What the heck does all this mean? Obviously it means that anyone with all these letters after their name has taken the extra efforts to take their career more seriously and to the next level. More than likely professionals in the design arena have some kind of educational background to be doing what they are doing. A draftsman does not need a degree or even a certificate, I have run into to those who simply learned CAD (computer aided drafting) on the job or from a family member. All the rest will have an AS, BA or Masters degree in their specialty.

Whether you simply need a draftsman, a designer, an engineer or an architect, to make that decision you first need to know what your own project will entail. What is the scope of your project? It is best to put everything you can think of on paper, when these professionals ask what you want out of your project, you can email them this list.

The next step is to have an understanding of what each level of service provider is capable and willing to do and you will be able to decide for yourself what you need for your project and whether it will fit into your budget.

Draftsman: Simply provides technical drawings for your project. This is your guy if you already know what you want and you are confident that no design efforts will give you any better product at the end of the day. This person can work in conjunction with an engineer if there needs to be permits and structural elements to your drawing. This person may or may not have any formal education.

Decorators: There is no formal education for someone to be a decorator, they may just have a great eye for design and are great at organizing. Our firm offers decor but it is not something we do on a regular basis.

Interior Designer: This is your person if your project is more about interiors and space planning. Interior Designers typically have at least an AS, but their education can go all the way to a masters degree. Professional interior designers went to school and had several apprenticeships to do what they do. A trained pair of eyes will see things you’re guaranteed to miss. Interior design is a delicate balance of art and science, and good interior designers have studied both, so they know how to put them together. Interior designers in some states need to be licensed. In Florida where we live, ID’s can practice residential design with out a license, but need to be licensed to practice commercially. Designers typically have more experience and knowledge about construction than a decorator.

Residential Building Designer: is first and foremost a professional familiar with all facets of the building trade, whose plans and designs represent the particular needs, style and budget of the client. A Building Designer may offer a complete array of professional services to you as the client and may consist of:

  • Residential Design, both single and multi-family, and commercial structures as permitted by the architectural statutes of each state.
  • Conferring with you to ascertain type, size, and ultimate usage of the structure during the initial planning stage.
  • Approaching any design problem based on the practical, functional and economical solutions that will best fulfill your requirements, while translating these factors into a concept that is both aesthetic and utilitarian.
  • Offering recommendations regarding the site, interior and exterior layout, materials to be used, and architectural and exterior treatments.
  • Furnishing you preliminary and detailed designs for the proposed structure, ranging from the initial concept to complete working drawings and specifications that will comply with all applicable building codes and regulations.
  • When the conceptual designs are accepted by you, the building designer may present a contract detailing the extent of the services to be furnished and outline the related responsibilities, fees, and structural, mechanical and electrical considerations.
  • Helping you select contractors and overseeing construction. You may retain a Building Designer to provide all or any part of the planning, design, and construction process as you desire. These services are subject to the policies and services of the individual designer you select.
  • When retained to do so, he may assist you by preparing and publishing bid proposals for construction, and may also interpret and explain bid proposals to you with any recommendations.
  • As your agent, he may as allowed by some states to conduct on-site inspections or observations of your construction, ensuring that all work meets the recognized standards. See more at AIBD

Architects: Architects are Designers as well as Structural understanding and design. There are phases to the entire design process, they can help with:

STEP 1: Programming/Deciding What to Build

The homeowner and architect discuss the requirements for the project (how many rooms, the function of the spaces, etc.), testing the fit between the owner’s needs, wants, and budget.

STEP 2: Schematic Design/Rough Sketches

The architect prepares a series of rough sketches, known as schematic design, which show the general arrangement of rooms and of the site. Some architects also prepare models to help visualize the project. The homeowner approves these sketches before proceeding to the next phase.

STEP 3: Design Development/ Refining the Design

The architect prepares more detailed drawings to illustrate other aspects of the proposed design. Floor plans show all the rooms in correct size and shape. Outline specifications are prepared, listing the major materials and room finishes.

STEP 4: Preparation of Construction Documents

Once the homeowner has approved the design, the architect prepares detailed drawings and specifications, which the contractor will use to establish actual construction cost and build the project. These drawings and specifications become part of the building contract.

STEP 5: Hiring the Contractor

The homeowner selects and hires the contractor. The architect may be willing to make some recommendations. In many cases, homeowners choose from among several contractors they’ve asked to submit bids on the job. The architect can help you prepare bidding documents as well as invitations to bid and instructions to bidders.

STEP 6: Construction Administration

While the contractor will physically build the home or addition, the architect can assist the homeowner in making sure that the project is build according to the plans and specifications. The architect can make site visits to observe construction, review and approve the contractor’s applications for payment, and generally keep the homeowner informed of the project’s progress. The contractor is solely responsible for construction methods, techniques, schedules and procedures.

Read more on architects

The bottom line is that you first need to know what you really need as far as deisgn and service. Also you need a firm grasp of what you are willing to spend, then go out and get some bids from different designers and architects and compare design, personality, communication ans well as what product you will get at the end of the day.