what is an architectural assistant?

An architectural assistant is an entry-level employee within the architecture industry. The role allows newcomers to learn the ropes before becoming a fully fledged architect. Architectural projects often involve several moving parts that would be impossible for an architect to juggle alone. As a result, many architects employ architectural assistants to help with some tasks.

As an architectural assistant, you will support the architect with basic tasks to free up their time so they can concentrate on complex responsibilities.

For instance, you might be asked to study building designs and develop initial drawings that highlight the technical details of a project. Your work could also involve coordinating other team members to ensure their activities contribute to the project design. You will also likely be responsible for double-checking compliance, building codes and certifications.

Architectural assistants fall into two categories based on their experience.

  • A) Architectural assistants who lack previous work experience but have a degree in architecture. They need more supervision and often carry out simple tasks.
  • B) Architectural assistants have at least a year of experience and will have completed a Masters, Diploma or BArch course. This makes them familiar with most responsibilities. Aside from performing similar tasks as level one assistants, they are assigned more independent projects and other complex duties.


architectural assistant jobs

how much does an architectural assistant earn?

According to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), in 2021, part I architectural assistants earned a median of £22,000 (£20,000 lower quartile and £24,000 upper), while part II employees earned £28,000 on average (£25,744 lower, £30,000 upper). These remained unchanged from 2020.

Architectural assistants also receive allowances depending on the company. Some provide medical insurance, house allowance and transport. You will also commonly receive paid holiday beyond the statutory amount, as well as bonuses.

what factors affect how much architectural assistants make?

The amount architectural assistants make depends on the company size and role responsibilities.

For instance, RIBA’s 2021 figures show multinational companies pay architectural assistants more since they take up many roles in the company. Part I assistants in companies with 100 or more employees earned £3,500 more in 2021 compared to those in companies with between three and five employees, with part II assistants making £3,000 more.

Large organisations may also hire assistants with some experience to take up complex responsibilities, with the compensation package reflecting the complexity of the tasks and qualification requirements. However, while smaller companies may pay less, you may also learn more working for them due to handling a wider range of duties.

Location can also affect the demand for architectural assistants and the pay structure. If you live in London or another large city, the demand for roles is high and your likely high living expenses may lead to a larger compensation package. Smaller cities have a lower demand for architectural assistants, and their lower cost of living reduces wages in kind.

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Randstad employer brand photo, internal, people, consultants, branch, branches

types of architectural assistants

Architectural assistants can specialise in specific building types, including:

  • sustainable architectural assistants: when designs call for sustainable features, green design architectural assistants help put together environmentally friendly building features and construction techniques for the property. They also find suitable materials for sustainable projects.
  • commercial architectural assistants: as a commercial or industrial architectural assistant, you will help architects draw up the initial plans for structures like storefronts, hotels, skyscrapers and multi-unit apartments. You assist architects in creating an aesthetically pleasing structure that promotes good traffic.
  • landscape architectural assistant: your job will be to assist architects in creating beautiful outdoor spaces for people to enjoy, like gardens and walking paths. You may also determine the plants and trees to be planted in an area.
  • residential architectural assistants: as a residential architectural assistant, you will help an architect come up with designs for new residential properties or adjustments to existing homes, such as extensions or roof conversions.

what's it like working as an architectural assistant?

Architectural assistants perform vital roles in construction projects. Let's look at the tasks and duties you will undertake as an architectural assistant.


education and skills

You need educational qualifications to gain skills and become an architectural assistant. Some academic requirements include:

  • university degree: as an architectural assistant, you need to complete a degree course in architecture or a related subject. It is essential to complete the degree in an institution recognised by Architects Registration Board (ARB). Course providers often require candidates to complete a year of practical work experience. The entry requirements for the degree are 2 to 3 A-Levels, while the Higher National Diploma requires 4 or 5 GCSEs.
  • apprenticeship: you can become an architectural assistant through an apprenticeship programme that takes 48 months. You attend college training and work for 30 hours a week during the programme. You need 4 or 5 GCSEs and A levels for the higher degree apprenticeship.

skills and competencies

Some of the skills that are useful to architectural assistants include:

  • numerical skills: as an architectural assistant, you need mathematical skills, especially in geometry and advanced algebra, to design buildings. Numerical principles help you with designing buildings and drawing blueprints.
  • creativity: buildings need to be aesthetically pleasing and functional to enhance performance. You can design eye-catching buildings with a flow to improve functionality with your innovativeness. Your creativity comes in handy when developing residential and commercial buildings' exterior and interior designs.
  • drawing skills: while many architects adopt digital drawings, architectural assistants need exceptional drawing skills for sketching building ideas. Before digitising a design, you need to draw its schematics on paper and make the necessary adjustments.
  • legal knowledge: the client's specification isn't the only thing to adhere to during building design. You need knowledge of building codes and regulations for the construction site. Incorporating the legislation into the design plans is crucial to avoid legal problems or non-compliance. You may work with your legal secretary with this one.
  • communication skills: your job is to work alongside the architectural team and other construction professions. Communication skills promote teamwork and ensure all the members are on the same page.
  • organisational skills: as an architectural assistant, you manage the work schedule of an architect. You need organisational skills to keep up with all tasks and meet deadlines.

Female operator reading from paper. Factory. Tech environment. Asian woman. Primary color red. Secondary colors blue and yellow.
Female operator reading from paper. Factory. Tech environment. Asian woman. Primary color red. Secondary colors blue and yellow.

why find an architectural assistant job through Randstad?

Find an architectural assistant job through Randstad and get:

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