Architect or Building Designer – Who Do You Choose?

Thinking of building a new home or complex? Will you use an architect or a building designer?

Both are involved in the design of buildings – their appearance, layout, structure, and so on. But what’s the difference?

The simplest difference is a legal one. To be called an “architect” in NSW, you have to be registered with the Board of Architects of NSW. The title “building designer” can be used by anyone designing buildings.

But that’s hardly even scratching the surface. Brian Basford is a building designer and treasurer of the Building Designers Association of NSW. He suggests that building designers are generally less expensive, and mostly involved in less flamboyant buildings. “It’s horses for courses. Most architects probably wouldn’t want to design a single bedroom extension for a pensioner, whereas I’ve done a lot of that.”

Brian also stressed that there are quite often overlaps between what architects do and what building designers do. There’s no simple rule. “But no matter what the job, good building designers and good architects both produce quality work”, he says.

Architect Gary Kurzer agrees that architects are more likely to be involved with more distinctive, “up-market” buildings. But not because of cost. “Architects work to your budget just like building designers. The real reason is that architects are a little more likely to stretch the boundaries and challenge convention.”

According to Gary, you should generally choose an architect if you want more than just a literal translation of your brief. “My clients normally have a rough idea of what they want. I take that idea and transform it into something they love, but could never have imagined themselves.”

The most important thing is knowing what you want from the service, and choosing someone that suits your job.

And whether you choose an architect or building designer, remember, qualifications are no guarantee of quality. Always ask to see previous examples of their work. Ask for references from previous customers. Ask to see their qualifications. Ask how long they’ve been working. Do they have professional indemnity insurance? Are they a member of an accredited body?…

In the end, it’s like anything else… there’s no substitute for common sense.

Thanks to Gary Kurzer, Architect, 0411044448, and Brian Basford, Building Designer.

FAQs

Q: Are architects and building designers the same thing?

A: No. Architects must be registered with the Board of Architects of NSW.

Q: Will I get a better design from an architect?

A: Not necessarily. The only guarantee is a minimum level of qualifications. Architects must have a Bachelor of Architecture degree (5 years) as well as the demonstrated ability to deal with clients and satisfy their requirements. Generally this means at least a couple of years experience in an architect’s office.

Q: Are building designers more in touch with builders and other trades?

A: Not necessarily. Architects are trained to deal with and manage all aspects of the building project. It all comes down to the individual’s experience and abilities.

Q: Are Building designers “would-be” architects?

A: No. Building design is a recognised profession with its own national body (the BDAA) offering 3 levels of accreditation based on experience and quality – but registration isn’t compulsory. Many building designers have the qualifications to register with the Board of Architects but they choose not to because they don’t think the name “architect” is worth the ongoing cost of registration.

Q: Are architects more expensive?

A: Not necessarily. An architect will work to your budget like a building designer. They can do anything from a simple design to very complex interior and exterior detailing to superintendence of the building process. Your building costs and ongoing running costs may also be less. For example, find out if your architect is incorporating cost-saving measures into the building process. They may also design to take advantage of natural lighting, ventilation, heating, cooling, etc. which will save you less in electricity.

Q: How do I tell if they’re really an architect?

A: Call the Board of Architects of NSW – (02) 93564900 or visit [http://www.boarch.nsw.gov.au/f_consumer.html].

Q: How do I look for an accredited building designer?

A: Call the Building Designers Association of NSW – Sydney (02) 49264855 or visit http://www.bdansw.com.au or [http://www.bdaa.com.au/index.htm].

Q: Where else can I go for further information?

A: http://www.architecture.com.au – Royal Australian Institute of Architects

http://www.bdansw.com.au – Building Designers Association of NSW

Green Building Designs Benefits Both Companies and the Environment

Many companies claim that their products and services are “the future”. But no one has more of a right to this claim than companies in the green building industry. As we all know, the industrial practices of the 20th century have significantly compromised the environment in more ways than one, necessitating a change in the way that we regard the environment on both a personal and public level. On a personal level, many of us choose to support the environment by participating in recycling and buying non-toxic products. But on a public level, we often choose to stick with old, unsafe building practices because a changing of the guard would require more time and money than we care to invest.

However, we often fail to consider that implementing sustainable design in new and existing buildings will do more than preserve the environment; it will also save us money. Although implementing green designs can cost more up front, the lower operating costs that they bring can easily offset the initial investment, and then some. For example, if implementing an energy efficient water system costs $24,000 more than implementing a traditional system but we end up cutting our water bill by $2,200 a month, then the entire additional investment is returned in one year and after that all of the return is pure profit..

When you consult with a green buildings design company, you can apply a project life cycle cost analysis to determine what design implements justify their start up cost in terms of long-term savings. After determining projected cost savings, actual cost savings are determined during the conceptual design phase of a green building project. Unlike traditional building practices that view a building’s operating systems independently, green building practices strive to integrate operating systems, maximizing energy efficiency and therefore reducing energy costs.

While green design practices are an excellent long-term investment for both companies and the environment, some companies don’t have the budget to incorporate large-scale changes all at once. In such cases, pursuing smaller changes that still yield significant cost savings, such as replacing incandescent exit signs with photoluminescent exit signs, is the best option. Research shows that replacing 100 incandescent exit signs with photoluminescent exit signs will save a company over $3,500 a year in power costs, proving that small green changes can help create a budget for larger changes.

Just as the building practices that compromised the environment were brought into effect gradually, the adoption of building practices that support the environment is also occurring gradually. Although the prospect of global warming and polluted waters can fill us with environmental urgency, committing to green building practices in whatever way we can will create a financial pathway for making our buildings totally green. In the interest of both company budgets and the health of the environment the time to start making this commitment is now.

Construction Consultancies Offer Construction Safety Training and Other Services

Contractors and builders will benefit greatly from third-party input. A construction consulting agency helps you detect any shortcomings or improvements you may have missed during the planning stages of your development. They will assist you throughout the entire duration of your project, from safety planning to final inspections.

Consultants from a construction consulting firm work to streamline operations in a construction site. You can hire them as an onsite consultant or schedule their services when you reach specific milestones. This will depend on the type of consultancy you are looking for.

There are management consultants who will help you with seemingly menial tasks such as scheduling deliveries, handling skilled laborers, and taking charge of your materials inventory at the end of each day. These tasks may seem menial, but most project delays come from failure to execute these promptly. Hiring management consultants lets you focus on the more important aspects of your development while still getting these assignments done.

Building consultants assist you in construction site safety implementation and basic construction tasks. They can help you with housekeeping and concrete patching, carpentry protection, and fire stopping and safety. These consultants are also in charge of installing fall safety systems to protect your laborers in case they slip and fall.

Engineering consultants handle the more technical aspects of your development project. They are more skilled than the previously mentioned types because they must evaluate your project and find ways to make it better. They will help you with design drawings, inspections, testing, code compliance, as well as environmental engineering. They can also help you with acquiring the necessary permits for your project.

A construction consulting company also conducts construction safety training and planning with builders. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all contractors and builders to undergo construction safety training. This will help you avoid any undesired accidents. It will also educate you on what to do when disaster strikes.

Choose a construction consulting firm with extensive experience in the industry. They should have a team of licensed engineers and safety inspectors who can work effectively with skilled builders. Agencies offering construction safety training should have OSHA-certified trainers. It would also help if they are licensed site safety managers. Request for specific qualifications, such as fire department safety certifications and suspended scaffold user certifications.

There are many companies offering complete consultation services. These firms provide comprehensive consulting services for a competitive price. You could select a combination of consultants to handle different aspects of your project if you prefer. Hiring separate advisers may be more costly, but it allows you to select the best consultants in the industry.

Make your building process more streamlined and efficient with the help of a construction consulting company. Check your local listings or search online for consultancies offering a wide range of services. You can also ask referrals from your colleagues. You can be a better contractor and build more lasting establishments with the help of their expertise.