Architectural technician
Building Planning & Surveying

Architectural technicians give support and provide assistance to architects, architectural technologists, surveyors and engineers to enable them to carry out their work as efficiently as possible. In design and building projects they are responsible for liaising between the construction and design teams. They ensure that all members of the team are up to date with the latest project developments.

Work Activities

Architectural technicians collect and organise all of the technical information required throughout a construction project. They prepare drawings, plans and specifications using CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software and also by hand.

Typical job responsibilities include:

  • Collecting and preparing technical information to plan construction projects
  • Gathering and reading technical data which relates to the project.
  • Preparing plans using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software
  • Liaising between the construction and design teams to ensure that everyone is briefed on the latest project developments
  • Preparing specifications for building work
  • Understanding building regulations and techniques and explaining them to others
  • Working closely with others involved in projects such as architects, architectural technologists, surveyors and engineers
  • Giving technical advice to the project team
  • Preparing applications for approval by regulatory bodies
  • Visiting construction sites to check on the progress of the project

Architectural technicians are mainly office-based but are also required to visit clients and construction sites. They tend to work a basic 39 hour week but may occasionally have to work at weekends or in the evening depending on the project they are working on.

Work on building sites will require the wearing of safety gear such as a hard hat and safety boots. There will be a requirement to be outside on building sites in all weathers and also there could be substantial travel so a driving licence will be necessary.

Architectural technicians may take further CIAT-accredited training to develop their skills and apply to work as an Architectural Technologist.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills for architectural technicians

  • Excellent drawing skills, both with CAD and by hand
  • An ability to visualise objects in three dimensions
  • An ability to understand building regulations and techniques and to be able to explain them to others
  • Strong IT and numerical skills
  • Excellent verbal communication skills to liaise effectively with other professionals
  • Excellent teamworking skills as well as an ability to work independently
  • Strong organisational, research and problem solving skills

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of architectural technicians

Examples of employers of architectural technicians include:

  • Private Architects' Practices
  • Housing Associations
  • Property Developers
  • Building and Construction Companies
  • Local government Architectural or Planning Departments
  • Central Government Departments
  • Research Practices
  • National Health Service
  • Education

Qualifications

Qualifications and training required

Most Architectural technicians study for a HNC/HND, Foundation Degree or a Degree in Architectural Technology or Architectural Design. HNC/HND courses usually require applicants to have at least 5 GCSEs grade 9 – 4 (A* - C) including Maths and English and one A level, usually Physics or Maths. Entry would also be possible with an appropriate BTEC Level 3 National qualification. In Scotland HNC/HND courses ask 1-2 Highers (Maths and Science preferred) and National 5s to include English, Maths/Science. There are 2 relevant CIAT accredited degree courses for Architectural Technology in Scotland at Edinburgh Napier and RGU asking 4 Highers (A-C). RGU requires English Higher with Maths and science at National 5. Check each institution for up to date requirements.

Employers do not usually expect entrants to be graduates. If you were to apply to study for a degree you would require a minimum of 5 GCSEs grades 9 – 4 (A*- C) and 2 A levels preferably in Maths and Physics.

It is also possible to enter this profession through an Advanced Apprenticeship for which you would require a minimum of 5 GCSEs grades 9 -4 (A* - C) including maths, English and a Science or Technical subject. In reality, employers may ask for more GCSE passes or even 2 A levels to be considered as a serious applicant. Some organisations may offer a Traineeship for which the entry qualifications will be very similar to the Advanced Apprenticeship.

On entry you can apply to the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) to become an Associate Member (ACIAT). To become a professionally qualified Architectural Technician (TCIAT) you will need to have one or two years of supervised work experience. You will also need to be assessed against CIAT's professional standards to pass the required Architectural Technician Professional and Occupational Performance Record.

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