Should I use a designer or an architect to design my new home?

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Posted by: from Vancouver
9/3/2015 at 12:48:38 PM

I'm planning to build a new home for investment purposes (to sell at the end) and having trouble deciding between using a designer or architect to do the drawings for the home.

The Designer will cost between $6K-$14K whereas the Architect will cost between $35K-$55K.

I'm confident I can get permits approved from the city with both options, but I want to know if going with an Architect will avoid problems and save me money during the construction phase because their drawings will be more detailed.

Can anyone help weigh in on this issue and what you should consider when selecting a designer/architect to design your home?

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Date/Time9/3/2015 at 1:05:47 PM

Hi Elisha,

I would go with an architect and if you are building a custom home you will need a designer. If you building a spec home then architects usually have spec drawings you can purchase at a lower price.

Best Regards,


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Elisha in Vancouver
Date/Time9/3/2015 at 1:11:28 PM

Thanks Paul - Can you elaborate on why you would choose an Architect over a designer?

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Matthew from Matt of All Trades in Kitchener
Date/Time9/3/2015 at 4:47:13 PM

An Architect will have a better handle on the actual construction details that need to be considered for your project, and will be able to come up with a detailed set of construction drawings for your project. Particularly if something out of the ordinary.

A designer, although great for initial consultation is just that, a designer. An architect, in my opinion, can do design work and work with you to come up with something that can sell quickly

I would use an interior designer and an architect for your project.

Best of Luck

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Date/Time9/4/2015 at 11:16:03 AM

Hi Elisha,

It is a very good question you have posted and the value of the answer depends on the needs of your project.

There should be no concern over level of details or quality of work between either. If both the Architect and the Architectural Technologist are qualified and care about their respective work, both sets of designs will have more than enough detail for any builder to draw from.

Depending on the size of your project, Architectural Technologists are limited to 6,000 square feet or less. While this will encompass 99.9% of residential builds, there are cases where this becomes a limitation.

Typically, an Architect will provide more information with regards to interior finishes, trim details, etc. These additional drawings, and time cost money as do the credentials that come with the additional years of schooling for Architecture. Architects also tend to be more involved throughout the project which can be very helpful however, be very clear on who is in charge of the project once construction starts. Builders can walk off a project if they are getting weekly visits from either "Designer" with new "concepts" or ideas. At the very least, be ready for huge Change Order costs, heightened tempers, and these projects rarely end, or at least not well.

In either case, ask to have a look at their work and pick one that has some experience in the type of design you are interested in.

I have built many homes here in Ontario and can say that I have had fantastic results from both and very poor results from both.

If you do not intend to hand over the reigns completely with regards to custom trim profiles, fabric colours, and interior design, then rest assured that an Architectural Technologist is more than qualified to handle all aspects of the design and structure of your new home.

I wish you the best of luck in your new project.

Jason Irving

Cedarfalls Building Consultants Limited

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Elisha in Vancouver
Date/Time9/4/2015 at 1:26:15 PM

Thank you all for your responses.

Especially Jason - I really appreciate your thoughtful response and if you were located in Vancouver I wouldn't hesitate to call you to help with the build.

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