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Re: Evaluate drafters' reliability

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Well, I'll admit that the calculation part, for me, inthe fun part.  I can play around in AdvanSE all day.  I think the disconnect is that the cad tools I have (autocad) are essentially no better today than they were when I was in college 15 years ago.  The detailing tools  - although getting better all the time - are still very generic.  Heck, half the things I want to be able to do - no, should be able to do - in a single pick require a 30 to 50 line custom program (like lisp) to accomplish.  That part of it is drudgery for me. If the drawing tools were there, it would be a lot more fun. When I worked in a larger firm, I had a reasonable number of tools like that at my disposal - no doubt the results of thousands upon thousands of hours of programming and customization - and it was good. Now that I have to "do it all," it just frustrates me beyond belief.

As for the topic at hand, training a strucutral drafter can be murder.  If they don't have an interest in it, I don't think they'll ever be that good. I used to work with a strucutral drafter who was fantastic. I could give him the butt-ugliest, 3 minute  sketch with minimal notations, and get back a printed detail with leaders and highlighted blanks for information that was missing!  That's right - he knew what strucutral details looked like, know how things went together, and if I didn't show something, or didn't write in a callout on my first draft, he'd leave a space for the information.  He wasn't perfect, and he loved customizing the cad interface - sometimes making a 5 minute one-off activity into a 30 minute programming excercise - but doggoneit he was the closest thing to an automatic drawing generator I'll probably ever see.

I think that's the key - you have to both understand buildings and really like working with them. Most of those folks become engineers or architects. I'm afraid there's a lot of chaff out there.