Life On The Job

Real Life

Architectural Draftsman - John

Description of Job:

In my job I am responsible for drawing plans for houses, house extensions, garages and small commercial buildings. Draftsman

I draw these plans so that the builder knows the size, material and design of different parts of a building. I draw

  • a site plan so that the builder knows where to put the building on block of land,
  • a detailed floor plan with measurements, and
  • some side elevations which show what the building should look like.

I also calculate a buildings energy rating, which gives a house a rating out of 5 stars. The more stars a house has the more energy efficient it will be.

Generally my day involves things such as:

  • Meetings with clients and builders
  • Drawing plans for new houses, extensions, garages and small industrial buildings
  • Energy Rating Assessments of new and existing houses
  • Looking after accounts.

Although this is a basic outline of things I do, it can vary greatly from day to day.


My father was in the building industry which meant I was often surrounded by people in the building industry growing up. I always enjoyed drawing plans and maps of different things  throughout school.


I had a lot of contacts through my father in the building industry which was very useful in finding employment myself. An architect my father knew gave me my first job opportunity as a Junior Draftsman.

I then worked for my uncle as a Site Clerk on a large building site which gave me further experience in the industry. Even though this wasn't a drafting job it was a good experience to understand the industry from a different angle.

I then applied for a job with a wholesale timber company which also lead to contacts in the building trade which allowed me to gain enough contacts, knowledge and experience to start my own Drafting Business.

with plans


Not a lot of things I did at school directly related to my career now. Although a lot of skills that I learned in school, I use all the time such as Mathematics, English, Science and Geography.


I went to TAFE on a part-time basis for 4 years studying Architectural Drafting whilst also working in an architect's office. Working and studying at the same time was helpful in that they complemented each other with the different skills learned. I would often learn a skill at TAFE and be able to literally use it the next day in my job or I would learn something in my job that gave me an edge over my classmates who did not have the advantage of a job in the industry.

Today the training is a 2-3 year full-time TAFE course. The training also involves a lot of work on computers, whereas I was trained to draw manually by hand.


After several different job opportunities as I have mentioned above, I was able to initiate my own successful business.

I have had no trouble with any of my past bosses and they were always very helpful. Even after leaving their employment they were often willing to help me or give me useful advice.

My first pay was important because it gave me a sense of independence and fulfilment.

The people I deal with in my job include government departments, clients, builders, engineers and my own employees.

pointing at plans


I am always looking for new courses and other ways to enhance my own experience and always encourage employees to do the same.

There are other courses that are available in the field such as Architecture, Engineering, Interior Design and Landscape Architecture.



Design an extension to your house

icon_m.gif (211 bytes)Middle & High School Icon Secondary

ICT Capability Australian Curriculum General Capability: ICT Capability

NumeracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Numeracy



1. Go to SketchUp Make (FREE 3D program from Google - select Education option),

2. Learn what you have to do using SketchUp.

3. Create a mock up drawing of an extension to your current house.

4. Using SketchUp create a 3D image of your ideas of an extension.



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