Architects in local government provide a full range of architectural services to meet the requirements of the council and also, on occasion, private clients.  The nature of the work varies widely and incorporates the design and procurement of new buildings, alteration and refurbishment of existing buildings, conservation work, survey and feasibility work, advice on condition, use and maintenance of existing building stock, contract administration and report writing.  Local government architects work in unitary, metropolitan, county, district and city councils and London boroughs.

Work Environment
Most of a local government architect's working day is spent in the office; however, there is also a requirement to make site visits.  Hours of work would usually be a standard 37 hour week.

Daily Activities
Local government architects work with a range of council departments as clients, such as housing, educational, recreational, social and property services and in some instances police, fire and judicial services.  Their daily tasks might include:

  • taking a brief from a client, which may also involve research work;
  • developing a brief into a building design;
  • carrying out negotiations with planning and building control officers where appropriate to enable feasibility studies to be produced;
  • developing schemes in full and preparing production information;
  • producing bills of quantities and inviting tenders from contractors;
  • supervising building contracts;
  • assisting with the settling of final accounts;
  • advising clients on policy;
  • attending council committees to report on particular projects;
  • ensuring high quality and value for money from contractors.

Skills & Interests
Local government architects need:

  • to be excellent innovators, with high levels of creativity; 
  • a good knowledge of building regulations, construction and engineering; 
  • good negotiation and presentation skills; 
  • effective organisational and project management skills; 
  • ability to keep up to date with new design, architecture, legal and technical issues; 
  • good IT skills, with the ability to use Computer Aided Design (CAD) packages.

Entry requirements
Most local government architects qualify via degrees and diplomas from approved schools of architecture.  Minimum entry requirements to a degree course are two A-levels/Higher grades or equivalent, plus at least five GCSE/Standard grades, including English, maths and a double award at science, or a separate science such as physics or chemistry.  Many schools of architecture also accept GNVQ, International Baccalaureate, BTEC National Diploma, Access Course and other further education qualifications.

To qualify as an architect you must train for a minimum of seven years (or longer for part-time courses) and complete the following three stages:

  • a five year degree programme on a course validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB);
  • a minimum of two years professional experience;
  • a RIBA exam in professional practice and management.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
There may be opportunities to progress to management positions.  With additional training and/or experience, there may be opportunities to move to other related departments within the council, such as planning, building control and regeneration.

Further Information & Services
Architects Registration Board
Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists
Construction Skills
Council for British Archaeology
Creative & Cultural Skills
Royal Institute of British Architects

Careers Wales have produced Spotlight articles on careers in construction: and the creative industires  

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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