A draftsperson (or a draftsman) is a professional who specialises in creating technical drawings for buildings, houses, machinery or public infrastructure. Although most drafters are skilled in traditional hand-drawing, most drafting work nowadays sees them using digital tools like computer-aided design (CAD) software.
Drafters usually take rough sketches generated by the product or building designer and turn them into detailed, accurate blueprints. Oftentimes, a drafter will have a specialisation. Common areas of focus include residential homes, commercial buildings, consumer electronics and industrial machines. Because of this, you’ll often find drafters working in architectural firms, engineering firms as well as construction and manufacturing companies.
Needless to say, a drafter is an integral part of the construction and manufacturing processes. They create the plan that the builders follow. Without them, a project can easily fall to pieces.
In this blog, we will take a deeper look into what a draftsperson does. We’ll discuss the details for their responsibilities and their different specialisations.
Responsibilities of drafters
The main job of a drafter is to create a blueprint that the builders can follow. These blueprints must include information such as dimensions, materials, the necessary building procedures and other relevant specifications. Nowadays, blueprints are almost always created through CAD software.
Using CAD has a number of advantages. For one, drafters can use CAD programs to draw precise lines and curves without minimal human error. Indeed, accuracy is important when it comes to creating technical drawings that are to scale. Secondly, it allows the drafters and builders to have a digital copy of the drawing. This makes the document easier to distribute, alter and preserve.
CAD software can also create 3D renderings of buildings or products. This allows them to notice mistakes that they wouldn’t otherwise have seen in a two-dimensional medium. Some 3D programs can even simulate real-life conditions. With this, drafters can test the practicality of their designs before the actual building begins. All of this troubleshooting is integral to the success of building a home, an office or a product.
A drafters job might also involve:
- Liaising with clients and other workers
- Calculating costs
- Supervising construction or manufacturing work
- Conducting quality tests on materials and products
Drafters can specialise in either residential or commercial projects. Before you hire drafting services, you need to understand the different specialisations.
Architectural drafters usually create technical drawings for the different parts of a residential home. This includes layouts, landscapes, plumbing systems and sometimes garages or car parks. Architectural drafters can help you with home extensions, renovations, conversions, and new developments.
As their title suggests, architectural drafters work to assist the architect. To do this, they might have to liaise with local governments about relevant building codes and regulations. Architectural drafters are also expected to calculate material costs, labours costs and estimate timeframes.
Civil engineering drafters are responsible for creating technical drawings of civil infrastructure. They also draw geographic and topographic CAD drawings for construction sites. Such sites might be for public bridges, roads, tunnels and so on.
They’re also responsible for code compliance and explaining technical information to important personnel that don’t have an engineering background.
Unlike other specialisations, being a civil drafter often requires a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related field.
- Electrical and mechanical
Electrical and mechanical drafters are focussed on creating drawings for industrial machinery and/or consumer products.
Their CAD drawings typically consist of wiring diagrams, information about product materials and instructions for assembly. They might also include instructions on how to maintain or repair the item.
What qualifications should you look for in a drafter?
Most employers in Australia prefer drafters that have tertiary education. This means most drafters will have certificates, diplomas and/or associate’s degrees. Architectural and technical drafters can typically get these qualifications at a vocational school or a two-year college (community college). Civil drafters, however, will typically need to go to a university that provides a four to five-year drafting course that helps them specialise in engineering-based blueprints.
Keep in mind that each state and territory have their own licensing and certification laws when it comes to drafting. Please contact your local government to confirm what a drafter needs to legally work in construction projects.
It’s important to know that the drafters you’re hiring are qualified and experienced.
Drafters are a necessary part of the building process. Without them, a project can get off track and, therefore, fail. As such, if you’re a homeowner, a building owner or a company that works with civil infrastructures, you need to make sure that you hire reliable drafting services. Hopefully, this blog gave you an idea of what to look out for in a drafter.