do you need an architect, or a draftsman?


Occasionally, owners express confusion as to whether an architect or a draftsman / technologist should be engaged, not realizing the differences. In my view, neither is the right fit all the time – it depends on what you want to achieve, as well as your priorities.

Both a draftsman & an architect should produce technically competent construction drawings – the drawings that are used to apply for a building permit, as well as to construct a project. But most often, this is the only similarity between the two entities.

The most significant difference is that architects are highly trained in design, & consequently possess specialized skills, judgement, imagination, & creativity. Architects have the ability to help you make the most of your project, by drawing you much deeper into the design process than you would otherwise get – to see what works best for you.

This is done by asking the right questions, exploring ideas, explaining the most relevant design possibilities (some of which probably hadn’t occurred to you), and as well, by explaining which choices you should avoid.

On the other hand, the training and daily focus of a draftsman / technologist most often has to do with the technical side of your project - showing the requirements for construction, complying with building codes, and so on.

For those who have designed a project themselves, do not want any design input or suggestions, and know quite precisely what they want (an exact layout with room sizes & positions, the specific exterior elevations & rooflines, window arrangement & sizes, etc.), a draftsman, in my opinion, generally would be a better fit.

Most people that I help have numerous design ideas, preferences, & thoughts of what they want, but they are also looking for assistance (in varying degrees) to ‘bring-it-all together’ correctly. They want help to make sure they haven’t overlooked anything critical, to get as much out of their project as possible, and to not miss any opportunities.

Most of my clients say things like “we need confirmation that our ideas work”, “we need to see what is best for us”, or “we want to ‘do it right’ - the first time”.


Internet website links:

Association of Architectural Technologists of Ontario

Ontario Association of Architects