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RE: Evaluate drafters' reliability

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Wontae,

Don't fire all of your drafters just yet.  There are some practical
steps you can take to evaluate your drafting staff:


1.  Ability to see things in three dimensions.

I know some engineers who have trouble doing this.  They can calculate
until they're blue in the face, but if they have trouble seeing how
things are going to fit, both "within the page" and "out of the page" at
the same time (3D), then they will struggle.  This is not an easy thing
to teach, but the best way they can learn, and the best way to evaluate
it, is to have them draw sections through the building.  Building
sections are very critical to seeing how things will fit together and
they are typically the starting points for developing larger-scale
details.  Teach them how to see in three dimensions by going out to
jobsites:  Point out how beams come into a connection from different
directions: Remind them that even though we are drawing in 2D (for the
most part), we are really drawing in 3D (now, don't get me started on
the whole concept of drawing in 3D with CAD -- I don't want to debate
that).  Show them the loadpaths and connectors.  Explain to them what
everything does.  When you get back to the office, go through a set of
plans with them.  Start at the exteriors then show them the architect's
sections and how they cut through rooms.  Next, show them the structural
sections and how they cut through the framing members.  Most of the
drafters that we've trained slowly begin to pick this up until something
clicks and their productivity increases dramatically because they've
learned how to see things.  If they know what member sizes you have
designed, and the configuration of the connections that you want (bolt
sizes, weld types/sizes, etc.), they should be able to develop the
details to show your design intent (see #4 below).

2.  Presentation.

Annotations should line up as best as possible.  There shouldn't be
arrows going in every which direction -- this indicates a lack of
organization -- organization is critical to getting a project completed.
If they continue to forget to "clean-up" the way their details look,
you've got other problems.  Additionally, the drafter (and the engineer)
needs to always be asking the following: (1) "How is this going to be
built?", (2) "Is everything that I'm showing identified, even if it's
referring them to another detail or plan?", (3) "Do I have enough
information from the engineer to develop the details/sections?"

3.  Correct terminology & spelling.

Teach your drafters what things are to be called -- beams, joists,
headers, girders, "horizontally-spanning member", whatever -- you should
have some standard terms that are used consistently on your drawings w/o
changing things every project.  If you have a set of office standards
that should be used by ALL draftsmen on ALL projects, that gives you a
positive means of evaluating their work -- if they continue to forget or
ignore the office standards, then you have other problems.  If they just
think you're full of it and they will keep doing things like they've
been doing, then you have a problem with submission to authorities, not
with drafting.

4.  Correct industry standards.

Drafters should be able to construct connection details based on your
design information -- they need to know AISC bolt spacing standards,
etc., in order to get the picture right. One of my pet peeves is WRONG
WELD SYMBOLS!!!!  Aaarrrggghhh!  Teach them how to make correct weld
symbols and teach them what all of the marks, numbers, situations, etc.
mean and you'll make me happy.  I mean, you'll be happier.  You should
be anyway ...


There are other things, but these are the biggies IMO.  Finding a good
drafter is like finding a pot of gold, but you have to take the time to
explain to them (1) how to do things and (2) exactly what you expect of
them.  This way they know exactly what the expectations are and there
are no excuses when you need to correct them.  I see a GOOD draftsman as
a type of quality control as well -- a second set of eyes:  He doesn't
need to have an engineer's technical knowledge, but he does need to be
able to SEE how it will be built.  We've been very fortunate to have
really good drafters over the years, who are able to develop correct
details from my member sizes, quantities & quick sketches, while
allowing me to move onto the next DESIGN task.  Yes, sometimes an
engineer needs to design a detail or plan while drawing it, but there is
still plenty of critical assistance a good drafter can give to a
project.

Good luck,
Dave K. Adams, S.E.
Lane Engineers, Inc.
Tulare, CA
E-mail:  davea(--nospam--at)laneengineers.com






-----Original Message-----
From: Wontae Kim [mailto:Wontae.Kim(--nospam--at)unistresscorp.com] 
Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2005 6:15 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org.
Subject: Evaluate drafters' reliability


Hi!

Is there any method how to evaluate drafting reliability?
How can I quantify drafters' reliability?
 Some errors are minor, while others are critical...
Is there any standardized method to evaluate drawings (and drafter)?


****Wontae Kim****
Unistress Corp.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
(Tel)  413-629-2031
(Fax) 413-499-0824

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