Draftsmen: The Missing Link

There are more players in the residential planning and building of your home than the architect and contractor. They are the draftsmen. Find out who they are and how to get one on your team.

What Drafters Do

Traditiona Drafter at Work Using Rulers, Calipers, T-Bar, Drafting TableTraditional Drafter at Work

Drafters convert the designs of building designers, engineers and architects into technical drawings and plans using either the traditional methods of calipers and T-bars or the more modern and widely employed computer aided drafting software programs such as DraftSight, Chief Architect or Visio, to name a few. Draftsmen specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting.

What Kind of Drafting

There are many specialties with the field of drafting, but staying within the sphere of residential homes they are:

  • Architectural Drafters draw architectural and structural features of buildings for construction projects. These workers may specialize in a type of building, such as residential or commercial. They may also specialize by the materials used, such as steel, wood, or reinforced concrete.

  • Electrical Drafters prepare wiring and layout diagrams that other construction workers use to install and repair electrical equipment and wiring in power plants, electrical distribution systems.

  • Mechanical Drafters prepare layouts that show the details for a wide variety of machinery and mechanical tools and devices, such as medical equipment. These layouts indicate dimensions, fastening methods, and other requirements needed for assembly. Workers sometimes create production molds.

  • Photovoltaic Drafters prepare drawings showing inverter Pad location drawings and slab construction drawings, also prepare specific photovoltaic system assembly details and some wiring diagrams.

Education Requirements

It varies from state to state but courses in mathematics, science, computer technology, design, computer graphics, and, where available, drafting. However, professionals in the trade seek further education and training at technical institutes, community colleges, four-year colleges or universities, as well as continuing education in certified programs.

Licensing, Certificates and Registrations

Again, this differs from state to state but in Florida licensing is not required of drafters. As a result, this is often referred to as an unregulated profession, creating an unfavorable impression that draftsmen are not qualified to produce the same quality of work as an architect or engineer and shouldn't be trusted to have your home properly constructed.

This is false


In the State of Florida, reputable independent draftsmen and drafting firms submit their drawings to licensed Professional Engineers (P.E.) for the review, signing and sealing of the plans. Structural Engineers specialize in the structural strength and integrity of a proposed building, plus ensure it's code compliant. Therefore, no structural plans can be approved for a permit without first passing the muster of a licensed P.E.

Architects are not permitted to sign and seal drawings, unless the draftsman is employed by or is closely supervised by that architect.*

Professional drafters work closely with licensed engineers
to ensure your home is safe and sound

Catching Mistakes

In general, draftsmen submit their plans for review to their architect or engineer to catch any errors or omissions. Likewise, draftsmen help architects and engineers by spotting any problems with the designs they submitted to the draftsman.

How is that possible?

Well, when an architect or engineer submits a design to a draftsman, the draftsman is turning that design into a measured and scaled drawing, enabling them to see how the pieces fit together . . . or not. The result of meticulous effort ensures that the final plans are technically accurate to the outlined specifications.

A great example of different professionals
working together to make sure you are covered from all angles

Do I Need a Draftsman?

First thing to look at is: Where are you on your home project? because not all drafters are designers. And not all designers are drafters.

So, do you need one or the other? Or perhaps the best of the both worlds?

We offer both home design and drafting services without being locked into one package deal. We offer both services separately so you're in control and free to decide when you're ready to move to the next step.

Our Specialty

ArcDesign specializes in custom-designed homes and permit drawings. Our team of designers and draftsmen will work with you to create a design based on your needs and wants and will then create a permit drawing set for you, your contractor and building department. So . . .

What are the next steps?

Who do I hire? A contractor? An architect? A building designer or draftsman?

Let us help you begin the process, plus we have great relationships with many licensed contractors in Pinellas and Pasco counties who can give you estimates and bids.

This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
(BLS) http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/drafters.htm#tab-1 and Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drafter

* Florida State Statute 481.221(6)