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Drafting – Architectural

Prepare technical drawings for sustainable residential and commercial buildings and influence the future of green building.

A man sits at a desk and looks at technical architecture drawings on two side-by-side computer monitors.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
2 Years

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In this program, you develop skills to prepare technical drawings for both residential and commercial buildings using the latest industry software.

In year one, you're introduced to drafting concepts through the study and application of  sketching and drafting. You explore wood frame construction principles, as applied to residential projects and develop your CAD skills using AutoCAD and SketchUp.

In year two, you'll hone your skills in Building Information Modelling (BIM) utilizing Revit to develop a preliminary commercial drawing set.

Throughout the program, you expand your knowledge of construction principles, environmental considerations in sustainable building design and construction, and the use of the National Building Code.

Work experience

  • Field experience is a mandatory credit course, providing you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
  • This program is eligible for an optional cooperative education (co-op) credit course between year one and two.
    • Co-op provides an opportunity for paid, full-time employment in a field related to your program.
    • Co-op takes place in third term and must be a minimum of 12 weeks and 420 hours.
    • Our co-op program follows Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) guidelines.
  • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work experience are your responsibility.
  • For more information, visit work experience opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • You get a strong foundation for entering the world of building construction as a draftsperson.
  • You learn from faculty who are industry professionals with architectural, drafting engineering, and contracting experience.
  • This program places a high importance on the skills and knowledge required to develop both residential and commercial working drawings to acceptable industry standards.

Other info

  • Many employers in this industry require a current, official criminal record check as part of the hiring process. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to secure employment.
  • This program places a high importance on providing you with the skills and knowledge to work safely in industry. You participate in a number of introductory safety awareness courses to prepare you for employment. 

September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Ivany Campus/Online
Full time Blended
Delivered through a combination of online and in-person classes. At least 50% of learning is in-person.

Admission requirements

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for College services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Graduates of this program are successful in securing employment with architectural firms, engineering consultants, government agencies, contractors, home designers and contract drafting services. They may also find self-employment as a contract drafting service provider. Most graduates enter the industry as CAD drafters and advance to other roles.
  • Learn more about labour market information. View career options

Future study options

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

AETE 3014 - Architecture II
This course deals with the initial stages of planning and designing a small commercial building using standard presentation methods for the production of the working drawings. The learner will cover material related to the use of part 3 of the National Building Code, in the preparation of working drawings for a small commercial building design.

AETE 3017 - Architecture III
This course deals with the continuation of a commercial design project. Topics covered will include detailed drawing requirements for a typical set of commercial construction documents. Drawing standards and Information enabling the completion of the drawings for the commercial design project started in the previous semester. These requirements may include assessment of existing structures with respect to renovation challenges. Work will include a combination of individual and group work.

BIMT 1010 - Building Modelling Software I
The course is an introduction to building information modelling software from basic design through construction documentation. Students are introduced to the concepts of Building Information Modelling and the tools for parametric building design and Documentation.

BIMT 3010 - Building Modelling Software II
This course continues the basics of using building information modelling software. Students continue with the concepts of Building Information Modelling and the tools for parametric building design and documentation.

BIMT 3020 - Building Modelling Software III
This course continues the exploration of building information modelling as it relates to structure and site massing studies, space planning and analysis, visualization concepts such as rendering, solar studies and walkthroughs.

CADD 1020 - Computer Aided Drafting II
This course continues the introduction to architectural drafting using industry standard software with an emphasis on applied project work. The learner takes the concepts covered in design courses and applies them to a set of residential working drawings.

CADD 3015 - Computer Aided Drafting III
This course advances the student in the production of drawings using computer drafting software. It is an introduction to advanced concepts. Learners expand their knowledge of the functions of computer-aided drafting software while applying the techniques to a term-long project.

CADD 3025 - Computer Aided Drafting IV
Learners will advance their learning using the latest version of Computer Aided Drafting software, and focus on finer drafting techniques.

COMM 1227 - Communications I
This course provides the student with an overview of the communication skills required by business and industry. Students will learn to apply these communication skills to be successful in their selected workplace setting.

COMM 1228 - Communications II
This course further develops essential communications skills with a focus on basic writing. This course provides the student with the opportunity to develop written work typical of the industry related to their program of study.

DRAA 1001 - Architectural Drafting I
During this course you will demonstrate sketching, and fundamental drafting techniques. You will recognize and imitate the expected quality required to produce contract drawings. This course covers drawing equipment and materials, drawing layout, drawing conventions, graphic symbols and lettering.

DRAA 1002 - Applied Mathematics I
Building on present mathematics competencies, this course will expand the learners’ abilities to use mathematical theory to solve practical problems related to the drafting field.

DRAA 1006 - Applied Mathematics II
This course is designed to provide the learner with the scientific principles necessary to solve drafting, construction and architectural related problems.

DRAA 1009 - Architectural Drafting II
This course introduces you to the preparation of construction documents used in a variety of job situations with emphasis on communicating technical information in graphic form. You will be introduced to housing styles, graphic presentation methods, and drafting standards as used in industry. An introduction to the use of part nine of the National Building Code and residential construction practices will be covered in the preparation of a set of residential plans.

DRAA 1012 - Design Project I
This course will require the learner to research and prepare a set of working drawings for a single-family residence. This course will expand the learners' skills in the architectural disciplines of design, presentation, and drafting standards.

DRAA 1015 - Drafting Industry Relations
During this course, learners will liaise with industry members to learn about their new discipline. This is an independent study course, and the outcomes may be met in many different ways. Learners may attend class field trips, attend industry-related meetings and workshops, volunteer for industry-related organizations, etc. Learners will document and reflect on their experiences throughout the semester as evidence of learning.

DRAA 1017 - Computer Aided Drafting - Architectural
In this course you will prepare a variety of assignments and projects using Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) in the context of Architectural uses.

DRAA 1020 - Construction Practices I
This course introduces you to the standard practices used in energy efficient light wood-frame residential construction. It develops the fundamental knowledge base that drafters need to have in the construction industry in order to develop construction documents. During this course, you will develop an understanding of building science principles, materials, and methods of construction resulting in energy efficient residential design. The focus of study will be on light wood-frame residential construction.

DRAA 1030 - Construction Practices II
This course furthers your knowledge of light wood-frame construction and applies these practices to construction detail drawings. It develops skills in assembling building systems used in these types of construction. The course also relates the construction to Part 9 of the latest version of the Nova Scotia Building Code. During this course, you will apply building science principles of construction in order to develop detailed construction drawings. The focus of study will be on light wood-frame residential construction.

DRAA 3002 - Architectural Computer Applications
The learner will use standard office suite of application software, specifically word processing, slideshow presentation, spreadsheet, Microsoft Project and photo editing software that will permit the learner to perform expected office duties that complement his/her drafting skills.

DRAA 3006 - Construction Practices III
The course will examine a variety of building materials, methods and systems used in the construction of commercial structures. The focus of this semester is on light wood frame construction techniques, the exterior and interior finishes for wood light frame construction, masonry, and steel frame construction.

DRAA 3010 - Technical Communications
The learner will continue to develop skills using standard office communication tools, with the assistance of computer software such as MS Office, specifically word processing, slideshow presentation, and excel, which will permit the learner to establish and enhance their ability to communicate in the workplace in both oral and written form. Review of common office practices in the construction industry will prepare the learners for work in this industry. An introduction to contract specifications and the preparation of a specification section for the commercial design project will be required.

DRAA 3014 - Construction Practices IV
The learner is introduced to building materials, methods and systems used in commercial structures. This is a continuation of skill acquisition necessary to prepare a commercial design project. The focus of this course is on concrete construction, including site cast and precast concrete framing systems, roofing, glass and glazing, cladding, and selection of interior finishes including walls, partitions, ceilings and floors.

DRAA 3015 - Work Experience
The work experience component provides the learner with an opportunity to apply new skills and concepts appropriate for entry-level positions within the occupation. Learners will assess their own performance and be evaluated by an industry partner. Learners will identify personal outcomes they wish to attain during the work experience and will keep a journal.

DRAA 3016 - Building Services - Electrical
This course introduces the learner to the electrical service sector as it relates to drafting and the overall construction industry. This course is designed to give broad and current coverage of basic systems for lighting, electrical power distribution and circuits, and other electrical systems currently used in buildings being constructed. All lab time is self directed learning. (30 more lab hours)

DRAA 3017 - Building Services - Mechanical
This course introduces learners to the mechanical service sector as it relates to drafting and the overall construction industry. The course is designed to give a broad and current coverage of heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing and fire protection. Learners who successfully complete this course will be able to perform basic calculations; size pipes and ducts; interpret and draft mechanical drawings; and identify materials, equipment and systems used in buildings.

DRAA 3101 - Estimating Fundamentals
This course is intended to provide the fundamental estimating principles for general construction related primarily to residential construction. An emphasis on component identification, proper use of mathematical units and computer spreadsheets to organize an estimate for a project.

DRAA 3102 - Estimating Project
This course deals with the preparation of a formal estimate of a residential design. The course format will include regular classes with guidance and milestones provided on a regular basis to ensure the learner remains on track.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

SAFE 1020 - Safety Basics – Restricted Spaces
The learner is introduced to the basic requirements and procedures involved with working in restricted spaces. The definition and potential hazards of restricted spaces are discussed The course material is infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1021 - Safety Basics – Hazard Identification
The learners are introduced to the types of hazards encountered in workplaces and the approach that should be followed when recommending and implementing appropriate controls. Two key elements of Hazard Identification are addressed: Hazard Assessment and Inspection. The Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act is discussed. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1022 - Safety Basics – Working at Heights
The student is introduced to hazards and responsibilities concerned with working at heights in the workplace. Guardrails, travel restraints, roof work, fall arrest components will be discussed. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1023 - Safety Basics – Lock-out Tag Out
Lock-out Tag Out introduces students to the hazards related to energized systems and procedures to ensure worker safety. Related legislation and risk management is discussed and the student is exposed to the various types of lock-out devices. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1024 - Safety Basics – Respiratory Protection
This course introduces students to the potential of atmospheric hazards in the workplace and the available personal protection and control methods to maintain a safe work environment. Discussion topics include identification and testing for atmospheric hazards and workplace respiratory programs. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

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