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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle Glasson

Do I Need a Building Designer or an Architect?

Well, it depends! Let's start by looking at the difference between a Building Designer and an Architect to help you work out which is best for your renovation or new home build project.

3D render of a Hamptons style home
Hamptons style home design by Neate Projects

About Building Designers

A TAFE qualified Building Designer (formally known as an Architectural Draftsperson) can create a design and provide all documentation, often including realistic 3D render drawings and walk through videos, for a residential home up to 2 storey and 1 level underground (garage, media room, storage). ⁠

These plans will be drawn ready for Council approval or Complying Development Certificate approval.⁠

Typically the Building Designer’s role ends at the Approvals stage and the project is then handed over to the Builder to take forward into Construction. This normally means the Fees to get to approval are cheaper than an Architect. Some Builders prefer to then provide their own Engineer, Surveyor etc that they regularly work with to finalise the design ready for Construction.⁠

Coastal theme white weatherboard duplex rendered image
Cronulla Duplex by Jamisa Architects


A degree-qualified Architect provides everything above, but can extend on the size and scale of the home above 2 storeys to more unique or substantial homes. They can also cover all commercial, industrial, and civil projects. ⁠

Architects can typically provide greater innovative, bespoke design solutions for a truly unique home or challenging build site. ⁠

They can also be involved from start to finish of the project assisting with the initial design and documentation for approval including various consultants being Surveyors, Engineers, Landscape Designs. They can assist with Contract Administration between the Clients and Builder or arrange a Project Manager to run the project with the Architect overseeing the job to completion. This involves additional costs and the Architect typically has a fee proposal provided for each step that they are required for helping the Client with whatever they need along the way.⁠

If you're not sure where to start, we are happy to recommend either a building designer or architect, depending on your unique needs. ⁠

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