How to Know if You Need a Draftsman or an Architect for Your Remodel

Undertaking a home building project or remodel can feel intimidating. One way to take the overwhelm out of the equation? Adopt a proactive approach to understanding your options — and making educated decisions based on this knowledge. This includes choosing the right professionals to work with. One common question often asked by remodel clients is whether they need a draftsman or architect for their project.

The simplest answer is that it depends. However, more often than not, with a home renovation, you’re going to need to work with an experienced architect or an architectural team that may actually include a draftsman. Understanding the difference between the two will help you know with confidence when you need to invest in an architect and when you’d work with a draftsman.

What is an Architect?

As defined in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.” They are involved throughout the construction process—from the initial planning phases through completion.

An architect’s roles and responsibilities are diverse. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Meeting with clients.
  • Developing architectural plans.
  • Consulting with engineers. 
  • Reviewing the progress of their projects.
  • Ensuring drawn plans adhere to building codes, zoning laws, fire codes, accessibility mandates, and other rules and regulations

Then, architects use a variety of tools to create architectural drawings. These include computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) tools and software in addition to building information modeling (BIM).

You should expect your architect to have at the minimum a bachelor’s degree in the field, although many architects also have master’s degrees. Additionally, you should always work with a fully licensed architect and feel free to ask about their real-world experience and past projects.

What is a Draftsman?

On the other hand, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Drafters use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings.” While there is some overlap between the work of draftsmen and architects, the scope of the former’s responsibilities are limited to producing drawings using CADD, technical handbooks, calculators, and tables. While draftsmen primarily work on computers in offices, they may also collaborate with architects and engineers on job sites. They may also specialize in certain types of projects. For example, some draftsmen may primarily work on residential buildings, while others may focus their efforts on commercial projects. Others may specialize in particular materials, such as wood, steel, or concrete.

The educational requirements for draftsmen are less rigorous than for architects. While a high school degree is typically regarded as the minimum level of education, most employers prefer additional training, such as a certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree in drafting or a related degree.

The Difference Between an Architect and a Draftsman

The difference comes down to this. While architects are the visionaries who conceive of a building’s functional design, draftsmen are the equivalent of interpreters. They translate that vision into technical blueprints that guide the construction process.

If you’re undertaking a new home or remodeling project encompassing technical, engineering, and design components, then you’ll need an architect. However, if you already have a design and engineer, you’ll need a draftsman to create the technical house plans.

The Benefits of Working with Both and Architect and a Draftsman in an Architect Team

Most likely, you will need both an architect and a draftsman for your home build or remodel. And while it’s possible to hire independent professionals, there are many advantages to working with an architectural team.

From architectural design to project management to material selection, there are many moving parts in seeing a project through from inception to completion. In bringing all of these together, architectural teams offer paramount communication, collaboration, and cohesion.

Furthermore, an architectural team consisting of architects, drafters, and other professionals comprises a breadth and depth of experience, perspectives, and backgrounds you simply will not get from working with individuals.

One lesser-known but impactful reason why hiring an architectural team is a “best of both worlds” solution is its members will share a company culture that will further support your project’s success. This is exactly what you get when you partner with Drafting Cafe Architects.

At Drafting Cafe Architects, our team approach and project management methodology mean we don’t just help you achieve a buildable design, but also ensure the process will be as seamless and streamlined as possible.

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