There are several different places to get an individual design:
- A boutique builder with an in house architect or designer
- An Architect
- A Designer
- A Building broker
Many top end building companies have in house Architects or Designers that will individually design your house. These are fantastic places to start if you are in that end of the market. But where do you go when you don't want a half a million dollar house?
This is where a designer comes in. A designer can be one of 3 things
- An experienced drafts person
- An unregistered Architect
- A free lance salesperson or similar with no qualifications
Architects require a long university education and are required to go through a lengthy process to become and stay registered. Many chose to call them selves designers to avoid registration but still have the advantage of being an architect. Architects are familiar with all types for buildings from residential to multi story developments. Most work in the high end of the market although you will find a few willing to design simple renovations and small houses.
A drafts person, like myself has done a 2-3 year tafe course which mainly covers residential buildings. Almost all the people in project home companies are drafts people. Most 'designers' are drafts people who have done some time with larger companies and started their own. They are a good place to get budget individual designs.
There are 'designers' out there that have no qualifications, I would be wary of these. There are some very talented people and some not so talented, I know this from personal experience. But that really applies to all 3 categories.
Most designers specialise or have a preferred style or type of house. It is important to find some one that has experience in the type of house you want. I prefer renovations and smaller single to double storey solar passive houses. I would never take a 4 story mansion on, I simply don't have the experience to design anything so big.
Solar passive housing is something that is quite tricky to get right and with all the green washing around you need the be careful your designer can pull it off.
A Building broker is a salesman that will find the right designer for you, they usually work with a small team that have complementary skills.
Regardless of who does your design you can take it to an upmarket boutique builder, a renovation builder or a project home builder. There are not many renovation project builders so most renovations are done by small builders that can build a new house with a square meter rate similar to a project home builder. These builders are a great place to get the boutique builder service without the price tag. They love doing new houses, it is way easier than doing a renovation.