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Everything you need to know about finding a Building Designer

When building a new home or altering a home in any way, it is crucial that the design process is carried out as well as possible and this is where a building designer can help you.  Designing a building is about more than just drawing up a set of plans.  Building sites are unique and a building designer will be able to minimize any problems associated with the site while maximizing its potential and possibilities.

Photo courtesy of JAF Design and Archicentre

What is a Building Designer?


A building designer is a professional that is involved in the design of buildings without being registered as an architect.  In Australia, the term “building designer” is most commonly used by professionals such as draftspeople that are registered as building designers.

What Building Designers Do


Building designers provide a range of services including:
  • assessing the site (views, privacy, site access, the location of neighbours, the position of the sun etc)
  • liaising with the local council in order to gain planning permission and building approvals as well as submitting any other documentation that the council may require
  • obtain a brief from the client including the client’s budget, what the client wants from the building and so forth
  • preparation of a design concept and a preliminary design
  • preparation of working drawings and specifications for the builder
  • creating artist’s impressions of a building or extension as required

Building designers create extremely detailed plans.  Everything needs to be included, from the timber and structural components to be used right down to the specifics such as what door handles should be used.  This is so that builders are able to quote on exactly the same things when they are tendering for the job.  Another reason that such detail is needed is because the specifications in the design will ultimately become part of the contract with the builder.

Photo courtesy of Fibrent Architects & Engineers - Home Building Assessments

Choosing a Building Designer


When choosing a building designer, there are some things to consider.  Firstly, you should ask to see their qualifications.  It is also important to ask to see their portfolio and to look at buildings that they have designed previously.  Get references from previous customers if possible. 

Find out their level of experience and ensure that the designer holds professional indemnity insurance.  Finally, ask what fees they charge for their services and obtain a written contract so that no hidden charges can arise in the future.

How Much Do Building Designers Cost?

Like architects building designers often charge based on a percentage of the total cost of your project. They will also vary their fee based on the level of service required, with a basic, enhanced or full typical. In terms of percentages, basic level service could be 5 per cent of the total project, with full service costing 7.5 per cent - with larger more costly projects typically requiring a full service offering. Why not use our Get Quotes service to locate three local building designers to quote your project?


 

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