Architect (Degree)

Occupation overview

Working on the design of new buildings and the redesign of existing buildings

Occupation Profile

Architects are registered professionals, trained to requirements defined by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Only those who are appropriately qualified and registered with ARB can use the title ‘Architect’ in the UK.  The ARB sets the UK standards for entry on to the Register of Architects and prescribes qualifications that lead to registration as an architect. These standards must be met in order to register as an architect. Architects lead on the processes of planning, designing and reviewing the construction of buildings; and are usually the first point of contact on a design team, working with the client and contractor to make final decisions during the design and construction process. Architects use their skills and knowledge to offer creative problem solving and strategic advice related to various types of building, arts and construction projects. This includes developing building designs taking into account multiple constraints, such as structural integrity, the character and location of a site, methods of construction, value for money, design quality and impact on the environment, as well as legal responsibilities. Architects work responsibly to deliver the interests of their clients and the core requirements of cost, time and quality.

Architects work on projects of varying scale and type across the construction industry, including but not limited to the design of commercial, residential, community, education and infrastructure buildings and structures. Architects work on the design of new buildings and the redesign of existing buildings. They work closely with design and construction related professionals and often lead a design team or teams assembled to design and/or deliver the project.

Architects can work as sole practitioners, in small practices or within large multi-disciplinary organisations. Within larger organisations they may report to a Senior Architect or project leader and can be based at office locations within project design teams, at on-site locations or a combination of both. Because their skills are easily transferable they are able to work for other construction and design related businesses (e.g. property consultants or interior designers).

An Architect’s work includes:

  • Brief analysis and project set-up: Leading on brief analysis, researching city planning, negotiating Architect’s appointments, setting sustainability goals, advising clients on procurement routes and potentially assembling the design team.
  • Design: Generating design proposals in a variety of contexts and applying knowledge of architectural issues to satisfy aesthetic, technical and functional requirements. This involves an in-depth understanding of design theory to create and find innovative solutions.
  • Project delivery: Leading projects or parts of projects, identifying risks and delivering services in a manner which prioritises the interest of the client and within the framework of relevant legal standards. This includes the production of submissions and coordination of design tasks and teams.
  • Construction and building procurement: Inspecting building construction on site and commenting on contractors and sub-contractors’ work against architectural drawings, and offering impartial advice on construction related procurement methods and contractor selection processes.
  • Leadership and practice management: Business administration, including developing or contributing to the strategic vision of a practice. Overseeing the work of junior staff including Architectural Assistants.

Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours

The following knowledge, skills and behaviours relate to the ARB and RIBA shared Criteria for the Prescription of Qualifications at Part 2 and Part 3.

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

1. Design

  • A range of advanced processes and techniques (e.g. digital fabrication) to generate, review and speculate on design proposals with multiple constraints, showing evidence of original thinking

Skills

An Architect is able to…

  • Generate architectural design proposals
  • Evaluate and apply a comprehensive range of visual, oral and written media to test, analyse, critique and explain design proposals  
  • Produce drawings and 3D models using relevant software including Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

2. History and Theory

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • History of architecture and its impact on architectural practice
  •  The cultural, social and intellectual histories, theories and technologies that influence the design of buildings

Skills

An Architect is able to… 

  • Apply understanding of current architectural debate to produce innovative solutions
  • Produce clear, logically argued and original written work relating to architectural culture, theory and design

3. Fine Arts

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • How the theories, practices and technologies of the arts influence architectural design and their creative application in design projects

Skills

An Architect is able to…

  • Apply fine art theories in a creative way that acknowledges their conceptualisation and representation

4. Urban Design and Planning

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • Urban design and town planning strategies and regulations
  • Process of obtaining planning permission (e.g. drawings, reports, application)

Skills

An Architect is able to…

  • Comply with relevant town planning policy throughout design and construction phases to obtain planning permission (e.g. submitting planning application)


5. People and Environment

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • The in-depth relationships between users and buildings, between buildings and their environment, and the need to relate buildings and the spaces between them to diverse user needs and scale

Skills

An Architect is able to… 

  • Identify end user needs, local and the social context in which the project is developed
  • Lead design development in respect of environmental context and sustainability


6. Role of Architect

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • The range of services offered by Architects
  • The potential impact of building projects on existing and proposed communities and the related planning legislation
  • The context of the Architect and the construction industry, including the Architect’s role in the processes of procurement and building production
  • The role of the Architect within the design team and construction industry

 Skills

An Architect is able to…

  • Lead projects or parts of projects, taking into consideration business priorities and practice management
  • Deliver services in a responsible manner, prioritising the interests of the client and other stakeholders 
  • Problem-solve and use professional judgment to take initiative and make appropriate decisions in situations with multiple constraints

7. Brief Analysis

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • The client and design team briefing process, forms and terms of appointment
  • Methods of investigation and preparation of briefs for the design projects (e.g. review of relevant precedent)

 Skills

An Architect is able to… 

  • Critically review precedents relevant to the function, organisation and technological strategy of a design proposals
  • Prepare and develop a project brief (e.g. by referring to RIBA Plan of Work)


8. Structure, Construction and Engineering

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • Structural, constructional and engineering considerations within building design, such as physical properties and characteristics of building materials, components and systems

Skills

An Architect is able to…  

  • Integrate knowledge of structural principles and construction techniques with building design


9. Technologies

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • Principles, systems and strategies for environmental comfort and building services including sustainability principles
  • Alternative construction materials, processes and techniques that apply to design and construction, including the impact of materials on the environment
  • The role of Building Information Modelling (BIM), computational design and other relevant technologies used in the design process

Skills

An Architect is able to…  

  • Evaluate materials, processes and techniques that apply to architectural designs with multiple constraints and building construction, and how to integrate these into practicable design proposals
  • Apply various technological methods to building design to provide conditions of comfort and protection against the environment

10. Finance and Regulations

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • Process of controlling building cost
  • Approved Documents for building regulations

 Skills

An Architect is able to…  

  • Meet client’s brief within the constraints of the imposed budget limitations and building regulations

11. Industry Context and Project Delivery

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • Industries, organisations, regulations and procedures involved in translating design concepts into buildings and integrating plans into overall planning

Skills

An Architect is able to…   

  • Interact with statutory authorities (e.g. planning or building control), private bodies (e.g. developers) or individuals to competently deliver projects in a wide variety of sectors and within diverse legislative frameworks

12. Professionalism

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • The nature of professionalism and the responsibilities of Architects to clients, building users, constructors, professionals and the wider society

Skills

An Architect is able to…   

  • Act professionally when working independently and as part of a team, including communicating clearly with all stakeholders

13. Clients, Users and Delivery of Services

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • The obligations of Architects to clients, stakeholders, warranties and third-parties
  • Client needs, appropriate communication methods, programming, coordination and competent delivery

Skills

An Architect is able to… 

  • Offer impartial advice on construction related issues, relevant legislation and risks
  • Identify and describe client and end user requirements, priorities and objectives


14. Legal Framework and Processes

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • The statutory legal context within which an Architect must operate and what is required to ensure compliance with legal requirements or standards

Skills

An Architect is able to… 

  • Work with an understanding of the relevant statutory and legal requirements during project development so that the risk of harm to those who build, use and maintain buildings is reduced

15. Practice and Management

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • Business priorities, required management processes and risks of running an architecture practice

Skills

An Architect is able to…

  • Engage in business development and administration including contributing to business strategy development, evaluating resources, planning, implementing and recording projects tasks
  • Supervise the work of junior staff including Architectural Assistants

16. Building Procurement

Knowledge

An Architect has an understanding of…

  • UK construction and contract law, and construction procurement processes
  • The relationship between Architects and other built environment professionals
  • Contractual relationships and the obligations of an Architect acting as a contract administrator

Skills

An Architect is able to…

  • Coordinate and engage in design team interaction
  • Resolve construction related challenges and disputes, where appropriate
  • Undertake construction inspection responsibilities, including completing site visits and commenting on contractors and sub-contractors work in relation to architectural drawings

Behaviours

An Architect will be expected to…

1. Code of Conduct Comply with the relevant professional codes of conduct (e.g. ARB and RIBA)

2. Integrity Be honest and act with integrity, ethics and in a professional manner

3. Competence Work singly, as part of a team or lead teams to provide a competent service

4. Independence Be organised and practice self-management when working independently

5. Obligation Be conscious of the Architect’s obligation to their client, society and the profession

6. Reputation Be aware of individual level of competency and professional experience to ensure they are unlikely to bring profession into disrepute

7. CPD Commit to identifying their own individual development needs and the obligation for Continued Professional Development (CPD)

Entry Requirements

Any entry requirements will be set by individual employers in conjunction with the relevant university, but these must include a requirement for the minimum of a ARB-prescribed Part 1 qualification or Part 1 equivalent as prescribed by the ARB.

Duration

The duration of this apprenticeship is typically 48 months. Timescales may vary depending on prior relevant qualifications/experience and assessment of prior learning and knowledge (APL) opportunities.

Qualifications

Successful apprentices will gain the following qualifications:

  • A post graduate level qualification in architecture (Part 2) that must be prescribed by the ARB
  • A post graduate level qualification in architecture (Part 3) that must be prescribed by the ARB

Apprentices without English and Maths at Level 2 on entry will need to achieve that level before taking their end-point assessment.

For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement the apprenticeships English and Maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 and British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language.

Statutory and Professional Recognition

In order to become an architect in the UK, individuals must hold ARB-prescribed qualifications at Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 levels and register with the ARB.  Only ARB-prescribed qualifications meet the standards that lead to registration as an architect in the UK.  The Part 2 and Part 3 level qualifications which are mandated on the apprenticeship must be separately prescribed by the ARB.

Completing this apprenticeship will also give access to Chartered Membership of the Royal Institute of British Architects, following successful registration with the ARB.

Level

This is a Level 7 apprenticeship.

Review Date

This apprenticeship standard will be reviewed after 3 years.

Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

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