Could an architectural technologist assist with your new build or renovation project?
We asked chartered architectural technologist Mark Kennett these questions:
- What's an architectural technologist?
- What can an architectural technologist do for me?
- When can an architectural technologist help me?
- How do I find and hire a reputable architectural technologist?
- What are the qualifications I should look for in an architectural technologist?
What's an architectural technologist?
An architectural technologist designs new buildings and renovates existing ones. They focus on the science and technical aspects of architecture.
Architectural technologists can work on both commercial and domestic projects. Domestic projects include building a new home or an extension.
They often work collaboratively with other building professionals including architects, structural engineers and surveyors, sometimes operating together as one firm.
Mark says: 'Architectural technologists differ from architects mainly in their training. While architects have a BA Honours degree and more artistic leanings, an architectural technologist will have a BSc and more technical knowledge.'
Some architectural technologists specialise in a particular area, such as environmental issues.
What can an architectural technologist do for me?
Architectural technologists can:
- design and plan your project – whether an extension to your property or a new self-build
- renovate or refurbish your property
- manage your build project professionally.
They can have as little or as much involvement as you want.
Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists video
This video, from The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT), explains how an architectural technologist can work with you on your building project and the specialist services that they can provide.
When can an architectural technologist help me?
Architectural technologists can be involved at every stage: from design to build completion. They can:
- Look at how you live and your needs to help you come up with the right solution for you.
- Go back and forth with designs until you're happy. Deal with the planning process. This includes securing permission and considering relevant legislation.
- Put a tender package together including quotes from contractors.
- Draw up a contract between clients and contractors. Mark advises drawing up a simple contract whether or not you use an AT.
- Project manage – regular site visits to check contractors are working in accordance with legislation and their contract.
- Evaluate work on site.
- When the job is done, write advising the client to pay 95% of the cost.
- Return to the site to check for any problems three months after project completion. If this is satisfactory, advise the client it is ok to pay the remaining 5%.
How do I find and hire a reputable architectural technologist?
1. Visit the CIAT website and search for practices with a chartered member (MCIAT)
Remember, it's the individual who is a registered CIAT member, not the practice. Using an architectural technologist with MCIAT/chartered status means they've agreed to abide by a code of conduct. This should give you peace of mind and would make it easier to resolve any problems that arise.
2. Talk to previous clients of a few different architectural technologists
Were they pleased with the service they got? Mark says it's important to find out if you like the way a particular firm works. Did the architectural technologist ask how about the client's lifestyle and take this into account in their designs?
3. Get a minimum of three quotes
Make a shortlist and get detailed estimates from each.
How much does it cost to hire an architectural technologist?
Clients can pay architectural technologists in three ways.
- A percentage of the value of the work done: Mark says this is usually between about six and 12% depending on the complexity of the job and the architectural technologist's level of involvement in the project.
- By the hour: The hourly rate varies at each practice. As a guide, when we interviewed Mark in 2011, he was charging £65 plus VAT per hour.
- A fixed rate for the whole job: Mark says this can be difficult to work out, since it's hard to know how many hours will have to be spent on planning applications and similar.
What are the qualifications I should look for in an architectural technologist?
A reputable architecural technologist will usally have a BSc in architectural technology or equivalent and specific, on-the-job experience assessed by experts in the field.
Chartered architectural technologists usually have around ten years of experience and must demonstrate competence in all aspects of the job at interview.
About our expert trader
Architectural technologist Mark Kennett
Mark Kennett is a chartered member and was president of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) from 2007 to 2009.