Kaihangarau Hoahoa Whare
This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Architectural technicians interpret sketches and designs produced by an architect, architectural designer or client. They make working drawings, such as floor plans, elevations, sections and details, and associated documentation of buildings.
Architectural technicians with one to three years’ experience usually earn
$40K-$50K per year
Architectural technicians with more than three years’ experience usually earn
$51K-$100K per year
Source: Architectural Designers NZ
Pay for architectural technicians depends on where they work, and how much experience they have.
- Architectural technicians with one to three years' experience usually earn $40,000 to $50,000 per year.
- Those with more than three years' experience usually earn between $51,000 and $100,000 a year.
Source: Architectural Designers NZ
What you will do
Architectural technicians may do some or all of the following:
- make detailed drawings of building structures
- build models of the building
- interpret sketches and project instructions
- research building materials
- manage projects and carry out site observations
- check that drawings comply with statutory and regulatory building requirements
- check that drawings comply with manufacturer/supplier instructions
- assist with consent processes
- co-ordinate with other building professionals and deal with clients
- interpret drawings on worksites.
Skills and knowledge
Architectural technicians need to have:
- computer skills and knowledge of computer-aided design (CAD) draughting software packages
- design skills
- the ability to interpret drawings
- knowledge of architecture, building methods and materials
- knowledge of the New Zealand Building Code, the New Zealand Building Act, the Resource Management Act, local by-laws and town planning regulations.
- usually work regular hours, but may be required to work overtime to meet deadlines
- typically spend most of their time working in offices, but may have to visit building sites
- may work outside in all weather conditions
- may travel locally to building sites and to visit clients.
What's the job really like?
Gordon Morrison - Architectural Technician
Gordon Morrison got into architecture by chance, applying for a technician job a couple of years out of secondary school. “I started work at an architectural firm as a trainee draughtsman. Back then it wasn’t computer-aided design (CAD) based – it was learning to use ink pens and tracing paper and T-squares.”
Turning concepts into reality
As he's gained experience, Gordon has had more opportunity to help shape the projects he works on. “I ended up spending my time running the contracts – looking at what we had on paper and figuring it out with the contractor so we could build something that was robust; something that wasn’t leaky and maintained the whole concept of what the design architect had started out with...”
“It’s a nice feeling when a high-level executive or a project director considers you a part of the core team. When you speak, they listen. They don’t always do what you want, but your expertise and knowledge is valued, and it’s used to make the right decision for the client.”
To become an architectural technician you need to either have one of the following diplomas:
- architectural draughting
- architectural technology
- architectural design.
Or you can have a Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS), or Master of Architecture (MArch).
Many skills are gained on the job.
To enter training, most training providers require 35 credits at Level 2 in NCEA achievement standards covering mathematics, English and science.
Other useful subjects include:
- art and design
- computer studies and technology
Architectural technicians need to be:
- accurate, with an eye for detail
- well organised, patient and reliable
- creative, yet practical
- able to work well under pressure
- skilled in communication and listening
- client focused with the ability to work within customer budgets and requirements
- good at problem-solving, and able to make good judgements
- skilled in giving presentations.
Useful experience for architectural technicians includes:
- civil, electrical or mechanical engineering draughting work
- work in the building construction industry
- any practical building work
- interior design work.
Architectural technicians can apply for a professional licence under the Licensed Building Practitioners scheme. The Department of Building and Housing recognises their professional competence at three levels:
- Design 1 (houses)
- Design 2 (complex commercial or residential buildings)
- Design 3 (large or publicly important buildings).
Architectural technicians who have completed a Master of Architecture (MArch) can work towards becoming a registered architect.
Find out more about training
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
- 0800 606 050 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.business.govt.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Many architectural design and construction companies stopped hiring during the 2008-2009 recession and this was reflected in the declining job opportunities in following years.
According to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates, the number of architectural technicians decreased by about 21% between 2009 and 2013.
However the trend has now reversed and demand is on the rise due to increasing demand for building design services.
Job opportunities for architectural technicians likely to improve slowly over longer term
Job opportunities are likely to keep increasing in 2013/2014 as demand for residential and commercial property picks up, especially in Auckland and earthquake-affected Christchurch.
The volume of residential building activity rose 20% and non residential building 13% in 2012 compared with 2011.
Taking on some work experience while studying increases your chances of finding work
You can increase your chances of finding work, by taking on some work experience while studying and signing up with Architectural Designers NZ (ADNZ) as an intern member (providing you meet their standards). To be an intern member you must work at least 20 hours per week.
It is also recommended that you become a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP).
Types of employers mainly architects and construction companies
Architectural technicians work primarily for:
- architecture practices
- architectural design companies
- construction companies.
Some architectural technicians may also be self-employed, and work on contract to other architectural companies or individuals.
- Cory, L, sales & marketing executive, Architectural Designers NZ, Careers New Zealand interview, September 2013.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, ‘2003-2012 Occupation Data’ (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2013.
- Statistics New Zealand, 'Value of building work put in place: December 2012 quarter', accessed July 2013, (www.stats.govt.nz).
Progression and specialisations
After five years' experience, architectural technicians may become senior technicians or lead draughting teams. As their design skills improve, they may work as architectural designers, or study for the Master of Architecture to become registered architects. Experienced architectural technicians may also start their own businesses or move into construction management.
- Architect job information
- Consumerbuild website - learn more about different types of architectural design jobs
Architectural technicians may specialise in working on certain types of structures such as:
- large commercial buildings
- residential housing.
They may also choose to work as architectural designers, creating their own design plans.
Those who have a professional licence under the Licenced Building Practitioners scheme can run their own business.
Last updated 1 November 2017