Different climatic zones and implications in job finding


To start with, I'm very new to this so please bear with me (as an architect and as a user on this forum).

I'm an architect from India who's graduated in the August of 2016. I then moved to the United Arab Emirates (or Dubai for those who aren't aware of this country) where I proceeded to start my career as a Junior architect doing a fair bit of drafting and learning to work the details before moving on to the site as an Architectural Inspector.

For multiple reasons I had decided to move to North America (probably Canada). Now the question is should I somehow manage to get a Permanent Residence VISA, would getting a job with a Bachelors Degree and 2-3 years of experience in this part of the world (India and/or the Gulf) would suffice for getting myself a job? The concern arises as a result of the extreme difference in the climates and consequently the construction materials and techniques involved. Perhaps more knowledge about working with wood and in the HVAC systems employed would be required?

Moreover, I hear getting a license in North America takes 5 to 7 years of practice (and then perhaps you make an application followed by a test?). Is it really worth the while? Will I be drafting away all these years or have any actual input, design or otherwise?

And with that I end my long list of questions. Thanks!

Feb 9, 18 12:12 pm
Non Sequitur

Like I mentioned in another reply, the education standards vary greatly for foreign trained architects and, given that you only have two years and are unlicensed in UAE, you will not qualify for reciprocity in Canada.  Furthermore, you will need to submit your degree to the CACB for compliance with the Canadian curriculum prior to registering as an intern with any of the provincial boards. 

Once your academic credits (equivalent to an accredited M.Arch) are accepted and you register as an intern, you can start to log hours (roughly 3 to 5 years' worth depending on the work) and write the 4 ExACs exams.  This is, very quickly, how becoming a licensed architect in Canada works however, you are still employable granted you can convince an office your skills are applicable.

As for the differences in materials and climate, yes, there are loads of differences between the UAE and NA.  For example, we don't rely on slaves.  Since you're likely unfamiliar with our more stringent codes and construction practices, you're likely to enter an office at a very junior level and work up from there learning appropriate detailing and drafting.  How you proceed from there is up to you and you don't have to accept staying stuck in a CAD monkey job if you don't want to.  Plenty of offices expect their staff to run all phases of projects including CA and client management. You just need to find the right place.

Hope this helps.

Feb 9, 18 12:46 pm

Thanks for both the replies and the information. I guess I should get started and see how it goes. I don't mind 3 to 5 years of hard work, but I'll have to see what my degree's worth. And I don't have a Master's degree which will likely affect this.


BTW how does working without a CACB certification work? I mean without submitting my degree starting my way towards the whole process. I get the feeling not many employers would agree to such a thing and if they do, they'd probably lower my responsibilities.

Non Sequitur

Aldea, you are still employable, granted all VISA issues are resolved, however, if your long term goal is to become a licensed architect in Canada, you need to know if you'll require a M.Arch first. You can only log hours towards a license once you've registered with one of the provincial organizations. Call the CACB and ask.

I'd pick a warm climate.

Feb 9, 18 1:52 pm

Yep. I live in a colder part of Canada and our code-prescriptive baseline for wall insulation is minimum R-27 effective (not nominal). Glazing (dual, low-E, argon) to a maximum of about 29% of wall area. There are ways around this but that's the code baseline. It's very limiting in a lot of ways. And very expensive.


What ever happened to simply wearing an extra sweater...


Then the utility companies couldn't sell their power to our neighbors to the south, for more money.


I could and will depending on whether or not I make it to Canada. As for the regulations, I guess I could get used to that as long it plays out in the direction of green architecture.


It doesn't really. The only clients doing it are government, and that's only because they're being forced to by legislation. 99.5% of private clients have never even heard of passivhaus, for example.


In fact, clients tend to fight even having to meet the bare minimum. Because of new energy codes, buildings are now required to be much more efficient than ever before. Clients aren't used to having to pay for good glazing and 5" of insulation. Thankfully the economy where I am is healthy, because meeting the energy code is about a 12% upcharge in construction cost compared to the same building, built to previous code. Good luck convincing a client to do better when they don't have to, and are already bitter about the extra costs. Having said that, we are quite creative at solving these issues. We're not a lazy bunch for the most part.


Sounds like everywhere else. Can't blame people for caring about themselves, but I do blame people for not seeing the bigger picture.

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