Building Designer, Architect, or Draftsman: What’s the Difference?


When it comes to planning your next construction project, selecting the right professional is crucial. While a building designer, architect or draftsman each play important roles, building designers often offer a blend of creativity, practicality, and cost-efficiency that make them an ideal choice. Here’s why:

Understanding the Roles

Architects: Architects are licensed professionals with extensive education in design, theory, and project management. They excel in creating innovative and complex designs but can be more costly due to their broad skill set and regulatory requirements.

Draftsmen: Draftsmen focus on creating detailed technical drawings based on existing designs. They are skilled in producing precise plans but typically do not engage in the broader scope of design or project oversight.

Building Designers: Building designers blend the creative and technical aspects of both architects and draftsmen. They specialise in residential and small commercial projects, emphasising practicality and buildability. They ensure designs are aesthetically pleasing while being mindful of construction methods and costs.

Advantages of Choosing a Building Designer

1. Cost-Effectiveness: Building designers can offer more cost effective services compared to architects. They provide detailed, practical design solutions without the premium costs associated with registered architect services.

2. Practicality and Buildability: Building designers are generally technically focused as well as diligent in creating designs that are beautiful. They consider local building codes, construction methods, and materials, reducing the likelihood of cost overruns and project delays.

3. specialised Expertise: While architects handle a wide range of projects, building designers often specialise in residential and small commercial buildings. This specialisation ensures they have the in-depth knowledge and experience to deliver tailored solutions in their niche.

4. Flexibility and Personalisation: Building designers often work more closely with clients, offering personalised service and flexibility throughout the design process. This close collaboration helps in aligning the project with the client’s vision and budget.

5. Regulatory Compliance: Building designers are well-versed in local building regulations and standards. They ensure all designs comply with these requirements, streamlining the approval process and reducing potential legal issues.

Key Considerations When Choosing a Building Designer

Experience and Portfolio: Look for a building designer with a robust portfolio that demonstrates their ability to handle projects similar to yours. Experience in your specific type of project can significantly impact the outcome.

Communication and Collaboration: Choose a building designer who communicates effectively and is open to your ideas and feedback. A collaborative approach ensures your needs and preferences are fully integrated into the design.

Reputation and References: Check references and reviews to gauge the building designer’s reputation. Positive feedback from previous clients is a good indicator of reliability and quality.

Accreditations and Memberships: Verify if the building designer is accredited by relevant industry bodies. Membership in professional organisations can indicate a commitment to maintaining high standards and staying updated with industry trends.


While architects and draftsmen bring their unique strengths to construction projects, building designers often present a balanced, practical, and cost-effective option. Their focus on buildability and streamlined designs makes them an excellent choice for those looking to achieve high-quality results without excessive complexity or budget overruns. When planning your next project, consider a building designer to bring your vision to life efficiently and affordably.

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For additional insights into what a building designer, architect or draftsman can do, visit Houzz.

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