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TechWORKS! Career Information Profiles

BUILDING DESIGN

Many small buildings are the result of the work of a building designer. While 'architects' are required by law for the design of most large buildings, most less complex buildings such as houses, and small commercial and apartment buildings are 'designed' by competent building designers. Building codes and other laws determine which buildings can be designed by building designers. Building designers are trained to analyze client needs, develop a 'program' of requirements including by-law and code issues, and then create a building design to suit all of the issues defined. Once the preliminary designs are sketched and approved, a building designer will prepare plans and details which describe how the building is to be constructed. Depending on the size and complexity of a building, the designer may require the services of other professional consultants.

A good building designer is a good listener, able to work with people, is well organized, able to visualize spaces and structures, and will have developed good drawing and design skills.

Where Will You Work?

To gain needed experience before becoming a building designer, you could work in a design company, architectural firm or construction office. To start, you will likely work for someone in a specific part of the design process - usually as a technician in the production of presentation or contract drawings. As you learn about codes, by-laws and the principles of design, you will gain the knowledge and experience needed to become a building designer.

Many building designers are self-employed and will often work more than 40 hours per week, including evenings and weekends, to meet deadlines. Larger offices tend to keep regular 40 hour week schedules. Travelling consists of site visits and client meetings.

How Much Will You Earn?

Average annual salary for a Certified Technical Specialist: $72,000.

How Does the Future Look?

Finding employment as a building designer is much harder than at the drafting or building technology level. Most designers start at the technology level and advance as their talent and productivity warrants. To be successful, you must distinguish yourself as an energetic, knowledgeable and creative designer.

How Can You Get Started?

In high school be sure to take drafting, CADD, math, arts, business and communications.

What Will You Need?

You need to gain a good understanding of building technology, either through formal education or experience working in construction. A good working knowledge of the building code and zoning regulations is also required. You must attain a proficient level of drafting or CADD (computer-assisted design) ability. You will also require two other important sets of skills:

1. People skills - written and verbal communication, empathy and listening.

2. Creative skills - visualizing, drawing, logic, mechanics and an eye for detail.

Post Secondary Possibilities

College
Program
Accredited Status
Discipline
BCIT
Building
Technologist Building
College of New Caledonia Drafting Recognized Building
College of New Caledonia Engineering Design & Technology Technologist Building
Fraser Valley College Drafting Recognized Building/Civil
The University College of the Cariboo Engineering Design & Drafting Technologist Building
  • Programs listed are those accredited by the Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC); check www.asttbc.org for updates on accredited programs.
  • Check with your career facilitator or counsellor for other sources of information applicable to education options for this technology.
  • A prerequisite to becoming certified as a Building Designer in British Columbia requires registration with ASTTBC in building technology as an AScT, CTech or Associate member.
  • Salary figures indicated in the 'How Much Will You Earn?' section are extracted from ASTTBC's Member Compensation Survey or other Canadian sources applicable to the specific technology discipline. These figures are representative only; actual figures will vary depending on academic training, practical experience, job responsibilities and location of employment.
  • The TechWORKS! web site is an important online resource and provides links to career information that will be of interest to students pursuing a career in technology.

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