Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to draft blueprints or house plans?

$30 – $120 cost per hour
$0.35 – $5.00 cost per square foot
$700 – $10,000 complete house plans (2,000 SF)

Get free estimates from drafting services near you, or view our cost guide below.

November 29, 2021

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 4 expert drafters on HomeGuide.

Cost of drafting house plans

The average cost of drafting house plans is $700 to $1,500 for pre-drawn plans and $2,000 to $10,000 for custom house plans. Residential drafting fees and blueprints cost $0.35 to $5.00 per square foot. Drafting services charge $30 to $120 per hour.

Cost of drafting house plans - chart
Cost of drafting house plans - chart

  • Altering existing floor plans costs $150 to $2,500.
  • The cost of getting extension plans drawn up is $1,200 to $5,000.
  • As-built drawing rates are $700 to $1,300.
  • Submitting building plan prices are $600 to $3,000.
  • Residential site plans for remodels or renovations cost $100 to $1,500.
  • AutoCAD drafting rates are $35 to $180 per sheet.
Cost of drafting house plans
House size (square feet) Pre-drawn house plans cost Custom house plans cost
1,000 $350 – $750 $1,000 – $5,000
1,500 $500 – $1,100 $1,500 – $7,500
2,000 $700 – $1,500 $2,000 – $10,000
2,500 $900 – $1,900 $2,500 – $12,500
3,000 $1,000 – $2,300 $3,000 – $15,000
3,500 $1,200 – $2,600 $3,500 – $17,500

*For complete house plans. All stock plans need changes to fit the actual building site.

Additional blueprint costs typically include:

  • Converting a stock house plan costs $0.35 to $1.50 per square foot minimum to make site-specific CAD blueprints for builders.
  • A structural engineer's plan review costs $100 to $220 per hour to get approval from the building department.
  • Architects charge an extra $2 to $15+ per square foot to redesign plans according to an engineer’s specifications.

Average cost of draftsman

Average total costs to create blueprints depend on the professionals required:

Average cost of draftsman by project
Professionals Average cost Includes
Drafter fees only (no engineer or design work) $800 – $3,500 Draw up blueprints, draw up new addition plans, or transfer existing site plans into CAD blueprints
House designer + engineer + drafter $5,000 – $15,000 New designs and drafting blueprints with an engineer for custom house plans or large additions
Architect firm (designers + engineers + drafters all-in-one) $10,000 – $30,000 Custom designs and creating full set of build-ready drawings and blueprints. For custom home builds and major remodels with multiple plan revisions
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Residential drafting fees

Residential drafting fees depend on the billing method, skill level, and project size and complexity.

Residential drafting fees
Fee type Average cost
Hourly rate $30 – $120
Per square foot $0.35 – $5.00
Per CAD sheet $35 – $180 per sheet
Blueprint printing (on 20 lb. or 24 lb. paper) $0.05 – $10.00 per sheet
Blueprint printing (on waterproof papers) $2.55 – $40.00 per sheet

*Customizations, multiple draft revisions, and rush deadlines add to the total cost.

Drafter reviewing custom house plans
Drafter reviewing custom house plans

Hourly rate for drafting services

Drafting rates are $30 to $120 per hour, based on the project size, complexity, location, plus the drafter’s credentials and experience. Hourly fees for drafting new designs are $100 to $250 for an architect to customize plans for the drafter.

Hourly rate for drafting services
Service type Hourly rate
Freelance drafter $30 – $85
Construction & design company drafter $80 – $120
  • Drawing basic residential blueprints takes 8 to 15 hours per sheet on average.
  • Drafting a set of 3 to 7 blueprint sheets for one home takes 25 to 70+ hours.
  • Large projects, complex designs, and custom builds increase the timeframe.
  • The average turnaround time is 1 week for drafting alone. However, the total time to develop and draft blueprints with consultations, an engineer, and an architect’s customizations is 1 to 4 months.

Drafting fees per square foot

Drafting fees are $0.35 to $5.00 per square foot, depending on the home’s size, project complexity, customization level, and the drafter’s experience. Drawing blueprints alone for a garage, basement, or crawlspace costs $0.30 to $0.80 per square foot.

Drafting fees per square foot
Plan type Cost per square foot Factors
Stock $0.35 – $0.75
  • Tailor pre-drawn home plans
  • Updating existing house plans
  • Work of a freelance drafter
Semi-custom $0.75 – $1.50
  • Minor changes to stock plans
  • Home additions & remodels
  • Basic interior alterations only
Custom $1.00 – $5.00
  • Major structural design changes
  • Adding extensive design details
  • Multiple drafts
  • Drafters at an architect’s firm

*Fees don’t include structural engineer or architect reviews.

These fees don’t include complete design customization. Architects charge up to $15+ per square foot to redesign and draft a complete house plan or remodel according to engineer’s specifications. Only an architect creates an entirely new house plan from scratch.

CAD drafting cost per sheet

AutoCAD drafting rates are $35 to $180 per sheet on average for converting existing designs. Total costs depend on the image type, size, complexity, and turnaround time. CAD drafters charge $30 to $120 per hour for modifications or new designs.

AutoCAD drafting rates per sheet
Time 2D sheet cost 3D sheet cost
4 – 6 weeks $35 – $140 $160 – $180
3 – 10 days $45 – $350 $250 – $480
1 day $140 – $690

*Prices for converting existing designs into digital CAD versions only.

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Blueprints cost

The cost to draw up blueprints depends on whether it’s a new build, renovation or remodel, the size of the house or extension, or if current designs need altering.

Blueprints cost - chart
Blueprints cost - chart

Blueprints cost
Drawing type Average cost
Site plans $100 – $1,500
Extension or addition plans $1,200 – $5,000
As-built drawing plans $700 – $1,300
Altering plans $150 – $2,500
Submitting building plans $600 – $3,000

*A rush-fee for a quick turnaround adds 15% to 25%.

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A complete set of blueprints contains the following sheets:

  • Home-interior floor plans & roof plans (2D aerial view of the interior)
  • Sections & elevations (2D views of interior & exterior surfaces)
  • Materials list, details, & schedules (all home finishes with their sizes, door dimensions, & window measurements)
  • Mechanical engineering blueprints (HVAC lines, electric lines, plumbing)
  • Site plans (exterior & property boundaries, made from a land survey)
  • Structural drawings (load-bearing vs. non-load-bearing walls, plus framing layouts with beam sizes)
Ask the local building department which blueprint types are necessary in this area for the current project.

Residential site plan cost for remodeling blueprints

Residential site plans cost $100 to $1,500, depending on the customization level. A site plan details all property boundaries, landscaping features, and the exterior with exact measurements. All drafters and designers need an existing site plan before making blueprints.

Site plan costs vary according to who prepares them and the modifications made:

  • Local county clerks or building departments offer copies of the latest filed property site plans for various minor fees, sometimes free of charge.
  • Non-certified site plans cost $100 to $250 from online CGI experts using CAD software. These plans show details of the existing structure only, but not all local building departments accept them.
  • Detailed site plans with designs cost $400 to $1,500 when done by an architect or engineer. Site plans are typically the first step in the building permit process for new constructions.

Unlike site plans, a land survey requires a professional land surveyor’s on-site inspection and exact topography measurements. Land surveys are essential in boundary disputes. Data from a land survey is the basis for a site plan.

Cost of getting addition or extension plans drawn up

The cost of getting extension plans drawn up is $1,200 to $5,000 for most additions, including the drafting fee plus input from an engineer or architect. Prices depend on the size and layout complexity. Home addition blueprints need an engineer’s or architect’s certification in most states.

Various fees apply to get blueprints for an addition:

  • Drafters charge $1,200 to $2,100 to make the technical drawings alone.
  • Architects cost $2,000 to $5,000 to design and help create the blueprints.
  • Structural engineers cost $500 to $1,000 to review and stamp a drafter’s plans.
  • Building a new house extension costs $22,500 to $74,000 total on average.

As-built drawing plans and survey cost

As-built drawing plans are $700 to $1,300 on average. As-built drawing rates are $0.40 to $2.50 per square foot, depending on the size, complexity, and level of detail provided. A surveyor tracks the changes from the original building plan to its completion for new home construction.

Purpose of as-built drawings:

  • Document actual locations of underground utilities in detailed mechanical engineering blueprints
  • List all building dimensions for home repairs, remodels, and maintenance
  • Give designers, architects, and engineers the specifications they need to draw new blueprints for a remodel or rebuild
  • Necessary for a certificate of occupancy

Altering custom house plans and blueprints cost

Modifications to custom home plans cost $150 to $700 for minor non-structural changes or up to $2,500 for in-depth and complex alterations. Total costs depend on the house’s size and the scope of the changes. Consulting structural engineers is necessary for most plan customizations.

Altering custom house plan blueprints cost
Modification level Average cost
Minor (Non-structural changes) $150 – $700
Average (Partial structural changes or wiring changes) $700 – $2,000
Major (Changing total home size) $2,000 – $2,500
Review house plans thoroughly, provide feedback, and submit all revisions before final approval.

Commercial building plans and civil drafts

Commercial building plans and civil draft fees are 2% to 15% of the total construction cost.

Commercial building plans and draft fees
Project type Percentage of construction costs
Commercial building plan 3% – 12%
Civil drafts 2% – 15%
  • Commercial building plans are for large business sites and typically include designing complex HVAC, plumbing, and ventilation plans.
  • Civil drafts are plans for highways, bridges, sewers, and other government projects. A civil engineer makes civil drafts and is typically a government employee.

Cost to submit building plans

The cost to submit building plans is $600 to $3,000 on average, depending on the project size. These prices include the initial review fees and the building permit cost. Some building departments require site inspections and land surveys as well.

Cost to submit building plans
Type Average cost
Initial plan review fees $100 – $1,000
Building permit $500 – $2,000
Total cost to submit $600 – $3,000

Blueprint printing prices

Blueprint printing prices are $0.05 to $40.00 per sheet, depending on the size, quantity, and paper quality. Homes average 10 to 50 sheets of drawings for floor plans, electrical, plumbing, and other structural details.

  • Paper dimensions range from 8.5”x11” to 36”x48” sizes.
  • Bindings cost $2 to $8 extra, based on the size, cover, and binding type.
Blueprint printing prices
Paper type Cost per sheet Facts
20-pound $0.05 – $7.00
  • Most lightweight & thinnest paper
  • Best for black & white laser prints
  • For use in dry indoor settings
24-pound $0.10 – $10.00
  • Thicker paper
  • Ideal for opaque two-tone plans
  • For use in dry indoor settings
Tyvek $2.55 – $21.00
  • Waterproof
  • Durable
  • Plastic-type material
  • Color or black & white
Vellum $2.90 – $30.00
  • Thick fiber paper
  • Erasable for redrafting
  • Translucent
  • Parchment-like texture
Mylar $6.00 – $40.00
  • Polyester film
  • Fade-proof
  • Durable
  • Resists tearing & water damage
  • Transparent or frosted surface

*Prices are for standard blueprint printing only in common sizes 17”x22” to 36”x48”.

Add-on drafting fees

Additional drafting fees may include:

  • A land survey costs $1,000 to $1,500 for new home construction.
  • A structural engineer costs $100 to $500 per hour or 1% to 8% of the total construction costs to make structural blueprint drawings.
  • Soil testing costs $500 to $3,000 to determine the soil’s weight-bearing capacity before laying the foundation.
  • Reviewing existing building plans costs $75 to $1,000 on average or 25% to 65% of the building permit fee. Plan reviews are a required step to verify compliance with local building codes.
  • A construction manager costs $3,000 to $45,000 on average or 5% to 15% of the total construction cost.
  • Mechanical engineer consultations cost $35 to $60 hourly to design a new HVAC system or other complex utility systems with the drafter.

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Architect vs. drafter cost

Architect fees are $100 to $250 per hour to draw house plans. A drafter costs $80 to $120 per hour and translates the architect’s design into technical blueprints. Both architects and structural engineers are required to create new custom home designs.

Architect vs. drafter cost
Role Hourly rate Differences
Drafter $80 – $120
  • Converts the architect’s & engineer’s specifications into blueprints
  • Has a 2- to 4-year degree
  • Makes construction-ready drawings for contractors
  • Only makes minor plan changes
Architect $100 – $250
  • Creates custom building designs for new homes or remodels
  • Approves blueprints for the building department
  • Verifies that plans meet local building codes
  • Oversees construction projects
  • Has a 5- to 7-year degree
  • Drafters make drawings for them
  • Capable of making any custom plan changes
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DIY floor plan cost

DIY floor-plan software costs $20 to $600 for a one-time purchase or $0 to $45 per month for a subscription, depending on the features and design options. General floor-plan software does not create official blueprints like CAD programs.

Floor plan software cost
Software type Monthly subscription One-time purchase
Basic $0 – $10 $20 – $130
Pro $25 – $45 $200 – $600

Floor-plan software programs are for visualization and planning purposes only. Hire a professional draftsperson to translate the results into an official blueprint using CAD software that complies with all building codes, zoning laws, local ordinances, and HOA restrictions.

Professionals use AutoCAD, a popular drafting software costing $1,775 per year for a subscription.

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Frequently asked questions

Who draws house plans?

Architects, home designers, and draftspersons draw blueprints or house plans. Another option is pre-designed or pre-approved stock house plans that include popular features many home buyers want. However, customizing most stock house-plan designs typically requires an architect.

What does a draftsperson do?

A draftsperson creates technical drawings, or blueprints, based on the specifications of homeowners, designers, architects, and structural engineers. A drafter uses computer-aided design software (CAD) to create 2- or 3-dimensional illustrations that a construction crew follows to build or remodel a home.

Check local construction codes to avoid any legal problems if only using a draftsperson. Some areas require hiring a building designer or architect depending on the project scope.
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Hiring a house plan drafting service

Before hiring drafting services near you, be sure to:

  • Get at least three in-person estimates to compare.
  • Look for drafters with an official CAD technician certificate and ADDA (American Design Drafter Association) certification.
  • Read their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
  • Seek licensed drafters with 5+ years of experience.
  • If working with drafters at full-service construction and designs firms, seek out certified, insured, and bonded companies.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and guarantee in writing.
  • Avoid companies with the cheapest quotes as quality may suffer.
  • Don’t make large payments upfront and set a project budget.

Questions to ask

  • Do your blueprints meet the International Residential Code (IRC) standards?
  • Can you show me a list of references and a portfolio?
  • Will you work with an architect, home designer, or engineer? If so, how much extra will that cost?
  • Are you familiar with local building codes and restrictions?
  • Do you have any experience in this location?
  • How much would changes cost after you draft the blueprints?
  • Do you see obstacles in the initial design, and do you have any suggestions?
  • Will you provide a signed copy of the agreement?

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