What is the difference between a Professional Building Designer and an Architect? I’ve had a lot of people ask me this question over the years.
A licensed Architect can design almost anything. Hospitals, Schools, Public Buildings as well as houses. Most Architects tend to specialize in larger commercial type projects. However, I have known quite a few who design both residential and commercial. Architects must maintain a number of CEU’s (Continuing Education Units) in order to ensure their knowledge of current codes, etc. remain current. They are also regulated by the AIA (American Institute of Architects).
Professional Building Designers are typically people that have a history in the trades (framing, plumbing, HVAC, masonry, etc.) and have brought practical experience to the practice of design. These professionals know from experience how a house is constructed.
As Architects have their governing agency (AIA), the Professional Building Designers also are subject to the AIBD (American Institute of Building Design). They offer a great wealth of knowledge and accountability. Professional members must be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the various building codes and of construction methods by taking CEU’s. They hold their members accountable to maintain the professional standards.
Whether you are looking for an Architect of a Professional Building Designer, make sure they are a member of their respective organizations. As members of these organizations, we show a willingness to be accountable for the work we provide.
“The learning is in the doing” – Frank Lloyd Wright
To help you further understand when it may be necessary to engage an Architect (instead of a Professional Building Designer), I have included a chart which was published by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners below: