What is an architectural drafter and what do they do?


Draftsmen, also known as drafters, create drawings and plans that are used in manufacturing and construction. Drafters can be found in a broad range of fields, including architecture, aeronautics, civil engineering and electronics. Becoming a draftsman typically requires training in commercial drafting and computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) procedures.

What Do They Do?

A drafter typically does the following:

  • Design and prepare plans for using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software
  • Produce effective product designs by using their understanding of engineering and manufacturing techniques
  • Add structural details to architectural plans from their knowledge of building techniques
  • Prepare multiple versions of designs for review by engineers and architects
  • Specify dimensions, materials, and procedures for new building projects or products
  • Work under the supervision of engineers or architects

An architectural drafter creates scale drawings of buildings that are utilized by designers, engineers, contractors and architects in the construction of schools, homes, commercial business parks, factories and production plants. Most jobs in this profession are found in the engineering or development departments of large corporations. An architectural drafter may also work for a construction company or architectural design firm.

The drafted drawings must be extremely accurate as they are the actual recipe for the construction of the buildings. Each measurement and calculation must be precise to avoid compromising the integrity of the structures. An architectural drafter frequently visits job sites to verify that her drawings are being clearly interpreted by the builders.

The process of creating the final drawings commonly begins with rough drafts of the exteriors and floor plans of the proposed structures. The drafter commonly bases these initial concepts on engineering specifications and other information usually supplied by the general contractor. Any general questions or areas of concern that surface during this early phase are typically referred to the engineering firm in charge for resolution.

Daily Duties

A large portion of an architectural draftsman’s time is spent preparing architectural drawings and blueprints. This includes tasks like depicting building and element elevations, selecting building materials and including plumbing, drainage and landscaping elements into the sketch. Typically, this work is done using pertinent CADD programs. However, it is important for these professionals to understand the manual concepts and theories of the work as well. Draftsmen will also calculate processes such as material quantities, cost of labor and project timelines and deadlines.

Why Hire an Architectural Drafter?

A draftsman generally works under the supervision of a licensed architect or a building designer. Hiring a draftsman is best for small projects and renovations that require clear drawings for builders. Before hiring a draftsman, it is recommended to decide what you want and be sure that the work you need is possible. A draftsman is generally more affordable than an architect, but you have to note that their drawings need to reflect every detail of the construction process and that the specifications in the drawings need to satisfy council-mandated standards.