While architects are responsible for coming up with initial concepts and designs, architectural technologists are more concerned with the technical side of construction. They work closely with architects and other building professionals to resolve any potential design problems before construction starts.
Work activities can vary depending on the project, but typical duties can include:
- selecting the best materials and processes for the project
- surveying sites and identifying location benefits
- carrying out feasibility studies and risk assessments
- assessing environmental impacts and identifying legal issues
- analysing architectural plans and drawings, highlighting any possible risks or problems and making amendments using computer-aided design applications (CAD)
- specifying the appropriate technology and tools to be used in the project and advising where this requires deviation from the initial design plans
- liaising with the architect, surveyors and other construction professionals, sometimes managing the design project team
- preparing documents to help with getting planning permission and similar approvals
- visiting sites to check progress and inspect work
Most work is carried out in the office, although site visits are common. Architectural technologists usually work as part of a team of professionals. Hours are typically 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, though extra hours during the evenings and weekends may be required to meet project deadlines.
For information on salaries see our construction salary guide.
- Architectural practices
- Construction firms
- Property developers
- Planning departments and local authorities
- Housing groups
- Higher education and research institutes
- Organisations that own a large portfolio of properties or land, eg retailers
There are routes into a career as an architectural technologist for both university graduates and school leavers. University students should undertake a degree accredited by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technology (CIAT), either in architectural technology or a related built environment subject such as civil/structural engineering. Many students take a four-year sandwich course for the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the workplace while studying. A postgraduate qualification is not necessary for entry into the profession.
The next step for architectural technologists is chartership with the CIAT. Chartered members are recognised within the industry; they can become self-employed and are able to manage a construction project from start to finish, negotiating contracts and suggesting design solutions. They can also expect a higher salary and will see their professional horizons widen internationally.
It is possible for school leavers to become architectural technologists by starting their career as an architectural technician and working their way up. To find out more about getting into this career via a school leaver route (eg an apprenticeship or school leaver programme) see the construction and property sector of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
- A strong interest in architecture, mathematics, drawing and design, with an excellent eye for detail
- Art and design skills to complement technical know-how
- Strong communication and leadership skills
- Competence in CAD
- An analytical mind with strong problem-solving ability
- Strong planning and organisation skills
- The ability to work on your own initiative and as part of a team
- High levels of creativity, imagination and vision
- The ability to work well under time and budget pressures
- Must enjoy working with your hands and be willing to work outdoors