Dialog Box December 2006

7 Dec, 2006 By: Cadalyst Staff

Readers have their say.

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Cadalyst Dialog Box

How Designers and Software Work Together
I agree with the general line of Kenneth Wong's article "Why Can't All Our CAD Files Just Get Along?" But as an instructor, I see too many people not taking time when they're designing. They choose the easy way.

For many designers, taking 5 minutes to search a similar part or find a way to modify the part isn't interesting. They would rather take 15 minutes to redraw the part. I have the feeling that this gives them the impression they are working -- harder but not smarter.

The training issue is also a big factor. I don't know why, but even those who once were designers and now are in charge of a design team don't realize that training is a key factor. Send your designers for personalized/custom training at least four to six days a year. At a minimum, you should send designers to update training class when a new release of design software comes out. Many of the new functionalities stay in the closet.

Have you ever worked in a company where you have to do thing one way and not any other way? You change companies, the new one does the same task exactly the opposite way, and it works well.


Someone told me once that knowing what isn't working could be more important than knowing what's working. On top of that, knowing why it isn't working will let you find a solution. The funny example he gave me was if you use a screwdriver to hit a nail, you probably would say that the tool isn't working, and you would throw it away.

Designers: Don't close your mind, be proactive. Explore new functionality: even is it takes you another 5 minutes, try it. Next time, it may take you only 1 minute because you will know how it works.

From the software point of view, customers ask for wizard-style functionality. The good side is that it simplifies the design, but when it comes time for modifications, customers don't know what happened in the background, so they redo their work. Even more dangerous is the new way of approaching design where you draw anything and then you let the software reorder your job. From my point of view as an instructor, this is the best way to have unqualified designers. Companies will be hiring less-qualified employees.

Your job is to design—not to fill in a blank in a form!

Software designer should focus on the workflow to help reduce time-consuming actions. I saw a good example for standard part. Design the workflow of function so the user is involved and knows what happens behind the screen. If modification is needed, the designer knows where to find the solution. The designer's job is to solve problems.

I could add many things to this message and explore many points of view about this topic . . .

Quebec, Canada

A BIM Banner
Not only did your article, "BIM Update 2006," explain the different features within each vendor application, it exposed the list of to-do tasks required to move BIM forward. In my view, there is a huge technology disconnect, especially in BIM. Final design and construction documentation is greatly diminished once the blueprints are handed off to the project builder -- how many times have you seen and been a part of a group with their heads buried in the plans -- too much time is wasted in my opinion.

In my view, there is a huge technology disconnect, even in BIM, that does very little for the crew putting the pieces together. I have such a tool that will put the pieces together, and it's patented!

The AccuFrame System creates useable visual templates from the final CAD drawing. Visual templates I call banners detail in industry-standard denotation the exact location of studs, windows and doors and the measurements to correctly guide builders to successful projects. This technology has been tested by DuPont and my company, SAI, with recorded 15% labor saving by first-time users in home building.

On a much larger view than just home building, banners can be used for any site-driven application. I have coined the acronym BIT (building information templates). BIT will drive productivity while anchoring the design-build-unite model.

—Michael C. Schettine
President, SAI, AccuFrame System

Ed Goldberg responds:
Thank you for reading my article, and I appreciate that you liked it. I am interested in any technology that increases productivity and accuracy.

—Ed Goldberg AIA, NCARB

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—Brian C. Benton
CAD Technician, Heidt & Associates

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—Mark D. Premo, P.E., Civil Engineer III
Onondaga County Department of Transportation, Syracuse, New York

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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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