Who should you use? Architect, building designer or draftsperson? [This is Part 2]
How do you choose, and are specific project types and budgets a guide of who you should be working with?
This is Episode #210, and in it, I’ll be answering a common question I hear from homeowners.
How do you know you don’t just need a draftsperson or building designer, but you should use an architect instead?
And when should you definitely use an architect vs other industry professionals? Or when you can use a draftsperson, or even go straight to a builder?
When I speak to homeowners about this question of who they should use for their project, I know many would like a formulaic response that makes it really simple to know which professional you should choose.
And any time I see it asked in online forums as well, people will answer it like there’s a simple black and white process to choose.
However, with the years I’ve been in this industry, I just know that because the process of building and renovating, even in the smaller and partial projects, is such a personal one. And I also know that people value things differently, have different priorities and values, and so it’s not as simple as saying “if you’re doing project ‘x’, then you should choose professional ‘y’”.
However, there is certainly a structure you can use to guide your decision-making. And in the last episode, I took you through a few of the first steps of that structure so you can think about your needs and how that might help you determine who you’ll need.
In that episode, I talked about the difference between the different design professionals you can work with. The differences largely relate to their training and qualifications, and the way they physically approach the process of design – vs simply drawing floor plans for you.
I also discussed the range in how they charge for their services, and that architects won’t always be the most expensive to use.
And I shared the scope of services that a design professional can provide, and the fact that even within the same design profession, such as architects, you’ll find those who will deliver all parts of a full service, and those who don’t want to, or will not do a great job of delivering all parts.
Now, I mentioned in that episode as well, that designing a home is not the same as drawing a home. And it’s also worth mentioning that project management and overall coordination and communication through a project requires a very different skillset to designing a new home or renovation.
And often when I hear disappointment from homeowners in their work with a design professional, it’s because they sourced someone based on their design skills, but didn’t do effective due diligence on their project management skills.
They’ve got a fantastic design, but the project has fallen over in execution and coordination of the overall process. Or vice versa.
So, remember this when you’re interviewing design professionals, especially when thinking about the range of things you might be hoping they’ll support you in.
Now, let’s look at some other ways of determining whether to use an architect, building designer, or draftsperson on your project – or even just going straight to a builder.
And I’m going to dive right into the most common factor I see people often use to decide.
Here’s some questions to ask yourself as a framework for deciding who you should use in your home design.
Firstly, does your project budget make the decision for you?
There is a much-held belief that if you have a small budget, an architect is off limits, and that architects aren’t interested in projects unless they’re over a certain budget threshold.
Next question: are you making structural changes?
If you’re doing a project where you plan to knock out a wall or two, cut holes in your existing house, add on some space or even another storey, there’s only one professional who can legally advise on structural design.
What about if you have tricky planning regulations or heritage aspects? Or challenging site conditions?
Some sites and projects can have a raft of challenging aspects. It may be that your local council will have specific requirements that will take some skill and experience to navigate.
Another question to ask yourself is will your intended project impact the functionality of your home?
I think it’s fair to say that pretty much every renovation will impact the functionality of your home. Even adding a shed or carport will do this, and yet can be seen as a simple job that anyone can do, because it’s separate to the house itself.
What if you’re wanting to do your project little by little, across a number of stages?
I find many homeowners, especially those renovating, may start with needing a kitchen renovated, but know that down the track, they’ll be doing bigger projects in the home.
What if all you want help with is drawing up something you’ve already designed?
If you’ve been working away on your own design for a while now, and come up with something you love, and can’t see it needs any changes, then my suggestion would be to not go to an architect.
Now, can you use an architect or other type of designer for partial services?
I mentioned in the previous episode that it’s important to think about the scope of services you need help with in your project.
So who should you use?
Now, I’m always upfront about this.
I don’t have sufficient certainty around the professional performance of ALL architects to have the view that you should only use an architect for your project.
Generally, however, I do believe that a great architect will be better than a great version of any other design professional.
But because I don’t have sufficient certainty around the abilities of ALL architects, and all design professionals to be frank with you, I would much rather teach you what to look for, the questions to ask, how to understand great design, and empower you to make the best choice for yourself and your project.
You may be disappointed that I’ve not given you a black and white way of making this selection for your project. However, when it comes to you, your home, and your hopes and dreams for the lifestyle it will help you lead – however big or small your project plans – it’s simply not black and white.
It’s personal, you’re dealing with people, and so much of it is about the success of relationships built on trust and open communication. And those relationships can live and die on the training, experience and professionalism of the design professional you’re working with to appropriately support and guide you.
Learn the framework you can use to find the right professional for you, whether that’s an architect, building designer, draftsperson, interior designer or builder.
Listen to the episode now.
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The top reasons to not use an architect >>> Read the blog here
Not all designers are created equal | Here’s how to choose the right designer for you >>> Listen to Episode #73 here
What should be in an architect’s quote | Top 10 Tips and your design quote checklist >>> Listen to Episode #74 here
Learn how to create a design brief to discuss with potential designers >>> Listen to Episode #196 here
What does an architect do? Shaun Lockyer explains >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-episode-1-what-does-an-architect-do-shaun-lockyer/
What does a building designer do? Aaron Wailes explains >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-episode-3-what-does-a-building-designer-do-aaron-wailes/
Home Design Masterclass >>> LEARN MORE HERE