Mass production certainly has its benefits. If it weren’t for assembly line style techniques, we would have very few of the modern conveniences we are now so accustomed to. Though it keeps costs down, mass production has one drawback that becomes readily apparent in a discipline such as construction: It makes everything look the same. Amid the vast amount of homogenization that occurs in many facets of life in this country, it’s nice to come home to a place that is truly your own. Many homeowners want a home designed just the way they want it, not some house from a cookie cutter builder, and some are willing to pay a pretty penny for it.
What a Draftsperson Does
As homeowners search for the house of their dreams, they may end up finding a house plan in a newspaper, order plans from a magazine, or just have an idea of what they would like based on houses they have been in. Getting those ideas on paper and having blueprints drawn to give to contractors, however, is a job that few homeowners attempt themselves. Since most municipalities do not require that construction plans for single-family dwellings be done by a registered architect or engineer, a draftsman is likely to be able to put your ideas down on paper at a lower cost.
If you have a set of plans you purchased from a magazine or other source, the draftsman can also make modifications to meet your needs and/or satisfy local building codes in order to get a building permit. A draftsman can also take the plans to structural engineers or other licensed professionals to be stamped if a particular element in the building should need special consideration. Draftspersons can also make drawings of existing buildings if needed, such as to apply for homeowner building permits to make modifications.
The Modern Draftsman
Once, a draftsperson’s plans were all drawn by hand, but now (as with many aspects of modern life) the computer has entered the field to allow drafting to be done more quickly and accurately. The latest Computer Aided Drafting & Design (CADD) software can do 3D renderings and drafting which includes floor plans and elevations as well as plumbing and electrical plans to meet the standards set by the UBC, BNBC, BOCA and SBC building codes.
Although private individuals may not need plans for a single residence to be drawn on computer, it is frequently required for larger commercial and governmental jobs. It is also easier to make changes to drawings created on computer and send them electronically, if needed. Therefore draftspersons are often asked to convert plans on paper to a CAD program for future use.
Draftsman vs. Architect
While an architect’s main function is to design and oversee, a draftsperson’s job is mainly to sketch out the designs. If you are looking to construct a truly custom house from scratch, you’ll probably end up needing the skills of an architect or a structural engineer. Draftsmen are simply not as thoroughly trained in the design aspect of home planning, though making alterations to existing plans and sketching out ideas is well within their field.