1. What is the design & approval process?

The design & approval process can often be overwhelming, especially if this is your first time. Below outlines the 10 main steps involved with a typical project.


Step 1

Project Consultation


Step 2

Scope & Quote


Step 3

Engage architect


Step 4

Designer will meet you at your property for an initial design meeting


Step 5

Land survey will be carried out to determine your site boundaries, contours, underground services and the location of existing structures


Step 6

The preliminary design will be finalized


Step 7

Architectural drawings will be produced for council approval (if required). Typically if your design meets council regulations you can bypass this stage and go straight to a building certifier for building approval


Step 8

Once approved, architectural drawings will require further details to be submitted to a building certifier for building approval


Step 9

Certifier will also require structural engineering drawings and an energy/basix report


Step 10

Once approved, drawings get tendered out to builders for a quote, and construction begins


Superdraft will assign you a dedicated Support Team to hold your hand and guide you through the entire process, so if this is your first time, we will be here to help make the process as easy as possible for you.

2. Architect vs Building Designer vs Draftsman - Which one do I need?

Attention: The following information is intended to provide our clients with indicative general advice only and should not be relied upon for any formal engagements or agreements. For further information regarding the practices and standards of Architects please visit this website http://architecture.com.au

There are differences between an Architect, Building Designer & Draftsmen and you should be well aware of the differences. Generally speaking (but not always), an Architect has more experience, is qualified and is more capable of providing a better level of detailed design when compared to a Building Designer, however, they are most of the time (but not always) more expensive. Architects are recommended for larger, more complex designs / projects and in most states always required if the build is over 3 stories. Building Designers, are still capable of providing a quality design for most residential and commercial projects but are generally less expensive and better suited for smaller, less complex designs. Architects are in many ways Building Designers too but Building Designers are not Architects. Draftsmen take a design provided by either the client, building designer or architect and produce the plans and documentation required to obtain approvals. Draftsmen often do not have expertise in design and are not recommended for any projects where you require design input.

What is an architect?

To be legally identified as a professional architect, a person must:

  • have a formal tertiary education / degree in architecture
  • be covered by the necessary liability insurance (this is required for registration)
  • be officially registered as an architect with the governing architecture body in their state or territory


Registration with the state architecture body is what defines an ‘architect’, for professional and legal purposes. Even if a person has several degrees in architecture and many years of professional experience, it’s illegal for them to trade as an ‘architect’ if they’re not officially registered as one.

Academically speaking, architects study both the art and the science of Building Design in considerable depth. Architects normally spend at least five years at university, covering technical design and other things like history and contract law. Graduates are normally required to do two years of practical work under a registered architect before they’re eligible for registration as an architect themselves.

Architects and building designers alike have the freedom to apply their own creativity, although this depends as much on the client and the brief as it does on the individual architect or building designer. Architects or building designers can be involved with the entire construction project (sometimes acting as the ‘contract administrator’).


What is a building designer?

Building designers were once known as draftspeople – or probably more commonly ‘draftsmen’. The name has since changed to reflect their evolving roles and skill sets.

These days, the role of a building designer extends into the design of functional, energy efficient and often spectacularly creative homes.

Building designers can come from a number of design-related backgrounds. This includes people with degrees and experience in architecture who aren’t officially registered as architects, as well as people who have extensive formal education in any number of design fields.

In many parts of Australia, anyone can operate as a building designer with no qualifications or credentials whatsoever. There are no registration or licensing requirements for building designers in the following states and territories:

  • Western Australia
  • New South Wales
  • South Australia
  • Northern Territory, and
  • ACT

While anyone can operate as a building designer in these places, it’s crucial to remember that ultimately their work needs to fully comply with building and planning regulations, or it simply won’t be built. For that reason, you’ll need to choose carefully in these states and territories.

In Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania, you have greater protection. Building designers in Victoria are required by the Victorian Building Act (1993) to be registered with the Building Practitioners Board under the category of Draftsperson, Class of Building Design (Architectural).

In Queensland, building designers must hold a current BSA Building Design License. In Tasmania, building designers working on projects costing more than $5000 are required to hold a Building Practitioner Accreditation.

Insurance and the necessary technical skills and qualifications (typically an Advanced Diploma in Building Design) are required in order to qualify for any of these accreditations / registrations / licenses.

It’s a good idea to look for building designers who are members of professional associations like the BDAV (Building Designers’ Association of Victoria) or the BDA (Building Designers Australia) too. Those who belong to these associations are likely to have done continuing professional development (or ‘CPD’), which means in theory that they’ll be up with the latest changes to local planning laws and similar issues affecting their work.



What is a draftsman?

Draftsmen are responsible for creating scale drawings and adding detail to an architect’s existing plans. Being highly experienced in construction, a good draftsman can also guide you through the council approval process.

Draftsmen take a design provided by either the client, building designer or architect and produce the plans and documentation required to obtain approvals.

Draftsmen often do not have expertise in design and are not recommended for any projects where you require design input.

Superdraft is an award-winning architectural practice. Within our company, we have Architects, Building Designer & Draftsmen. Therefore, depending on your scope of works and your budget, we will be able to assign the most suitable person from our team to your project and tailor our service to meet your needs. 

3. What consultants do I need and how much will it cost?

The consultants you require on your project can vary slightly depending on what type of project you are doing, your location and whether you are wanting to build something that does not meet council guidelines.

Typically, the consultants you will require are an architect/building designer/draftsman, land surveyor, structural engineer, thermal performance assessor (energy/basix report), geo-tech engineer (soil report) and a building certifier/building surveyor.

On more complicated projects you may also require the services of other consultants include town planners, heritage consultants, hydraulic engineers and mechanical engineers.

The cost for these services can vary depending on the size and scope of your project, however typically speaking, the cost of all of these consultants are between 5% of your construction costs and is dependent on what level of expertise you engage.

Included in our service, Superdraft will help organise and coordinate with any consultant you may require for your project. We complete over 1000 projects per year and thus have an excellent relationship with our partner consultants and we will obtain multiple quotes to ensure we get you the best price from reputable consultants.

4. How much will my project cost to build?

It is very important to know what your project will cost to build and designing to a client’s budget is vital for any architectural project. It is surprising to know that many design practices fail to consider the client’s budget when producing their design for their clients. If you speak to a design company that does not ask you for your construction budget at the start, we can assure you that they most likely are not going to be designing your project with your budget in mind.

There is an alarming industry statistic that states that over 50% of homes designed by architects & building designers do not get built as they were never designed to budget.

Superdraft understands the importance of designing to budget, which is why we offer all of our clients with a Preliminary Building Cost Estimation Service where we get one of our local building partners to provide a building cost estimation during the design phase. This saves our clients from wasting thousands of dollars on engineering, various consultant and council fees and months of time, only to find out that the design does not meet their budget at the end of their project when they get building quotes.

5. How do I reduce my costs?

When it comes to reducing your costs, there are two aspects you need to consider.

  1. Design & Drafting Fees
  2. Construction Costs

How to reduce your design & drafting fees

  • Providing a sketch design
  • Providing existing plans (no site measure required)
  • Providing images of what you would like
  • Lodging drawings to council yourself

How to reduce your constructions costs

Many people make the mistake of trying to save money on their design and drafting fees and go with a cheaper drafting service only to pay thousands more in construction costs.

Unfortunately, many companies reduce their fees just to win business. They then rush the design and drafting, produce drawings which are lacking detail and get their work done overseas or by a junior in their office.

The architectural plans are the instruction guide of your home for the builder.

FACT: Builders quote more if they are provided poorly produced plans.

FACT: Construction horror stories occur due to builders trying to build from poorly produced plans.

It is worth investing in an experienced designer who will be able to design a better home, that costs less to build.

Superdraft will tailor our service specifically to meet your needs and budget. We will show you ways of how to reduce your overall costs, whilst maintaining our high level of quality service.

Want Onsite Design Advice?

Book your 1hr onsite design consultation

Only $99 when booked online