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Prepare for the experience of a lifetime by reading this page and visiting our essential tips section.
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Discover the types of architectural jobs
available, project types and
essential tips such as your portfolio,
your resume and your CAD
See what you’ll need to work in the UK, what you can expect to earn and commonly asked questions from others like you.
Types of British Architecture Jobs
- Project Architects
- Design Architects
- Team Leaders
- Architectural Technologists
- CAD Technicians
- CAD Managers
- Architectural Draughters
- Interior Designers
- Space Planners
- Landscape Architect
British architecture and interior design positions exist both within private firms as well as with local governments and councils. Positions can be either of a contract or permanent nature but may depend on the work visa you hold. Jobs such as Architectural Technician and CAD Draughtsperson tend to be contract roles most frequently. Jobs are also located most commonly in London however can be available in other cities UK wide.
Tip: If you are aiming for a contract job, your first position should be focussed on consolidating your experience on the British employment scene, perhaps in an area in which you already have experience. Having experience is highly regarded and it’s important to get your foot in the door with that first contract! Then it’s smoother sailing for the rest of your employment experience.
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Types of Projects:
You can find almost anything to suit your experience!
- Residential – from social housing schemes to high-rise apartments and private residential
- Commercial – high-rise office blocks to business parks, retail & shopping complexes
- Institutional – Hospitals, Schools and Banks
- Restaurants & Bars, Leisure and Sports Centres, Hotels etc
Whilst you can always find fit-out, re-furbishment and new-build
projects, re-furbishments are particularly strong as Britain restores
more old buildings and converts industrial to residential.
Experience Required for Contract Work
In general, in order to get a position in architecture you will need:
- CAD ability in any software package, and have used it in practice
- Must have worked in a commercial organisation/ architectural practice for at least a year, in a design or production information capacity.
- Must have at least one architecture/interior design or housing qualification
- Must have a detailed portfolio of work, showing work in practice and a summary of university project work, as much as possible on CAD
Your CAD skills are an important factor for your job success! It is important to brush up on, or upgrade your CAD skills before you arrive. If design roles are scarce on the ground you might be glad you have the option of some CAD or technician roles in the meantime. Often even a design architect position will require excellent CAD skills.
Key Software packages:
- AutoCAD V. 14 to 2002 (most popular)
- Microstation (fairly common)
- ArchiCAD (some)
- MiniCAD & Caddy (rare)
Tip: Don’t be lulled into a false sense
of security that ‘you can pick up another CAD package easily
if need be’. That may be technically true, but rarely just saying this has
much success with employers, or architectural
recruitment consultants. If you can gain any exposure to the main
design packages before your arrival it will help you immensely!
Do I need to bring my portfolio?
Yes! You can either send it ahead of you if you wish, or bring it with you. You will need to have it in order to attend your job interviews.
Tip: Consider printing anything out before arriving because it is expensive to do so once there. If you are travelling en route perhaps you have a friend or relative to whom you can post your portfolio beforehand.
What should a British architecture
resume look like?
Include all relevant information but be sure to write in a concise and easy to read manner! The use of bullet points is recommended. Relevant information includes your current and past employers and your position title, but most importantly list your projects. Project information should include your role, duties, type of project, scope and cost of project – include dates wherever possible (often month and year is sufficient).
Should I include pictures in my resume?
Consider not including pictures in your CV or resume. That is what your portfolio is for. Your excellent resume will often be sufficient to get you an interview through an agency – your portfolio will be needed at your actual job interview at the firm hiring. Try to send your resume in Word format rather than pdf. Recruitment consultants represent you to their clients and need to adjust your CV to the style expected by their clients.
Do I need to register with RIBA to practise?
To practice as a Chartered Architect using your international RIBA membership and any combination of the letters RIBA or Chartered Architect in your name or title you must register and be accepted by the Architect’s Registration Board. See www.arb.org.uk
Do architects need professional indemnity insurance to
practice in Britain?
Yes, if you are intending to practice as an Architect you do need to be covered by professional indemnity insurance. Even if you are an employee you need to be sure that you are fully covered for PII under your employer’s policy, if necessary make sure this is clearly stated in your contract! see www.arb.org.uk for more information on PI Insurance for Architects.
What are the grades or levels of Architectural Registration
British Architects must pass through three levels of qualification prior to application for registration as an Architect – Chartered Status. Part 1 is usually granted upon completion of a first degree in architecture. Part 2 is usually granted upon completion of a second degree or diploma plus a year of practical experience, or after completion of two years practical experience. Usually a further year of experience after Part 2 is required before the candidate sits a Part 3 professional practice exam. After passing Part 3, the architect can then apply for registration as a Chartered Architect with RIBA.
For a more detailed description please visit www.arb.org.uk under ‘Education’ then ‘Practical Training Requirement’.
How much do architects earn?
In general, the average starting contract rate for an Architectural Technician, Architect or Draughtsperson who has just arrived in with approximately 2 years relevant postgraduate experience is around 14 to 17 pounds per hour.
For permanent positions with two to five years post graduate experience as a CAD Draughtsperson, Architectural Technician and Design Architect, new arrivals can expect a salary of between 21K to 29K pounds per annum. Design Architects would earn towards the higher end of that pay range. Senior Architects can earn in the 30K to 50K pounds per annum range depending on the depth of relevant experience.
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Visit the RIBA website to find out more about architecture. www.riba.org
How much can I expect to earn in a British based architecture job? See: UK Money