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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Architectural Technologists and Technicians (2251)

Architectural technologists and technicians may work independently or provide technical assistance to professional architects and civil design engineers in conducting research, preparing drawings, architectural models, specifications and contracts and in supervising construction projects. Architectural technologists and technicians are employed by architectural and construction firms, and governments.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Review short comments written on client requirement forms by members of architectural teams. (1)
  • Read e-mails on a variety of topics from clients, architects, engineers, designers and other technicians and technologists. (2)
  • Read trade publications such as Architectural Record, Canadian Architect, Architecture Québec and Esquisse to stay abreast of trends or learn about award-winning buildings and the architects who designed them. (2)
  • Read user manuals for computers and software. For example, they may refer to software user manuals to review specific functions or steps needed to apply lighting, colours, materials and finish maps to virtual three-dimensional models of architectural designs. (3)
  • Read specification manuals for building projects. For example, they refer to specification manuals for information about tasks, materials, quality concerns, standards and processes to be used. (3)
  • Refer to building codes, zoning regulations, energy consumption regulations, by-laws and other national, provincial and municipal regulations to ensure that architectural designs, procedures and practices are compliant with rules and regulations. For example, they may review heritage by-laws to verify that garages of historical buildings can be converted into living spaces. (3)
  • Refer to best practice guides published by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. They adapt these design recommendations and standards to their own projects. For example, they may review a guide to wood frame house construction to find guidelines for the design of kitchen cabinets, closets and stairs. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Review construction project signage to ensure that hazards are marked properly. (1)
  • Read lists of documents that need to accompany development and building permit applications. (1)
  • Check the labels on materials received from suppliers for technical specifications. (1)
  • Interpret a variety of icons to navigate professional association websites or search suppliers' websites for product information. (2)
  • Refer to tables included in building codes, by-laws and best practice guides to verify structural design requirements. For example, they may refer to a table from a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation guide on wood frame house construction to verify the minimum thickness for several types of walls. (2)
  • Read assembly drawings to understand building procedures. For example, they may look at drawings showing the proper way to assemble roofs. (3)
  • Refer to schematic drawings of mechanical and electrical systems when monitoring and inspecting construction projects in collaboration with engineers or engineering technologists. (3)
  • Interpret graphs showing allowable window coverage under various conditions. For example, they may interpret a graph to determine how big windows should be, considering the wind loading in the area. (3)
  • Read home design forms to review clients' building requirements. They locate information about building types and locations, intended uses, the dimensions and topography of building sites, existing trees, possible views, required parking, anticipated budgets, preferred exterior materials, colours, architectural styles and the required numbers, sizes and locations of rooms. (3)
  • Review architectural drawings submitted by employees or contractors to ensure that design criteria have been satisfied and specifications have been respected. They take measurements from scale drawings to check that all items have been appropriately represented. (4)
  • Complete extensive development and building permit application forms which require combining information from several sources. For example, to fill in an application for a development permit in an established community, an architectural technologist may have to complete or collect certificates of titles, restrictive grade slip forms, site plans, colour photographs, letters of authorization, restrictive covenants and site contamination statements. (4)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write short text entries on forms. For example, they may write project descriptions on development and building permit applications. They may also write justifications on zoning variance applications. (1)
  • Write e-mails to co-workers, colleagues and clients to schedule or confirm meetings, ask for information or respond to enquiries. (1)
  • Write letters to invite contractors to submit tenders for construction, expansion, reconstruction and renovation projects. They usually modify project titles and submission deadlines on invitation to tender templates to create new invitations, using standard spelling and grammar. (2)
  • Write minutes of project meetings using established formats. These minutes must be explicit and precise to ensure all team members share a common understanding of issues, timelines and action plans. (3)
  • Write responses to requests for proposals for architectural services work. Each response must address the key components of the request and convey complex concepts in an effective manner. The preparation of these submissions usually involves gathering and selecting technical descriptions from multiple sources and re-writing them for non-technical audiences. In some instances, however, content must be written for the sole purpose of the request. (4)
  • May prepare comprehensive building specifications for construction entrepreneurs. These specifications comprise detailed descriptions of tasks to be performed, materials, products, accessories, standards and processes to be used, procedures for changes to contract and other contract requirements such as the need to respect architectural plans, codes and regulations and to repair deficiencies. (4)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Total clients' bills. They multiply the numbers of hours worked on projects by hourly rates, add extra charges for courier fees and permits and calculate applicable taxes. (2)
  • Approve contractors' invoices for work done on construction, expansion, reconstruction and renovation projects. They make sure that suppliers have billed contracted prices for equipment, materials and labour and that the taxes have been calculated correctly. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Review tenders for construction work. They perform comparative analyses of data submitted by contractors and determine which bids offer the best prices and most feasible work plans. (3)
  • Monitor project schedules and budgets. They ensure that project expenditures are within budgeted amounts and that projects are progressing on schedule. They frequently adjust schedules and change budget line items because of unexpected events and unforeseen problems. (4)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Calculate occupational densities by dividing numbers of residents by living areas in square meters. (1)
  • Take site measurements to verify the location of immovable items such as street lights and fire hydrants identified in surveyors' reports. (2)
  • Calculate the areas of proposed buildings, rooms, walls and windows. They perform these calculations by adding the areas of component shapes such as rectangles, triangles and circles. (3)
  • Take precise measurements of existing rooms, columns, doors and windows using laser distance meters. (3)
  • Calculate areas and volumes of complex shapes. For example, a technologist may calculate the area of an oval roof or the volume of kidney-shaped swimming pool. (4)
  • Use geometry and trigonometry to calculate the angles of intersections and lengths of existing structural elements such as walls and ceilings. (5)
Data Analysis Math
  • Verify that the window area proposed in architectural plans does not exceed the area allowed in building by-laws. (1)
  • Verify that the door clearance, placement of mirrors and location of hardware are within acceptable ranges to enable accessibility for users in wheelchairs. (1)
  • Calculate the average cost of various building materials over several projects. (2)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the time needed to obtain building or development permits using past experience as a guide. (1)
  • Estimate the number of project hours which should be assigned for various design tasks. They are guided by past requirements but they must allow time for unexpected difficulties. (2)
  • Estimate the magnitude of construction budgets taking into consideration the quantities and unit costs of materials and labour. Many factors are involved in the estimates and a fair degree of precision is required to minimize budget overruns. (3)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Ask suppliers for product information and samples. (1)
  • Speak with interior designers, engineering technologists and structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineers at site meetings to coordinate design and construction processes. (2)
  • May interact with employees such as other technicians, technologists, surveyors and tradespeople to assign tasks, review completed tasks and enquire about the status of ongoing work activities. (2)
  • Speak with clients to assess their needs during the concept development phases of architectural projects. They question clients to identify their intentions for buildings and interior spaces, their budgets and timeframes and their aesthetic preferences and functional requirements. They let clients express their concerns, discuss potential design options and recommend cost-saving alternatives. (3)
  • Meet with architects to discuss project priorities, timelines, building codes, by-laws and budgetary concerns. They present drawings, models, specifications and cost estimates and obtain guidance, recommendations and approvals. They may also meet to assist architects in the development of architectural designs to address client needs. (3)
  • Participate in regular meetings with other members on the architectural team to discuss current projects, staff workloads, invitations to tender, problems with regulatory officials, layout and design issues, interior detailing and a wide range of other topics. At these meetings, they may be asked to present architectural plans or display models they have prepared. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Are sometimes asked to design unfamiliar building elements. In such instances, they consult their co-workers to capitalize on their skills and knowledge or refer to best practice guides. (1)
  • Are informed that underground structures such as septic tanks have been discovered during renovation work. They advise their clients to hire experts to remove the structures and certify the sites as clean before continuing renovation work. (1)
  • Find out that architectural project deadlines have been shortened. If they feel they will not be able to meet the revised deadlines on their own, they meet with their project leaders to outline the problems and discuss whether additional resources should or could be made available. (2)
  • Experience difficulties in getting building or development permits approved. They discuss the difficulties with co-workers and consultants. They review building codes, zoning regulations, by-laws and other relevant documents to ensure that architectural designs are compliant with rules and regulations. They then elaborate new persuasive arguments and present the development proposals to city officials again. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide when to hold site meetings during the construction phase of projects. They talk to clients, general contractors, engineers, designers and other technicians and technologists to see if they are available. They choose times when all key participants in projects can attend the meetings. (1)
  • Decide how to treat certain building elements during the conceptual design phase of projects. They make their decisions based on cost-effectiveness and product availability. (2)
  • May choose tasks to assign to other technicians and technologists on the architectural team. They consider each individual's skills, experiences, attitudes and ability to meet deadlines. (2)
  • Decide which contractors to select or recommend for construction work. They review various tenders and determine which contractors offer the best prices and most feasible work plans. Selection errors may have significant cost and time implications. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the completeness of information packages submitted with development and building permit applications. They use a checklist to verify that all the required application forms have been completed and all accessory documents are included. (1)
  • Assess the efficiency of various construction procedures. For example, they use specialized computer software to assess the efficiency of procedures to reduce heat loss due to thermal bridging. (2)
  • Assess the importance of deviations from initial schedules and budgets. They compare budgeted amounts to expenditures and completion dates to target dates for each construction activity. They analyze successes and failures and identify lessons learned. (2)
  • Evaluate the quality of construction projects. They verify that required tasks have been performed, specified materials, products, accessories, standards and processes have been used and architectural plans, codes and regulations have been respected. (3)
  • Evaluate the usefulness of architectural renderings in the creation of three-dimensional models. They consider the salient features of the renderings and identify those that can best be adapted to three-dimensional computer-assisted design technology. They evaluate several combinations of perspectives prior to building their models. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Architectural technologists and technicians work in a dynamic environment with many conflicting demands on their time. Their work is team-oriented so they must integrate their own tasks with those of a team of experts including architects, interior designers, and structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineers and engineering technologists. Their ability to work on several projects at the same time and manage priorities is critical to their jobs. Changes in designs, pressures from project leaders or clients, computer breakdowns and other emergencies force them to frequently reorganize job tasks. (3)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Architectural technologists and technicians play central roles in organizing, planning, scheduling and monitoring the activities of their architectural design teams. Senior technologists and technicians are also responsible for scheduling the work of contractors and tradespeople. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember portions of building codes and regulations governing commonly-designed elements such as staircases and parking stalls.
  • Recall successful strategies used on previous projects to hasten the approval of building and development permit applications.
  • Remember money-saving building ideas used successfully in the past to provide guidance to architects, developers and clients.
  • Remember client preferences mentioned during meetings.
  • Remember procedures to deal with software problems and equipment idiosyncrasies.
  • Recall the names and duties of their co-workers, colleagues and clients to facilitate communication.
Finding Information
  • Find information about past architectural projects by searching corporate databases. (2)
  • Find information about the various rules and regulations applying to their projects in building codes, zoning regulations, energy consumption regulations, by-laws and other national, provincial and municipal documents. (3)
  • Find solutions for architectural design problems by searching trade publications, best practice guides and the internet. They need to analyze, synthesize and integrate information from a wide range of sources to develop innovative, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective solutions. (4)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use databases. For example, they may use custom-designed databases to store and retrieve architectural project data. (2)
  • Use communication software. For example, they use communication software to exchange e-mails and attached documents with clients, contractors and members on their design teams. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they perform keyword searches to find the websites of suppliers, professional organizations, other architectural firms and clients. They may also use the Internet to exchange larger files using file transfer protocol software. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, they create lengthy proposals and contracts using programs such as Word. They supplement text with imported drawings, photographs and spreadsheet tables. They use formatting features such as page numbering, heading levels, footnotes, and columns. (3)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, they create spreadsheets to track client space and site requirements, analyze data and prepare detailed cost estimates. (3)
  • Use other computer and software applications. For example, they may use photo editing software to develop, enlarge and print photos taken with digital cameras. They may use compact disk creation software to transfer larger files to compact disks for clients. They may also use specialized software to study the thermal resistance of wall assemblies. They may also use project scheduling software to create Gantt charts with assigned resources, milestones and deadlines. (3)
  • Use graphics software. For example, they create slide shows using presentation software such as PowerPoint. In order to develop effective demonstration packages for clients and to illustrate design concepts, they import photographs, scanned images, two-dimensional drawings and three-dimensional virtual models. They apply lighting, colours, material textures and finish maps to models using three-dimensional visualization software. They may also demonstrate the design, aesthetics and functionality of models using three-dimensional animation software. (4)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, they use computer-assisted design software to prepare two-dimensional drawings and three-dimensional models of proposed architectural designs. They also use this software to calculate the areas of complex geometrical shapes. (4)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Architectural technologists and technicians perform some tasks independently but usually work with a team of architects, engineers, designers, technicians and technologists. They work closely with architects to assist them in assessing client needs and developing architectural designs to meet these needs. They work independently when searching by-laws and building codes and preparing drawings, specifications, cost estimates, display and virtual models of architectural designs. Senior technologists and technicians supervise other technologists and technicians on the architectural team. They also coordinate their work with that of interior designers, landscape architects, consultants, and structural, mechanical, civil and electrical engineers and engineering technologists to monitor and inspect construction projects. (3)

Continuous Learning

Architectural technologists and technicians must learn continuously to keep abreast of changes in building products, construction methods, design trends, zoning, by-laws, regulations and standards. They need to master new technologies such as computer-assisted design and three-dimensional rendering. On a day-to-day basis, they acquire new learning by reading software user manuals, building codes, best practice guides and trade publications. They attend lectures, courses, conferences, symposia, workshops and seminars. They also tour show homes and discuss architectural designs with architects, engineers, designers and other technologists and technicians. (3)

Architectural technologists and technicians may be required to obtain certification through their provincial regulatory bodies to legally use occupational titles. (3)

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