Architectural Technician

The Job and What's Involved

Architectural technicians/technologists work closely with architects and other building professionals, providing architectural design services and solutions on construction projects.

As specialists in the science of architecture, building design and construction, they negotiate and develop an architectural project and manage the process from conception through to completion. This includes architectural design management, contract management and post-construction work.

In negotiation they:
  • Assess the needs of clients and users and agree the project brief.
  • Advise on environmental and regulatory legal requirements affecting the project.
  • Obtain initial approvals from the various authorities.
  • Produce feasibility studies and surveys.
  • Advise clients on buying in materials and on forms of contract.
In designing projects they:
  • Prepare and present design proposals using computer-aided design (CAD) and traditional methods.
  • Lead the design process and co-ordinate detailed design information.
  • Manage and co-ordinate the design team and professional consultants.
  • Advise on choosing materials.
  • Liaise with and produce documentation for statutory and local approval authorities.
  • Carry out design stage risk assessments.
In managing projects they:

Manage or co-ordinate professionals working on a project.

  • Obtain and evaluate tenders and contracts.
  • Ensure compliance with design, legal, statutory and professional requirements.
  • Programme work schedules and carry out inspections at various stages.

After the construction project is completed, they obtain feedback from clients and people using the building, and report on the performance of the contractors.

Architectural technicians/technologists also evaluate and advise on refurbishment, repair, reuse, recycling and deconstruction of buildings.

An architectural technologist has a broader range of skills than a technician. They contribute more to the design and construction process, including contract management, certification and post-construction work.

Architectural technicians/technologists usually work from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday, although overtime may be necessary to meet deadlines. There is a limited amount of part-time work available.

Most work is based in the office, with some time spent visiting clients and sites. Site work may involve working outdoors in all weather conditions, climbing ladders and scaffolding, and wearing boots and a safety helmet.

Some work involves travel and time away from home. A driving licence is essential.

Starting salaries may be around £15,000 to £18,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

There are currently estimated to be around 15,000 architectural technicians/technologists, of whom around 7,000 are members and students of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT).

Most of them work in architectural technology practices, architecture practices or local authorities. Other employers include government agencies, housing associations, commercial companies, manufacturers and construction organisations. Work is available throughout the UK and there are also worldwide opportunities.

CIAT includes job vacancies on its website, and from time to time sends out details of job opportunities to members in specific areas. Employment agencies specialising in the construction industry advertise vacancies, as do the trade magazines and journals such as CIAT Architectural Technology Magazine.

Education and Training

Young people may either start through a technician Apprenticeship or other employment, or start directly in the profession after studying at university or college. Most apprentices start at 16 to 18 years.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

For Apprenticeship training, the qualifications are normally four GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3) usually from subjects such as English, maths, science, design technology, engineering, applied ICT and art.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work, Careers Wales; and for Northern Ireland contact

Some entrants study before starting work and the recommended qualifications for entry are:

  • For an architectural technician, a Higher National Certificate/Diploma (HNC/HND) in Architectural Design or Architectural Technology.
  • To become an architectural technologist, an HND or degree in architectural technology that is accredited by CIAT.

Degrees in architectural technology are offered at many universities, but other relevant subjects which are acceptable include architectural engineering, building services engineering, building/construction, built environment studies, civil and structural engineering and surveying.

For an HNC/HND in Architectural Design or Architectural Technology, students usually need at least one or two A levels/two H grades and three GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications.

Students applying for degrees in architectural technology need at least two A levels/three H grades, and five GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications. Entrants with a relevant HND may be accepted onto the second year of a degree course, or they can complete a one-year 'top up' course to convert the HND to a degree.

For apprentices, training is normally provided by employers in the workplace, with day release at college for BTEC/SQA or NVQ/SVQ awards. Their training usually leads to an NVQ/SVQ Level 4 in Architectural Technology or an HNC.

Many employers and clients expect architectural technicians/technologists to be members of CIAT. Associate membership (ACIAT) requires one of the following qualifications:

  • A degree in architectural technology (preferably accredited by CIAT).
  • An NVQ/SVQ Level 4 in Architectural Technology.
  • A BTEC/SQA HNC/HND in Architectural Design or Architectural Technology, with a number of specified additional units.
  • An alternative CIAT-approved higher-level qualification.

To become a fully-qualified architectural technician or architectural technologist and a full member of CIAT, individuals need to complete an assessment known as the Professional and Occupational Performance Record (POP Record).

Architectural technicians need to complete a POP Record lasting one or two years. This leads to technician membership of CIAT (TCIAT).

Architectural technologists need to complete a POP Record lasting two or three years, followed by a professional assessment interview. Successful completion of these leads to chartered membership of CIAT (MCIAT).

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

Skills and personal qualities

  • An architectural technician/technologist should:
  • Be good at freehand drawing.
  • Be able to visualise objects in three dimensions (3D).
  • Have computer skills.
  • Have mathematical skills for making technical and financial calculations.
  • Have organisation and management skills for leading projects.
  • Have a good eye for detail and design.
  • Have scientific ability to understand building technology.
  • Be aware of how buildings and spaces are used.
  • Be aware of the natural environment.
  • Have a logical and practical approach.
  • Be able to solve problems.
  • Have excellent communication skills.
  • Work well in a team.
  • Have good presentation skills.

Your Long Term Prospects

There are good opportunities for progression to senior positions, which may include more supervisory or management responsibilities.

An architectural technician may become a chartered architectural technologist with further training.

With experience, many chartered architectural technologists set up their own practices, or work in partnership with other building professionals.

Experienced architectural technologists can also work as consultants, and there are some opportunities to teach and carry out research in universities.

It is also possible to work on projects abroad.

Get Further Information

Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT),
397 City Road, London EC1V 1NH
Tel: 020 7278 2206

Bircham Newton, King's Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH
Tel: 01485 577577
Websites:, and

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