What’s the difference between a draftsman and an architect?

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It's an age-old question that many people turn themselves into knots over. 


They've decided to build their dream home, or extend it to fit their ever-growing family, but they don't know whether they need a draftsman or an architect.

The reason why they get so confused is that there usually is not a simple answer.

That's because it depends on a number of variables such as the size, cost and complexity of the project.


What is a draftsman?
Today, some draftsmen are also called building designers, but all they have moved on from the days of pencil and paper.

The rise and rise of Computer Aided Design means that draftsmen are more likely to create designs online after receiving a customer's brief than by hand. They translate an architect's plans into scale drawings and can also assist with design requirements to secure council approval. While draftsmen are skilled in their craft, they do not need to have successfully completed the same tertiary qualifications as architects.


On the whole, therefore,  draftsmen are often used for smaller residential projects.

What is an architect?


The education requirements for architects require a bachelor degree as well as practical experience before they can become an accredited architect.

This qualification allows them to design larger scale residential and commercial buildings, but they are still invaluable in smaller projects as well because of their extensive knowledge of building and design principles.


While architects can and do produce beautiful designs, their skills and education also ensure those designs will be structurally safe and sound.

Which one is best?

Again it depends on the size and scope of your project.

For the construction of a dream home, it would make sense to use a professional with the most superior skill-set.

What is also vital is that you select someone who can help oversee the project from design through to completion, working in conjunction with expert builders and project managers.

Of course, if the project is complex or requires significant structural modifications then an architect will be the best fit.


In addition, there's the more aesthetic appeal an architect brings to the table.

An architect will be invested in the creativity and functionality of a home in a way that their detailed approach boosts the property' liveability for the residents.This is particularly useful when dealing with difficult sites that may have heavy slopes or irregular boundaries.


A draftsman is certainly skilled enough to create functional spaces, but isn't under any onus to provide input beyond complying with the building code and meeting the client's brief.


The big difference is. of course costs, as architects often charge a percentage of the building contract whereas draftsmen can be secured at a fixed hourly rate. If your home build warrants the use of an architect that can bring beautiful and practical ideas to the table, their input can create added value well beyond their fee.


If budget and simplicity are the go, then consider a talented draftsman.