Q: What’s the difference between an architect and a designer/draftsman?
A: There is a place and context for both architects and designers (or draftsmen). Both can design aesthetically, and both can create a workable vision from your concepts. However, while a designer may have some education and training as an architect, they have not taken or passed the Architect Registration Exam and completed state licensing to legally call themselves an architect. It’s similar to passing the Bar examination for the legal profession, with fairly low passing rates (around 65%) that weed out those who haven’t thoroughly prepared to take on legal responsibility for their work.
What’s in a credential? From a purely economic standpoint, architects are trained to maximize the programming of your new surroundings, making your design investment more profitable in the long run. They ensure structural integrity and code compliance, and are trained to maximize energy and operational efficiency. Architects recommend the best materials and methods for construction, and monitor construction practices throughout the life of the project – keeping an eye on your capital investment.
Architectural designers can be an invaluable resource when working side-by-side with a licensed architect, but ultimately there are significant reasons why architects have earned the right to officially sign and seal their plans.