Should you speak with an architect or builder first?

You’ve determined your budget and your brief and now you’re thinking “where do I go next?” “who should I talk to?”

We help you understand whether you should chat with a builder or an architect first.


There are a number of avenues you can take to get your renovation or new home design started. Most people decide to go and talk to a builder. You know, that builder who was recommended to you by old mate down the road who swears he’s the best. Talking to a builder first seems to be the logical process right?

However most of the time the builder will politely turn you around and tell you to either go find an Architect or Draftsperson in order to get some plans drawn up. There are some builders out there who work with Architects and draftspeople, however, most builders won’t be able to help you straight away. A builder needs something they can begin to provide a price estimate on, and some builders generally aren’t interested in spending the time to provide an estimate on a project that hasn’t at least been approved by council yet. It’s just not worth their time.

So, to begin with, you’ll need to embark on the journey of designing your renovation or new house design with a professional.


There are typically two options, a draftsperson or an Architect.

Most people assume they’re one and the same. They both draw building plans right? That’s correct, however, there are vast differences between the two professions. One of the primary distinctions would be that Architects hold a post-graduate level degree with a minimum of 5 years of study and are part of a regulated profession. Without getting into too much detail, most of an Architects study focuses on learning how to interpret a client brief well, provide non-standard and innovative approaches to a particular site (rather than a cookie cutter approach) and they learn how to craft fantastic spaces that are bespoke and customised to your brief.

Architects understand the non-tangible, invisible qualities of a fantastic room. A draft person typically only learns how to draw the plans.

The valuable takeaway isn’t the set of plans that you receive, its the thought and consideration of your brief and desired outcomes that get worked into the plans that set Architects apart from draftspeople. A lot of people are after the bare minimum when it comes to renovating, maybe it’s only for a rental property, then a draftsperson might be the choice for you. However, if your desire is to create a home customised for your family to grow in and create memories in, an Architect might be a better starting point.


So from here it’s time to find some Architects to talk to about your project. Most Architects provide an obligation-free initial consultation to learn about you, your ideas, your goals, everything!

We typically like to grab a coffee and have a chat with you. Once we gain some initial insight of what you’d like to achieve and a general idea of how much you’d like to spend on construction, we organise another coffee meet-up so that we can talk through what we think would be the best process to move forward and provide you with a fee-proposal.

Then you can decide if you like us or not (no hard feelings). Then we can begin the journey of creating your home together.