What Is The Difference Between An Architectural Drafter And An Architect?

Architects and architectural drafters work together in designing buildings and homes. They both share a passion for handling construction projects involving commercial and residential buildings and spaces. While they may have similarities and work in the same industry, the responsibilities they perform are different.

Architects are mainly tasked for coming up with plans for these edifices. They are also responsible for determining the specifications and measurements of the structures as well as the materials that will be used for the project. They also provide the details of the project’s interior and exterior designs as well as the cost of construction. They also give the estimated time for the project to be completed.

Architects have to be knowledgeable about building codes, fire ordinances and zoning restrictions since designs should be made to comply with these rules and regulations. They also need to talk with the clients first to determine what their plans are for the project and any other specific design requests they may have. They may even perform tasks that are not really part of designing the structure per se but are related to it and are done before construction commences. These include selecting the site, conducting feasibility studies and undertaking environmental impact studies.

Architectural drafters, on the other hand, translate the concepts of architects to technical drawings or blueprints. While architects are also trained to make these drawings, this task is often assumed by drafters in a real world setting. Architectural drafters use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software to come up with the technical specifications of the designs. In many cases, architects and engineers simply come up with rough sketches of the designs that their clients want. They then communicate these to the drafters who will take care of making the schematics.

Architectural drafters use their knowledge of building and construction to create very accurate drawings that are to scale. With CADD, they are also able to make three-dimensional drawings that can be incorporated into building information modeling (BIM) systems and product data management (PDM) systems. These software programs make it easier for drafters and architects to work together and track changes made. BIM and PDM software programs facilitate speedier progress of the project since it has made simultaneous collaboration possible. Before the advent of these programs, architects and drafters could not work together at the same time since the drawings have to be made then any changes reflected again in a new illustration before any discussion or approval can be given. With CADD, BIM and PDM, however, changes can be made in real time.

Aside from their responsibilities, architects and architectural drafters also differ in the level of education they need to undertake before they can work in their fields. Aspiring architects need to obtain a five-year professional degree in architecture, undergo the required number of years of paid internship and pass the Architect Registration Exam before they can be licensed to practice. The educational preparation for architectural drafters is shorter since a two-year associate’s degree in drafting is all that’s needed. Certification is also voluntary and can be obtained from the American Design Drafting Association.

Career Spotlight: Architect

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