Differences Between an Architect and a Designer
An architect is different from an architectural designer. A person using the term architect must have graduated with Bachelor of Architecture degree and had at least three years of field experience before they can call themselves an architect. They will be registered with the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB) and must re-register every five years, providing evidence they remain competent in their work. A registered architect is also a Licensed Building Practitioner.
An architectural designer does not automatically obtain Licensed Building Practitioner status, so if your job requires restricted building work, you will need to choose one which is an LBP. Like an architect, they also have architectural related qualifications, but have not been able or are unwilling to fulfil the requirements to register with the NZRAB.
Should I Use an Architect or an Architectural Designer?
This depends on your building project. If you are wanting a complicated renovation done or a unique show home built, then an architect is your best bet. If you are wanting a simple renovation or new residential home, then an architectural designer would work well. An architectural designer is most probably going to charge less than an architect for their services too.
Tips on Choosing the Best Architect or Designer for Your Building Project
Once you have decided which type of design professional to use, then you need to choose the right person for your job. Before you meet with your short list of potential candidates, do any legwork required. This includes getting a Project Information Memorandum or PIM, knowing exactly what you’d like done and your wants verses your needs.
It is also very important to let your design professional know your budget right from the start. This is because they will design your job based upon what you have requested them to design, not upon the cost to build it. To avoid costly redesign of your plans, let them know the maximum you are prepared to pay for the entire construction and decorating aspects. If your design work will cost over $30,000, then you are required to have a written contract with them too.
Top tips on picking the right architect or designer for your building project
- Check out their qualifications and applicable registrations
- Ask for references from past clients. Meet with past clients and ask them about their experiences with the design professional
- Ask about their fees and charges
- Check that they completely understand what you’d like them to do and that they are confident they can deliver it for you
- Ensure that you feel your personality and theirs are compatible and you are both on the ‘same wavelength’