When it comes to building your dream home, knowing exactly who to trust with your vision is easier said than done. Not only are there numerous architecture firms and building companies, but there are actually different types of home designers!

The two most common are an architect or a building designer. Understanding the difference between the two can save you money and time, resulting in a seamless and stress-free project.


Residential architects are generally more qualified and more experienced at designing homes than building designers, but with that expertise, comes a higher price.

To be legally identified as an architect, a professional must have completed a degree in architecture, which translates to five years at university and two years of practical work, plus oral and written exams. They must also have the necessary liability insurances and be registered with the governing body of their state.

It is this last point that makes all the difference – if an architect isn’t registered, the number of years studying, or years of practical experience, will mean nothing.

The extensive experience of architects means they are usually best placed to deal with larger complex projects. In most states, they are required if the project is over three stories, or commissioned by the government. As architects study both the art and science of building design, they are able to invest lots of time in identifying solutions that satisfy your brief both aesthetically and functionally. As such, a great architect will take both a big-picture and a small-detail approach.

Engaging an architect can also help you ensure that your entire project complies with Australia’s building rules and regulations and increase the resale value of your home. Architecturally designed homes attract a premium due to their integration of sustainable or energy-efficient features, outstanding materials and unique floorplans.

Building Designers

A building designer should be able to do the same job as an architect, albeit with a little less finesse. They tend to have fewer qualifications, but as a result, are less expensive.

The pathway to becoming a building designer is varied – some ex-builders transition to this position, while others complete degrees in building design or architecture but never register with their governing body. However, in NSW, there are no registration or licensing requirements, which means technically, anyone can operate as a building designer.

Therefore, should you be looking for a building designer, it’s best to opt for someone who is a member of a professional association like the Building Designers Association of Australia (BDAA). This will demonstrate that they are able to perform a range of tasks within their framework.

A building designer’s background often means they have plenty of on-site experience and practical knowledge – especially if they are an ex-builder! Therefore, should you have a relatively straightforward build in mind, they can still provide a quality option.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you’re after in your new home. For something unique or complex, an architect is the way to go. But if you have a simple design in mind, a building designer could be the person for you.

Get in touch with the team at BCM Aust to find out who we recommend for your dream home.


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Get in touch with us today and book a meeting with our team to discuss your upcoming project and receive a tender application.

BCM Aust

M | 0421 117 084   E | info@bcmaust.com.au

PO Box 3174, Bellevue Hill 2023

BCM Aust

M | 0421 117 084

E | info@bcmaust.com.au

PO Box 3174, Bellevue Hill 2023