What is a Building Designer?


A building designer is a professional who specialises in designing functional and aesthetically pleasing buildings, focusing on residential and small commercial projects. They blend creativity, technical knowledge, and an understanding of construction methods to deliver practical, cost-effective solutions. Building designers are pivotal in the architectural landscape, providing a bridge between visionary designs and practical construction.

The Role of a Building Designer

Creative Design Solutions

Building designers are responsible for creating innovative and customised design solutions. They work closely with clients to understand their needs and preferences, translating these into tangible plans that maximise space, functionality, and visual appeal.

Technical Expertise

Unlike draftsmen, who primarily focus on producing technical drawings, building designers and Architects possess a comprehensive understanding of both design principles and construction techniques. This dual expertise allows them to create designs that are not only visually compelling but also structurally sound and feasible to build.

Project Management

Building designers and architects can have the capacity to oversee the project from concept to completion. They coordinate with other professionals, such as engineers and builders, ensuring that the project adheres to the design specifications, budget, and timeline.

Compliance with Regulations

An essential part of a building designer’s role is ensuring that designs comply with local building codes and regulations. This compliance is crucial for obtaining necessary approvals and avoiding legal issues during construction.


An architect working on a new build draft with a pencil and ruler

Skills and Qualifications

Educational Background

Registered building designers typically have an advanced diploma or university bachelor qualification in architectural design. Many hold degrees or diplomas in building design and must be qualified to be a registered practitioner in Victoria.

Licensing and Certification

While the specific requirements vary by region, many building designers are required to obtain licenses or certifications. Membership in professional bodies, such as the Building Designers Association, can also indicate a commitment to industry standards and continuous professional development.

Technical Proficiency

Proficiency in design software, such as AutoCAD, Revit or ArchiCAD, is essential for creating detailed plans and 3D models. Building designers must also stay updated with the latest industry trends and technologies.

Why Choose a Building Designer?

Cost-Effective Services

Building designers can provide more affordable services compared to architects, making them an excellent choice for budget-conscious clients. They deliver high-quality designs without the premium price tag and when selecting the right practitioner, the outcome can surpass expectations.

Practical and Buildable Designs

Building designers focus on creating designs that are visually appealing and highly buildable.  Homes designed by building designers can be easier to construct, as they more often consider practical aspects such as buildability and cost efficiency. This approach helps prevent unnecessary complications and cost overruns during construction.

Personalised Service

With a focus on residential and small commercial projects, building designers offer personalised service and flexibility. They work closely with clients to ensure the final design aligns perfectly with their vision and needs.

The Design Process

Initial Consultation

The typical design process begins with an initial consultation to discuss the client’s requirements, budget, and site conditions. This stage is crucial for understanding the project scope and setting expectations.

Concept Development

Based on the consultation, the building designer develops initial design concepts. These concepts are presented to the client for feedback and revisions.

Detailed Design and Documentation

Once the concept is approved, the building designer creates detailed plans and documentation. This includes floor plans, elevations, and construction details, which are used for obtaining approvals and guiding the construction process.

Construction Phase

During construction, the building designer may be involved in project oversight, ensuring that the build aligns with the design specifications and addressing any issues that arise.


What is the primary role of a building designer? A building designer creates functional and aesthetically pleasing designs, focusing on practical and buildable solutions for residential and small commercial projects.

How does a building designer differ from an architect? Architects and building designers basically perform the same tasks and roles, particularly in Victoria.  An architect does have more training and they are generally more qualified in project management and legal compliance.

What qualifications do building designers need? Building designers typically have degrees or diplomas in architectural design, along with proficiency in design software.

Are building designers licensed? Licensing requirements vary by region, but in Victoria to submit for building permits the builing design must be registered with the VBA.

Are building designers cost-effective? Building designers can offer more affordable services than architects, but generally it comes down to expertise and experience.

What is the benefit of using a building designer for residential projects? Building designers provide personalised, practical, and buildable design solutions, ensuring projects are completed efficiently and within budget.


Building designers play a crucial role in the construction industry, offering a blend of creativity, technical expertise, and practical knowledge. They provide personalised design solutions that ensure projects are both beautiful and buildable. Whether you are planning a new home, a renovation, or a small commercial building, a building designer can help bring your vision to life efficiently and affordably.

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