When you were a child, did you dream of your perfect dream house? Did you think of how the rooms would be laid out, the stairs, what material or materials the hallways would be lined with? I bet that you do have a vision, and that you would like for your dream to come to life - you just are not all too sure HOW to make it come to life. This is where a building designer comes in handy.

Just what does a building designer do? He or so will listen to your dreams and desires that you have envisioned. He or she will then suggest alternative plans, just in case your initial dream is not affordable, safe, or legal (building designers tend to be full familiar with zoning bylaws, which saves you some time and research). Once a design is agreed upon, the completed plans are then draw and the designer works closely with the building contractor to ensure that the plans you have are properly understood.

You must understand that there are some limitations to what a building designer can do. For one, they are not psychic and will not be able to tell when you have changed your mind on a feature without you telling them. They cannot anticipate what sort of needs you may have, such as wheelchair access, so you must let this be known. Know that they are not above the law and must stick to the zoning bylaws in the area just like everyone else, and that they cannot create a good building from unrealistic ideas and plans. Lastly, it's important to let the building designer know what your budget is, and you must be realistic about what the designer can do with the amount of money allotted to them.

So how can you find the best building designer that you can afford? The best place to start is to simply ask your friends, family and neighbors about any building designers that they have used. They will be honest, and you can have a firsthand look at the good job that the building designer did. A great way to look for a building designer is to check out any professional organizations, such as a local builder's guild, and find a reference from there. Another good place to look that not all too many people think of are real estate agents and real estate listing companies. You can be sure that the building designers that they use are by no means bad at their job! Lastly, you can also run an Internet search to both find the building designer, and to perhaps find reviews.

Now do not just go for the very first building designer that you see. You will want to gather the phone numbers for any where from two to five, and then begin calling them.

Things to look out for:

  • Be on the look out for professionalism when the phone is answered, and when appointments and schedules are made.
  • Phone calls are returned at about the time in which they are promised (i.e. if the designer promises to call you on Tuesday at 3pm, they better call you on Tuesday at 3pm)
  • If you have any meetings or other events scheduled, these must be kept UNLESS they phone to cancel and another appointment is made.
  • The designer is able to provide you an estimate in writing.
  • The designer has appropriate and valid licenses and certificates.
  • The references that you receive are positive and the workmanship, if you are able to check it out, is up to your expectations.

Though calling around to all o these designers can be rather time consuming, think o the investment that you are making. The thousands of dollars that you may be putting into this project is worth the extra minutes you will take to find a building designer who will listen and work WITH you, rather than work according to their own schedule.