The Draughtman’s Contract: Sometimes Ugly

No, this is not a Film Review! It is though, a comment upon the manner in which “Drawings” are produced. Historically a Draughtsman was capable of taking an Architect’s Sketch, and completing a complete suite of Working Drawings, completely unaided. In short he prepared the necessary information to translate the design into reality.
In this part of the world (Nigeria), the Draughtsman is viewed as a mechanism for creating drawings. It does not matter what is on the drawings, whether they are right or wrong, or if design can be built. As long as there are drawings, the paperwork to say that there are drawings, together with the paperwork saying that the paperwork relating to the drawings, together with the drawings have been issued to the whole of both the English and Arabic Speaking worlds, then everything is fine! The procedure for issuing drawings becomes the Raison D’Etre for the Design Sequence, rather than the Design dictating a minimum level of quality.

All too often the short-term expedient of issuing drawings, loses sight of the bigger picture. At the design level I have received drawings that are so naïve and inept, it beggars belief, but nonetheless they are beautifully dimensioned and printed! At the next level I have seen testimonies to ‘Time Passing!’ This is the production of a drawing or a series of drawings, which are technically incorrect, but have used every command, hatch pattern, and font style in the AutoCAD Repertoire! In reality, at the operational level, these drawings are abandoned and I have to resort to the A4 and A3 Sketch Pad, giving out remedial drawings, like a doctor gives out prescriptions. “If it’s not better in the morning give me a call, or come back to the surgery!”

Now we get a bit technical. Time Passing is a phenomenon I have only come across in the Middle East. Why produce one drawing when you can produce eight! The answer to this question lies in the way Draughtsmen are employed. If they can justify their own existence for long enough, they still get paid a salary! Within AutoCAD the Model Space and Paper Space settings have been around since 1991 (With Release 11). Still after ten updates of the AutoCAD Software I still have draughtsmen who do not create one drawing model. They create a model for each drawing (which is the drawing), and load it as a block! Rather than automate the Title Drawing Sheet, with attributes, everything has to be entered and modified manually! When drawings have to be revised, there are often eight or nine to be amended; rather than amend one model, eight or nine individual drawings are modified separately, and become uncoordinated (requiring further revisions). This whole exercise would best be done by hand on a drawing board — it would take less time!

Then we have the Magazine Graduate Draughtsman

This is probably the most dangerous person in the drawing office! He has learned AutoCAD by reading magazines, and overhearing conversations in bars. However, when you open his drawings you find that all of the basic principles you have striven for have been ignored. Viz.,
1. LINETYPE is set individually, and with a different LTSCALE!
2. Entities are given their own colour (usually all 256), rather than BYLAYER
3. Hatch patterns are exploded (The worst of all!)
4. Endpoints do not meet, because all of the OSNAP modes have been selected!
5. Dimensions are not associative, they have been overridden!
6. Obscure fonts have been used, that have not been supplied with the drawing!
7. Rather than use MSPACE and PSPACE, detailed elements have been prepared on the same drawing file, scaled up or down, and then the dimensions ‘Fudged’ to suit!
8. Layering has been forgotten. Everything is drawn on LAYER 0 or LAYER MANOJ!
9. Despite the spelling mistakes, and bad English, the annotation relates to nothing! No one can build from the drawing! It might as well be a laundry list!
10. Elevations and sections do not accord dimensionally with the plan, as they have been drawn separately.
11. Despite the drawing being completely wrong, the drawing is a Testimony to the DIM Command! — Probably the right word to use!
12. The drawing does not plot correctly (There are pieces missing). Because LTSCALE has been set individually everything appears as a continuous line!
13. Drawings have not been purged, resulting in a 15MB Email attachment, comprising very basic 256KB piece of information.
14. The title sheet is a “Work of Art!” — Despite it not fitting on the Plotted Paper!
15. Everything is plotted at High Resolution (More Time Passing!)
16. Ignorance of the Batch Plot Command (Even more Time Passing)
17. Every drawing must be watched as it comes off the plotting machine! Then screwed-up, put in to the wastepaper bin, and re-plotted!
Have I been doing something wrong for the last ten years or so? Please tell me! I use MSPACE and PSPACE, at different scales. I have Dimension and Text Styles to suit, which load automatically. All my standard sheets load in to PSPACE with attributes, and a Viewport already configured. When I amend a drawing I only have to change one (The Model) not eight or nine!

Today I have taken possession of a set of drawing for a small office. These were a complete “Shambles,” and contained all of the faults above, together with a few more! Even the most basic of anthropometric and ergonomic information had not been followed! Most people use a toilet several times each day, I do not expect to have it scaled down to fit the space available!

Within two hours I have re-edited the whole set to PSPACE and MSPACE, changed the fonts, annotation dimension styles, and drawing technical content, not to mention plotting and re-issuing!

And I thought the computer was there to save us time and effort!

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