By Jon Clayton MCIAT.

It’s British Science Week 2019!

British Science Week (8-17 March 2019) is an annual celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths.

So…as it’s British Science Week, and it celebrates Technology, I thought we could celebrate the profession of Architectural Technology. Specifically, the job of the Chartered Architectural Technologist in the construction industry.

What is an Architectural Technologist? I hear you all say!

That is a question I have been asked many times and, to be honest, I haven’t always had a quick answer to explain it. It’s a bit like a footballer trying to explain the offside rule. They know how it works but it’s not the easiest thing to put into words. So, what exactly is an Architectural Technologist and what on earth do they do?

I was recently in a meeting with a prospective Client, an Architect colleague and a Builder. We were there to discuss the feasibility of a housing development. It was the first time we had all met in person, so we started the meeting with some introductions.

“What is it you do?” the Client asked my colleague.

“I’m the Architect.” The Client nodded in approval and understanding.

“And what is it you do?”, he asked me.

“I’m an Architectural Technologist.”, I said.

“You’re a WHAT?” The client looked slightly puzzled. “So…what’s the difference?”

Before I could explain the Builder pointed at the Architect and said, “He draws the pretty pictures…” and pointing my way “…he draws it properly so I can build it.”

Whilst there may be an element of truth in this, it would be a huge generalisation to say this is the role Architects and Architectural Technologists [actually] all play. Although I have certainly worked with many who DO fit this stereotype [I’ll mention no names]. ?

Of course, Architects can be just as technically minded as Architectural Technologists and Technologists can be just as skilled and artistic at designing buildings.

So, we can’t let the opinion of one builder define what an Architectural Technologist is, and how their role relates to that of an Architect. If anything, the story does provide a typical example of the public’s lack of awareness of Chartered Architectural Technologists.

If you asked one hundred people “What is an Architect?” I bet most would have a pretty good answer. “They design buildings”. It’s a job people understand, plus they’ve got a snappy, sexy title.

If you asked one hundred people “What is an Architectural Technologist?” I suspect you’d get a few “Dunnos”, some blank stares and a bit of head scratching.

Like the role of a TV Presenter, the role of a Chartered Architectural Technologist can vary hugely. By as much as say, TV Physicist Brian Cox to TV’s Property Guru Kirstie Allsopp and everything in-between.

The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) tells us that Chartered Architectural Technologists “lead the technological design of a project; forming the link between concept, innovation and realisation.”

So, what does that explanation mean in plain English? What really is a Chartered Architectural Technologist? Beats me… ?

To find out more about British Science Week go to

For more information about The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) visit

About Jon Clayton

Jon is a Chartered Architectural Technologist. He works most days from his home in West Norfolk. He’s also a regular visitor to the North West of England where he grew up.

If you’d like to find out more about what Chartered Architectural Technologists do you can contact him via

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