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Why choose a Chartered Architectural Technologist to lead your residential project?

22nd June 2020

Why Use a Chartered Architectural Technologist?


A CIAT professional or architectural technologist, is similar in many ways to an architect. The training they receive from their universities is different but often interweaves and their service offering in many cases is identical. The general feeling in the world of architecture is that architects are the masters at the artistic conceptual end of the spectrum, whilst technologists provide the technical backbone to delivering the project.

Whilst it is easy to generalise the traits of an architect or architectural technologist, in reality often the skills or natural design abilities of these two professions are based on their work experience and natural abilities, rather than what they studied at university. There are many technical architects in the market and many conceptual technologists.

This article looks at the generalised view of the architectural technologist and how their studies add value to a residential project.

Residential projects are simple, right?


Often clients believe their residential project to be simple, when in fact most residential projects are more technical than you imagine. The complexities of dealing with things such as existing structures, restrained site access, neighbours in close proximity, an aged property stock with poor foundations, listed building status, building geometry and existing features. In many ways extending your home can be more technically challenging than building a new build home on a fresh site. The design parameters are often much stricter and therefore the design response often has limited scope to be truly conceptual. This often means an architectural designer with a skill set more closely linked to the technological aspects of the project will often provide a more suitable design response as they are likely to understand and consider the technological challenges in a more meaningful way.

The Training of an Architectural Technologist

The Architectural Technologist comes into their own when faced with such technical challenges because their training at university is broad. Whilst every university has different programmes, those that focus on collaboration across different disciplines such as the UWE architectural technology and design BSc are common place. The technologists during a 4 year sandwich program will study design with the architects, surveying with the building surveyors, project management with the PMs, engineering with the structural engineers, services engineering with service engineers and construction law. Whilst also studying architectural technology, the science behind building performance and having a year out in practice.

This means that whilst not being experts in all of the aforementioned areas they have a good understanding of several of the key elements that are required to make a successful residential scheme come together.

Why is this important for a residential project?

Apart from navigating the complexities of refurbishment projects, more often smaller residential schemes don’t have the benefit of a large design team that commercial projects do. It is imperative that the architectural designer has a rounded understanding of these other professional areas so that they may advise you in the most appropriate way.

Architectural Technologist, adding value in the design process

The Architectural Technologist will often add value to the process by reducing the number of external consultants you may need (an example is that many architects practices do not feel comfortable producing measured surveys). This can also lead to a smoother project process as more technical issues are foreseen in the design process.

How can I be sure that I’m choosing the right person for my project?

Ask the right questions, ask them do they have a good technical understanding? What is their preference, conceptual or technical design? Or ask for examples of their drawn work. Ask what parts of the project they plan to have to sub work out for or bring in another expert in that field.

At Western Building Consultants we pride ourselves in having a diverse team of architects, architectural technologists, surveyors and engineers. We will always try to match our team against the skills required to successfully manage your project. Whilst our technologists are often cross trained in other areas we also employ and train consultants in specific areas such as the Party Wall Act. The benefit of this approach over our smaller competitors is you can receive all the knowledge benefits of a large team for your small project and you are not so reliant on your architectural designer having all of the skills themselves to manage your project.

By having less external consultants, costs and work flows are controlled better. Helping you to achieve your project in a cost effective and timely manner. Western Building Consultants can help with our one stop shop and streamlined process for surveying architecture and engineering.

Experienced, qualified and regulated by RICS, CIAT & Trading standards BWC. We will be with you every step of the way from concept to completion.

Better bespoke buildings it what we do.

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