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wv_vectorworker

workflow/process in a typical small office

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I worked in a small design office with one principal and up two three CAD techs/designers. The typical workflow was,

-principal/architect would meet clients and then sketch his ideas/designs on paper

-techies would work them up on the computer, and print

-architect would make changes

-techies would make changes to electronic file

- this would go on for sometime before going to the client

- more sketches, more changes

-go to planning dept for consultation

- more changes etc.

you get the idea. is this typical? how big/modern does a firm get before drawings/work is checked without being printed, via redline tools etc? how many of you are using the more advanced features for workflow rather than simply putting nice lines on paper?

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We have dozens of people involved in multiple projects on many islands and Stateside. Workflow is looped from VW>PDF>Server>Client>

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There are three people in our office. Two architects and the techie (me). One of the architects prefers marking things up by hand and the other prefers using the redline tool within VW. It seems like it comes down to the preference of the person doing the marking more than an office size issue to me. The redline tool is great though - it eliminates stacks of paper on my desk and a queue at the printer. The fact that it will create spreadsheets of all open issues, so you are sure not to miss anything is very handy. We occasionally have problems with the automatic date stamps that VW creates though. Anyone else experience that?

Dave

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You?re previous post on CAD vs. Hand-drawn is a nice segue to this topic. I don?t think a printed set of drawings for markup, no matter what size the office is, will disappear any time soon as reaching a particular permit stage of a project is a milestone and requires a full print for review, not only for discrepancies but for the overall look and feel of the drawing package you?re about to present.

From my experience the workflow model varies from principal to principal and their comprehension of computer applications other than just CAD, Additionaly, its important that the principal has an understanding as to when to put down the pencil and make the transition to digital drawings. The red pen and/or pencil are not dead, but some folks out there just need to know when to put them down and let the technological aspects of the software and the skilled user take it from there.

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I don't have a problem with printing up a full size set when you think you are close to the permit application . Some things will only show up at that time.

I am not so much looking for a wedge into my other topic but getting an idea about how people are actually doing their work.

thanks-

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In my experience, the most successful firms are the ones where the senior architects (and partners) have crossed the line and produce drawings in conjunction with their tech staff (and often with the same level of competency). Too many times I have seen the firm where the principals are far removed from the day-to-day process of drawing creation. I call it the "Wall" firm (thanks to Pink Floyd). The "designers" are on one side of the wall and the "techs" are on the other. The only way through is a small door where information is channeled through a "CAD Manager" who acts as a go-between.

I agree with Runtime (and I often do!). The principals need to be actively involved in, and familiar with, the workflow. Not to say that all principals are cut out for CAD, but I feel one of the strengths of VectorWOrks is that it can be used to teach "new tricks" to "old dogs".

wv_vectorworker, I think the workflow that you describe is fairly typical. The trick is to drill in to each part of the process and look for economies and ways to improve. In may case, the saving grace was learning VectorScript. For others, it's other things.

My Friday night 2 cents.

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Peter,

I have to agree re the principals taking a hand in the production of work. In our office of about 15, we have 2 directors and 1 associate, and ALL of them produce drawings (Some even have mistakes on!). That way, they also understand the project better, from the smallest detail to the larger overall view of the project.

-JTo

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I worked in a small engineering office (using AutoCAD). We didn't have the redline tools that you talk about. Most of the associate and lower ranking engineers did some form of CAD. The Principals did not.

To be honest, I got nervous when the engineers worked on the drawings. They could mess things up pretty badly because they weren't always up on our (the Drafters') latest techniques and procedures. I felt that engineers had more important things to do than try to draw.

Mostly we got red marks for changes and I was fine with that. Engineering is pretty simple and straightforward. We didn't have to coordinate the drawings from other disciplines.

We banged the changes out pretty quickly, replotted, and returned the revised plots along with the redmarks to the engineers. They took care of disposing of old plots.

With that system, I felt that I had control over the production, and that there would be no unpleasant surprises.

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When I first made associate director some 10 years ago I was running several teams on a number of multi-million pound projects. CAD was only just coming into the office then and it went to the techies first - even letters were hand written and given to secetaries - we were a bit behind even for then. Eventually we all got pcs but still the drawings were done by the techies and I felt so remote from the design process that I went to private CAD lessons as the firm would not pay for it. Now I rum my own small practice - 3 to 5 people and everyone is on CAD - from concept to completion. Still you can not beat a quick free hand sketch or marked up drawings to progress the design. However it is amazing how few architects fresh from college can sketch or can use vectorworks - what do they train them over 7 years?

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