Architectural Technology and Design

The modern, computer-age version of traditional drafting makes use of architectural CAD. The term CAD stands for Computer Aided Design, a tool which can be used in many adaptations of architectural design. A CAD draftsperson is responsible for developing working drawings, plans, diagrams or layouts based on the sketches, calculations, specification sheets and other data supplied by architects and engineers. These plans describe the size, shape, mechanics and function of structures for the use of construction teams and will be used to prepare detailed blueprints.

A CAD draftsperson must ensure that their drawings conform to precise specifications by using their knowledge of architectural materials, practices and conventions and by closely checking their drawings for errors. CAD has replaced traditional drafting as it is faster, more accurate and allows for simulations while providing all the storage, filing, memory and duplicating advantages of the modern computer. However, draftspersons using CAD still make use of the same knowledge of building construction theory and drafting and design standards traditionally required by this occupation.

Traits & Talents

To work as an architectural CAD draftsperson you should be interested in computers, building materials and architecture and possess strong math and science skills. You need to be able to visualize the size, shape and proportions of two-dimensional drawings in three dimensions. Successful draftspersons are creative, analytical, well organized, interested in accurate measurements, capable of intense concentration and able to follow instructions and drawings carefully and concisely. Patience is also a key factor, as your drawings may take days to complete. Team-work, communication and writing skills are also useful attributes for workers in this profession.

Education and Training

  • Completion of secondary school is usually required. 
  • Completion of a two- to three-year college program in architectural technology or a related subject is usually required. 
  • Certification in architectural technology or in a related field through provincial associations of architectural or engineering/applied science technologists and technicians may be required by employers. 
  • A period of supervised work experience, usually two years, is required before certification. 
  • In Quebec, membership in the regulatory body is required to use the title of Professional Technologist. 

The Workplace

Architectural technologists and technicians perform some or all of the following duties: 

  • Assist in the development of architectural designs 
  • Analyze building codes, by-laws, space requirements, site requirements and other technical documents and reports 
  • Prepare manual and CAD (computer-assisted design) drawings, specifications, cost estimates and listings of quantities of material from conceptual drawings and instructions 
  • Construct architectural and display models, and 3-D virtual models of architectural designs 
  • Prepare contract and bidding documents 
  • May supervise drafters, technicians and technologists on the architectural team 
  • May supervise construction projects and co-ordinate, monitor and inspect work done by others 

Skills for Success

The key Skills for Success for this career path are:

  • Numeracy
  • Digital 
  • Creativity & Innovation

Sample Job Titles

  • Technical Illustrator 
  • Mechanical draftsperson 
  • Architectural design technician 

Companies and Sectors

  • Information Technology companies 
  • Architectural firms 
  • Interior design 
  • Forestry and landscaping 
  • Urban design