I am planning to expand master bedroom and hired an architect to draw the plan. What I learnt is that he drew diagram by hand and not using CAD. He is an old guy. But I am wondering if I should be concerned now? Given this age, everything has to be exactly accurate and submit as CAD diagram for the city permit. Does it matter?
I have worked in construction in Indianapolis, and this is my experience:
Hand drawn drawings will not be rejected by the permit authority. I drew my own plans for the update to my home: Hand drawn, in pencil.
Hand drawn drawings will be more scrutinized by the permit authority.
When submitting the plans, I had to be ready to answer more questions than usual. I have submitted plans that were drawn by engineers for commercial construction (yes, some hand drawn!), and they were received and stamped in seconds. For my plans, the receiving person looked at the drawings and did not see an engineer stamp. At that point, they asked if I had a general contractor, to which I answered that I was overseeing the construction directly.
- They asked about greenway requirements (amount of grass compared to building/concrete covered area) to which I pointed to the water drainage page.
- They asked about whether there was an increase in water drainage to the city to which I pointed to the fact that the house footprint didn't change.
- They asked about where the spoils (dirt being excavated) would go, and how that would change drainage and I explained that all spoils were moving off-site to a commercial greenhouse nearby.
- They asked about the new footers under the house; how they stick out four inches toward a neighbors yard where the setback distance was already too close (according to current standards) and claimed that I needed to change that. I stated that current setback fulfilled what was required by regulation because the current setback was grandfathered in, and that they should look at the eave of the house to see that the building line was the eave line, not the wall line, so the four inches of footer would still be under eave.
This went on for 15 minutes.
All-in-all, I had construction know-how to answer these questions and in the end they had no grounds to reject it. I just warn that in some areas you may have to be ready to defend hand-drawn plans that are not engineer signed.
If your city required a CAD drawing to issue a permit, you'd have an issue - but that's not likely; they probably just want a drawing. Many places require that you submit the drawing in an electronic format rather than on paper, but you can scan the hand drawn drawing into a PDF and submit that.
If you were doing a much bigger job, and you wanted others to collaborate on the drawings - not just read and work from the drawings, but make changes, add in mechanical / electrical / plumbing etc. - you would want an electronic format, it would be far more efficient. But that's not a concern with a small addition.
I don't see any down side to letting this person work in the medium that they prefer. If they do good work at a reasonable price, I'd rather have a hand drawn plan from them, than not so great work or an high price in state of the art CAD.
I did an internship at an architect when I was in high school, many years back when computers were far less common and while they had one it was used only for calculating structural analysis, CAD didn't yet exist.
So everything was hand-drawn. I learnt the technique and talked to those architects. Their measurements and plans were exceptionally precise. And if you need more precision, you just draw to a different scale.
Computers might give you the illusion of higher precision, but you can actually measure and draw well within the limits of the physically possible by hand. In the end, those walls will be made from bricks and wood or some other physical material, and they are less precise than the computer calculations anyway.
There is no logical reason why a well-done architectural hand-drawing would not be acceptable.
People have focused on the permit process, but there is another issue, which is consistency between the various parts of the plan. If you model the house in 3D CAD and print plans from the model they will all be consistent. If you draw plans by hand or in a 2D CAD program it is a manual check to make sure the various pages of drawings are consistent and changes get incorporated in all the places they should. Your architect is used to this problem and will do a review, but it would be good for you to do so as well. You haven't been seeing the plans every day and may find some issues the architect overlooks.