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Architects vs Draftsmen

Architects vs Draftsmen: Who Do I Hire?

Do you have hard times distinguishing between architects and draftsmen? You are not alone. Though Draughtsmen and architects have close similarities due to there nature of work, but they are still far different and we will explain in detail below.

Architects are certified professionals that visualize (that is to say, they imagine so as to form a mental picture of) building structures. Then they make sketches of those ideas (imaginary pictures) they came up with.

Then Draftsmen (architectural draftsmen) receive the sketches and then produces (draws) a working drawing for the project.

Working drawing is a scaled and detailed drawing that will guide the builder or contractor during construction.

You should also note that there are not just architectural drafters, but there are also mechanical draftsmen, electrical draftsmen and civil draftsmen. Each producing different kinds of drawings.

Most times, notably in developing countries, architects produce their working documents themselves without involving draftsmen.

Now we will delve into the post.

But before that you need to take note of these words so that you don't get lost or confuse:

Note that: draftsmen are also draughtsmen and in this post we will use them interchangeably with drafters, draftsperson and draughtsperson.

What is Drafting?

Drafting a drawing is the act or process of creating or producing an accurate graphical representation of a shape. This shape can be a building or anything else. 

In short you can call This drafted drawings can be used for manufacturing, engineering, architectural or technical purposes. Drafting is also known as technical drawing.

According to this post on engineerwarehouse and the 12th slide of this upload on slideshare; the oldest piece of drafting discovered is a drawing board with a technical plan for a temple in lagash, Babylon dating from 2,000 BCE.

Draftsman vs Architect 

what is a draftsman?

A draftsman is someone who does the work of drafting. They vary in different Profession.

The places you can see drafters include: architectural drafting, electrical drafting, civil drafting, and mechanical drafting, etc. there are more but we will later consider these ones because they relate to building construction where architects operate most.

So, architectural draftsman does architectural drafting jobs.

Who is an Architect?

Architecture is said to be the art and science of designing buildings and other physical structures.

 In comparison with draftsmen, architects are trained throughout their studies and practices to design from ideas while considering the projects requirements. 

The design should be suitable, functional and comfortable and should adhere to professonal codes, e.g building codes.

While an architect does this, an architectural drafter is trained to produce technical drawings which are scaled and detailed, etc. for accurate representation of the design from the architects.

Note that: architects are also trained to draft as in “architectural working drawing” and production of their blueprints. Also drafters can learn some design ideas and try out some design if trained well on that.

On the above note and for the sake of this post, we will be considering drafters that specialize in architectural drafting profession. The American English uses the word draughtsman; they are also called draftsmen or simply drafters and sometimes CAD operators.

Though all drafters’ works are similar in nature but it is necessary to be specific on the profession they work in to ensure smoother flow of understanding.

So, now we have leveled the ground, let us now consider the differences between an architect and a draftsman based on their nature of works, education, internship and license.  

We will also consider their similarities, how to become any, and other lovely details you will find helpful. 

So, pour some juice in a glass, relax and read on.

Differences between Architects and Draftsmen

Nature of Work

An architect mostly seen as the head of the building team does designs, drafting, oversees, and engineers a construction project. He gets the client brief produces a quality and long lasting designs from wide range of considerations to ensure adequate arrangement of spaces, to ensure functionality and good flow layout, etc.

To obtain building permits, support the contactor with relevant information during construction, solve code issues and many more hang on the shoulder of an architect. This is possible because of his level of training and license.

On the other hand an architectural draftsman majors on an aspect of the architect’s work which is drafting. He specializes on technically drafting of designs. He is mostly pictured working under architects during a building project.

Though a draftsperson can attempt to produce a design but it will be void of functionalities and various relevant considerations. So they are more favorable if the client already has a sketch of what he needs and to avoid problems with his local building authorities stamping is required from a licensed architect.


Architects and draftsmen educational requirements differ and this gives an insight on what you should expect from any one of them.

Architecture is rated as one of the toughest course in the world and Architects are required to obtain 5-7 years of bachelor’s degree with master’s degree preferably if he wishes to pursue for his license. No one is an architect unless he is licensed. 

Drafting does not require any formal education but 0-4 years for bachelor’s degree in drafting might be advantageous for easily getting jobs. So for drafting formal education cannot be far from “not required”


Architects to be are required to go for 2-3 years of internship under a licensed architect before going for their proper examinations to obtain licenses.
 Unlike architects, draftsmen are not required to go for internship.


Like we earlier mentioned, you are not an architect until you obtain a license, this ensured that you must be properly examined on necessary knowledge in architecture and your environment; this might include building codes of your area, etc. before you are ushered to impact your environment.

Draftsmen are not also required to obtain licenses, but in almost all cases, they may require to go to architects for review and stamping of their works.


  • Draftsmen, like architects, produce technical drawing to properly represent a communicable design.
  • Draftsmen can attempt to create design just like architects, but of low functionality.
  • They both use similar tools and software to execute their drafting.
  • They are both in the construction industry.
  • It may be hard to differentiate them in a project as they work hand in hand.

 Can a Draftsman become an Architect?

Why not, since the drafting skill is intact, that is a huge advantage. But, don’t be carried away, architecture involves more than just that; you must consider the passion, commitment, sacrifices and if you have basic required knowledge such as math, etc.

To become and architect, acquire the architectural education, go for internship, and seat for necessary examinations to obtain you license. Congratulations!

Can an Architectural Draftsperson Succeed Without Becoming an Architect?

Oh yes!  You can become greater than architects as a draftsman if you play your part well and GOD helps you. This post by archdaily: “9 incredibly famous architects without architecture degree” speaks more on the topic; this list includes: Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Louise Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, and others.

But you must be very much aware that a lot has change over the years and to succeed in such manner may not work for you exactly as it worked for them. So, all you need to figure it out and take you move.

Different Profession in Drafting and What They Do

These includes: Architectural draftsman, electrical draftsman, civil draftsman, and mechanical draftsman. They use both manual and digital tools for drafting. Both this days digital tools are more common, in this case you can likely hear AutoCAD drafter. 

Architectural drafter: this person handles drafting work of an architect’s design. He produces technical drawings of the design with appropriate dimensions allocated by architects.

His work is not to design but to turn a design sketch into a dimensioned technical drawing that will be better visualized by other professionals involved in the design and as well construction.

Electrical Drafter:

Just like architectural drafter works with architect, this one works with electrical contractors or electricians to produce technical electrical wiring drawings for buildings (both commercial and residential).

Civil Drafter:

Does civil drafting for flood control projects, bridges, sewers, highways, pipelines. Their drawings should be detailed and can be for installations, construction projects or structures.

Mechanical Drafter:

 perhaps because electrical, plumbing and mechanical plan uses the same word “mechanical,” a certain post claims that an architectural drafter does the drawing.

But in actual sense, each profession should have a drafter specializing in then to ensure adequacy. Therefore all mechanical drawings example: plumbing should be done by this drafter.

Mechanical drafters also function in automobile industry in creating machinery drawings and as well in many other industries producing equipment. 

How to become an Architect or a Draftsperson

For architects, you need to complete you master’s degree (in most countries if not all), go for your internship and then seat for your license examinations. Once you obtain your license, you are good.

For drafters, just a required knowledge in the field of drafting you wish to go into, and then you are good to go. Drafting requires no license.

Should I Hire an Architect or a Draftsman?

This question is similar to "should I use a pen our a pencil?" though they are used for similar tasks but they are practically different and function best in different areas and usage. 

Same is this case; first an architect has an idea. Then he either uses drafting to present the design of his ideas in scaled and properly dimensioned technical drawings or he may hire draftsmen to do the drafting work for them.

There are drafters who specialize on only this and sometimes dare to try what architects do.

We recommend you hire a good architect for your building projects. This is to ensure that the outcome is comfortable and suit your desires. 

Another good reason to hire an architect is to avoid building code issues and also be on the safer side with climatic factor.

You also need to hire an architect to be sure your project design are properly sealed by a certified professional. You need a profession seal on your project to pass the local authority approval needed before construction, etc.

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