Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Structural Drafters and CAD Technicians - a Dying Breed?

So... you're a structural drafter or a "CAD Technician", not a structural engineer. You've just seen Revit Structure and you're thinking that maybe you should be considering changing careers to ... say... WalMart Greeter?

Hold on, don't panic! While it is true that Revit Structure is going to automate a huge part of your current job, allowing the engineer to build the physical model of the structure as he/she designs it, from which the drawings are automatically generated, that doesn't mean you have no value.

What it means is that your role in the organization will have to change. Just as BIM is changing processes, those process changes are changing job descriptions.

Even though the plans, sections and elevations are being generated automatically from the model, someone will still be needed to annotate those drawings check them for visual accuracy and fidelity, and organize the sheets. Did the engineer specify the correct moment connection for that beam? Somebody needs to make sure those footings show with the correct linetype in the plan view. Those are not tasks that are good uses of the engineer's time, but are right up your alley.

There are other tasks that are equally if not more vital to the new process that are also not a good use of the engineer's time. Someone needs to make sure the model is cleaned up periodically, and that project templates are managed and kept up to date with office standards. Someone also needs to be building custom content. That, by itself, will be a never-ending job. The need for custom content will never end, no matter how far into an implementation you are.

So...stop thinking of yourself (and marketing yourself) as a "Cad Technician" or "Drafter" and consider yourself a "Model Manager". Learn how to use Revit Structure, and then learn how to build custom families - annotations, detail components and parametric model components. You'll improve your company's overall process efficiency and ensure yourself of ongoing employment and marketability.


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