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
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
2. Creative skills - visualizing, drawing, logic, mechanics and
an eye for detail.
Post Secondary Possibilities
||College of New Caledonia
||College of New Caledonia
||Engineering Design & Technology
||Fraser Valley College
||The University College of the Cariboo
||Engineering Design & Drafting
- 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.