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Building Process Step 4: Working Plans

So you’ve decided to build or extend, we often get asked who to approach for home designs & plans.

If you want something unlike your neighbours house or the many project homes popping up, then either an Architect or a Building Designer are your best options. They’re both employed to design buildings, offer similar services and even share common skills… So what’s the difference?

Architects are experts in design, they have extensive design training so they’re specialists in maximising design opportunities for your site and budget. A reputable Building Designer is also a design specialist but does not have the full service offering like that of an Architect.


Building Designer

Tertiary Degree qualified, registered with a state based architecture board and hold relevant insurances Tertiary Diploma qualified, QBCC Building Design Licensed and hold relevant insurances
Average price from $6,000 – $50,000 + depending on the complexity and size of your building Average price $2,000 for a concept and the working plans. Again with greater complexity and size this can increase
Full specifications supplied right down to door handles and paint colours for the walls No specification supplied, the owner specifies all materials and finishes
5-10% of construction costs may also be paid as project management fees. One fixed rate fee, no project management service offered. Owners employ their builder or sometimes manage themselves (if they have experience)
No height or size limit Designers have 3 levels of licensing of which they are able to legally design:

Small, 1-2 storeys

Medium, 1-3 storeys

High Rise, up to 8 storeys

To make your decision we recommend talking with them and getting fee structure details – is it an hourly rate with periodic payments; a flat fee based on a percentage of building costs or a conditional fixed rate?

Look at their credentials, past designs and previous client feedback. And finally, choose what works for your budget and your needs. Building and renovating can be a minefield so it’s important to partner up with the right team for you.

Please note prices listed are estimates only and you should always consult an Architect or Designer to obtain suitable pricing relevant to your project.

Keen to learn more? Read about the important steps in your building process:

STEP 1: Research   STEP 2: Budget   STEP 3: Relaxation   STEP 4: Working Plans
STEP 5: Engineering      STEP 6: Appoint Builder     STEP 7: Contract
STEP 8: Building Approval      STEP 9: Completion