Technical drawings are an important element in bids, proposals and other marketing efforts in the construction field. Drafting and technical drawings have a long and storied history; in fact, the first known record of drafting activities dates back to 2,000 B.C. and depicts an overhead view of a Babylonian fortress. The technical drawings of Leonardo da Vinci continue to inspire and impress artists, architects and artisans almost 500 years after his death.

Today, drafting, technical drawing and blueprint creation tasks are usually accomplished with the assistance of computers. Computer-aided drawing and design programs allow increased manipulation of data and eliminate the need for duplicating efforts when changes must be made to existing plans and blueprints.

Advantages of Computer-Aided Drafting

Computer-assisted drafting and drawing methods offer a number of significant advantages over manual drafting for construction firms:

• These modeling systems can allow dimensions, connections and shapes to be adjusted and tweaked as necessary to suit the client’s needs.
• Because the plans are maintained in a digital form, no erasing and redrawing is necessary. Instead, staff members can simply drag and drop or alter the measurements on a spreadsheet to see the results immediately.
• For larger projects, technical drawing computer programs can provide zoom-in access to details while allowing the whole of the construction plan to be viewed at once to provide perspective for clients and managers.
• Changing figures and measurements in one display option can alter them in all versions of the technical drawings, reducing the need for duplication of effort
• Available 3-D perspectives can be rotated or flipped for increased visibility and can incorporate cutaway views for even greater versatility.
• Computer modeling functions can allow testing of new and untried designs, combinations of structural elements and innovative building strategies to determine their potential strengths and weaknesses before deploying them on the worksite.

Drafting and drawing solutions are increasingly becoming available as integrated parts of construction software platforms. These management tools can provide new avenues for boosting productivity and ensuring the optimal use of corporate resources during the planning and design phases of construction projects.

The Big Picture

Construction software systems can provide support for technical drawing tasks and can even create computer-generated mock-ups based on data entered into spreadsheets. This can reduce or eliminate the need for hand-drawn design materials and may ensure a higher degree of accuracy for technical drawings produced using this method. Additionally, the built-in security found in construction software platforms can be configured to provide tiered access, allowing a greater degree of control over proprietary construction plans and designs in the working environment. Modern construction software platforms allow for tracking of all changes and updates to increase accountability and improve communications regarding ongoing projects.

Implementing a comprehensive construction software system can allow your company to enjoy increased productivity and accountability in the workplace. Drawing management tools make it easy to create the documentation necessary for bids, RFIs and proposals. With onboard applications for managing punch lists, scheduling workflows and performing contract management tasks, these software systems deliver added value in the modern construction environment.

Carlisle is an expert in architectural and building software, and is particularly interested in the explosion of tools for creating and managing drawings. He has seen this technology transform several industries, and wants construction companies to know that if they haven’t invested in the right software solutions, they are behind the times and should make an effort to catch up immediately.