A designer or architect?

Choosing a designer or an architect


While your choice of designer or architect may depend on your budget, it can be a mistake not to invest in good design.

Choosing a less experienced or qualified person may cost you in the long run. If money is limited, a skilled designer or architect can explore ways to make your budget and ideas fit.

We recommend using a member of a design profession, experienced in the design and detailings of buildings. Ensure they understand Building Code requirements and the need for quality materials and construction methods.


An architect is someone who has met the registration requirements of the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB), and must hold a NZRAB practising certificate.

Most architects studied at university and gained an architectural degree. They're competent in the design and coordination of all building elements, services and site works, as well as the management of each stage of the building process. An architect will be able to take your ideas and come up with distinctive and innovative solutions that can be built in the agreed cost and time frames. Many architects also belong to the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA).

A home designed by an architect is often considered to have additional value. If it stands out as being unique, it typically attracts a higher resale price than other homes of the same size and age.

Architectural draughtsperson

An architectural draughtsperson can draw up plans from your basic ideas. They usually have technical institute training and some may be members of ADNZ, while others may be connected to the Design Association of New Zealand (DANZ).

While a draughtsperson is cheaper than an architect or architectural designer, you may not get the same design flair. However, they can be a good, low cost option in many situations. For example, if you want your laundry renovated, a draftsperson can prepare the drawings and instructions for your builder, plumber and electrician.

Architectural designer

An architectural designer specialises in building design and construction, from conception to final certification.

Architectural designers have probably studied at a tertiary institution, and are trained in the technical aspects of design and detailing. They should also be familiar with all Building Code and local authority requirements, such as building and resource consents. Many architectural designers are represented by Architectural Designers New Zealand (ADNZ).

Although architectural designers can practice architecture, they can't call themselves architects. However, many architectural designers are equally capable of producing distinctive and innovative designs.