There are 2 main types of drawings:
1. design drawings, &
2. construction drawings.
There are many options to obtain drawings:
∙ Architectural Technologist / Technician
∙ Design-Build Contractor
∙ Stock Plans
∙ Building Kit
Which option is best for you depends on:
(a) what you are doing,
(b) what you want to achieve, and
(c) whether or not you want design help,
(d) how important design is to you, &
(e) your priorities & goals.
Below is an generalized explanation of the possibilities, credentials, & differences. As with most things in life, some folks are better and more committed in what they do then others.
∙ this title is regulated
∙ an architect has to meet stringent qualifications, be licensed, and registered
∙ architects are specifically trained to plan & design buildings - this is uniquely different from all other options
∙ in general, architects have the most training - and thus your investment in their services is likely more than other options
∙ the majority of architects only design select building types - such as schools, commercial, industrial, multi-family, public, and / or other large-scale buildings
∙ most architects do not design homes or cottages
∙ are req'd to undertake continuing professional development to ensure their skills & knowledge remain relevant and up-to-date
∙ these titles are regulated in Ontario
∙ academic education is focused on the technical side of drawing & building
∙ design training is very limited (generally, they will draw what you ask, but they may not make suggestions or present options)
∙ if you only want technical drawings for a building permit (ie you don't want any design help), a competent technologist would be a perfect fit
∙ design by a technologist / technician may be based on technical considerations (ie code requirements) as opposed to big-picture thinking; the best use of space / aesthetics / comfort / convenience / flow / thoughtful design (not for lack of caring; for lack of training, knowledge & experience)
∙ if you are expecting creative design work, carefully investigate their design skill
∙ technologists are often employed by architects to prepare construction drawings (the drawings for a building permit, and for the builders)
∙ technologists can become members of the Association of Architectural Technologists of Ontario (AATO) and use the letters M.A.A.T.O.
∙ Registered Building Technologists & Technicians are similar
∙ literally anyone can use the term
∙ may have little or no formal design training
∙ may or may not have much technical knowledge
∙ anyone can use the term
∙ could be someone with a few high school credits in drafting
∙ a general contractor whom also offers a plan drawing service
∙ the drawing preparation is either co-ordinated by the builder, or done in-house
∙ it is highly likely that drawings are done by a draftsman or a technologist - even in spite of some builders incorrectly indicating that it is an "architect"
∙ some contractors indicate that they do not charge for this service (if that's the case, I can't imagine that much time or effort goes into the design / drawings)
∙ are pre-drawn plans, available through magazines, plan books, & online
∙ often basic modifications can be made to layouts (mirror the plan, stretch room sizes, etc.)
∙ this can be a fairly simple & economical means of getting plans
∙ cost may be between several hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the service & options
∙ before purchasing, make sure that they will comply with your local Zoning Bylaws, other regulations, and the Ontario Building Code (including energy efficiency requirements)
∙ this is essentially a package that consists of stock-plans & some of the construction materials
∙ materials (some) are custom manufactured, pre-cut & sent to the job site
∙ construction is done by a builder of your choice or from their network
1. Drawings for building permit application in Ontario are required to be prepared by either:
(a) an individual with a BCI number (ie a technologist), or
(b) an architect or a structural engineer.
Oddly enough, authorities are also required to accept drawings that are prepared by the owner themselves - although most owners would not have the knowledge to do so.
(Apparently there are individuals providing drawings whom do not fall into the above categories. In an attempt to circumvent the lack of a BCI number, the owners name is shown on their drawings to give the impression that the OWNER had personally prepared those drawings.)
2. 'Architect' - unfortunately it is quite common for some folks (including builders) to refer to anyone whom draws as being an "architect"; which is obviously not the case. (If it's an architect that you want, make sure they actually are. It's easy to find out.)
3. If your goal is to get competitive quotes from several builders, you need to have someone independent of the builders provide your drawings. (Although some builders do drawings, it's highly unlikely they would provide you with drawings having sufficient detail to allow you to get prices from other builders.)