As Architect activities involve an extensive range of steps upon job acquisition; i.e. Cost estimation, calling for tenders and the ultimate translation of the Client’s brief into a reality, timely drawing production is the turnkey. In this light, it is essential to briefly discuss the term (CAD) Computer-Aided Designs which is the primary component of computer drafting skills- an Architect’s domain.
Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) as above-mentioned, is the utilization of computer systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis or optimization of a design. The CAD software is used to increase design productivity and quality, improve communication through documentation and create a database for production. Current Computer-Aided design software packages range from 2D vector-based drafting systems to 3D solid and surface modellers. Consequently, to maximize computer skills in meeting deadlines, the following factors are paramount:
I. EMBRACING NEW DRAWING SOFTWARES
New productivity-enhancing software has been developed such as Archicad, AutoCAD, Sketchup, Chief Architect, Revit etc. However, each of these presents their own challenges to be tackled by the user. Of all, Sketchup is the most user-friendly software widely in use.
II. UPGRADING DRAWING TOOLS
With the advent of the latest drawing software in the industry, a computer with a high processor installed memory (RAM) and system type is essential.
III. TRAINING AND RETRAINING OF ARCHITECTS
Change is the only constant variable in life and adapting to these changes could sometimes pose a challenge. To foresee or solve such challenges, training and retraining in relevant courses will greatly enhance adaptation, and constant practice will attain expertise and enhance productivity.
IV. SETTING OUT A REALISTIC TIMELINE
It has been understood that 90% of Clients aren’t aware of the processes an Architect undertakes from conceiving an idea to putting that idea on paper i.e. drawing. Hence, it is necessary to be very professional and realistic when allocating time for the production of drawings. If you can only hope, pray and wait for a Doctor to cure your patient, hope, pray and wait for a lawyer to win your case, no need to pray, and hope, in this case- just wait whilst the drawings are finished.
Other factors include:
V. DRAFTING: TECHNIQUE & ACCURACY
The watch-phrase here should be ‘right the first time’. When setting out for the production of drawings on a computer, keep in mind:
- Always start drawings in a fresh file. Don’t use a corrupt-prone file or one that has a history of errors.
- Always set your drawing layers properly to enable fast drafting and easier amendments.
- Try to be precise and accurate to minimize corrections.
Always save your work at intervals to avoid loss of data/drawing.
Love what you do. Loving what you do is self –motivation to go beyond former borders to explore your potential and be your own teacher.
In conclusion, meeting up with deadlines is a collective responsibility. Despite individual weaknesses, there is a driving belief that all Architects must draw, and must embrace Computer Drafting Skills. While some focus on presentation and preliminary drawings, others can have their hands filled with working drawings and details, especially during the peak periods. This complimentary approach will strongly enhance productivity in meeting deadlines.