Designers may have almost as much training as an architect or no training at all. With an architect, you know that the individual passed a rigorous training and testing process; with a designer you do not. Anyone can call themselves a designer. However, we know of designers that consistently produce plans superior to most architects. If you decide to use a designer, unless you know you have one of the truly talented ones, it is probably a good idea to make sure that you have a good idea of what you want so you can review their work. You should also ask the designer to provide you with the names and phone numbers of past clients you can contact. When you call, you should ask if the completed plans met their requirements after being built? Also, you might want to ask how long it took for the plans to be completed? Did the project finish within budget and if not, was it a result of the plans (in fairness, there may be many reasons why a project goes over budget that have nothing to do with the plans)?
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