Renovating a house is an exciting idea that some even take into their own hands. However, it’s impossible to avoid mistakes that, without professional help, can ruin the whole project you’ve been dreaming about all this time.
That’s why there are professionals for this task, such as architects, building designers, and draftsmen. Unfortunately, these professionals charge 12 to 17%* of the construction cost, and when the budget is tight, homeowners have to choose between the three professionals or not choose one at all.
Hiring a professional draftsman
A draftsman is one of those professions whose job description is often misunderstood. Draftsmen, or drafting service providers, create technical drawings that clients use to begin a renovation or construction project. They translate ideas into technically accurate plans using traditional drafting techniques and computer software CAD (Computer-Aided Design).
Becoming a draftsman requires a great deal of experience and a certain amount of education. In addition to technical skills and attention to detail, they must also have mathematical, artistic, communication and project management skills.
If you don’t hire a draftsman and instead proceed to renovate your home, expect to make the following mistakes.
1. Trying to recreate a house plan from the internet
DIY is nice, you can be hands-on and creative with your renovations. You can even invite the whole family to do it because it’s a bonding activity where kids learn to take responsibility and so on. Do not get this wrong – it’s not bad to be creative and try something new while saving money.
You are probably looking at the perfect design, floor plan or house plan on the internet. You save every possible design or plan on your phone and dream about it every day. So you decided to make a sketch or buy a house plan online because you thought that will be enough.
Honestly, that’s your first mistake.
Your house plan needs to be specific and comply with Australian standards and building codes. To avoid the inconvenience of revisions and additional changes to your house plan, it’s best not to look for your dream house plan on the internet, but to find the nearest architectural drafter in your community.
It’s easier to hire a local drafter to help you with your home renovation because they are already familiar with the codes in your community. They also have the expertise and ability to ensure that the project meets exact local standards and specifications.
2. Drawing the plan yourself
If your project is more about changing the layout of a room or putting up wallpaper, DIY is perfectly possible. But if it’s a big project that requires changing plumbing fixtures and such, drawing the plan yourself isn’t the best decision.
A draftsman’s job isn’t limited to drawing the plan or floor plan. A large project such as a complete home renovation requires structural changes that guide the builder through the entire project. Such a skill cannot be learned overnight.
If structural changes are to be made, a house plan must be submitted to the municipality for approval before construction begins. Permits must be applied for and conditions of approval must be met. A site plan, floor plan, elevations, section drawings, detailed drawing sheets, roof plan, reflected ceiling plan, electric layout, door and window schedule, shadow diagrams, and demolition plans are some of the drawings provided by an architectural draftsman.
An experienced draftsman is knowledgeable about the technical details, local codes, zoning, and fire regulations for creating a house plan that meets the municipality’s requirements. Hiring such eliminates the need to contact the municipality during and even after construction. If the plan is rejected, the draftsman can easily revise the plan. This will save you a lot of sweat and stress.
3. Doing the costings for the project
Fifty per cent (50%) of projects far exceed the estimated budget, while 15% of renovation projects exceed the budget by 25%. Many self-managed projects took longer and cost more than expected.
This is what happens when you do not have the right team of professionals for your project. Construction drafters or draftsmen work with the details and give you accurate estimates for your project. They adhere to a specific time frame and budget that was established before the plan was created. They are aware that it must be adhered to or additional costs may be incurred.
Your draftsman can even suggest ways to make your design cost-effective.
4. Negotiating with contractors and builders
As mentioned earlier, draftsmen prepare drawings for approval by the council. They also supervise engineering work, perform field and laboratory testing of materials and soils, and work within specifications, budgets, and schedules. Their drawings are also required to obtain estimates for contractors. They communicate with contractors and builders about project details, especially costs.
If you do not hire a draftsman, you may communicate with contractors and owners yourself. You will need to draft a construction contract, or one will be provided to you. The problem with this is that you sometimes overlook small but important details of the construction process. Once signed, you cannot challenge the contents of the contract. This is another reason why it pays to hire a construction/architectural draftsman.
Depending on the type and length of the project, hiring a draftsman in Australia costs about $9,000 on average.
Avoiding the mistake
Renovating one’s home is not everyone’s cup of tea. Granted, there is personal satisfaction in doing it yourself and learning, but most home improvement projects done without professional help resulted in negative experiences and worse, catastrophic events.
If you want to renovate your home, never underestimate the importance of hiring a professional draftsman to work with you.
Henz Gutierrez is a Copywriter from Superdraft, the leader of home renovation and design in Australia.