How Much Blueprints Cost for CAD Floor Plans, and 2D Drawings Rates at Drafting Firms?

architectural floor plan design services

The primary purpose of CAD floor plans is to ensure that the construction of a building runs as planned, given the drawing specifications provided. If homeowners are trying to obtain financing for their house, banks (or other financial institutions) may require blueprints to be included in the proposal. Since the property will be used as collateral for the loan, the bank needs to know how much the property is worth. The blueprint provides a glimpse of the house design, size, materials, and all the particulars to help with the underwriting process. 

Blueprints are technical drawings to be used as references for engineering design services and the construction of new buildings and renovation projects. They are drawn by professionals such as draftspersons or architectural drafters, who may offer their services through architectural design firms or on a freelance basis. The cost to hire a professional drafter ranges between $800 and $2,700, depending on complexity, or an average of $1,750. A draftsperson’s hourly rate will range from $50 to $130. It takes at least ten hours to draw the blueprints of a three-bedroom house and costs anywhere from $500 to $2,000.

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Two types of floor plans

Although “blueprints” and “floor plans” are sometimes interchangeable, they can mean two different things. “Blueprint” refers to a technical drawing used as a construction document or a guide for builders. The term is derived from the old-fashioned printing method, which uses white lines on blue paper. Floor plans, either 2D or 3D, provide a bird’s eye view of the room layout of a house. 2D CAD floor plans are often visually rudimentary, showcasing only the layout and specifications (such as sizes of the rooms and doors or windows placements) but with minimum detailing on walls and interiors.

A 3D floor plan rendering company drafts a 3D floor plan is a construction mockup with a high level of detail on the interior, including furniture, decorations, fixtures, and a photorealistic view of floor type and color. Blueprint (the printing method) is now considered obsolete and has been replaced by conventional whiteprint. As such, the term is now used, even by professionals, to refer to floor plans or other architectural drawings.

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Floor plan software

Home and interior designers tend to rely on floor plan software to draw the layout of a house during the project’s initial phase. The software allows them to create a simple view of the interior from a bird’s eye perspective with information about room specifications. The 2D process is quick and straightforward, albeit not visually appealing.

A 3D floor plan software program gives a detailed appearance of the layout. To create a finished interior look, 3D architectural modeling designers can insert 3D models in the image, such as furniture pieces and decorations. Walls and windows are presented in photorealistic views as well. Designers use the 3D renderings of a floor plan primarily for presentation purposes.

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3D floor plan rendering services

CAD software

Designers will use CAD software to create more technical and sophisticated drawings. An architectural plan drawn using CAD software may include detailed annotations for documentation and information required by architects, engineers, and contractors involved in the project. Such software is not user-friendly, and the resulting image can be very complex.

Hourly rates for floor plan professionals

Most homeowners do not need a blueprint for anything apart from financing their house. The technical drawings and all the information they contain are meant for the professionals working on the project. However, a blueprint is essential for documentation. A homeowner may refer to the blueprint for future remodeling or renovation. Having a reliable reference for the existing building prevents the homeowner from making mistakes when making structural alterations.

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QualificationHourly Rate
Licensed Architect$100 – $350
Certified Drafter$80 – $150
Freelance Drafter$35 – $150

The cost of hiring 3D Floor plan design services to draw a detailed architectural floor plan is affected by project size, complexity, timeframe, plan specifications, and location. Professionals in big cities may charge a higher rate than their suburban or rural counterparts. 

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Architects hourly rates

The architect is among the most highly qualified professionals in construction-related affairs. Individuals must complete a four-year college degree to become licensed architects, undergo years of professional training, and pass a demanding series of exams (at least in the United States and Canada). Some architects refer to themselves as designers because only licensed can claim the Architect title. They are professionally trained and have the expertise to perform engineering, design, and drafting works. A licensed architect is a safe bet if you want an adequately drawn floor plan. An architect’s hourly rate ranges from $100-350 per hour.

Certified drafters’ hourly rates

Professionals who can draw floor plans for a fee include draftspersons and designers. They may work in an architectural firm under the supervision of engineers or licensed architects or as independent freelancers. When working with professionals of this category, it is essential to check their portfolios and references from previous clients. The rate for a certified drafter ranges from $80-150 per hour.

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Freelance drafters’ hourly rates

The nature of freelancing allows anyone to offer any service with few restrictions on qualifications or academic experiences. To avoid hiring the wrong person, choose an architectural drafting service with a good track record verifiable by client’s reviews. The hourly rate varies widely between $35 and $150, depending on location and reputation, and some freelancers charge by the project. 

Cost per square foot

The rate per square foot will vary according to the plan’s requirements and the project’s complexity. The cost ranges from $0.50 to $3 per sq. ft. If you hire a licensed architect, the rate runs from $1.25 to as high as $10. In other words, the floor plan for a 1,000 sq. ft. house costs between $500 to $10,000.

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Cost of blueprints

The cost above is based on the architectural drawing services provided, i.e., drawing the floor plan. Architects, engineers, and contractors refer to the plan when communicating ideas, developing an action plan, or making suggestions for changes. When the project concludes, all alterations will be noted. Since the plans are drawn using computer software (floorplan-specific or CAD for easy alteration during the project), the original images are digital files. An hourly rate may already cover the fee for printing hard copies; if it doesn’t, it is a reasonably affordable cost.

Printing cost

A physical copy of a blueprint costs between $0.06 to $25 per sheet, and one hard copy of the blueprint may be included as part of the hourly drafting rate. An average house needs ten sheets per level, but you may not need that many to draw the floor plan. Digital PDFs or other image file formats should be sufficient, as they can be displayed and viewed comfortably on a tablet or laptop. However, hard copies are still in demand for various purposes, such as documentation of a completed project or communicating ideas with clients.

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Contractors may request a copy to study and help them understand the concept of architectural planning and design services. Depending on size, there might be an additional cost for waterproofing, ranging from around $3 to $20 per sheet. The most common paper size for a blueprint is 24″ by 36″, also known as an architectural “D” drawing, although larger sizes up to 36″ by 48″ are available.

Cost for revisions

A blueprint is essentially a manual for construction. Once the homeowner approves and the draftsperson signs, the planning phase concludes. That said, homeowners can always propose changes to the original design. Revisions can be expensive, ranging from $400 for a simple alteration to $2,500 for a significant modification. Consult a professional before finalizing a floor plan to avoid the extra cost. 

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Architect vs. draftsperson

The level of education is one of the most significant differences between a licensed architect and a draftsperson. An architect requires several more years of study and extensive field internships. While both can draw a detailed floor plan, a draftsperson is only responsible for the drawing, while an architect can provide engineering oversight. In most residential design cases, a drafter can draw a complete set of floor plans without help from an architect or any more qualified professional. If you have to hire a drafter, opt for a proven track record and reputable credentials, such as ADDA (American Design Drafting Association) certification.

A drafter takes your ideas for a house design and transforms those concepts into a workable plan for the construction process. The job is done once the blueprint gets approval from the homeowner and the drafter’s involvement in the project ends there. From a house design perspective, drawing a blueprint is not the job’s most technical or consequential part. A licensed architect can make blueprint modifications during construction to improve safety, management, efficiency, and eco-friendliness. An architect may supervise, oversee, verify, and manage an entire project until completion, depending on the agreement made. 

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Which one to hire?

An architect is the best way to go if you want engineering know-how, design expertise, and technical drawings. However, there might be some cases when a homeowner only wants a 3D floor plan for interior design purposes with minimum engineering input. A draftsperson can effectively draw the blueprint if the main objective is to create a guideline for builders to follow. 

Both a licensed architect and certified drafter are qualified for the job. Check with your local building authority to see if a project requires an architect’s oversight. Sometimes it only means that you need an architect or design engineering professional to draw and sign the blueprint, especially for new construction. An architect is not required for most remodeling projects.

Getting a blueprint for a house

If you purchase a house but don’t receive the floor plan or the complete set of blueprints, it does not mean the document does not exist. There are a few places where you can ask for a copy. The first option is the realtor who sells you the house. Some realtors don’t keep a copy, but they have the resources to help you obtain the record, for example, the company—architectural or construction firm—that built the house in the first place. Another option is the municipality responsible for issuing the building permits. 

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Some considerations for CAD floor plan costs

  • Drawing a floor plan blueprint is not a task to be handled with a DIY approach. Drafting an architectural drawing is not recommended unless you are an experienced engineer, architect, designer, or at least a CAD drawing professional. A blueprint is more than a simple image of a house: the photograph must contain information about how to build the structure and the installed systems (such as HVAC and electrical). A homeowner can draw a rudimentary sketch and then give it to a qualified professional to transform the image into an official document. 
  • Civil drafters are not residential draftspersons. They create architectural drawings for civil engineering projects such as bridges, wastewater treatment facilities, dams, highways, tunnels, canals, and pipelines, to name a few. Although they have the educational background to draw a floor plan, they do not specialize in residential projects. 
  • When a blueprint is needed in a hurry, the architect or draftsperson taking the job may charge an additional “rush” fee between 15-20%. The higher rate is likely due to the extra work hours required to complete the drawing more quickly.
  • The cost for an updated floor plan or blueprint for a house renovation is usually charged by the square foot. The size, complexity, and level of detail affect the total cost, which ranges from $0.40 to $2.50 per sq. ft.

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Upon project completion, the contractor should draw a final plan to show changes made to the original blueprint during construction. Also known as “red-line drawings,” they are produced by contractors, not architects or draftspersons, for liability reasons.

How Cad Crowd can assist

At Cad Crowd, we have the privilege of working with hundreds of highly qualified CAD design freelancers and 3D modeling experts. Our network has worked with high-profile clients like Tiffany & Co. If you’d like to work with us, get a free quote today.