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by Yves Carignan President & CEO - Drummond House Plans

Reno Blog / Advice / Architect vs. Architectural Technologist: Which Should You Choose?
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Architect vs. Architectural Technologist: Which Should You Choose?

Advice Other

Do you need a professional to help you plan a renovation, construction, or expansion projectArchitects and architectural technologists are trained to help with these tasks but choosing the right one will depend on your needs. Let‘s explore the differences. 

Education and licensing requirements  

A professional technologist has diploma in architectural technology and is a member of the Order of Professional Technologists of Quebec (l’Ordre des technologuesprofessionnels du Québec; OTPQ). 

A professional architect has an architecture degree, has trained with an experienced architect for 2 years, completes 40 hours of professional development activities every years, and is a member of the Order of Architects of Quebec (Ordre des architectes du Québec; OAQ). 

graduate student holding his diploma in his hand

A battle among orders

The battle between the OAQ and the OTPQ has been going on for years. 

The OAQ believes that only architects should have the right to create residential floor plans because they’re able to integrate inhabitants’ lifestyles and needs. Architects are taught to consider the traditions and histories of neighbourhoods, conduct environmental assessments, and more. 

The OTPQ disagrees that only architects are able to help clients with their construction and renovation projects. Technologists can also create plans, analyze space requirements, and prepare estimates.  

In any case, it’s up to you to decide which professional is best suited for your project. Focus on finding someone you’re comfortable working with that can provide the services you need. After all, talent cannot be acquired – it’s an innate gift! 

Do you need an architect or a technologist for your project?

Commercial 

If you’re looking to construct a building that will be used for commercial purposes (retail), gatherings (restaurants, daycares, schools), businesses (offices), or industrial needsyou’ll need to get your plans certified by an architect. Commercial and business constructions less than 300 sq. m. (3,229 sq. ft.) can be certified by a technologist.

Residential

Only an architect can approve multi-unit constructions over 300 sq. m. (3,229 sq. ft.) and, since 2020, single family homes over 600 sq. m. (6,458 sq. ft.)That said, very few residential construction projects are this largeImost cases, a professional technologist can work on the floorplans for your single family home. 

newhome under construction

Price differences between architects and technologists

In general, architects’ fees range between 8% and 10% of the construction value of your project. This includes cost estimates, managing offers, and supervising construction.  

According to the offices we surveyed, technologists charge between 1% and 3% of the construction value. They develop and deliver architectural plans according to the client’s needs. They may also provide other services, such as material selection, budget estimation, and site monitoring, at additional costs. 

While an architect’s fees may seem a lot higher by comparison, it’s important to assess your needs and hire the right professional for your project. 

Type of professional Training Commercial constructions Residential constructions Rates
Technologist

College diploma in architectural technology

Can seal commercial and business construction plans for projects less than 300 square metres (3,229 square feet)

Can seal the following: 

Multi-units residences less than 300 quare feet (3,229 square feet)

Between 1% and 3% of the consruction value for the preparation and submission of detailed plans. 

Offers other services, such as material selection, budget estimation and site monitoring., at additional costs.

Architect

University degree in architecture.

Internship with an experienced architect (2 years).

40 hours of mandatory professional development activities every two years.

Passed the entrance exam to become a member of the OAQ.

Can seal all plans for the following:

Commercial, office, and industrial constructions (e.g. retail stores, restaurants. daycare and schools)

Commercial and business constructions over 300 square meters (3,229 square feet)

Can seal all plans

Must seal the plans for the following:

Multi-unit residences over 300 square meters (3,229 square feet)

Single family homes over 600 square meters (6,458 square feet)

Between 8% and 10% of the construction value for drafting plans, cost estimation, tender management, and monitoring.
plans architect

Can I draft my own technical drawings? 

Even if you have technical design skills, we wouldn’t recommend drafting your own designs! Through our experience in the field, we have learned that many of these projects end up being rejected by the municipality. It is also very difficult to find a technologist or an architect willing to work from these plans and approve them. In some cases, it would be illegal or violate the code of ethics for their respective professional orders to approve them. You may have to start from scratch, which can be very frustrating if you’ve already invested hours of your time working on your designs.  

Should I opt for plans included by a contractor?

Some contractors may offer to include architectural plans in their quotes. Be aware that you will still be paying for them, as the contractor will add the price they paid for the plans to the cost of the project. This approach may seem convenient but is not without risk. For instance, if you are dissatisfied with your contactor’s work and wish to terminate your contract, you will no longer have access to the plans – you will need to start over and purchase new ones. A more cautious approach would be to purchase the plans separately from the start to ensure you are not stuck with a specific contractor. 

general contractor with blue shirt and yellow helmet under the arm working on blueprints

What about structural engineers? 

If your project involves making changes to the structure of the building, such as building an addition or adding a storey, youll also need to call a structural engineers. They will calculate the impact of the change and ensure the structural integrity of your home.  

Now it’s up to you to choose the professional(s) that best suit the needs of your project. Be sure to clearly express your expectations and choose the professional(s) you feel most comfortable with. You can also contact a Renovation Advisor at 1-877-736-6360 to get some recommendations.  

"I'm here to help you with your home addition project"

- Francis / Renovation Advisor at RenoAssistance

Author: Yves Carignan
President, Drummond House Plans

Originally from Windsor, ON, Yves Carignan has a degree in business administration with a specialization in marketing from the University of Sherbrooke. In 1997, he started at Dessins Drummond in network development. In 2002he and his wife MarieFrance Roger purchased the company and have been managing it ever since. Yves is a father of three and spends his free time practicing hockey, golf, and cycling. He also enjoys going on walks and taking trips.

Contributor: Michel Grimard
Associate Architect, ADN Architecte

An alumnus from the University of Montreal’s School of Architecture, Michel Grimard worked in various agencies before founding his own firm in 1993. From 1996 to 2013, he worked on various projects for MGAS, including the award-winning Expo-Habitat 1999 and 2000 and Tendance du troisième millénaire houses. In 2014, he founded ADN Architecte and now spends his days designing diverse projects that combine aesthetics from a variety of fields. 

Contributor: Mario Carpentier
Sales Director, Drummond House Plans
Previous architectural technologist 

Born in Sainte-Thècle, QC, Mario Carpentier has a diploma in architecture from Cégep de Trois-Rivières. At the start of his career, he worked as an architectural technologist for Dessins Drummond in Trois-Rivières and quickly became the director. In 2003, he was promoted to Director of Sales and Network Development. Since then, Mario has participated in the development of Dessins Drummond and been an integral part of the company’s successful outreach. Mario is a father of two and is passionate about hockey, cycling, and golf.

Mis à jour le 9 juin 2021

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