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RE: Standards for Plan Detail

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There is a trade off long term provided your drafter knows what he is doing.
They will soon realize the futility of there well intentioned perfectionism
when changes to a project occur. Keep stressing your needs.

When I first started doing my own drafting for my designs, I wanted my
drawings to be above and beyond that of the standards currently produced.
What I did was to begin to draw details at a larger scale to accommodate
clarity. I too, began to draw a Simpson hanger to exacting detail. My
drawings were beautiful .... until, the architect decided to change things.
I learned my lesson quick, I had drawn the details to such a degree of
minutia that changing them proved to take just as long as it did to create
the damn thing.

The lesson, drawing things to scale always is a very good idea, but the need
to draw every little bolt thread, wood grain etc... is minimal. For things
like pre manufactured hardware, make blocks that you can just plug into the
drawing. Make the blocks simple to show the key items like its outer
dimensions, bolt locations etc... The only instance I can see justification
in drawing all the particulars is if it is a standard detail in its barest
form where only notation may change. These are very rare instances and often
manufacturers will just give you cad files saving the need to draw them from
scratch. Draw at a scale that is as big (meaning 1:as large as possible
ratio) as possible and still maintain clarity of the important features.
Give the drafter a sample of what you would like to see. 

One thing I think you should stress to your drafter is that instead of
spending a bunch of time drawing bolts threads, make sure his layout is neat
and clear. Stress the importance of aligning text, keeping leader lines
close to parallel to one another. The Art/skill/pride in drafting is fading
even though there is really no justification. Since we use computers now,
alot of people think that basic drafting skills can just fall by the way
side. 

Speed is number one = low cost to engineering firm.

Lousy drafting = phone calls from contractors = lack of respect from
contractor = bad mouth to owner from contractor = gradual loss of business.

The balance between the two is delicate, but always remember, convey the
objectives and requirements of the job using the least amount of work. (i.e.
don't call out beam sizes more than once for the same beam). Always have
someone else check your work or at least sit down in a quiet room and check
the job from top to bottom.

As far as CAD standards go, good luck. Every drafter is different and there
are umpteenth different ways of accomplishing the same result in CAD. The
most difficult part of CAD is getting the whole office to agree on the best
way to accomplish tasks. I feel that the AIA standards are a good starting
point, however, I disagree with the 1,000,000 layer names they use. Keep it
simple!

I'm rambling now...
-Gerard

p.s.: I'm considering dropping my SEAONC membership just like many on this
list have mentioned. I am not really sure what the benefit is other than it
looks nice on a resume. I am not a committee member and nor will I ever be
(too much time and it sounds like politics is number one). Also, I didn't
get a blue book or anything I used to get that served as valuable design
resource. I do like the news letter, but I can get that from the website.
The code dilemma is unfortunate. I have no reservation that many of those
involved in the process had only the best intentions. But I must agree with
comments by Mr. Greenlaw and Higgins who have pointed out the prevailing
attitudes from those involved closely to the process. It seems that the
lurkers never come out when we are "complaining". I get the impression that
many grunt designers (like me) are just peons in the whole process and our
questions/concerns are not even worth the brain power of the higher ups to
respond to. I could be wrong, but that is just my impression. No one seems
to be offering anything except " If you don't like the way things are done
... you do it then " Should we all run for congress now?

my $2.50