Finding the right person to draw your plans is just as crucial as finding the right builder, and the prospect can be equally as daunting. A badly drawn plan can be both confusing and misleading, and just about impossible to read!
Just like builders though, the ideal way to choose your designer is by personal recommendation, but you might not be lucky enough to have a group of friends who have all benefited from the professional design services of the same local person.
Just as it is the scenario with builders, designers don’t have to be registered or licensed. They may indeed voluntarily belong to professional institution or organization but there are many of these to choose from. The majority of those institutions will require that premium members must have relevant academic and technical qualifications, but be warned, that they all have various different levels of membership.
To give a better understanding of this, a student membership can be obtained with just a school leaving qualification, an associate membership with only half completed technical studies, while a corporate or full membership can only be attained after completing the full qualifications and also only after several years of experience!
As if this isn’t enough, some of these bodies represent a broad range of professions, so it is not only crucial to know which ‘group’ the designer belongs to, but to which discipline within it and the level of his or her membership. Naturally, membership of any group is not vital; I mean let’s face it, it might only rely on an annual subscription being paid to maintain it and little else.
Some bodies may encourage continuing professional development, but not many insist upon it. They are therefore, in essence, trade organisations for white-collar professionals, and should not be used as a measuring stick to judge the quality or other of a designer. Having said this though, most will encourage their members to at least follow a basic code of conduct in their professional activities.
Those persons employed in the field of building design may have a variety of titles: surveyor, engineer, architectural surveyor, building consultant and the list goes on. What really matters is not what they call themselves, but whether or not they are actually good at what they do.
There is more to cover on this topic so I will leave it there for right now and come back to this post with part 2 in a short while.