Drafting Services Cost

In this guide

Types of plans
Pre-created plans
Customized plans
Enhancements
Additional Considerations

How much does it cost to have blueprints for a new home drafted?

Creating a blueprint or house plan is one of the first steps of building a new home. Blueprints or house plans are created by a draftsman for a new home design or a home addition. You can either purchase pre-created house plans or demand a house plan drafted from scratch by a draftsman or architect. 3-bedroom house plans are commonly requested and are used for the standard example project in this guide.

Types of plans

The cost will vary depending on whether or not the homeowner wants to use a pre-created house plan or have an architect design a totally new blueprint 1.

Pre-created plans

Pre-created house plans are designed by architects and can be purchased online. Modifiable house plans, or plans that can be altered by an architect or otherwise customized, will cost 20%-40% more than non-modifiable plans. Most homeowners will need modifiable plans in order to make their preferred changes or otherwise customize the plan due to the construction requirements. 3-bedroom house plans are very popular and range from $800 to $2000.

Customized plans

For a completely customized house plan designed from scratch, the cost is usually billed as an hourly rate:

  • A normal hourly rate for a draftsman will be around $100-$130 per hour
  • Architects will charge slightly more at $100-$140 per hour for a blueprint 1.
  • A typical 3 bedroom house will take about 10 hours to complete and will cost about $1000 to $1300 for the first drawing. 
  • Customizations are further charged on an hourly basis and can add an additional $800 to $1400.
    • The blueprint 1 may be designed by hand and printed on vellum paper, which is the traditional method of creating a blueprint 1.
    • They may be designed using AutoCAD 2 software, which is the way that the vast majority of blueprints 1 are created today. AutoCAD 2 CD-ROMs can cost an additional $400 to $1000 and are the most popular format for making house plan modifications.
    • CAD is used for 99% of blueprint 1 drawings, but in the rare occasion that a hand drawing is needed, it will normally cost more than a CAD design due to the longer length of time required.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • Pre-created luxury house plans can cost more, from $1200 to $3000 as well as more complicated and larger 4 and 5 bedroom homes. Luxury homes designed from scratch can take 24 hours to create and cost $2400 to $3120 for the first drawing, not including customizations.
  • In general, the more complex a home is in terms of size and interior and exterior features, the more time it will take in order to design it from scratch, which will lead to the cost to design complex homes being higher.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Draftsmen are not the same as architects; a draftsman's design will need to be signed by a structural engineer and an architect before they can be used for a home construction. Architect plans must only be approved by a structural engineer but their blueprint 1 design fee is slightly higher than a draftsman. Structural engineering costs average 8% of total construction fees.
  • Permits are a separate charge and the cost can range from $300 to $1200. The cost will vary based on the size of the home, its features, and the jurisdiction. Permits can be obtained with the help of the architect who approves or designs the blueprint 1.
  • Zoning is a legal concern that architects can also assist with, and the new home must be constructed in an area that is properly zoned for residential buildings.
  • There are environmentally friendly or "green" blueprints 1 available that can be designed from scratch or purchased pre-designed. These blueprints 1 use eco-friendly materials for their home design and have a lower overall impact on the environment, being their cost similar to regular blueprints 1.
  • The more changes that are made to a blueprint 1, the higher the design cost will be because of the fact that it's charged hourly. It's a good idea to have a clearly defined project in mind before hiring a draftsman or an architect to design a home, otherwise the final cost may be much higher than anticipated.
  • If a blueprint 1 is needed in a faster timeframe, there can be a surcharge of 15%-20% of the regular hourly cost or more.
Was this guide helpful to you?
  

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Blueprint: A technical drawing of an architectural design. Traditionally these were made using a printing process that produced a white line on a blue background. They can also be made with CAD software and a large-scale printer
2 Autocad: A range of software programs by Autodesk that enable architects and designers to use a computer to create, test, and make changes to digital models of what they want to build before they build it

Cost to have blueprints for a new home drafted varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Arlington, VA
+38%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Auburndale, WI
+2%
Beaverton, OR
+15%
Bradford, IL
-35%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Compton, CA
+9%
Corona, CA
+19%
Costa Mesa, CA
+24%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Edmond, OK
-8%
Fargo, ND
-1%
Harrisburg, PA
+2%
Henrico, VA
+6%
Hollywood, FL
0%
Houston, TX
+24%
Jersey City, NJ
+23%
Kenner, LA
+25%
La Mesa, CA
+8%
Lancaster, CA
+4%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Merced, CA
-25%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Newark, NJ
+27%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Oviedo, FL
-1%
Pensacola, FL
-19%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pikesville, MD
+17%
Rialto, CA
-1%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Jose, CA
+33%
San Mateo, CA
+44%
Santa Fe, NM
-26%
Savannah, GA
-12%
Skokie, IL
+40%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Spring, TX
+24%
Stockton, CA
+4%
Sunnyvale, CA
+31%
Sylmar, CA
+9%

Labor cost in your zip code

Last modified:   
Methodology and sources