architect vs building designer – whats the difference?

Potential clients often ask me “what’s the difference between an architect and a building designer”?

On the face of it, you might think there’s not much difference at all. Both professions are regulated by government bodies and are trained in preparing plans and specifications for building projects, however if you look in to it, you’ll find that the level of training and experience required to become a registered architect is vastly different to that required to obtain a building designer’s licence.

In Queensland, building designers are licenced by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission. For the basic Building Design – Low Rise Licence, the minimum qualifications are completion of a  TAFE course (Certificate IV in Residential Drafting) with as little as 730 hours of tuition and a minimum of two years experience working in the field.  

Obtaining registration with the Queensland Board of Architects is a three step process requiring completion of a degree course in architecture; completion of  2 years supervised practical experience; and finally passing further written and oral board exams. The process can take 8-10 years, and involves thousands of ours of study. Once registered, architects are also required to undertake Continuing Professional Development to ensure their skills and knowledge are kept up to date.

“So, how does all that additional training benefit me?” they ask, “I just want some house plans drawn up, I already know what I want”.

Whilst a competent building designer will be able to produce a set of plans from your ideas, a good architect can do much more. The additional years of training & experience gives the architect the skills to properly analyse the brief and to re-define it if necessary. We look at the big picture, ask a lot of questions & consider a range of options before settling on any one scheme. This often results in a solution far better that the client ever expected.

Think of it this way; it’s like the difference between a doctor and a registered nurse. Both are highly trained and are licenced to practice. Both can administer drugs and give care, but only the doctor has the additional training and qualifications to properly diagnose your condition and prescribe a treatment.

“How do I know if an architect can help me?”

A simple meeting with an architect is the best place to start. At Urban Solutions Architects we offer no-cost, obligation free advice to anyone planning to build or renovate. Drop us an email via the contacts link or call to arrange an appointment.

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    Urban Solutions Architects is a small, client focused practice providing architectural services to builders, developers and individual home owners. We provide services in Architecture, Interior Design and Urban Design to the Brisbane and surrounding areas.
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