The Difference Between Building Designers, Draftsmen and Architects

Whether you’re building a new home or renovating an existing one, the project will require drawing upon the skills of a variety of experts to make the plan come together. 

But who do you go to?

With so many different roles and titles involved in the overall process, it’s easy to experience confusion as to who exactly does what. Not all titles are created equal when it comes to the end product and licensing. Although Building Designers, Draftsmen and Architects work in the same industry, there are differences to each job description which sets them apart from each other. Here’s what each one entails: 

Building Designers 

Building Designers have a diverse background, usually within the building industry. This provides them with a practical understanding of construction that can really become an asset in terms of the planning and what can and cannot be realistically achieved for your home.

In most instances, a building designer has studied building design or Architecture and are qualified to work on low to medium density residential projects (under 4 stories), commercial projects and also industrial projects, such as factories, motels, offices, restaurants, retail or warehouses. 

A building designer will most often cost far less than an Architect and are generally engaged by the client prior to the design stage. The client can then oversee the project as opposed to an Architect, or utilize a professional that offers that service (some building designers do project manager as well). When choosing your Building Designer, ensure you work with one that is registered and aligned with the Building Designers Association of Australia.


Generally speaking, draftsmen and building designers are one and the same but a draftsman may not have formal qualifications and accreditation in building design or Architecture.


Architects design buildings of all types – from residential and commercial properties, to hospitals and high-rise skyscrapers. A qualified Architect generally must complete five years of study at university, followed by two years of practical work, before sitting an oral and written examination. When they are qualified, they can work on residential projects, high-rise buildings and urban planning. This means that they most often cost substantially more than a building designer, and may only take on projects that they can oversee from start to finish – provided it is registered with the governing architectural body. It is unlawful for an unregistered contractor operating in any State to call themselves an Architect.

As you can see, Building Designers, Draftsmen and Architects might perform similar functions under certain circumstances, but there are important differences such as cost and scope of the projects they oversee that set them apart from each other, particularly when deciding which of them to work with as part of your home renovation. 

Simply put – make sure you’re working with the right one, or get in touch with us here at Action Plans if you’d like more information about how we can assist with your project!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *