Architects vs. Home Designers

Purpose: to explain the difference between an architect and a home designer, and where which is ideal.

Read time: 6 Min


Note: This information is for permitted projects only


Plans are the lifeblood of your project.  They communicate the job to all the professionals on the jobsite.  If the plans are lacking – you are the plans. As such, you will get called daily to provide oversight and guidance on what needs to get done.  


I cannot stress enough that plans will make or break your job.  Further, only a good set of plans will allow you to scale your business beyond just a few projects.  They’re the way you can engage multiple parties, at multiple sites, without being “on top of them” all the time.


When I hear a small renovation plan set secured through a local architect, I cringe.  This is both a huge waste of time and money, and not the proper use of resources in any capacity.  Architects excel in handling big jobs: those that have many moving parts and pieces, and require a high degree of complexity.  An architect is definitely not the way to go for a quick reno that requires removing a few load-bearing walls.  When architects are brought in to these projects, I find that both the Owner and the architect get frustrated.  


Let me stress again that architects serve a very specific role in our building ecosystem: they’re for the larger projects that require a large degree of sophistication.  An architect can shine when you’re planning a particularly challenging aesthetic feature, or architecturally dazzling feature. I would also engage them for new construction, as starting from scratch is easily in their wheelhouse.  




  • Thorough & Detailed

  • Turn-key plans with all necessary engineers 

  • Great for big projects with lots of “moving parts”

  • Licensed



  • Expensive

  • Slow

Home Designers



  • Faster

  • Cheaper

  • More accustomed to smaller projects

  • Focused on design 



  • You'll need a two-part system for larger projects that require structural changes 




For 80 percent of our standard projects, engaging a home designer to draw the plans and handing them off to a structural engineer for supplemental plans is the fastest and most effective means to plan and complete the work.