What does a technical architect do in when you build a home in Spain?

Technical architects also known as aparejadores play a vital role in construction projects and their presence is required by law.

The career path for a technical architect is somewhat shorter than for a normal architect ( a university degree and practical training). Some Spanish architects call themselves arquitectos superiores, rather pompously, to distinguish themselves from the mere technical architects. But the truth is their roles are different and technical architects are qualified professionals with, their own College governing their behaviour, and proud traditions.

Technical architects can carry out a wide range of activities such as, valuations, bills of quantities, energy certificates, and supervision of minor works (without an architect). All major works, i.e. anything structural must be designed by and supervised by an architect not a technical architect.

In construction projects Technical Architects have a formal role within the direccion facultativa that is enshrined in law and which supervises the works. The direccion facultativa comprises three figures: the architect, the technical architect and the builder. They run the site operations and they are all responsible in law for the safe and correct construction of the building in accordance with the “project” that has been approved by the College of Architects and for which a building licence was granted and also in compliance with the building regulations. The direccion facultativa meets periodically during the construction process to make decisions that are minuted. All this is stipulated in the Ley de Ordenación de la Edificación.

More specifically the technical architect will probably fulfil the following roles during the construction:

1. Fulfil the role of site manager
2. Devise and supervise the Health and Safety Project
3. Supervise the materials and particularly their quantity, quality, and correct application
4. Liaise with the architect on how the works are progressing
5. Discuss with the architect and come to decisions on the many details that arise during the works

Fees and Costs: like architects technical architects can charge what they want although the rule of thumb for supervising the works is 30% of the total architect’s fees. Their main costs are the number of visits they make to the site and the intensity of their visits. In a typical villa project they should visit once a week and they will probably spend half a day on site. In addition they may have to spend the other half of the day communicating with other members of the team, solving problems, and sending reports.

Author: John Wolfendale
Bio: John is a founder of Eco Vida Homes and is passionate about bringing modern design and construction practices to Spain. He believes a home which is warm in winter and cool in summer is largely a matter of design and selective use of materials. He is British and a Chartered Surveyor with over 24 years experience living and working in Spain.