Architectural Draftsman & Drafting

What is Drafting?

Drafting, is the process of drawing an accurate technical representation of a building that will be constructed and is required for council approval in Australia. In the modern age drafting is completed on computer-aided design (CAD) software on a computer.

The core idea is to create a set of drawings that will communicate both form and function. It is different from merely drawing pictures of things, since these drawings are the bases for the construction of their real-world counterparts.

Drafting is incredibly precise, and yet it is also a form of art as the audience needs to be understand the plan being drawn. This includes drawing the building with multiple elevations as well as the plan, and even an “exploded” section and detail views that contains the information on specific components.

Architectural Drafting Plan

As a process, drafting uses a very specific set of symbols and units, a type of notation that can help the uninitiated to understand what the building is all about. Other conventions, all the way down to the page layout, needs to be followed. Failure to do so can result in miscommunication, and problems with the final building. A standard guide has been created to help with this called the ISO 128 standard.

What is a Draftsman?

A Draftsman is a skilled person that prepares technical blueprints on CAD software and in the past, by pen and paper.

There are various ways to complete a technical drawing, either by hand or by a software such as AutoCAD. Various applications of drafting, from architecture to engineering, would impose different draftsman requirements as well. Some are also known to work directly in the field, with surveying instruments and similar equipment and then come back and drawn the plans.

Draftsman usually specialise in a certain areas and industries and it is not often for them to cross over due to the technical knowledge needed in each area. There are five common drafting industries of specialisation:

  • Architectural
  • Structural
  • Electrical
  • Civil
  • Mechanical

When in the business of designing residential buildings, a draftsperson may work hand in hand with construction managers and surveyors, and may also help plan and organise the project as a whole. Some drawings a draftsman is expected to create for architectural projects are:

  • Floor plans
  • Elevations
  • Sections
  • Details
  • Site plans
  • Room layouts showing tiling and cabinetry details
  • Electrical plan

Drafters are expected to be knowledgeable in the Australian standards and Building Codes of Australia. This means that on their own, they can validly inspect the project’s compliance with the local specifications and standards. Therefore, this is a far-reaching job that requires versatility and knowledge.

Difference Between an Architect and Draftsman

Difference between architect and a draftsman

Some people equate the job of a draftsman (also known as a “drawing technician”) with that of the architect. These are two different disciplines, however. While a draftsman can prepare home drawings for the building of a home, an architect is usually focused on the looks and design of a project. In contrast, a draftsman focuses on the technical side as well as less complex design.

Nowadays, especially in Australia, there are several overlapping areas in the two specialties. Architects are more commonly hired for the design of commercial building projects, Where as in residential projects, draftees are usually preferred for the drawing and design due to the practicality aspect and cost reasons.

If you want a residential home designing, the majority of experienced drafters can design, without blowing the budget, just as good as architects. This is due the sheer amount of homes they have drawn and technical knowledge they have. However, If you have a really large budget, or will create a large luxury design, then an architect is probably more appropriate for you.

Drafting Courses and Qualifications

Drafters, unlike architects, do NOT need to complete a specific degree. Essentially, anyone who has completed basic education (preferably up to a technical course at TAFE), can become a draftsman even if they haven’t studied it.

In Australia a draftsman is generally expected to complete basic training courses, such as a Certificate IV in Residential Building Drafting, or a Diploma in Building Design.However, this is not needed in some states.

Drafting courses can be taken through TAFE or other Australian education providers. A Certificate IV in Residential Building Drafting will take a year full-time, and two years part-time. For most course offerings, the only requirement is being at least Year 12. There are various offers from different states and educational institutions.

Here are some Australian drafting courses to take a look at:

Certificate IV in Building Design Drafting CPP401151 Year$7,500
Certificate IV in Engineering Drafting MEM404121 Year$10,650
Diploma of Building Design CPP509112 Years$12,000
Certificate IV in Manufacturing Technology MSA401081 Year$4,000
Certificate IV in Residential Building Drafting 52757WA1 Year$4,500

There are some states, however, where drafters need to be licensed — Queensland and Victoria. Victoria has three registration classes. One for those producing drawings for domestic building constructions, another one for those producing designs and drawings for interiors, and another one for those developing projects related to water, hydraulics, sewerage, lighting, and the like.

Victorian Drafters are also required to produce a VCE (Completion of Victorian Certificate of Education), or an equivalent qualification if they are coming from other states.

How To Become a Draftsman?

 For those who are interested in becoming a draftsman the best advice I can give is to reach out and try get a traineeship. Gather a list of all the drafting, engineering and building companies you can find and call them up or go in to their offices. Tell them you are interested in drafting and would love to work for if you are financially stable, I advise saying you will work for a period of time for free while you learn and become productive.

Your wage will be low, but not as low as if you were studying. In addition, in my opinion, you will learn just as much as if you were studying at TAFE. I highly recommend you to do this before taking on your study as you will save time and money if you secure a job.

What Makes a Good Draftperson?

 Aside from the basics, such as the ability to create working drawings for residential projects and the ability to work with basic design principles, the ideal drafter should also be well-skilled in creating cost effective design and sustainable designs. In addition, they should be knowing the regulations very well and get drawings approved by council with no hiccups.

CAD Drafting Australia

Many certification courses for drafting also include lessons on the use of solar technology, and the passive use environmental factors to create sustainable designs. There should also be an understanding of the basics of the Australian conditions that could affect buildings.

Along with this, there would also be a rundown of the various rules and regulations needed to ensure the project’s approval in the council. In a nutshell, a quality draftsman is well-equipped not only in creating a usable cost-effective design, but one that can get your plans though council with no problems.

Drafting Service

 If you have a project in mind, and you already have specifics such as how you want it to look (or maybe a design you want to draft out), then you might want to consult a draftsman near you for a discussion and a quote.

  • Perth Drafting Service
  • Drafting Service Melbourne
  • Sydney Draftsman

As mentioned earlier, because the qualifications required for being a drafter can be fairly lax, you should be careful when you approach one. Be prepared to give specifics, and take notes. Ask as many questions as you can and previous examples of their work. It is the draftsman’s responsibility to make you feel comfortable with his skill.

Whether you want to have just preliminary pictures, or completely detailed plans, a trusted draftsperson could be of service. Check out my site and contact, and let’s meet up!

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