How Much Does It Cost to Draw Blueprints or House Plans?

Typical Range:

$834 - $2,711

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 459 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated September 19, 2022

Reviewed by Ezra Laniado, Expert Contributor.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The cost of drafting house plans depends on a handful of factors, like the scope of your project and the type of draft it requires. In general, the cost of blueprints can range between $834 and $2,711, with an average cost of $1,738. Architects and draftspersons create blueprints for designing homes and additions. Use this guide to understand which factors impact the price of house plans and exactly how much you’ll need to set aside before you begin.

Average cost to hire a draftsperson is $50 to $130 per hour

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National Average $1,738
Typical Range $834 - $2,711
Low End - High End $350 - $5,000

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 459 HomeAdvisor members.

Average Blueprint Costs

Modern blueprints or architectural drawings—more colloquially known as prints—are simple digital files. Architects and contractors usually include the price of printed plans in their estimates. However, contractors sometimes request the homeowner to order prints from a professional reprographer.

Blueprints serve several purposes, including:

  • Developing a design idea into a proposal

  • Communicating ideas and concepts to clients

  • Providing clarity and ensuring both contractor and client have the same expectations of the final outcome

  • Convincing clients of the merits of a design

  • Enabling a building contractor to construct the building

  • Recording completed work

  • Making a record of a building that already exists

A blueprint is essentially a manual for a building. The drawing illustrates the final product's appearance and provides an instructional tool for achieving it. On average, draftspeople charge $50 to $130 per hour to create blueprints, and most people pay between $800 and $2,700 in total. 

Blueprint Printing Costs

Printing costs range from $0.06 per sheet to $25 per sheet. An average house will have 10 sheets per level. A full set of prints includes all the sheets for an entire project. Though pros commonly use digital PDF blueprints on the job site on tablets, laptops, and iPads, there is still demand for classic prints, which come in different materials.

  • Paper sheets are inexpensive from $0.05–$8.50 per sheet and are typically printed on 20-pound paper or thicker. However, it can get wet and tear on the job site. 

  • Using Tyvek sheets is expensive at $3–$20 per sheet, but they’re waterproof and durable, eliminating the need for multiple sets.

  • Bindings and covers add an additional $2–$20 per set.

  • The most common size for homes is 24 by 36 inches—called “architectural D size” paper.

  • Reprographic services specialize in blueprint printing.

  • Sizes range from 8.5 by 11 inches to 36 by 48 inches.

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Average Prices for House Plans

The cost of drawing up a house plan depends on the project's scope, the type of pro you’ve hired, and the amount of time it takes to complete the blueprints. 

Drafting Fees per Square Foot

Drafting fees run anywhere from $0.40 to $3 per square foot. Architects charge more, from $1.25 to $5 per square foot and sometimes up to $10 per square foot. For a new construction set of plans, architectural fees typically run at the higher end of the spectrum.  

Drafting Service Hourly Rates

These services usually run $50 to $130 per hour on average. A typical project takes 10 to 13 hours to complete, though larger complex and commercial projects take far longer.

Freelance Drafting Rates

Rates vary significantly due to freelancer experience levels and location but are typically $50 to $150 per hour. Many freelancers charge a flat rate for a full project, which is usually an average of roughly $1,750.

New Build Drafts

New build blueprints typically cost more than home additions plans, depending on the scope of the project, because starting from scratch requires a lot more work. In general, expect custom plans to add $2,000 to $20,000 to the cost of building a new home

Alterations

Alterations to approved plans run anywhere from $400 to $2,000, depending on how in-depth and complex the changes are. It’s best to submit all ideas and revisions to your pro before approving the final plans and moving ahead with construction to save on costs of changes like these.

As-Built Drawing & Survey Costs

An “as-built” set of plans refers to the existing building before any construction is performed, whereas the proposed set of plans is the scope of work. The as-builts are used as a benchmark for where the building begins so that the architect can then give a demolition plan, framing plan, and foundation plan. More robust projects will also have a set of mechanic, electrical, and plumbing plans as well. 

“However, most residential projects don't require such extensive detail,” says Ezra Laniado, Angi Expert Review Board member and Owner, Landmark Construction & Development Group, Inc.” Also, unless the contractor is part of a design-build firm, seldomly do the contractors provide any plans; they would include as-builts. If a contractor includes plans in their price, they usually will contract that out to a licensed architect.)

From the as-builts, an architect can create an official record drawing. This is the final version of the building as constructed. These plans are useful for future owners of the home who want to make structural changes, like an addition or remodel.

For older buildings with no known up-to-date plans, getting an as-built survey runs anywhere from $0.40 to $2.50 per square foot, depending on the complexity of the building, its size, and the level of detail you need. However, this is usually for commercial properties as homeowners have little reason to do these.

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Other Types of Drafts

Along with additions and new builds, there are several other blueprint types worth knowing about. 

Average Cost of Mechanical House Plans

A mechanical plan is a technical drawing that includes the locations of outlets, HVAC systems, plumbing, and appliances. These plans will cost the same as any other drafting project, and the project price usually includes them. They’re also helpful during the construction phase of an addition or new structure.

Civil Drafts

Civil drafts are plans for bridges, highways, sewers, or any government-related project. They vary greatly in cost depending on the project.

Commercial Building Plans

Commercial plans have no relatable cost range as they’re project-specific. Most local and state governments have enacted regulations specifying that only licensed architects can design commercial building projects.

However, architects employ and oversee drafters. The architect designs the building, and the drafter turns that design into technical drawings. The architect then reviews and approves, or “stamps,” the final blueprints.

Architect vs. Drafter Costs

The cost to hire an architect ranges from $80 to $200 per hour, while drafters come in lower at $50 to $130 an hour. Architects cost over twice as much or an average of $5,000 per project. They tend to deal with large-scale commercial buildings or large, complex homes.

Many architects are also trained drafting professionals and often do simple house plan projects outside other architectural work.

DIY vs. Hiring a Blueprint Designer

It’s easiest to take your idea to an engineer, drafter, or architect because they have the skills and knowledge to construct a blueprint that’s structurally sound and safe to live in. They can finish in 10 hours what might take you weeks or even months. Save yourself the time and hire a drafter near you today.

“An architect can either make or break your project. It's definitely worth the money to hire a competent architect you feel comfortable with,” says Ezra Laniado. “There potentially might be a lot of back and forth with the architect making changes and corrections to their drawing in order to achieve your vision. Make sure you hire someone who will make you feel comfortable throughout the process and not embarrassed to suggest changes.”

Accessible software for blueprint designing makes it possible to create your own house plans. However, you will need to invest in AutoCAD, or an equivalent program, and hundreds of hours learning the program and building codes before you can put this knowledge to work.

Floor Plan Drawing Costs

Floor plan software costs anywhere from $25 to $75 with some basic online free apps available. These apps create a 2D-overhead layout of a single floor without elevation. They’re a great starting point to help you convey your ideas to a pro. Whether you’re having a draftsperson or contractor lay out the final technical plans, having a visual representation of your ideas helps simplify the process.

These apps shouldn’t be confused with professional CAD software. They aren’t blueprints or technical architectural drawings and cannot take their place. They’re for event planning, furniture layouts, and sometimes to sketch rough design ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is AutoCAD?

AutoCAD is a popular drafting program by AutoDesk that costs $1,250 per year for a subscription.

Who do I hire for architectural drawings?

You can hire an architect in your area, a draftsperson, or an engineer for drawings. In most residential settings, you’ll need a draftsperson or engineer. Engineering plans cost $300 to $2,500 per drawing or sheet for most residential projects. However, avoid delays by having an architect or licensed contractor review your blueprints prior to starting construction.

Can a draftsperson design a house plan?

In most cases, a draftsperson can design a house plan, and many do. In most residential spaces, they can work up a complete set of blueprints without the aid or supervision of an architect. Check with your local building code agency to see if this is permitted in your area. 

Only hire drafters who have an education and experience in drafting. The American Design Drafting Association also offers optional certification programs that demonstrate competency in the field.

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