Are Draftsmen still relevant in Architecture Today

Draftsmen in architecture today
Draftsmen in architecture today have become redundant as Architects can now effectively run their offices without them.

Before the advent of computer aided presentations, manual drafting was the norm in architecture. Massive drawing boards and specially trained technicians handled and produced drawings for architects.

A typical architects’ office then was made up of architects and draftsmen alike. That period was the era of the draftsmen and their distinct roles in architectural practice.

Nevertheless, the story is different today.

Fast forward to current times, a great deal of change has occurred. The advent of computers and the wide spread use of CAD & BIM, revolutionized the practice of architecture.

Simplified the architects’ work with just a single software, we can do the job of a lot of drawing boards.

An architect can now undertake the job of several draftsmen, together with his primary duty of architectural design efficiently, effectively and quick using these technologies.

As a result, the roles of the draftsmen in architectural practice have become endangered.

Furthermore, architectural software such as CAD & BIM are so advanced that their operation in the hands of an expert, produces outputs (in terms of time spent and quality) that no draftsman working manually can rival.

This has led draftsmen to taking up CAD as a means to enhance the quality of their product.

Today, a good number of draftsmen just like architects, are very versatile in the use of software.

Presently, architectural practice in Nigeria is plagued by Quacks i.e. unlicensed individual posing as and competing with architects for existing jobs. Even though their actions are illegal, they are difficult to stop.

It is therefore evident that despite the numerous merits of these technological revolution, the draftsmen who were also stakeholders at that time, became victims.

They were schemed out, and with no visible option in sight, a few opted to keep practicing architecture, though illegally.

Perhaps because they believed they were the most suitable alternatives to architects, having relevant knowledge and experience..

Also they demand cheaper fees. Sadly, these actions of quacks, pose a great danger to the environment, people, buildings and the integrity of architecture as a profession.

Sir Norman Foster’s modern office – Renowned British architect.
From the way architecture is structured, qualified university graduates go on to be fully registered architects and legally empowered to practice. While Polytechnic (ND/HND) graduates go on to be technician and technologist respectively.

Making them technical and drafting personnel of the architects.

Nevertheless, it now seems like there is no place for technicians (draftsmen) in architecture anymore.

Today’s architects can conveniently carry out many functions (design, draft, etc) with the help of technology and therefore don’t need draftsmen.

But on the other hand our polytechnics keep churning out new ND/HND graduates who may never be architects and are not satisfied with that reality, thus, disguise as one, which is a dilemma.

In summary, due to technological advancement, systems have become automated leading to redundancy of previously useful workforce.

Computers and software have made it possible for single individuals to do the work of many, more effectively and efficiently.

Unfortunately, this is the situation of the draftsmen. His job has been replaced and simplified by technology and his relevance in the profession is now in doubt.

What options does Draftsmen have?

To the architect who is boss, the advantages of working with CAD guarantees efficient project delivery, ease of sharing, submitting and transporting his work. Also lead him to having fewer or no extra staff, lesser overhead cost and smaller office space etc

Thus, why will he still need a draftsman?

We should ask ourselves the following questions:

  • “What becomes of draftsmen and how can they be reintegrated into architecture, if possible?”
  • “If the system is producing too many architecture technicians and technologist than its need, what can we do to reduce this?”
  • “Do we scrap architecture from polytechnics?”