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The difference between a building designer and architect


So, you’ve decided to pursue a career in building design (architectural). But, first, you want to find out a bit more about the professional landscape and how you can fit into it.

One of the most common questions we get asked is, what is the difference between a building designer and an architect? While both are similar in role, there are some differences. Let’s break it down for you…

What is a building designer and what will Holmesglen teach you?

Put simply, a building designer – like the title suggests – designs buildings. Yes, the profession has evolved from a draftsperson, however both building designers and architects draft or document their designs. These days, a building design qualification can lead to a variety of future jobs such as a building designer, or an architectural technician, building design/architectural assistant and architectural draftsperson, or Building Information Model (BIM) Manager and technician.

A building designer uses a lot of skills – from design, construction, legislation and regulations, town planning, building information modelling, presentation, and drafting and documentation of residential, industrial and commercial buildings. With us, you will learn building design skills in both these residential and commercial areas of the industry.

Our course focuses on project-based learning. You will look at the following areas of a project: design, construction, computer technology (including presentation and visualisation), project administration and working drawings. And we tie all this together by looking at sustainability, accessibility, building information modelling and future technologies.

As a graduate, what is the formal difference between a building designer and architect?

A key difference comes down to the qualification outcomes.

Our 22477VIC Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural), which is completed over two years, is your opportunity to become a Registered Building Practitioner with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). To achieve this, you will complete your course, gain one or two years’ of industry experience in both the residential and commercial sectors and then undertake a final exam with VBA.

To become a registered architect, you must have received a recognised master’s degree (usually completed over five years), in addition to professional experience and a final exam with the Architects Board. This will then give you the chance to register with the Architects Registration Board of Victoria.

What career pathway options are available as a building designer?

These days, it’s important to be multi-skilled. While a building designer may be your career goal, there is also opportunity to branch out and explore other areas of the building industry. Upon completion of the Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural), you will be eligible to enter the Bachelor of Building Surveying or the Bachelor of Construction Management and Economics with up to one year's advanced standing at Holmesglen, or pathway to a university offering Architecture.

Find out more about where a building design course can take you at our Building Design and Drafting page.

All information is correct at the time of printing but subject to change.

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