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What is a Building Designer?

Helping the Homeowner


Architectural draft of a wooden house on a table with pen, ruler, blueprint, and cup of coffee

Desktop of the Professional Building Designer

Photo by Dieter Spannknebel / Stockbyte / Getty Images


Professional Building Designers, or Home Designers, specialize in designing single family homes. In some cases, as state regulations permit, they may also design other light frame residential buildings, agricultural buildings, and decorative facades for larger buildings. Having a general knowledge of all aspects of the building trade, a Professional Building Designer can act as an agent to help the homeowner through the building or renovation process.

Unlike architects, Home Designers are not required to pass the A.R.E. exam or receive licensing as an architect. However, a designer who carries the title "Certified Professional Building Designer" or "CPBD" has completed training courses, practiced building design for at least six years, and passed a rigorous certification exam. Receiving National Council of Building Designer Certification commits this type of building professional to standards of conduct, ethics, and continued learning.

While fees vary widely, most Certified Professional Building Designers charge between 3% and 6% of the total construction cost.

Since 1950, the American Institute of Building Design has been the professional organization of Building Design Specialists. Their booklet "Your Guide to Residential Design Specialists" (PDF) can help consumers choose the right professional for the job.

Also Known As: Home Designer

See: How to Become a Professional Home Designer

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