For home owners looking to renovate a portion of their home, or a small contractor looking to build a deck, a visit to the local building control office to obtain a permit is often a necessity.
Usually the permit office will ask for a set of scalable blueprints so they may review the proposed project to be sure all building codes and local building laws are being adhered to. IECC This can sometimes be a lengthy process that requires numerous revisions to a set of construction plans before a building permit is approved.
Drawing scaled blueprints by hand, is not everyone’s “cup of tea”. Enter computer assisted drafting programs (CAD).
The use of CAD has increased significantly over manually created drawings, rendering hand drafted documents as pretty much obsolete.
It is so much easier to draw a plan to scale, using point and click features that anyone can use. Add to that the ease of making changes to a CAD drawing (compared to manually erasing areas on a hand drafted drawing) and you have a winner amongst many do-it-yourselfers.
The problem is, many CAD programs are very expensive. The AEC industries top drafting and design program (AutoCAD) starts at $4500! For many architects and engineers, the cost of purchasing CAD is just a part of doing business. But for a DIY’er looking for a quick set of plans to build a deck and get a building permit, this cost is can seem excessive.
Another option is to hire a drafts-person to complete the set of plans for you. This is very common for a one time need. But for ongoing projects, the costs can add up.
One of the ways that a small builder, contractor, home owner or DIY’er can create their own plans, is to download a CAD program and try it out. Often times these programs come with a 30 day trial, which is more than enough time to create a set of plans. This also gives the user the opportunity to evaluate the CAD program to see if it is worth purchasing it for future projects. If not, no expense is lost.
These programs range in difficulty of use, so it is best to read as much as you can