The art of designing is as old as man itself. Man has designed everything from pottery to aircraft to suit his needs. Designing was very important then as well as it is today because it incorporates two basic things – idea and utility. Without an idea there can be no design and without utility there is no purpose. When an idea is formed in the mind and is put on paper, it becomes a draft, which can be referred to, to make the idea into an object. Hence designing and drafting go hand in hand. Though the human mind is capable of conceiving great ideas, there are minute details which become difficult to recollect unless put on paper. When it comes to constructing buildings, small or big, one cannot continue without a draft depicting the design of the intended structure.
Having served time in the military, construction has always been a matter of intrigue because it is an inherent part of every base. From residential quarters to underground bunkers to temporary bridges and shelters, the busy construction workers do it all. The fact that designers think of building something useful anytime and anywhere is fascinating. The field of construction is vast and endless. One cannot think at any point of time that we have exhausted designing ideas. The boundless options that one can work on with space are some of the factors that have drawn me to the field of designing and drafting. With the advent of computer technology one can experiment with countless ideas in a short amount of time, without wasting natural resources like paper and pencil and spending endless hours putting the idea on paper with a scale. Now that scientific technology has enabled man to produce lighter materials and machinery which can obey commands at the touch of a button, this field is expanding like never before and I wish to be a part of the bright future of this industry.
Designing and Drafting in the Past
The fact that many ancient structures still stand or at least have been partially standing for hundreds of years is mute testimony to the fact that serious effort and time have gone into the construction of these magnificent structures. The fact that, with the lack of technology and machinery, our ancestors could achieve such awesome results is actually mind boggling. Massive stones would be cut into the right sizes and brought to site to be erected. The master builder would have to direct thousands of workers as they scrambled about doing various things in a tangle of construction materials and men. With work spread over a vast area, communication would also be a problem. However, it doesn’t seem to have been much of a problem to these brilliant builders and architects whose minds conceived such marvelous monuments of architecture. One can only imagine what it would have been if they had the technology and that we possess today and take for granted. Some of these magnificent castles and cathedrals are still in use today (Wilkinson, 1993).
Though there are not many ancient documents depicting details as we see today, it is evident that careful calculations and detailing would have been done to ensure stability. The extensive use of arches in many of the ancient buildings which are still standing shows that their calculations were precise and methodical. Some of the drawings that exist today, depicting machines and buildings, date back to the 14th and 15th centuries, which look more like sketches than technical drawings, having neither scale nor dimension (Weisberg, 2008). Even till the latter part of the last century drawings were produced by hand on tracing paper, linen etc. with tools like drafting table, drawing board, pencils, drawing pens, compasses, parallel scales etc. (Yee, 2002). Today CAD has made most of these tools obsolete.
Designing and Drafting Today
With the advent of the technological age, many of the old practices of drafting have given way to modern software’s like CAD and Revit. Electronic record of information has made it possible to edit and make drafts at will and any number of times. The tedious task of erasing on a faulty drawing or discarding and starting over has thankfully been done with. It enables more productivity and less consumption of time. As per an online poll conducted by The Architects Journal, CAD was nominated by prominent figures of the world’s top industries as the greatest ever advance in the field of construction (Long, 2012). Now that the efficiency of the construction industry is increasing and businesses and institutions are advancing at a pace like never before, software’s like CAD and Revit are enabling the industry to achieve its ambitions. One can see the entire structure before it is erected by using 3D graphics, giving complete insight into the structure from the foundation to the frame to the completed building. More complex structures than before are being attempted because one can see through the entire structure, thus, giving the needed confidence to make an attempt at it. The ability of the software to give multi-faceted perspectives is the key reason for its success and wide use today. This was not possible with drafting done on sheets of paper.
Being able to visualize what the end product would look like, the tedious and time consuming process of bringing together 2D views and making cardboard models have become obsolete (Hergunsel, 2011). Below are listed few of the many benefits that software’s such as CAD and Revit have given the construction industry:
The error margin compared to hand drawn drawings has been considerably reduced, increasing the accuracy and efficiency of the drawings.
With the different user friendly automation tools available in the software, it has become very convenient to train draftsmen to create efficient engineering drawings.
Modifying, altering, deleting, remodeling, visualizing etc. have become possible with minimum efforts and minimum changes to the draft.
Sharing details and editing information have become easy because it can be shared among clients and draftsmen without the tediousness of carrying about sheets of papers.
3D visualization enables effective use of space and incorporation of aesthetic elements into the designing of the building.
Other software’s that calculate the structural stability and other technical factors of a structure can be incorporated into these software’s for analysis. It helps in reducing error and saves on wastage of material.
The above factors point to the fact that construction is an industry which will never get exhausted but rather become more advanced and sophisticated. With the growth in the economy and the war for prominence in the industrial sector, the software’s have indeed proven to be a boon to the industry. It has enabled different minds to come together under one roof to incorporate their ideas into a design or a draft which satisfies the needs of the client as well as the hunger of the construction industry to keep growing. Personally, designing has been a passion and, in terms of career growth, it will be the ultimate choice to learn designing and drafting on such path breaking software’s like CAD and Revit to create a path for a successful future.