Saturday, August 11, 2012

Draftsman, Building Designer, Architect: What’s the difference

If you are looking at getting some plans drawn for your next building project it may be useful to know the difference between a Draftsman, Building Designer and Architect. They all prepare plans for building projects, and here are the key differences between them:


are generally TAFE qualified, and would normally work under the supervision of an architect or building designer. Some will also produce drawings for builders. A draftsman is not licensed and therefore in Queensland is not permitted to produce plans directly for a consumer.

• Building Designers

are either TAFE or Tertiary qualified. They must be licensed in Queensland by the Building Services Authority (BSA) under the name “Building Designer”. This means that in Queensland building designers are registered under the same licensing system as all builders and building contractors. A condition of the BSA license is that a Building Designer must hold professional indemnity insurance. In Queensland there are three tiers of builing design licenses, depending on qualifications and experience. With the highest tier there is no difference in the work that can be done by a building designer as opposed to an architect. A Building Designer must be registered in Queensland to prepare plans directly for a consumer. For more information on Building Designers go to or

• Architects

are tertiary qualified, must pass an architectural practice exam, and be registered by the Board of Architects of Queensland (BOAQ). The BOAQ is a statutory authority established under the Architects Act 2002, which also protects the title “architect” and “registered architect”. The Act makes it an offence for someone who is not a registered architect in Queensland to call themselves an architect. Architects have the training to design a wide range of building types from small dwellings to city high-rise. An architect must be registered in Queensland to prepare drawings directly for a consumer. For more information on Architects go to or

Registered Engineers are also permitted to prepare plans for consumers in Queensland. In summary it is illegal in Queensland for someone to produce plans for a consumer and not be a registered architect, a registered engineer or a BSA licensed building designer.
To protect your rights as a consumer, make sure the person preparing your plans is a correctly licensed or registered professional.

Written by Paul Hindes,
Published in Sunshine Coast Daily "Homestyle" magazine May 2012

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