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Re: DRFT - Dedicated Drafters vs. Engineers Drafting Their Own Stuff

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In my opinion, and as we have done here for years, (using Auto CAD since
1986), Engineers should do the drafting and drafters/designers do the
drafting.  3 of our 4 CAD drafters are very experienced and are very
fast on Auto CAD, much faster than any engineer could be if they do not
do drafting full time.  Furthermore, we train our drafters to be
"designers".  Many times, the project engineer will simply sit down with
our drafters at the beginning of a project for a few hours.  The design
level drafters will deliver you back a set of preliminary framing and
foundation plans, as well as many details already cut on the plans which
he pulled from out vast CAD library of details.

The engineer will mark up the plans with the sizes of the members, cut
more details, back check the plans and details already supplied by the
drafter, and sketch new details that may not be in our library.  It is
then given back to the drafter, and then a final back check is done
before the plans are issued.  Most of our Engineers do minor drafting
for pickups and small revisions, but our very fast and very experienced
CAD people do most of it.

One of the most important aspects in getting your people to be fast is
to customize the menu to do the type of work you do.  Auto CAD will
allow a lot of customization, or you can buy third part software
packages that have structural menus, etc.

In my opinion, you should be networked when working is such an
environment.   It is worth every cent you will spend on it.  All drawing
files are kept in a project directory on the server.  Also, all standard
details and drawings are kept there.  The server should be backed up
every night to tape.  We paid dearly for costly mistakes before we got
networked.  Put you plotter on the network so anyone can plot to it.
And get a roll feed, it will increase productivity dramatically for the
poor fool who has to stand in front of the plotter and feed paper for
each plot.

Spend the money, do it right, and it will pay off in the long run.  I
know because I learned the hard way by trying to take short cuts.


Stan Johnson wrote:

> We may soon have an 'opportunity' to reorganize
> the way that drafting is handled in our office and
> we want to take a poll on two approaches.  (We
> would greatly appreciate other input-  What do you
> use?  Why do you do it that way?  What are the
> pro's and con's of various approaches? What do you
> advise?
> (how we usually do things)
> A.  Engineering does hand sketches of plans and
> details.  Engineer selects standard details to be
> included on plans.  At the same time the Engineeer
> works out most of the page layout issues (Though
> occasionally the drafts persons handle this).
> B.  Engineer hands materials over to drafting and
> they do the CAD work and then send rough plots to
> the Engineer along with the sketches.  Engineering
> then checks the drafting for errors.  Sometimes
> another Engineer or EIT checks the drafting (also
> often keeping an eye out for engineering problems
> at the same time).
> C.  Changes are sent back to drafting for
> corrections.
> D.  Final plots are made and sent to Engineer for
> final look over.  Prints made signed and sent out.
> NOTE:  Very often, the work will go though a few
> cycles between Engineer, drafting, and drafting
> checker.  We often work on projects where we might
> go through a couple of design development cycles,
> two or three progress sets (50%,90%), and one
> client coordination set before plans are sent to
> building department.  Then we do a plan check
> corrections set.  Sometimes there are even update
> sets issued between building department submission
> and receiving plan check comments back.
> ($#%!(*^#&@^! clients!)
> A.  The Engineer does most drafting on own
> computer.
> B.  Engineering either has a dedicated drafts
> person handle plotting and misc mundane tasks, or
> does this stuff himself.
> NOTE:  We are not a networked office (though we
> have several modestly equipped Pentium computers
> at hand).  We have a signle HP inkjet plotter that
> requires hand loading of pages.  We are currently
> use a fast (from both computer and drafting
> standpoint) but generally network blind drafting
> program called Production Lines (Pentium 75's w/
> 8MB RAM are quite adequate, even when running
> Windows95 in the background).  Most of our
> Engineers are way out of date when it come to CAD
> drafting.  We are not eager make a lot of captial
> investment in new equipment.