Architecture and Planning

Are you interested in becoming an architect? In this section you can find out more about what the occupation involves along with examples of universities offering programmes that will give you access to the profession.

What does being an architect involve?

Architects are involved in construction and are the key players when it comes to designing buildings, extensions and alterations, but also for restoration and conservation. The buildings they work on can range from single developments to larger redevelopment schemes. The job involves not only buildings, but can also include the surrounding area and landscape.

Architects must work closely with their clients to develop ideas and make sure that their designs meet the customer's needs, are safe and also within the client's budget. Architects are usually involved in a project from start to finish and work with other professionals in the construction industry including engineers and surveyors to produce sketches and specifications, ensuring that buildings are not only safe and functional but aesthetically pleasing.

There are over 30,000 architects in the UK, most are self-employed or work in private practices. Job opportunities for architects and varied. Construction companies, retailers and manufacturers are just a handful of the organisations likely to employ architects, but they can also be employed by private developers. The government is also employs a large number of architects, usually in planning departments.

Some of the top UK architecture firms include: Aedas, Foster and Partners, BDP International, RMJM, Atkins Design Studio, Capita Architecture, Broadway Maylan, Chapman Taylor, SMC Group and Hamilton Architects Ltd.

Similar occupations

Architects can work in a variety of different sectors including construction and housing management. Other occupations similar to architect include:

  • Architectural Technologists and Technicians
  • Landscape Architects
  • Interior Designers
  • Building/Construction Inspectors
  • Regional Planner
  • Residential Landscaping Artist
  • Urban Designer
  • Urban/Town Planner
  • Commercial Landscaping Designer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Building Surveyor
  • Estate Agent

What skills are needed for this occupation?

  • Numeracy, design and drawing
  • IT skills, e.g. CAD
  • Project management skills
  • Analytical and problem solving skills, attention to detail
  • Good written and oral communication
  • Research skills
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Decision-making ability
  • Excellent imagination
  • Understanding of construction processes
  • Commercial awareness
  • Team-working and leadership skills
  • Keen interesting in buildings and built environment

What qualifications are need to become an architect?

Anyone wishing to pursue a career in architecture and planning must register with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) in order to legally use the title. The typical route into a career in architecture consists of at least seven years of higher education and training. A degree in architecture is necessary, which will usually last three or four years. After this there will be a 12-month practical experience in the field, followed by two years of further study or a Masters in architecture, then a second 12-month professional experience. Finally, students must sit an exam in professional practice and management consisting of an oral exam and assessment before they are able to register with the ARB.

Universities offering degrees in Architecture and Planning include:

  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Newcastle University
  • University of Kent
  • University College London
  • University of Sheffield
  • Cardiff University
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Bath

Average Salary for Architects

The average salary for architects in the UK varies depending on experience. The average overall salary for architects in the UK is £67,500, but can range from £52,500 to £82,500. Glasgow is ranked as the highest paying city in the UK for architects, closely followed by London.

You can find job, internship and work placement opportunities for architecture and planning by creating a profile on Wizbii.