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RE: Does anyone outsource CAD services - On Topic

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I was involved in one of these ventures a while back, which unfortunately dragged on for about 18 months.  As it was initially promoted to be a time/money saving opportunity, and seeing as I had all the latest technological tools for communicating (email, instant messaging, ftp’ing), I was warm to the idea.  To make a long, painful story short, I believe it to be a big reason we lost our head-drafter and a contributing factor to my resignation. 


For those interested in the long version, here it is.  I learned to draft in a “studio” environment, which means that the instructor is constantly hovering over the shoulders of the student, critiquing/commenting. As a young engineer, I carried out simple design tasks while drafting on larger projects for the more senior engineers, under the same roof.  When I had questions I could use sketches, pointing devices, and language to express myself.  When I made mistakes, when I found mistakes, or when there were discrepancies a brief meeting between phone calls would fix things right up. This could not and cannot be done via email/instant messenging or late-night/early-morning phone calls. With outsourcing, and with much frustration mistakes get corrected by the head-drafter or project engineer.  Feedback was typically not provided to the drafter, so mistakes were repeated. Our outsource drafters were graduated student engineers, willing to ask the questions, put in the extra hours to email questions/instant message/call-in, and well spoken.  It just did not work.


Engineers all engineer with different dialects.  It takes a long time to build an understanding of the nuances from one engineer to another.  I would only begin to again consider outsourcing of drafting if there existed a senior level, structural drafter, trained in the states on staff, on-sight (at the outer-source).
Michel Blangy