Should I choose a building designer or architect for my project?

What’s the difference between a Building Designer and an Architect and what do you need to consider when making the choice?

When building or renovating your home you’re going to want to bring in the right professionals.  Not only does it ease the stress on you, but it’ll pave the way for smooth sailing throughout the duration of the project, knowing your property is in experienced hands.

In Australia, there are three main professions associated with the design and drawing of homes:

  • Building designers
  • Architects
  • Draftspeople

(This is excluding the myriad of additional consultants you may or may not need, such as structural engineers, private certifiers, town planners etc).

Believe it or not, you are not legally required to use anyone to design your home in Australia, whereas elsewhere in the world, you must use a designer with specific qualifications.

Having said that, a home that has been professionally designed to address all the elements of its particular site will provide a more enjoyable and ultimately a better financial investment for your future. Your design is bound to go faster and smoother in the hands of a professional, resulting in the construction of a home that will stand longer and stronger, housing and serving you and your family for years to come.

Depending on the skills and qualifications of individual practitioners, the distinction between building designers and architects can be a bit murky.

Overall, the main differences between what an Architect can do as opposed to a Building Designer is that an Architect can submit and sign off on projects more than 3 levels and a basement as well as do contract administration. A Building Designer are specialists in low to medium density projects and can offer the same services in that respect as an Architect.

Building designers and architects are both employed to design buildings and they share many common skills offering similar services if you’re looking to build or significantly renovate a house.

So, what is a building designer?

Many people are familiar with the concept of an architect, but not so familiar with building designers.

According to the Building Designers Association Australia (BDAA), it is the job of a Building Designer to design your dream home; but to realistic, legal, functional, and sustainable parameters. A Building Designer can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your building site or your existing home, depending on whether you’re looking at building from the ground up or simply making renovations. Based on this information, they can then discuss with you how your desired and required outcomes can best be achieved.

A building designer is a highly skilled, endlessly creative and sustainably innovative building industry professional; one who might apply their considerable, carefully honed skills to residential, commercial, industrial and institutional designs. Building designers thoroughly and consistently study their trade throughout their careers, always keeping up to date with both changes in building designs and styles, along with the laws and codes that govern their construction.

Quality building designers, like Perfect Square Design, have extensive experience in math, physical science and computer-aided drafting are prepared to alter plans as they go and be ready to revise drafts depending on a client’s need.

There are 18 classes of registration for Design Practitioners, including Design Practitioner (Building design low rise), and Design Practitioner (Building design medium rise).

At Perfect Square Design, we can step you through what they mean for your project and how we can help.

So, should I choose a building designer or an architect for my project?

When it comes to new builds and renovations, including duplexes and townhouses, it really is a case of horses for courses.  Both suitably qualified building designers and architects can do the job and will typically consider the site and make the most of elements such as light, surroundings, form and materials to maximise the design impact and overall result.

Some would argue, however, that the approach of a building designer is often more practical, balancing architectural design principles, aesthetics and functionality with cost-effectiveness and ease of construction.  Many people also consider them to offer more value and affordability.

It is also good to keep in mind that not all building designers or architects will offer the same level of expertise, creativity and level of service.  The most important thing to do is take the time to chat with a number of different professionals to see what they offer so you can find out which approach and individual service offering is the best fit for you and your project.

What to ask building designers and architects to help you decide

When talking to building designers and architects, here are a few questions you may want to ask:

  • How much experience have they had in designing builds similar to yours, and can they show you examples of their work and testimonials of recent clients?
  • How flexible are they with making changes, and how quickly can they respond?
  • How familiar are they with your local council’s requirements?
  • Can they take care of all stages of the design process, from concept through to build, especially documentation and approvals?
  • What is their track record for getting development applications (DAs) approved?
  • How does the design process work? What do they take care of for you?
  • Who will be doing and overseeing the designs?

Designing a new home or renovation is a very personal thing, so another important factor to consider is how comfortable you are with the person or team you are dealing with.  Here at Perfect Square Design, for instance, we are leading building designers and offer our clients an end-to-end personalised service that makes the whole design process from concept through to build as stress-free and simple as possible, with 24/7 client access to our design portal so they can keep track of progress at all times.

We also take care of all the documentation and help clients find the ideal builder which saves them time, helps keep their project on budget and results in them being more confident of having a superior build outcome.

Best of all, as so many of our clients have seen, you can expect a spectacular architectural design from the right building designer.

To find out more about why a building designer could be the smarter professional choice for your next design project, give the Perfect Square Design team a call today.