Who You Gonna Call?

Who does what when you need to build, add on or renovate

Whether you’re planning a new build, an addition or a renovation to existing space, a vision of what the structure will ultimately look and function like needs to be boiled down to actual plans and specifications so that vision can actually be built. Most professionals agree there can be an overlap of talents and skills, depending on education and training, certification, licensing, and experience. It’s really up to the person doing the hiring to determine what professional best suits their needs and budget.

The following descriptions are in relation to residential construction and home projects. To view the full story in the Winter 2012 issue of Saskatoon HOME magazine click here.


The Architect is a professional who has dedicated his or her career to the practice of architecture. Architecture is the art, science and the business of building. An architect, registered to practice in Saskatchewan, has demonstrated successful completion of the requirements for architectural education followed by several years of experience in all aspects of practice. Like other professionals, he or she is admitted to the profession after passing extensive examinations. Each individual province regulates the profession of architecture. Only those registered with the Saskatchewan Association of Architects (SAA) are permitted to use the title ‘architect’ in Saskatchewan. Usually, the architect leads a team of specialists, which may include structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, and others such as landscape architects and interior designers. Size and type of project are not limited. Visit: Saskatchewan Association of Architects www.saskarchitects.com.

The Architectural Technologist, also known as a Building Technologist, provides building design services and solutions and is trained in architectural technology, building design and construction. They can or may negotiate the construction project, and manage the process from conception through to completion. Many provide independent professional services directly to clients. Applied Science Technologists, and Certified Technicians and Technologists have post-secondary training, or equivalent, in the principles of applied mathematics, and applied science/engineering technology. Visit: the Saskatchewan Applied Science Technologists and Technicians: www.sastt.ca.

Structural Engineers assist with the design of specific building structures, including foundations and framing in order to fulfill the design requirements typically set out by the client, designer and the authority having jurisdiction. Geotechnical Engineers may be required for unstable/special soil conditions. The practice of engineering, similarly to architecture, is a provincially regulated profession requiring specific educational and registration requirements. Visit the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists: www.apegs.sk.ca.

Draftsperson/Drafters: Architectural drafters draw architectural and structural plans/features of buildings and other structures. These workers may specialize in a type of structure, such as residential or commercial. Today drafters commonly use Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) systems for the creation of technical drawings so some drafters may be referred to as CADD operators. Drafters can have a variety of training and abilities, in addition to CADD skills.

Interior Designers/ Interior Design Consultants have graduated from a college or university interior design program. In addition to enhancing the total visual environment, both interior designers and interior design consultants create a space that is functional, efficient and safe to protect and enhance the life, health, safety and welfare of the public. Health and life safety is incorporated at the fundamental level of the design. These designers have a wide range of options to practice, whether it be on their own, or collaboratively with other interior design professionals, architects and engineers. In Saskatchewan and many, the title of Interior Designer is regulated and can only be used by registered members of IDAS which means a combination of seven years education and work experience, and they must have also passed the National Council for Interior Design Qualification Exam (NCIDQ), the international standard examination for Interior Designers. Interior design consultants on the other hand have not yet to met these same requirements. Visit: Interior Designers Association of Saskatchewan: www.idas.ca.

Interior Decorator:
An interior decorator fashions the look of a space and its outward decoration—paint, fabric, furnishings, light fixtures and other materials. Decorators may have some training or education, however the title is not regulated and therefore there is no education or work experience requirement to call oneself a decorator. However, many qualified decorators and ‘design specialists’ have an eye for what works in a space, have taken relevant courses, and have built relationships with home décor businesses and suppliers. Many home builders have decorators on staff; others work independently.

General Contractor/Builder: The general contractor is the individual or company responsible for the construction of the building or project. In smaller companies, the GC may also be the builder, but a GC oversees the building project and sub-trades involved. Visit the Saskatchewan Construction Association: www.scaonline.ca.

Landscape Architect: Landscape architecture is a creative practice that incorporates the planning and design of outdoor spaces and public areas of varying scales. Landscape architecture integrates both the needs of people and the environment, and aims to promote strong urban design, environmental resource management, and ecological sensitivity. A landscape architect is a trained professional with extensive education who provides a range of service including research, analysis, design, planning, budgeting, and consultation. Landscape architects prepare drawings and construction documents, develop policy and provide contract administration. Visit: Saskatchewan Association of Landscape Architects: www.sala.sk.ca/.

Landscape designers and contractors plan landscape design, use of space, plant selection and construction, incorporating both hardscape and softscape elements. Designers and contractors may work with a landscape architect, or independently to create a functional and attractive environment. They may have relevant training from university schools of horticulture, agriculture, and environmental design, community colleges, or through apprenticeships.