Whether you’re planning a small scale extension or a complete period renovation, you’ll require the assistance of a design professional at some stage. In the world of home building, there are two kinds of designs – architect and architectural. While they might sound alike, these terms refer to two very different things.

In this blog, we’ll explore the difference between these two design options, making it easier for you to select the right professional for your next project.

What is an architect design? 

An architect design refers to a house design created by a qualified architect. In Australia, architects must complete a minimum five years of study at a recognised university, before undergoing on-the-job training at an architectural firm. Architects must be registered and are required to complete a certain number of professional training hours each year to maintain their license.

Given the rigorous training and testing involved in becoming an architect, an architect design is conceptually innovative and visually striking. Architects craft functional, durable and creative designs by carefully considering factors like user experience, energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal. 

What is an architectural design? 

An architectural design refers to a house plan created by a building designer or draftsperson. While architects must undertake a degree, building designers and draftspeople typically complete vocational courses or on-the-job training only.

Given the hands-on nature of their training, a building designer is generally focused more on the technical aspects of construction including structural details, material specifications, cost efficiency and compliance with local building regulations. This makes them well-suited for renovations, extensions or new builds with relatively straightforward designs.

What’s the difference? 

While both architects and building designers can create showstopping house designs, there are key distinctions in their qualifications and the scope of their work. Architect designs, crafted by licensed professionals with years of academic training and experience, prioritise conceptual innovation. This expertise typically comes at a higher cost due to the expertise involved, but it offers the assurance of a well-designed and safe structure.

On the other hand, architectural designs are created by building designers or draftspeople whose focus leans towards the technical side of construction. More often than not, building designers and draftspeople are regularly involved throughout construction, meaning they have a more in-depth understanding of the cost and process of construction. 

Should I choose an architect design or an architectural design? 

Ultimately, the decision is yours and depends on your project, budget and vision. Complex projects demanding out-of-the-box thinking and creative solutions may be best suited to an architect design, while simpler projects prioritising functionality and cost effectiveness are better suited to an architectural design.

The best way to determine whether an architect or architectural design best suits your project is by chatting to your preferred builder. Not only will they be able to provide advice, they can introduce you to a trusted architect, building designer or draftsperson who can bring your vision to life. 


At Period Extensions & Designs, our team consists of both architects and building designers, so if you’re looking for an expert builder to assist you in finding the right design team for your next project, get in touch with us today.

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