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A building designer performs similar duties to an architect. They design new buildings and/or renovations and extensions for the building and construction industry. Working with builders and clients, they design, plan and complete building projects.

A building designer may have on the job experience, or they may hold a trade certificate or equivalent in a relevant industry.

The duties of a building designer may include the following:

  • design and create interior and exterior building plans
  • preparing relevant building documents for approval and construction
  • provide advice on building materials
  • estimate labour and material requirements and costs.

It is important when considering coverage to determine all of the duties being performed by the building designer, as the role may vary between workplaces.

In some states, such as Victoria, Tasmania, and Queensland building designers are required to be registered or hold licences. In New South Wales, building designers are required to be registered depending on the type of project they’re involved in.

For more information on related job titles, see:

Architects Award

Building designers who are required to hold an architecture degree and perform the duties of an architect are covered by the Architects Award. The relevant classification depends on their experience and responsibilities.

Professional Award

The Professional Award may cover a building designer if they are required to have either of the following to perform the role:

  • a degree in engineering, or
  • qualifications at least equal to those of a graduate member of Engineers Australia.

Manufacturing Award

Employees employed as building designers who mostly make drawings from sketches or other data may be draughtspersons covered by the Manufacturing Award on an occupational basis.


Clara is an architect, who runs her own firm specialising in residential property. She employs Heidi as a building designer. Heidi has a Certificate IV in Engineering Drafting.

Clara creates exterior and interior designs for new homes and renovations, based on her client’s instructions. Heidi takes Clara’s designs and prepares detailed drawings and specifications for the building project, and includes recommendations on building materials and costs, but she doesn’t create her own designs.

Heidi is covered by the Manufacturing Award.

Miscellaneous Award

The Miscellaneous Award can cover a building designer if they’re not:

  • covered by an industry or occupational award
  • a managerial employee, or
  • a professional employee.

An employee may be considered a professional employee if their role requires a degree qualification, for example, a bachelor of building design.

An employee may also be considered a professional employee if they have a qualification that’s not a degree, and also have substantial industry experience.

Award free

A building designer who is not covered by an occupational award or the Miscellaneous Award is award free.

They’re entitled to the national minimum wage and the National Employment Standards.

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