work closely with architects in order to help realise their concepts and goals. Largely sticking to the technical side of design, it is their job to ensure that a design can and will perform successfully when it goes into construction.
From advising on the most suitable materials, to making sure that all required regulations are met/quotas filled- the role played by the professional architectural technologist is vital within modern construction. Acting to monitor quality, manage costs and deadlines- there’s a lot more to the job than most would think.
Here’s a breakdown of the duties taken on by the average architectural technologist:
- Assessing clients' needs
- Collecting and analysing technical data
- Advising on legal requirements
- Winning tenders and negotiating contracts
- Advising on materials
- Carrying out land and building surveys
- Making drawings for use on site
- Checking progress and inspecting completed building work.
Level of Experience
Typical Pay Band
Junior (0-3 years on the job)
£15,000 - £23,000
Mid (3-10 years on the job)
£24,000 - £28,000
Senior (10+ years on the job)
£30,000 - £45,000
The Educational Route
Ever-present in the world of professional vocation, entrance into a role via education is of course applicable within the field of architecture. Many Universities UK-wide offer degrees in architectural technology, though do note it’s always advantageous to seek out one that is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT). Currently, the UK and Republic of Ireland offer 30 such accredited programmes, with a full list available on the organisations website.
Completion of an accredited degree offers all candidates an immediate advantage on the basis that they will receive exemptions against their Professional and Occupational Performance Record- which is needed in order to qualify as a chartered architectural technologist. Whilst work in this area is most available to those with a degree in architectural technology itself, qualifications in related subjects such as; building services engineering, building/construction, civil and structural engineering, computer-aided engineering, built environment studies and surveying are all also relevant to a career in this field.
Whilst postgraduate qualifications are not necessary for entry into the profession, many Masters courses and subsequent research opportunities do exist within the field. Just as with undergraduate courses, the CIAT also has a list of postgrad courses it has accredited to date on its website.
Furthermore, entry with an HNC/HND in building studies, construction, architectural technology or construction; not to mention a foundation degree in architectural technology, will likely lead to the employment as a professionally qualified architectural technician. These professionals operate in much the same way, though are unable to practice on their own.
The Non-Educational Route
Entrance into this profession is possible without a degree or recognised qualification, via the CIAT’s profile candidate route. Providing the applicant has substantial relative-experience, a technician role is in no way out of their reach. In the event that a candidate excels once this stage is reached, they may even reach the level of a chartered architectural technologist.
Relevant industry experience is particularly valuable, essential even, for those looking to crack this industry without a higher qualification. Given the widespread and continuous necessity for skilled workers in this field, the number of sources a hopeful can follow in order to track down some experience which will strengthen their skillset is relatively infinite.
As outlined on the CIAT website, in order to succeed a candidate must display evidence of the following:
- leadership skills and a willingness to take responsibility,
- good communication skills,
- the ability to work collaboratively as part of a team,
- a logical and practical approach
- an ability to solve problems,
- a good eye for detail and design,
- the ability to visualise objects in 3D,
- planning and organisational skills,
- ability to learn quickly.
As far as career development is concerned, it is sometimes possible to move into areas that do not relate to construction, for example into other areas of industry and commerce.
Experienced chartered architectural technologists can work as consultants or as freelancers. There are also opportunities to teach and undertake research in universities or work as a trainer on industry courses.