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RE: Informal Poll

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I bet the old timer is fighting the xref….


Here is how I do it.


I get the architectural background.


I trace over his walls and make my own file and make is A-Floor2.dwg, A-Floor1.dwg say for a two story building.


Then I do the roof plan. S-Roof.dwg. I xref in the background A-Floor2.dwg and draw my roof framing over the background.


Then I create the file S-Floor2.dwg. I xref in S-Roof.dwg which already contains the A-floor2.dwg background. I freeze everything from the S-Roof.dwg file except the posts/column layers since they pass down to the floor. I then make all the walls that go from the 2nd floor to the underside of the roof a continuous light line indicating that the walls sit on top of this level of framing I’m about to draw. The walls that go from the first floor to the underside of the second floor, I modify their layers in from the X-ref file so they are dashed and bold indicating possible bearing wall locations below the current level I’m drawing.


The benefit to this is that I have the bare bones background (walls, maybe gridlines, maybe room tag id’s), that I can easily overlay the new cluttered backgrounds the architect sends me and easily see the changes. I then just stretch my background however I need to matching the current architectural background….


The xref (with nested x-ref’s) from floor to floor keeps the post locations accurate so it’s less likely that I’ll forget to add 2 story posts, add a transfer girder under a post, or add in a hold-down in the middle of a first floor shearwall because it is tie down for a upper floor wall that ends above the middle of the lower wall…. It basically just keeps you honest.




-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Zaitz [mailto:mzaitz(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2005 10:43 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Informal Poll


We do not limit how many times we change it.  We will sometimes hold off inserting the new background if we have a suspicion further changes are coming.  It is a definite annoyance considering how often they change sometimes.


Something I would like to hear is how people do their backgrounds?  We typically take the file the architect sends us, freeze layers we don't want, copy the remaining to a new file where the contents are exploded multiple times.  Then we change all the layers to a lite color and to a single layer (or 2 layers- one for floor plan and one for roof plan) then we insert them as a block to our "master" drawing on their respective layers.  All framing, foundations, etc are drawn in the master file which is then xrefed to sheets.  We are discussing the process of xrefing the background file but one of our old timer draftsmen is fighting that one hard.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Allen [mailto:T.W.Allen(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2005 12:40 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Informal Poll

I’m curious what the expectations of others are with regards to updated backgrounds received from architectural clients.


How many updates do you consider is reasonable in your basic scope of services before you think additional services are in order?




T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E.


Consulting Structural Engineers