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Working with a non-Engineer Draftsman and Designer

by Engineer Designer on July 4, 2010

Want to talk briefly about hiring a draftsman or designer who is not a registered Engineer or Architect. There are many very excellent designers who are very capable in training, experience and natural talent to design you a beautiful home. I want to be on the record stating that I endorse this action and think you can make an excellent choice and decision if you wisely choose such a talent. I work with a few folks are are not registered professionals yet whom I consider to be extremely fine designers. Over the years we have worked up an excellent rapport and trust. I've grown to trust their work and will gladly seal their drawings after a few tweaks here and there. If these folks have designed many projects they generally have worked up a successful menu of details that will pass engineering muster. Sometime, when working with a draftsman/designer for the first time, there are a few more back and forth issues at the beginning. But these are largely ironed out over time and it becomes an excellent mutual endeavor. I've written in other articles my views and opinions of the DOT.COM E-plan world out there. These are a different situation entirely and hiring a designer/draftsman is a far better choice, in my opinion. These "stock" plans are often incomplete, void of required details and are always unsealed and can't be used to obtained permits in Florida and many other areas of the country. The problem with these folks is that getting revision is very expensive, very time consuming and quite commonly impossible. With a locally hired draftsman (drafts person actually :-)) a professional Engineer can at least work with a human being and get the plans adjusted to the required standards so he can place his seal. Normally, too, he or she, the Engineer,will want their  name somewhere on the drawings. The Engineer protects his professional position by taking control over certain aspects to the plans which meets the strict requirements of Chapter 471 (the Florida Statute which governs the engineering profession). While the Engineer Designer is an expert designer, I am always happy to work with talented and skilled designers (non-Engineers) who are experienced, have good communication, and are professional in attitude. They often produce excellent work. So if you have found a draftsman designer, and would like to work with the Engineer Designer to review and make sure the plans meet structural muster, go for it. Put us in contact and I will be happy to lend my own skills to the project. Let's face it, design and construction is a team sport.