Architectural drafting: why it’s important for a successful construction project

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architectural drafting professional

When you’re planning to build or renovate a house, you might be wondering: do I need someone to do architectural drafting? Or should I just go directly to a builder to start my project?

In this guide, we’ll help you understand the advantages of hiring an architectural draftsman. We’ll also share how to choose the best one for your home improvement project.

Let’s begin!

woman drafting by hand

What is architectural drafting?

Architectural drafting is the process of creating technical drawings, blueprints, and detailed design plans. These drawings will serve as a guideline for builders, plumbers, and electricians as they complete the building. The drawings also include the dimensions of each structural element, as well as the procedures that will be used during construction.

Most architectural drafters use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software to produce technical drawings. However, some of them still use traditional tools to create hand-drawn designs.

What kind of architectural drafting professionals are available?

Architectural drafters fall under one of the following categories:

  • Residential draftsmen: Residential draftsmen specialise in creating house plans that builders can follow. Their plans are usually checked by engineers or architects to ensure that everything is up to code.
  • Commercial draftsmen: Commercial draftsmen specialise in producing technical drawings for commercial facilities like office buildings and retail establishments. These structures follow different building codes and requirements, so it’s best to hire a professional that specialises in producing technical drawings for them.
  • Civil drafting contractors: Civil drafting professionals create technical designs for bridges, highways, and sewage systems.
  • Electrical drafters: Electrical drafting professionals create diagrams that electrical contractors can follow. They can work on both residential and commercial buildings.

For basic construction services, you’ll usually require the services of a residential or commercial draftsman.

What are the key skills of an architectural draftsman?

An architectural draftsman should be able to deliver detailed, accurate, and construction-ready blueprints. To do this, they’re expected to have the following skills:

  • Ability to produce 2D and 3D technical plans, models, and drawings
  • Ability to research and survey accurate data for designing structures
  • Ability to conduct field surveys to learn about the building site
  • Ability to read and understand existing blueprints
  • Ability to use CADD technology
  • Ability to understand construction documentation
  • Knowledge of building codes and drafting standards

What does an architectural drafting plan look like?

Architectural drafts include floor plans, measurements, and methods that builders will use to construct residential and commercial structures. They serve as a manual for every person involved in the construction. In most cases, these drafts also contain information on which building codes should be followed and how much materials will cost. 

Here are some of the documents that are included in architectural drafts:

Floor plans

Floor plans are diagrams that show the location of doors, windows, staircases, and built-ins. Measurements of these elements are also shown in the elevations section of technical drawings.

Site plans

Site plans provide information about the lot or building site. These include details on the condition of the site, property lines, and height restrictions. In some cases, site plans may also contain information on nearby utilities and pathways.

Roof plans

A roof framing plan is a diagram showing the dimensions, shape, and design of the roof. It also contains details on the placement of vents and drainage, as well as the materials to be used.

Section drawings

Section drawings provide a more detailed view of a specific section of a house or building. Unlike floor plans, section drawings are made from a vertical plane and slice through a building.

professionally drafted floor plan

Why you need to hire an architectural draftsman

Hiring an architectural draftsman comes with several advantages, including:

1. Architectural drafting plans help lessen mistakes

When it comes to building a house or a commercial property, there’s little room for error. That’s why it’s important for everyone – builders, plumbers, electricians – to have a single manual that they all need to follow during construction. The architectural draftsman will be in charge of preparing these plans, usually under the supervision of an architect.

Having a single reference helps lessen mistakes during construction. That way, you can worry less about redoing some parts of your home because some parts were not built or done correctly.

2. Architectural drawings are needed for council approval

Before you can get a building permit for any type of construction, alteration, removal, or demolition, you’re going to need to submit your floor or site plans to your local council or a private building surveyor/certifier. A skilled architectural draftsman can produce the drawings and plans to complete your application.

3. Customised architectural drafting plans are made with your goals in mind

It’s easy to take a stock house plan from the Internet, present it to a builder, and have it built. However, there are plenty of instances where premade house plans don’t match your local site or need to be customised for the type of house that your family needs.

This is where an architectural draftsman comes in handy. They can make simple tweaks and adjustments to existing plans so that they can meet your family’s needs.

4. Hiring an independent architectural draftsman gives you the means to negotiate

There are times when a builder decides to offer full-service construction, which includes the entire process from design to build. However, if you go with that option, you won’t have the ability to take the design to another builder who may offer you better value for your money. That’s because your builder will own the copyright to the house plans.

It’s more advantageous for you to hire an independent architectural draftsman to produce the design and then get and compare quotes from multiple builders. 

architectural drafting plan

How much does architectural drafting cost?

Rates for architectural drafting services depend on the complexity of the project and the scope of work. Generally, though, producing house plans and technical drawings may cost 5-8% of the total build cost.

To get a clear idea of how much your design and build service will cost, ask us for a free quote.

How do you become an architectural draftsman in Australia?

Architectural drafting professionals are required to complete a TAFE course or something similar in order to learn computer-aided design and drafting. On average, they can complete their study within two years.

How to find the right architectural draftsman

With the high number of architectural drafting pros near you, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your options. Still, you shouldn’t settle for whichever architectural draftsman offers you the cheapest quote. You need to carefully select the best one.

When picking which one to hire for your project, consider the following:

  • Portfolio: Most draftsmen will have a public portfolio that allows you to see what kind of designs they specialise in. It’s best to learn how to read and interpret floor plans so that you can tell if their previous work was done professionally and contains all the technical details that builders need to successfully complete the project.
  • Experience: Ask about the draftsman’s experience. What are their previous projects? What kind of houses have they built in the past? Have they done anything similar to the type of house that you want?
  • Client references: Check their reviews and ask them if they can refer you to satisfied clients. Most draftsmen can provide you with a few clients who can attest to the quality of their work.
architectural drafting on the computer

What’s the process of working with an architectural drafting pro?

When working with an architectural drafting pro, you can follow these steps:

Come up with your design brief

If you want a home that fits your taste, needs, and lifestyle, you need to create a clear and detailed design brief. You can start by figuring out the style of home that you like and reading guides from industry experts. You can also check out our inspiration gallery to get cool, new ideas. 

At Superdraft, you can use our platform to create a digital dream board with photos of the type of work you want to be done in your house. 

Set expectations and budget

Once you’ve figured out what kind of project you want, you can use our build cost calculator to set a budget.

Find an architectural drafting pro

Compare profiles of architectural draftsmen and pick one that best suits your needs. Make sure to review their past projects, testimonials, and qualifications.

Review the design

Once the draftsman has completed the design, review it carefully to check if it meets your standards and if it accurately reflects your vision. Depending on your contract with them, you may be entitled to ask for revisions.

Approve the design

After the draftsman tweaks the design based on your feedback, you can approve the design, then the project can move on to the construction phase. 

Superdraft tip: At Superdraft, we offer a designer switch guarantee in case you’re not satisfied with the work of your current designer.

architectural drafting pro checking the design

Frequently asked questions

Is architectural drafting the same as architecture?

Architects are mainly responsible for planning and overseeing the construction of a new structure. Meanwhile, architectural drafters produce technical drawings that serve as a guide for building the structure. They take instructions from an architect and turn them into actual blueprints that builders can use as a reference.

How many drawings do I need to build or renovate my house?

It depends on the type of project that you’re planning. For a new build, you’ll usually need a site plan, floor plan, elevations, and sectional drawings. Depending on the planning overlays in your area, you may also need to submit additional drawings to gain council approval. 

For simple renovations, you’re likely going to need just a floor plan of the new structure you need to build. You’ll need to submit these plans to your local council or a private building surveyor to get a building permit.

Should I hire an architect or draftsman?

The biggest difference between an architect and a draftsman is the level of education that they must complete in order to earn their titles. In Australia, architects study architectural drafting to earn an undergraduate degree. But they must hold a two-year master’s degree in architecture and be registered with an architecture board. They’re also required to complete a set number of hours of study annually.

You can choose between hiring an architect or a draftsman based on the complexity of the construction project. If you’re planning to build a spacious split-level home, for example, then we recommend hiring an architect or a highly experienced building designer. 

Meanwhile, if you’re planning a simple home improvement project, then choosing a draftsman may be more cost-effective for you. They can make some technical tweaks to your home’s existing blueprint without making structural or complicated changes. 

architectural draftsman checking floor plan

Find an architectural drafting pro near you

An architectural drafting professional is responsible for creating technical drawings, models, and plans. They create these plans based on the client’s vision and an architect’s supervision, though some draftsmen offer their services independently. When you’re planning a simple home renovation project, it’s likely more cost-effective for you to hire a draftsman to translate your vision into plans that your builders can follow.

Now that you have a better idea of the various professionals involved in construction, it’s time to find one for your home renovation or new build project! Using our free platform at Superdraft, you can:

  • Use our designer match technology to find skilled drafting or building design professionals near you
  • Get quotes from reliable builders
  • Understand the council approval process
  • Monitor the progress of your home improvement or new build project online

Register for our free, award-winning platform now!

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