Architect vs draftsman for home extensions

Do You Need An Architect Or Draftsman?

If you’re looking to get some serious home extensions or renovations done or even building from the ground up, you’re going to need assistance with building designs, council permits and more. So who are you going to call, an architect or draftsman? To help you make the right call, here’s the ‘draftsman vs architect’ run-down:

1. Training

The education and background of an architect versus a draftsman is different.

Architects have a degree and are required to have a minimum of 2 years of industry experience. However, before they can legally call themselves an architect they must be registered with their local state Architects’ Registration Board. The training covers a broad range of building design from homes and commercial projects to infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels.

A draftsman may be tertiary-educated, typically with a 2 year advanced diploma and call themselves a building designer. The drawings produced by a building designer are used to obtain planning and building permits and to enable builders to tender for construction. If a draftsman is not tertiary qualified then they cannot be included on a building permit.

In Victoria building designers are required by the Victorian Building Act (1993) to be registered with the Victorian Building Authority under the category of Draftsperson, Class of Building Design (Architectural). Provided a building designer is registered they are able to have their name listed on the building permit. Naturally they should have professional indemnity insurance also. If a draftsman is not tertiary qualified then they cannot be included on a building permit.

2. Niche

You might be surprised to learn this, but houses are generally not designed by architects. Why not? Surely architects are great at designing buildings? While that’s true, only about 2% of houses are actually designed by architects. Architects are excellent at generating building design concepts for large projects like shopping centres and residential towers, often working with a team of draftsmen. However, for a new home or house extension a building designer that is registered has the knowledge and experience to produce first-class designs.

3. Cost

Architects are generally much more expensive than a drafting service or building designer. Why? Simply because architects are required to have extensive tertiary training and various legal requirements. For a new home or renovation, architects might be seen as more like a high-end fashion designer or a celebrity chef. Great at what they do, but what you really want expertly designed is your renovation or extension – not the Sistine Chapel and certainly not at Sistine Chapel-style prices!

4. Skills

While architects and draftsman possess many common building design skills, the draftsman can be regarded as a specialist home designer. Draftsmen will be particularly brilliant at CAD, nailing with surgical detail the technical details that really matter for your project. A draftsman who is also registered as a building designer and can demonstrate examples of their previous experience is more than qualified to design a functional, energy efficient, innovative new home or extension.

None of this is to put the architect down at all – of course not. They’re brilliant at coming up with design concepts to produce some of the world’s most awe-inspiring buildings and structures that are nothing short of iconic. Naturally enough these designs are expensive to construct.

Draftsman vs Architect – Which do you Need?

In summary, it might be said that while an architect can turn a blank sheet into a grand design concept, it’s the draftsman (building designer) that can turn your vision into documentation that can then be built into your dream. The big difference, as you can probably guess, is the price. This is why it is the draftsman that draws the all-important plans for almost every house you’ve ever seen.

At the end of the day, the really important thing is that the professionals you ask to deliver your project are truly great at what they do. RFT Solutions professional drafting services in Melbourne combined with their tendering service will do more than just the technical drawings. RFT Solutions building designers obtain the council permits and builder’s quotes ensuring the project matches your budget and your vision.