Architect vs Architectural Designer or Technician

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Architect vs Architectural Designer or Technician

Pros and Cons, Service and Fee Comparison.

Have you ever pondered… Do I really need an architect to help me with my building project? It seems simple. Surely, I can manage it on my own, OK, maybe with a help from a draftsman… This way I can save money towards the more important stuff!

Indeed, you can save money towards the construction or the furnishing expenses and yes, the architect’s liability for the design and project management comes at some cost. This however is not an overwhelming amount.

How come? You may ask. Well, if you add up all the project’s expenses, you will see that the architect’s fee comprises only a fraction of the budget, ensuring that the project runs smoothly and on budget. You are then left only to worry about the colours of the walls or what fridge to buy for your new kitchen. You may then reconsider. Am I right?

Take Emma, who approached us to help her to manage a £400K-worth residential renovation.

She was perfectly capable of managing the job herself, being a builder’s daughter and having recently extended her family home. Emma did however have her family and job to attend to and, what turned out to be a 15-month-long architectural undertaking, was so much easier to tackle with MarbleAir Architects. We were there to rely upon, to call, to listen and to resource.


It takes a minimum of 5 years to study architecture in the UK and this period must be interlaced with a minimum of 3 years’ office/site experience before you can take the final examination and, if successful, to register with Architectural Registration Board (ARB) i.e., become an architect. The title of an architect is reserved to ARB members only.

In addition, architects can opt in to register with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Both organisations have their codes of conduct which members must obey.

ARB’s Codes of Conduct : Architects-Code-2017.pdf (

RIBA’s Codes of Conduct : RIBA Code of Professional Conduct 2019 (

An architectural designer might have not completed an architectural course recognised in the UK, they might have studied for less time or simply did not undertake the final (Part 3) exams. They could also have studied abroad and did not prescribe their qualifications upon settling in the UK. There can be many reasons, but you can be certain that these professionals are still skilled in their trade.

Because an architectural designer/technician cannot be affiliated with either ARB or RIBA, they are not required to obey the institutions’ rules and codes of conduct, or pay membership fees.


Architects are required to undertake a minimum of 35 hours’ Continuous Professional Development – in short called CPD. This requirement ensures that we are aware of latest industry updates, innovations, socio-economic and technology matters as well as product development and research.

However, CPD is not compulsory for architectural designers/technicians.


You should always ask to be presented with relevant insurance covers when appointing any construction professional – that is, a designer, a consultant, or a builder. In this way, you will be reassured of some form of protection from any shortfalls that may occur for you and your project.

Either an architectural designer/technician or an architect should maintain suitable PI insurance covers.

An architect is obliged to maintain a minimum level of PI insurance cover of £250,000 for each and every claim, but this amount will increase based on the scale and cost of the projects, the practice or the individuals who become involved.

The minimum PI cover level for an architectural practice will therefore vary between £750,000 and £1 million.

For an architectural designer/technician, the amount of PI cover is not regulated and so some design professionals may not maintain any insurance. Please check this upfront before agreeing to appoint anybody!


Schedule of proposed by a RIBA chartered architect fees will adhere to RIBA Plan of Work

In addition, the appointment will also reference Standard Conditions of Appointment for an Architect.

Did you know, MarbleAir Architects can help you with a variety of services Services | Interior Design & Architecture Services (, namely:

  • Site survey
  • Conveyancing
  • Feasibility study and site appraisal
  • Concept design
  • Planning Permission
  • Interior Design
  • Garden/Landscape design
  • Visualisations
  • Technical Specification & Drawings
  • Structural Engineering
  • Building Control Approvals
  • Inspecting Building Works
  • Project Management and coordination
  • Contract Administration
  • CDM Regulations

For any other specialist analysis and reports excluded from the above list, we have a team of sub-consultants we reach out to whenever additional information is needed.

Have you checked? How much will a building project will cost me? Building design and construction costs demystified.

The architectural designer’s/technician’s service, and so the fee, will most likely cover production of drawings and design advice, and the definition of the service may vary from the one provided by an architect. We would therefore recommend checking the scope of service and their qualifications prior to any appointment.

Architects’ fee will vary depending on the level of experience of individual dealing with your project (from a junior architect/assistant to a senior architect/practice principal), the size of the practice, its turnover, and the scope of service to be provided.

Architectural Technicians tend to work solo and so their fees may be less dependent and regulated – we would recommend checking their credit record and terms and conditions prior to committing.


A good brief comes in handy. If you should have any further questions, approach us via

+44 (0) 1491 528912

Download the template here.
Download The Brief (free template) here.


The professional service of an architectural designer/technician and an architect will vary and so this affects the cost of their service. It is therefore important for you, the customer, to brief them properly.

Overall, one can claim that the architect’s trade is more regulated, especially where individuals or practices are affiliated with regulatory bodies like RIBA and ARB. Those recognised affiliations create a sense of security and assurance for you, the customer, that the service to be provided is legitimate.

Are you ready to talk to one of our architects? Contact us on:

+44 (0) 1491 528912