What’s an Architectural Designer?

What’s an Architectural Designer?

What’s an Architectural Designer?

Home renovations, extensions and additions are exciting projects for homeowners to embark on but the industry is fraught with jargon and acronyms. It’s important for homeowners to have a good idea of what everything means so that they’re able to navigate their developments and make informed purchase decisions.

One often misunderstood aspect of home renovations and extensions is the role of architects and architectural designers. Here we cover the basics of who they are, what they do, and which you might need to include in your property project.

What’s the difference between an Architect and an Architectural Designer?

The difference between an architect and architectural designer lies in their qualifications. An architect is a fully licensed design professional that has undergone all the formal training in order to qualify. This includes several years of study as well as the completion of a rigorous 7-part registration exam. Upon the passing of this exam, an architect must then register with the Architects Registration Board. Indeed, an individual is only legally able to refer to themselves as an architect when they hold ARB registration.

An architectural designer may well be someone who is studying toward their architecture qualification, but they have either not passed or not yet passed the ARB’s examination. This means that essentially anyone can call themselves an architectural designer, as there is no specific stipulation for them to be on a qualification path.

The difference between these two qualification levels can cause some confusion and some homeowners and developers will choose to only work with fully qualified architects as a result. However, architectural designers are often cheaper to hire than architects and in practice, there is very little they can’t do that an architect can.

Where uncertainty remains around a professional’s qualification status, the ARB can be searched by anyone, for free, online. If the person’s name isn’t listed, they can be considered an architectural designer rather than an architect.

What do Architectural Designers do?

An architectural designer essentially offers all of the same services that an architect does. This includes the plan and design of buildings and/or landscapes, before going on to be involved in the entirety of the development, from conception through to completion.

An architectural designer’s role includes the production of models and 3D renderings to present to clients as well as taking part in regular communication with all involved. Other duties include the calculation and estimation of project costs, preparing scaled drawings, preparing and managing construction contracts and visiting the sites in person to input.

Can Architectural Designers work with Planning Permission requirements as Architects do?

Planning permission requirements can be navigated by architectural designers in exactly the same way as architects do. This involves the creation and submission of development plans to an LPA (Local Planning Authority) as well as the amendment and appeal of such plans should they not be accepted right away. There is no reason to think that an architectural designer is any less likely to have their designs accepted by an LPA than a fully qualified architect, provided that such designs are well drawn, adhere to all necessary guidelines, and are appropriate for the development.

What is RIBA?

RIBA is an acronym for the Royal Institute of British Architects, a professional membership body for architects. It was originally founded as the Institute of British Architects but updated its name when afforded a royal charter. RIBA has a headquarters in London but its members are spread out all across the UK and are considered to play a leading part in the promotion of architectural education across the UK.

Chartered membership to RIBA is exclusive to fully qualified architects and once registered, they may use the initials after their name. There’s no requirement for architects to join RIBA, and so to do so is a personal choice. Architectural designers are not considered qualified enough to join RIBA and so if a professional does list the initials after their name, it can be assumed that they are an architects.

What’s an Architectural Technologist?

An architectural technologist is another architecture professional, specifically trained in architectural technology, who offers technical building design services. Architectural technologists apply the science of architecture and work on the building, design and construction technology. They are not qualified as architects per se, but are more specialised.

The role of architectural technologist is to focus on the technical aspects across the space, light, circulation and aesthetics of a space. They work with architects to inform their decisions on the development overall. Most architectural technologists works for architectural or engineering firms, or for LPAs.

For a professional to refer to themselves as an architectural technologist, they must be qualified with the CIAT.

What is the CIAT?

CIAT is an acronym for the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, and is the qualifying body for architectural technologists in the UK, Ireland and Hong Kong. The CIAT protects the title of ‘architectural technologist’ as stipulated in the European Directive 2005/35/EC.

Members of the CIAT may use the designation MCIAT to demonstrate their qualification.

How do I know which Architectural Professional I need for my project?

VERS Pro can help advise you on what professional intervention you may need for your property renovation, extension or addition. We work with a variety of architecture professionals of all qualification levels and specialities to offer 3D laser scanning, 2D floorplan design, 3D home visualisations, working drawings, mechanical and engineering drawings and planning permission drawings for properties of all shapes, sizes and types.

Exactly what architectural professional is required for a property project is dependent on the scope of the job (with no two the same). VERS Pro take on every job as a fresh challenge, tailoring our services to the exact requirements and idiosyncrasies of the project. Get in touch to learn more!

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