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

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In the past ten years, I have used just about every possible combination.
The following is a summary with pros and cons:

1. Engineers doing calc and sketch, cad operators doing drafting, 100%,
going back and forth through the cycles. Eventually, the job gets done
right, but takes too many man hours. Regardless of the size of the firm,
this is very costly.

2. Engineers doing calcs then cad. This probably produces the best job from
a pure technical aspect, but the engineer doesn't learn engineering very
fast (doing it 50% of his time) nor does he/she get very fast on cad (doing
it 50% of the time).

I do not, let me say, _absolutely_ do not, think that a technician should
put the job together and make decisions about which details should be used
on a job. The engineer should do that. I think the best way is to have the
engineer complete the design by red-marking framing and foundation plans,
selecting appropriate "standard" details from the library, selecting
standard details that need to be modified for the project and marking them
up appropriately and sketch the new, job specific details. He/she should
then set up all of the sheets, cross referencing all the details, edit and
mark up the structural notes, etc. When that package is complete, an
evaluation of available resources is made (by principal, chief engineer,
etc.). At least the framing plans and new details are given to a cad
technician and the red marked details from the standard library is either
given to the cad technician or the engineer makes the modifications
himself. Once all the details are complete, the engineer can assemble the
details sheets and make full size plots for backchecking. Any corrections
are then given back to the cad technician. The same is done with the
framing plans. The goal should be "one cycle and out the door". The
engineer should _at least_ know enough about cad to assemble detail sheets
and change detail bubbles.

This system works for just about any sized firm all the way down to a one
man shop with a cad consultant coordinating via e-mail.

Bill Allen
> From: Stan Johnson <hawneng(--nospam--at)>
> To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
> Subject: DRFT - Dedicated Drafters vs. Engineers Drafting Their Own Stuff
> Date: Sunday, August 17, 1997 1:55 PM
> 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.