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Nuts & Bolts with Undercover Architect Amelia Lee

Nuts & Bolts with Undercover Architect Amelia Lee

I’d like to welcome to our Nuts and Bolts team Amelia Lee from Undercover Architect. With 20 years in the industry Amelia is profoundly qualified to assist you create a home that makes your life better, whatever your dreams, budget or locations. She has kindly agreed to join our nuts and bolts crew and answer your questions on a monthly basis. Welcome and thank you Amelia.

Shakespeare06-1140x642This is an example of the spectacular work Amelia does. You can see more here.

In our Ask The Builder Facebook group, Larissa recently asked a questions about the difference between Architects and Draftsman?

“What is the role of an architect compared to a draftsman?
And do I need one when contemplating a new build?”

Firstly, full disclosure – I’m an architect. As with any profession, however, I know that there are those that are great at what they do, and those that aren’t. So I’m not about to tell you who you should use – because ultimately that choice is up to you.

To answer the question simply though … in the world of individual residential homes, both an architect and a draftsman can perform the same role.

Let’s take a step back though …
In Australia, there are three main professions associated with the design and drawing of homes: architects, building designers and draftspeople. (This is excluding the myriad of additional consultants you may or may not need, such as structural engineers, private certifiers, town planners etc).

So what’s the difference? Let’s firstly look at what it involves to perform each of these roles …

The architect
For an architect to legally use that title in Australia, they must be “board registered”. This means they’ve
• completed a recognised university degree (usually 5 – 6 years of study)
• completed a required level of on-job experience (minimum 2 years)
• then sat a written exam and passed
• followed by an interview exam and passed
• and then annually (as part of re-registration) declare that they are fit to practice, and are continuing their professional development with a required number of hours of study and learning

A draftsperson
Many in this role study at TAFE to learn the skills required to draw (document) buildings. However I’ve also worked with draftspeople who purely learnt their drawing skills on the job and honed them over time.

A building designer
It depends on the state of Australia whether a building designer has to be formally licensed to use this title, and the license they have will impact the scale of development they can work on – be it individual homes, apartment buildings, or public facilities such as childcare centres etc. There are specific TAFE courses, and one Qld-based university degree (distance learning) that can qualify you to be a building designer. Sometimes however, building designers are draftspeople who’ve gone through the licensing process.

So what does this all mean?
Depending on the state you live in, you may or may not be required to use, at a minimum, a licensed building designer. For example, “in Queensland, any person carrying out building design and/or preparing plans for consumers or builders must be licensed as a Building Designer by the Building Services Authority or be registered as an architect, engineer or surveyor.” (taken from https://www.bdaq.com.au/how-become-building-designer)

It is worth checking the rules in your state as to what is required.

What’s the difference?
In my opinion, an architect is really a specialist in design. Of course they draw and deliver buildings very well too (as in, they’ll be your representative on site during construction). However their main area of skill and expertise is in maximising design opportunities for your home, your site and your budget.

A building designer, and a draftsperson are specialists in documentation and delivery. They are largely taught how to draw, and understand the construction of buildings so they can represent them accurately in their documentation. Of course, as part of drawing, they are often designing as well. However, they will not have been taught design to the same level as an architect – it’s just not possible in the type and length of study they do.

Thank you Amelia, I now have a strong understanding of what role each of these professionals play. The next question to be answered would be, who do I need to use? For this answer, keep an eye on our Nuts and Bolts posts in October. In the meantime, take a little time to have a look at the spectacular work Amelia does on her Website, got a question for Amelia? Pop by her Facebook page or send her an email [email protected] If you’d like to share in the pretty part of her world, be sure to check out her Instagram and Pinterest.

Amelia Lee is the Undercover Architect, your secret ally in getting it right when designing, building or renovating your home – simply and with confidence.


Do you have any questions for Amelia? Is there a topic you would like covered in one of our Nuts and Bolts posts?

Nicole xxx

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  1. Thank you for sharing this info with your readers. I hope that they find it informative and helpful in deciding who to have on their team when building or renovating their home – Amelia, UA x

    1. Thank you Amelia! It’s wonderful to have such a wealth of knowledge to collaborate with. xx

  2. […] blog recently appeared in a shorter version in The Builder’s Wife “Nuts and Bolts”, and was my answer to one of her reader’s questions. It’s a question that comes up a lot […]

  3. […] This week we welcome back The Undercover Architect Amelia to continue with her answer to our Ask The Builder Facebook Group question of “What is the role of an architect compared to a draftsman? And do I need one when contemplatin… […]

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