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Designers vs. drafters

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Updated: 12/23/2002 4:40 pm
Whether you're thinking of building a new home or remodeling your existing one, you'll need to consider if a building designer or architectural drafter will best meet your needs. Most building designers are full-service professionals who are familiar with all phases of the building profession. Depending on your needs, the building designer may be retained to provide all or any part of the planning, design, and construction process and may supply or arrange additional services such as selecting a contractor or overseeing construction. Their initial task is to consult with you during the planning phase to determine which type of remodeling or new home you want and how it will best suit your needs. The designer will then supply a detailed, preliminary design that includes cost and time estimates, and drawings and specifications that comply with applicable building codes and regulations. A building designer may also make suggestions regarding location, interior and exterior layout, and the best materials for the job. Choose one who's a Certified Professional Building Designer. This certification implies that they're highly rated and qualified in the industry. In contrast, architectural drafters are not full-service providers like building designers. Rather, they prepare technical drawings that show precise details of the home or home improvements from all sides. The detailed drawing includes exact dimensions, specific materials to be used, procedures to be followed, and other necessary information. Some drafters may specialize by type of structure or by materials used. A drafter will usually either prepare the drawing manually or use a computer-aided drafting system, also referred to as CAD (C-A-D).

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