The Efficient & Organized Use of CADD Software…


All efficiency and organization in Computer-Aided Design begins with going beyond CADD as an electronic pencil.

Let’s determine the critical inches to help you get the work done, get paid and be able to say “Next!” Expertise and an organized workflow trump the latest hardware and software, of course to a certain extent. It isn’t about typing or clicking faster or waiting a few moments less for things to open. It is about keeping a steady non-stop production of work, knowing what the future steps will be before it’s time to perform them, drawing and modeling things only once, recycling material as much as possible (like typical details, notes and xrefing, blocking or arraying repetitive elements) and cutting redundant steps.

It doesn’t take a huge team, either. Large companies throw money and people at projects, instead of throwing brains at the problems. It’s amazing what 3 or 4 people who know what they’re doing can produce. Large teams tend to create more management nightmares than any real work.

Sometimes you only notice the time-consuming wasteful patterns until you’re forced to use manual methods. I remember writing the following strings of texts ad infiniutum and ad nauseam during my several years working as a manual draftsman: “2×8 RR @ 24″ O.C.,” “1×6 STR SHT’NG,” “WEST ELEVATION,” “FIRST FLOOR PLAN,” “SCALE: 1/4″ = 1′-0”

I hope by now you get the idea. An efficient system should be setup so you don’t have to be retyping those strings of texts more than once. You should almost never start projects from scratch but base them on templates that already contain typical views such as floor plans, elevations, sections, etc.

Likewise, you should always be preparing and laying out upcoming work, predicting all possible plan check corrections and code/legal requirement constraints, before any serious drafting and design begins.

How Important is the Role that Hardware & Software Play in Efficiency

How important is the role that hardware and software play in efficiency? I’d say it is secondary. What comes to mind here is the old saying “A good craftsman doesn’t blame his tools.” I will happily race somebody who does not know what they’re doing using the latest hardware against me using a “secretary’s paper weight computer.” Begin by making sure you’ve made the most of what you already have.

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