Draftsmen, also called architectural technicians, perform a small part of the architect’s overall process and responsibility architects and often work in conjunction with architects. Draftsmen, like architects, also prepare CAD drawings, including technical details and specifications of materials dimensions and procedures. In the architectural profession the draftsman specialises in the technical documentation of a project. However, drafting can be applied to many other areas besides construction and architecture. Draftsmen can also produce drawings of circuitry, piping and other mechanical designs.
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CHOOSING THE RIGHT EXPERT
Architect - Responsible for making sure the building doesn´t fall down.
Hire an architect for all work that requires (1) innovative interpretation of space and (2) building permits and inspections. Often, city and county building codes require an architect´s approval. Check with your building department to verify. Some homeowner´s associations may require that additions and remodeling projects be signed off by a registered architect. The homeowner´s association architectural committee can provide specific guidelines for working within association covenants.
Designer - Captures your vision and renders your design.
An architectural designer is trained to take your concept and create a workable vision. They can coordinate materials and color to best effect, as well as define space usage. They can create elevations and floor plans that embody functional and aesthetic goals.
Draftsman - Provides working technical drawings.
A draftsman can create the kinds of technical drawings required by a custom cabinet maker, for example. For small or medium projects, where drawings are needed that provide technical detail, but don´t require a lot of design or engineering, a draftsman can provide contractors with a clear set of working instructions.
Why hire one instead of another?
If you have a small project that requires clear drawings for a contractor, a draftsman can render a plan that works well and communicates effectively for a relatively modest investment. If you are planning a bathroom remodel, you might hire either a draftsman to draw up your ideas for your contractor or hire an architectural designer to help you define what you want. The information can be given to the contractor as working drawings. As long as the contractor is licensed and permits are not required, the draftsman could easily be a good choice.
If you are at a conceptual stage and want someone to create a rendering of your ideas, an architectural designer is an excellent resource. They can take your desire for a Norman fortress and create a drawing that incorporates your ideas into a cohesive design. A designer is equipped to make recommendations about materials, finishes, and color.
For any project that requires building permits and inspections, it´s usually wise to get the advice of a licensed architect. While many agencies require an architect´s approval, not all do and there are many gray areas that exist. By hiring an architect, you ensure that your project will be built to current codes and problems will be avoided. When you hire an architect, you hire a committed professional. While the cost is certainly higher than a designer or draftsman, you are guaranteed that the end product will be structurally sound. An architect is capable of doing the design work or taking the work of a designer, and then creating all the working drawings as well as overseeing the entire project in conjunction with your builder.
Regardless of your project and the scope of work, ask each candidate for the project to provide references and proof of all required licensing and insurance. Ask to see a portfolio of work and examine the work carefully. Depending on the discipline, a contract may be used. If so, make sure that the scope of work is clearly defined, with all payment terms and warranties stipulated.