Architect or Building Designer or Draftsman?

Choosing the right person for your building project depends on the experience level of the person you are hiring to help you deliver your construction project successfully. Whilst all three professions may have some similarities, there are in fact great differences between them. And if you ignore the differences between the professions, you may end up compromising your project. A construction project quite often involves various disciplines in the industry putting their minds together to help deliver a complete building successfully. There is a lot of money involved, and its in your best interest to decide who should help deliver your building project successfully.

Choosing the Architect

The architect, is a person who often is your main point of contact throughout your building project. Architects quite often fall into the role as the negotiator between all disciplines involved in the project – planners, engineers, councils, certifiers, builders, and the client to name a few. To make matters more complex, your architect is commonly also the designer of your building project. Architects typically have enough knowledge about building design, project feasibility, planning limitations, approvals processes, spacial complexity, material suitability, colour schemes, construction details, competitive tender processes, construction administration, complexities during construction, valuing progress payments to your builder, determining practical completion….phew…are we done yet? Yes, there’s plenty to know for an architect! To gain this much knowledge requires YEARS of training after their university degree. A registered architect is usually one that has reached a high level of experience and plays an executive role in the delivery of building projects. It is for this reason, that the title “architect” is protected by the governing authority in almost all countries, and should not be mis-used in the industry.

Choosing the Building Designer

The building designer is, as the title states, a person who helps design your building project. Unlike architects (who are required to be licensed), building designers are required to be licensed in only certain states throughout Australia. Some building designers possess expertise in construction and materials as well. Many are graduates of specific TAFE courses.

Choosing the Draftsman

The draftsman, is a person who provides technical drawings of building projects. A draftsman does not require a license to offer drafting services. Because of this, a draftsman should work under the instruction of a licensed architect or a building designer. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Although the average draftsman in Australia is likely to be TAFE qualified, many have learned technical drawing on the job. This means that becoming a draftsman can take as little as 1-2 years. The services of a draftsman generally costs less than an architect – but you get what you pay for – without the expertise of an architect to help deliver your construction projects successfully.

Conclusion

Whilst all of the professions above may be able to produce pretty drawings, keep in mind that it takes more than just pretty drawings to help deliver building projects successfully. And pretty drawings prepared prematurely quite often don’t get built! If in doubt, always give yourself the opportunity to ask an architect for free. Remember, at the end of the day, you get what you pay for in the industry!