Architectural Technologist

Councils own and manage a large number of buildings.  Architectural technologists work in partnership with architects and are concerned particularly with the technical performance of buildings rather than the design elements.

Work Environment
Architectural technologists work in council offices.  However, their work also involves some time spent out of the office - in attending meetings, carrying out surveys and making site visits.  When on site, they wear hard hats and protective clothing.  Hours of work are normally 37 per week.

Daily Activities
Architectural technologists will often work on projects as a part of a team of professionals together with architects, electrical, mechanical and structural engineers and interior designers.

Their work varies according to the type and size of their employing council.  In addition to their own offices, district councils own some housing stock and public buildings (for example art galleries and libraries), while unitary, metropolitan and county councils own and manage a greater variety of properties, including schools, residential care establishments and day centres.

Architectural technologists may be involved in a project from the first meeting with a client to handing over the finished building.  The first stages are to meet with the client, discuss the requirements and budget, investigate legal and planning implications and produce a design.  When this is accepted, they make much more detailed drawings specifying the exact measurements, materials and internal fittings. They then manage construction workers and make frequent site visits to check on the quality of the work. They work closely with engineers, quantity surveyors, construction managers, interior designers, and sometimes, landscape architects. 

Alternatively, an architect does the initial stages of the work and produces the design for the building. The architectural technologist is part of the project team and contributes to design development meetings, but their practical work effectively begins at the production information stage.  From that point, either the architect or the technologist may manage the project.

Some architectural technologists specialise in certain types of building - for example schools - and work closely with teachers and educational advisers over their requirements.  They may also have specific responsibilities within their departments, such as researching changes to construction legislation and briefing colleagues.

Skills & Interests
Architectural technologists need:

  • an interest in design;
  • the ability to interpret other people's designs;
  • technical drawing ability;
  • mathematical skills;
  • problem solving ability;
  • a knowledge of building technology;
  • a knowledge of construction law and building regulations;
  • excellent communication skills and an ability to explain technical information and design problems to other people;
  • to be capable of working well in a team.

Entry Requirements
Councils may recruit graduates with a degree in Architectural Technology.  There are 27 universities in the UK with courses approved by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT).  Alternatively, they may recruit those with an HNC in Construction.  You could also join the council as a trainee and work towards NVQ/SVQs or an Apprenticeship.  Please note that there is now also a new qualification for Architectural Technicians - this is a different role and details are available from the CIAT.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
A small council might employ one or two architectural technologists.  A large council might employ up to 20.  There are prospects of promotion to senior positions, which involve managing staff.

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 STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths): and careers in construction: 

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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