Would you need an architect? You normally do not need an architect, for designing houses. All that is only required is having an engineer sign off on the council and structure approval. You are able to design and draft the whole thing up yourself, but don't go there because it is improbable that your design will be approved without at least some professional input. In Australia, an architect is (officially) someone who is accredited with the Architect’s Registration Board of each state. For residential projects, you do not legally require an architect, so many architecture graduates just do not bother getting official certification and use the generic title "Building Designer" instead. There are other building designers that have lesser qualifications, and they may well be just as great at designing houses (e.g. experienced draftsman), but there are also some designers who truly do not know what they're doing. How to find an architect or building designer • The Internet Is Your Friend - this web site, for example, has an online directory of building designers. Word of mouth: If you've got friends or family who recently constructed or expanded their house, ask them whether they’d recommend that designer and how it went. • Neighbors: Select a bike ride and take a look at what’s being assembled around you. If there’s anything you especially fancy, contact the owners and ask them who designed their house. • Old fashioned methods: classifieds advertising, notice boards, etc. Deciding on the best architect or building designer: Your building designer has to be on the same page as you with lots of things. This consists of: • Cost: Make sure you let them know how much you are able to afford to spend. Be specific and give a dollar value. Enable the conversation to move on, describe all the items you desire and brainstorm ideas together. Afterward, ask how much they anticipate you'll need to spend. Did they recall which you told them how much you could afford? If not, that’s an enormous red light. • How Long Will it take?: What would you desire? What's the building going to be used for and how do you plan to use it? What sort of actions would you intend to undertake? Do you paint? Sew? Read a lot in bed? These all can affect the layout. • Your notions: What you desire. What kind of finishes and materials are you into? This is your vision. The designer should not be attempting to "possess the thought" or inflict a layout on you because it's going to look good in a design magazine.