Building a House – Should You Hire an Architect or Building Designer?


Meeting with Architect

The next step after choosing a location and buying land to build your house is getting an Architect or Certified Building Designer to design your house. What is the difference between an Architect and Building Designer?

To start with, both the Architect and Building Designer can design residential houses, and they can help clients to get their house plans approved by the city authorities. However, you have to note that an Architect is a highly qualified professional whose role is not limited to building design but providing value to the client. With that said, you will find different types of architects in the construction industry. An Architect is somebody who completed a 5 year Bachelor Degree in Architecture at a recognized university or tertiary institution. Upon completing a university degree, this individual will work as an AIT (Architect in Training), and later on if the person wants to practice as a licensed or registered architect, they are required to write and pass exams by a professional body. Being a Registered Architect has many benefits in that you can open an Architectural practice, and you will be preferred for high value projects. In some countries, specific building design contracts (e.g. government jobs) are only open to registered architects.

If a residential design consultant is not an Architect, then this consultant is either an Architectural Technician, Architectural Technologist or Building Designer. A person may hold a Diploma or Degree in any of these courses but that does not qualify the individual to be an Architect.

In choosing a building design consultant, you have to find out if the individual has certification or not. It’s less risky to hire experienced residential design consultants who hold a Diploma/Degree in Architectural Technology, Architectural Design or Building Design.

This brings us to another group of design consultants – uncertified building designers. These consultants acquired their knowledge and experience through on-job training. They either worked a number of years in a drawing office or they are self-taught, but they what they lack is certification. If this type of consultant has a good track record and recommended by many people, there is no reason why you should not hire them. The advantage of hiring uncertified but experienced building designers is that they charge a much lower rate than certified professionals. On the other hand, Registered Architects are the most expensive.

As a summary, the following is a list of residential home design specialists that you can hire. The design fees (or hourly charge) should decrease as you go down the list:

  1. Registered Architect (Very expensive)
  2. Architect in Training (Expensive)
  3. Architectural Technician, Architectural Technologist ( Less Expensive)
  4. Certified Building Designer (Affordable)
  5. Uncertified Building Designer (Cheap Rate)


Consultant’s Charging Options

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