By continuing to browse this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read our privacy policy

Lead Architect (Internal for UNOPS personnel)

Nairobi (Kenya)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Nairobi (Kenya)
  • Grade: LICA-10, Local Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Architecture, Building and Property Management
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2021-08-08

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.

Background Information - Job-specific

Background Information – Kenya Multi Country Office (KEMC)

Located in Nairobi, Kenya, the Kenya Multi Country Office manages a growing portfolio of engagements, including associated strategic and operational risks. The KEMC sub-region currently consists of an established Operation Centre in Nairobi/Kenya which manages a portfolio of engagements in multiple countries in East and South Africa. This includes transactional projects in partnership with the Nairobi based UN Agencies, UN-Habitat and UNEP, and multiple ‘operational’ projects in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and island states.

Background Information - Job-specific

The Technical Services Unit (TSU) office is based in Nairobi, and has recently been structured as a standalone ‘project’ within UNOPS.  The TSU engages in multidisciplinary design, assessments and advisory work, and manages relationships with other technical stakeholders such as specialist design firms for high risk structures.  Recently the team has expanded its offering to include consulting services such as assessments, feasibility studies and advisory services on a wide range of infrastructure types.  We want to continue and further expand technical services to our partners and clients at a wider field of operations.

The TSU currently has 15 permanent and 40+ retainer personnel including architects, civil engineers, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, quantity surveyors, GIS and specialist infrastructure advisors (for dams, ICT and biomedical works) and CAD technicians as well as support personnel.  Current projects are underway / imminent in Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, ESwatini, Zambia, Mozambique and Cameroon.  During 2020, upwards of 70 requisitions were signed for work on the African continent.

Functional Responsibilities

Under the supervision of the TSU Project Manager, the Lead Architect will be  responsible for overall  architectural designs and technical requirements within the unit. S/he will work along project managers, clients and stakeholders and will perform the following tasks:

Technical leadership and review

Project Monitoring and Reporting 

Coordination and liaison 

Knowledge management and innovation 

Operational and logistical support

Project and Budget Management:

  • Provide technical leadership on all design elements for infrastructure projects and work undertaken by the TSU.  

  • Responsible for preparing and monitoring the work plans for the TSU.

  • Carrying out any relevant administrative and operational efforts of the Unit as requested by the TSU Manager.

Project Development:

  • Participate and provide advice on business development efforts as necessary, including liaison with potential clients, preparation of preliminary cost estimates, preliminary design documentation, and other tasks as necessary.

Infrastructure Design and Development:

  • Responsible for the preparation of proposals for new projects.

  • Responsible for the relevant preliminary planning and design documentation for infrastructure projects.

  • Responsible for the revision and oversight of the department design work for infrastructure projects;

  • Responsible for the timely production of conceptual and detailed drawings for architectural, structural, electrical, sanitation, mechanical etc. for vertical structures in accordance with the UNOPS Design Planning Manual and/or applicable engineering code.

  • Responsible for reviewing and certifying the Architectural drawings, BoQs and specifications produced by the TSU technical team and/or private consultants, in order to ensure compliance with the UNOPS Design Planning Manual and/or applicable engineering code and TSU drawing standards;

  • Responsible for guidance to structural, mechanical, electrical and specialist engineers to ensure a quality product; the integration of all designs and that final packages of information are complete and coherent.

  • Carrying out site inspections and assessments as needed and preparing subsequent reports.

Contract Management and Procurement:

  • Close monitoring and supervision of all components of the design services contracts as part of the assigned projects to be undertaken for the different Project Managers.

  • Assist the TSU Manager in providing substantial advice in the tendering process for construction-related contracts, including technical evaluation of significant contract awards.

Personnel Management:

  • Support the TSU Manager to manage and oversee the technical activities of the TSU

  • Responsible for organizing and co-ordinating design team and external consultant meetings.

  • Proactively sharing technical knowledge and disseminating technical best practice to the personnel in TSU.


  • Advise on best environmental practices, on streamlining UN sustainable procurement and infrastructure practices into TSU processes and controls during construction and mitigate environmental impacts of the works Shall actively engage in knowledge sharing for the improvement of the design unit professional skills

  • Stay abreast of industry best practices with respect to the built environment.


  • Advanced University Degree in Architecture or equivalent is required;
  • University Degree (bachelor’s degree / first level) in Architecture or equivalent with a combination of 2 additional years of relevant professional experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree;


  • 5 years of experience in Architectural field is required;

  • Previous experiences in developing countries and knowledge in the country context related field is desired;

  • Experience of working with UN or other  Humanitarian/Development agencies (UNOPS) will be highly regarded;

  • Experience working on International /local projects in conflict/disaster prone areas will be preferred;

  • Experience working on specialized structures is desired.


  • Fluency in English (writing, reading and speaking) is required. 


  • Registered member with the 'Board of Registration of Architect and Quantity Surveyors of Kenya' (BORAQS) and holder of a valid practicing License is desirable.


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.(for levels IICA-2, IICA-3, LICA Specialist- 10, LICA Specialist-11, NOC, NOD, P3, P4 and above)
Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.
Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.
Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns. Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

  • Please note this vacancy is only open to personnel on a UNOPS regular contract
  • This is a local post. As such, it is only open to Kenyan Nationals or persons with valid residence permits
  • The position is based in a family duty station.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: Local Individual Contractor Agreement Contract level: Local ICA Specialist 10
Contract duration ‘Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance.’

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: 

Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

What does it mean?

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.