Architectural technologist

The architectural technologist, also known as a building technologist, provides technical building design services and is trained in architectural technology, building technical design and construction.

Architectural technologists apply the science of architecture and typically concentrate on the technology of building, design technology and construction. The training of an architectural technologist concentrates on the ever-increasingly complex technical aspects in a building project, but matters of aesthetics, space, light and circulation are also involved within the technical design, leading the professional to assume decisions which are also non-technical.[1]They can or may negotiate the construction project, and manage the process from conception through to completion, typically focusing on the technical aspects of a building project.

Most architectural technologists are employed in architectural and engineering firms, or with municipal authorities; but many provide independent professional services directly to clients,[2] although restricted by law in some countries. Others work in product development or sales with manufacturers.

In Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Hong-Kong (Chartered Architectural Technologist), Canada (Architectural Technologist or Applied Science Technologist), Argentina (M.M.O Maestro Mayor de Obras / Chartered Architecture & Building Science Technologist) and other nations, they have many abilities which are extremely useful in a technological sense to work alongside architects, engineers and other professionals - the training of a technologist provides skills in building and architectural technology. It is an important role in the current building climate. Architectural technologists may be directors or shareholders of an architectural firm (where permitted by the jurisdiction and legal structure). To become an architectural technologist, a four-year degree (or equivalent) in Architectural Technology is required, which can be followed by a Master's Degree, with structured professional and occupational experience.

By country


Most provinces in Canada have an association representing architectural technologists and technicians. On behalf of the public, the provincial governments have granted the provincial architect's associations with the privilege to regulate the profession.

In the province of Ontario, there were protracted efforts by the Association of Architectural Technologists of Ontario (AATO) to persuade the provincial government and the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) that the public may be served by having technicians and technologists also design small buildings. In 2003, OAA's efforts to work with AATO failed and, instead, OAA established a relationship with the Ontario Associated of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT). This joint effort resulted in the creation of a new association called the Ontario Association for Applied Architectural Sciences (OAAAS). Through OAAAS, a qualified technologist can be licensed by the OAA as a Licensed Technologist OAA, with authority to design small buildings. In 2011, OACETT withdrew and OAA embraced OAAAS as its Technology Program. [3][4][5]

Republic of Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland RIAI declares being the leading professional body for Architectural Technologists in Ireland. The RIAI recognises the professional Architectural Technologist as a technical designer, skilled in the application and integration of construction technologies in the building design process. RIAI Architectural Technologists are recognised as professional partners to Architects in the delivery of exemplary buildings in the Republic of Ireland and worldwide.[6] However, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland has always prevented its technician members to provide a full architectural service. Many qualified architectural technologists believe that a conflict of interest exists, that the RIAI represents architects and cannot adequately defend the interests of architectural technologists: "The RIAI acts as the Registration Body and Competent Authority for "Architects" in Ireland and only provides support services for Irish AT'".[7]

Another representative body is the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT). The technical membership of the RIAI (RIAI tech) is equivalent to the technician membership of CIAT (TCIAT). Chartered members of CIAT (MCIAT) are qualified and recognised to lead a project from inception through to completion. The RIAI and the CIAT were represented within the Building Regulations Advisory Body (BRAB) which advised the Minister for the Environment on matters relating to the Building Regulations. BRAB is no longer active.[8] CIAT is now challenging the Building Control Regulations 2014, which are depriving its members from providing full architectural services in the Republic of Ireland.[9] The Irish Government appears to have no valid reason to prevent CIAT members from practising in the Republic of Ireland. The restrictions imposed on members of the CIAT are viewed as anti-competitive and in breach of European Law for free movement of services.[10] The CIAT is awaiting for an opinion from the European Commission on this issue.[11]

South Africa

In South Africa the profession is by the South African Institute of Architectural Technologists SAIAT.[12] Senior architectural technologists (10 years or more in practice) enjoy the same statute than architects. The South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) explains that: "Architecture can be practiced in one of four categories of registered person, namely professional architect, professional senior architectural technologist, professional technologist or professional draughtsperson. The possibility of progression from one category to the next has been provided for in the Regulations."[13]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, chartered architectural technologists enjoy the same status as architects. They deliver similar services with a different orientation. The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists CIAT regulates the profession. CIAT defines chartered architectural technologists as follow: Chartered Architectural Technologists provide architectural design services and solutions. They are specialists in the science of architecture, building design and construction and form the link between concept and construction. They negotiate the construction project and manage the process from conception through to completion. Chartered Architectural Technologists, MCIAT, may practise on their own account or with fellow Chartered Architectural Technologists, architects, engineers, surveyors and other professionals within the construction industry. As professionals adhering to a Code of Conduct, they are required to obtain and maintain mandatory Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) if providing services directly to clients.[14] They specify products with reference to the RIBA Product Selector, Architects Standard Catalogue, Barbour Index[15] and trade literature.

See also


  1. Breakfast with Arup: Tuesday 11 December 2012, Paul Nuttall, Director, Building Engineering London, Arup In this talk, Paul Nuttall shares his insights on designing buildings in the 21st Century. The presentation explains how the work of the architect, engineer and technologist are related / similar with a different optic and a different approach / philosophy of the project. The video is widely available on youtube and other websites.
  2. Architectural Technologists and Technicians, Working in Canada, Government information website
  3. Refer to the OAA website
  4. Refer to the OAA website
  5. Refer to the OAAAS link: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-15. Retrieved 2015-03-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. RIAI Standard of Knowledge, Skill and Competence for Practice as an Architectural Technologist (2010), as published on RIAI website
  7. "An Irish Register for Architectural Technologists" Linkedin conversation
  8. Refer to BRAB (Building Regulations Advisory Body) as per the Irish Minister for the Environment website
  9. See Building Control Regulations 2014 as published by the Irish Government
  10. Parliamentary question from MEP Mairead McGuinness as published on the European Commission website: "On 1 March 2014 national legislation, the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013, will come into force in Ireland. The new legislation precludes chartered architectural technologists(1) from providing their current professional services within the building environment. In anticipation of the implementation of the regulations, chartered architectural technologists are reporting a number of difficulties, such as restrictions reducing the number of members of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) who can bid for projects due to commence after March 2014. They say that this results in a loss of potential clients as well as economic loss. Does the Commission interpret the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013 as a breach of EC law, specifically legislation relating to competition and the free market? Does the Commission feel that the new legislation prevents chartered architectural technologists from earning a living in their field of training and expertise(2)?"
  11. Answer to parliamentary question given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission as published on the European Commission website: "The Commission is aware of the introduction of a register for architects and building surveyors by the Building Control Act of 2007. On 1 March 2014 this regulation will be amended to circumscribe the profile of professionals who can design, inspect and certify for compliance all buildings greater than 40 square meters. Such regulatory protection, for a profession with not only significant safety but also environmental and urban impacts, is common across many Members States and as such Ireland is not a minority in seeking to reassure that standards are made, met and maintained. The Commission has received a number of complaints raising concerns that the actions of the Irish government and the impact of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation 2013 pose a breach of EC law in areas on the recognition of professional qualifications, freedom of movement and, with specific regard to its impact on Architectural Technologists. Commission services are currently examining the issues raised to determine any possible contraventions of EC law and if any actions may be necessary in such cases."
  12. Website of the South African Institute of Architectural Technologists SAIAT
  13. refer to the website of the South African Institute of Architects SAIA Archived December 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  14. Extract from Lancashire County Council website: "Consumer Advice"
  15. David T Yeomans; Stephen Emmitt (23 April 2012). Specifying Buildings. CRC Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-1-136-36538-6. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
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