Architect or Designer or Draftsman: Who Should You Hire?

Architect or Designer or Draftsman: Who Should You Hire?

Learn the differences between an architect, a designer, and a draftsman so you can easily gauge which one you should hire for your renovation project.

Hiring an architect, a designer, or a draftsman will depend on the type of project you have. Each of these three can assist you in capturing your vision and rendering them in drawings that builders can use as visual guides during the building phase. Here’s a guide on the differences between these professions and how they can help you with your project through their experiences and professional skills. 


In Australia, those who want to pursue a career as an architect need to have at least 5 years of education, including 2 years of Master of Architecture gained from an accredited college or university. They then need to apply for a license that requires 2 years of experience in the industry. One year of the said experience should be in Australia and acquired after graduation. Australian architects need to register to the state or territory Architect’s Registration Board. Being licensed is crucial because licensed architects have legal responsibilities for the work that they produce. Some architects choose to specialise in one type of architectural project, although they should also have expertise in a wide variety of areas, including residential architecture and historical preservation.

Architects can assist you if your project requires inspections. You can also enlist the help of an architect if you need to secure a building permit approval. Commercial projects often have architects on hand to ensure that inspections and building permit approvals get adequately handled. Although some agencies don’t require architect approval for building projects, hiring an architect is still beneficial. You can hire an architect to ensure that you cover all your bases and that your project complies with all council requirements and won’t get flagged for violations. Homeowners’ associations may also require architect approval for some renovation projects.

Building Designer

Unlike architects, not all building designers in Australia need to have professional licenses but they will have a formal qualification such as a Complete Diploma in Building Design from TAFE or a Registered Training Organisation. Some areas, including Victoria, Tasmania, NSW and Queensland, require building designers to be registered. In these areas, the job description of an architect and a building designer may be the same, depending on the license that they possess.

Although building designers are not architects, they can perform some of the same functions that architects do. Just like architects, building designers can help you design structurally sound buildings and houses according to your vision of what your ideal building or house should look like. They can also help you draw up the paperwork you need to secure council approval for your building project. Most building designers are construction experts and have considerable knowledge of the different types of construction materials.

The best way to differentiate building designers is by looking at their academic qualifications. Most building designers obtain their education by taking courses offered by Technical And Further Education (TAFE), however, some may be architects that have not yet registered as one

Hiring a building designer is an excellent decision if you have an idea of how you want your dream building or house to look like but require an expert to render it into a feasible design. They can help ensure that the design you have in mind is viable for construction. One misconception about building designers is that they are cheap and that they produce fewer drawings. Building designers can put a lot of hours into their work, they may also have years of experience, making them more expensive to hire. However, more hours of work and experience will also translate into high-quality output that will benefit you. Generally a building designer will still charge less than a registered architect. 


The main responsibility of a draftsman is to provide working technical drawings of building projects. Although some may consider themselves as both draftsmen and building designers, there are noticeable differences between the roles of the two professions.

Draftsmen can offer architectural drafting services to clients even if they do not have licenses. The downside with this is it requires a draftsman to work under the direct supervision of a licensed building designer or architect. In some areas like Queensland, it is illegal for a draftsman to work directly with a client. In Brisbane, instead of offering drafting services directly to clients, draftsmen offer their drafting services through architectural firms. However, draftsmen can directly work with builders by providing them with the drawings that they need. 

Although most draftsmen in Australia obtained their education from TAFE, it is more common to acquire knowledge of technical drawings on the job. This means that a person who wants to become a draftsman can do so in as little as 1 to 2 years, whereas it may take up to 7 years to become a licensed architect.

A draftsman is your best option if you have a small project or renovation and you need clear drawings that your builder can use. Before hiring a draftsman, make sure that you know what you want and that your work in mind is possible. Although more people hire a draftsman because they are more affordable than architects, be sure that the drawings of the draftsman you’re hiring will reflect every detail of the construction process. You also need to ensure that the specification in the drawings will adhere to the mandated standards of your local council.

Final words

Whatever project you have in mind, be sure to hire a qualified professional to assist you. Screen each candidate, ensure they possess the proper licenses and look up proof of their experience and examples of previous projects. At Dreamspace, we have already done this so you don’t have to. We can connect you with top design professionals who have been pre-screened to ensure they have the credentials and experience to meet your project needs. Our technology enables us to expertly match and then present the best suited design professionals to customers based on their specific project brief. Get your project started now with a free design quote. 

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