Planning A Project, Get Someone From The Cad Team Involved Early...

in Project
Successful delivery of a construction project relies on many components being brought together and the importance of the CAD (Computer Aided Design) role should not be underestimated.

Once the bid has been successful and the project awarded, Tender or Detailed Design, then a leadership team is assembled. During this early planning stage, the team discuss the particulars of the project to gain a common understanding of the expectations in terms of delivery and program. During project start up meetings, many topics are discussed including client expectations, project scope, delivery dates, risk, safety in design and resources etc. This leadership team will generally comprise of:

Project Manager
Engineering Manager
Discipline/Package Leaders

As projects continue to grow in size and complexity, it should be recognised that the successful delivery of the project relies heavily on good drawing delivery. Therefore, it is crucial that an invitation to these early project meetings should always be extended to a CAD representative. This could be the office CAD Manager, Principal Drafter or Project Drafter, if nominated at this time. The benefits of this early inclusion will allow the Project Manager and team to be informed of the CAD requirements and the information required by the CAD leaders to enable them to establish and build the CAD environment.

The CAD representative will then be able to share invaluable knowledge into the CAD set-up for a project, whether large or small. They understand the difficulties that can be experienced if the necessary information is not forthcoming, requested or discussed early in the project setup. They will ask the pertinent questions that may not be obvious to the Project Manager and whilst answers are not necessarily found at the meeting, it can open communication between either the Clients representative and/or the Joint Venture/Alliance partners. This will, in turn, provide the various parties an opportunity to consider the Best for Project approach.

The CAD representatives role at these meetings would be to ask many questions, some of which will need further consideration before they can provide the guidance and direction for the CAD setup. The complexity of this setup varies from project to project, particularly when there are alliance partners, who will each have their own way of delivering projects from a CAD perspective.

The benefit of CADs early involvement is that key areas of CAD setup can be discussed to ensure that a clear understanding can be established with all the necessary parties involved. There will be many topics for discussion, which could include the following key areas:

Project Drafter:
This person will be responsible for ensuring that standards are maintained so that the presentation and quality are consistent through the project. An early selection of this candidate helps to establish the project standards.

Ensuring that IT has a clear understanding of the project requirements is essential to the necessary procurement of PCs, with the correct specifications, software installed and network connections. IT should be informed of specific access writes for project staff, particularly if Joint Venture/Alliance partners are located within the home office.

CAD Services team:
Early consultation with this team can provide some CAD customisations to the drafting/design tools. This will give users a CAD environment, which is project specific in terms of standards, and will promote consistency across the project for the drafting team.

CAD Software:
The selection of the Software may be client driven or if not, a decision will need to be made as to the best choice for project delivery. To enable this choice to be made, the following considerations should be taken into account:
If software has not been dictated, what software will be the best for project delivery?
Is this project to be delivered in 2D or 3D? What benefits could be offered by using 3D?
When selecting the software, consideration must be given to ensure that the users have the appropriate experience or adequate training.
As a variety of software is often employed on projects, it is imperative that research into cross communication between systems has been undertaken.

Document Management System (DMS):
For large projects, which are to be delivered by a number of offices, a Document Management System (ProjectWise, Vault etc) can provide security and efficient working i.e. file sharing, which assists in collaboration. Fully integrated management systems, such as these, provide a check-in/check-out control for the CAD files, and controls all project documentation. Other systems are also available (ProjectSolve, Acconex etc.), which are generally a repository for uploading files i.e. PDF copies of drawings, reports etc. for dissemination across the project.

CAD Standards:
When a Clients CAD Standards are to be used in a project, it is essential that this information is provided at outset. This information could include, but is not limited to, the following:
CAD Standards Manual
Client Title Block
Template files, including layers/levels, dimension and text preferences, plotting tables/styles etc
Example of drawing presentation i.e. arrangement of sheets and views
Drawing number codes, which are project specific

However, if the Client does not specify its own standards then the Design Consultants company standard could be used. In the case of a Joint Venture/Alliance, a project specific set of standards may be compiled, which could be a combination of the standards of those involved. The project standards must be reviewed and agreed by the Client, prior to project work commencing. These will generally be a work in progress, which would continue to develop as the project evolves.

The review process must also be considered together with the gateways for this to occur, which may relate to the percentage complete for the drawings, together with the Independent Verification (IV). Multi discipline projects require a check across all disciplines involved in the project.

By including a CAD representative in the early planning stages of the project, the aim would be to provide an efficient CAD environment, with appropriate systems in place to allow all users access to the same tools and standards. This will ensure that the drawings are consistent in presentation and of a high quality, which will reflect positively on the team from a quality and professional point of view.

All CAD staff have a role as a representative, so they should not underestimate the importance of their contribution in ensuring an early involvement into the project setup. By all parties recognising this, then the importance of the CAD setup will not be underestimated for a successful project delivery.
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Planning A Project, Get Someone From The Cad Team Involved Early...

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This article was published on 2011/01/05