Who You Gonna Call?


Don’t you love those billboards advertising residential buildings? They are a welcome distraction when you are sitting in traffic, but what do they mean? Everyone knows you ring a plumber for a leaky tap, or an electrician for a new light fitting, but knowing who to call for your residential project can be daunting.

Designing and building is a very personal experience, so you need to work with a team you trust. I recommend you begin by googling. Check out websites, social media and word-of-mouth to make a shortlist of your preferred professionals before calling them for a chat, interview, a list of references or the opportunity to see some of their previous work. Remember, there are good and bad operators in every profession.


Must have completed five years of a bachelor or master of architecture degree at an accredited university, a minimum of two years of practical experience and passed the Architects’ Board of WA (ABWA) registration exams. To retain registration, they need to complete continuing practical development (CPDs) annually and have lifetime Professional indemnity insurance (PI).

Architects are trained in the art of design thinking, problem solving and project management. The consider your budget, your site, its orientation, innovative design options and construction methods to ensure that your home is not only beautiful inside and out but also will be perfectly suited to you, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective over the long term. Leading and coordinating a design team of engineers, an architect can help you pick the right builder for your project and administer the contract on your behalf, so you don’t have to worry about workmanship, payment claims or these pesky questions during the build. You can find out whether someone is a registered architect on www.architectboard.org.au

Building Designers:

Have completed a two-year diploma of building design at TAFE, in addition to their one-year Certificate 4 in residential drafting. There is no requirement for registration PI insurance or completion CPD. Building Designers may work in their own practices or be employed by residential building companies. They do work similar to architects but may not have the skills or training in lateral design thinking, environmental sustainability or contract administration.

Architectural Draftspeople:

May have completed a 12 month certificate 4 in residential drafting at TAFE and often will work with project buildings are their in-house designers. There is no requirement for registration, PI insurance or CPD

Interior architects and interior designers:

Have different training, and neither are architects. Interior Architects have completed a four-year bachelor of applied science (interior architecture) degree at university and there is no requirement for PI insurance or formal CPD.

An interior designer may have completed a two-year advanced diploma of interior design at TAFE. So, back to those billboards and what they mean for you as a client! A builder who provides Design and Build servies in-house will often employ a building designer or draftsperson to design your home. Builders who say they are builderfs and architects must employ at least on registered architect. Architects rarely, if ever, advertise on billboards! So now you know who we all are, how do you pick the right team for your project? Research, research and research!

First published in The Subiaco Post 160219 | Architects Brief with Suzie Hunt