As construction projects typically employ multiple designers and drafters working in various disciplines, effective CAD management greatly improves project workflow and communication. Standards for CAD within a company or during a project must be implemented and followed by project contributors, and it is the duty of the CAD manager to monitor this. Having consistency across design processes and documentation output reduces errors and conflicts between different disciplines and trades, making projects more cost and time efficient.
What Do CAD Managers Do?
CAD managers must often perform several different jobs to ensure the consistency and quality of the CAD work their team produces. The first order of business is to select the optimal software and hardware. This requires one to be up-to-date on the latest CAD technology and programs, as well as understanding what software functionalities are most suitable for the job. CAD programs often have built-in component libraries and functions to quickly model common features for the type of work the software is intended for, improving design workflow and reducing the opportunity for error. However, the latest and greatest technology is not always necessary, so the CAD manager must be able to define the needs of the organization or project to select the appropriate software and hardware.
Quality control is the most critical component of CAD management. Creating, implementing and monitoring CAD standards ensures that the design is communicated clearly between all stakeholders and contributors. Knowledge of industry standards and common practices is essential to promote consistency and communicable designs between project members, both in- and out-of-house. The CAD manager clearly defines line types and weights, dimensions and annotation styles, level of detail, and the scope of work.
The final piece of the puzzle in an effective CAD management regimen is to acquire talented designers and drafters and compliment them with the appropriate training. Design of training programs evolve out of the clearly defined standards and expected practices the CAD manager or management team implements. This takes the designer’s skills and fine tunes them to the organization’s needs, allowing her/him to produce quality designs efficiently, with clear and reliable supporting documentation.
CAD Manager Skillsets
For maximum effectiveness, a CAD manager or management team needs to bring both these named skill sets – CAD and management – to the table, along with industry experience. As the CAD management role requires a working and current knowledge of software programs to choose software and design training programs, technical capability is a must-have. This also allows the CAD manager to step in and perform or help with CAD work when necessary to ensure quality control metrics are being met in unique situations.
Bringing that management and industry experience to the table are equally as important. The CAD management process entails organizing the appropriate people, tools and business processes together to produce quality CAD designs and documentation. Combining a thorough understanding of industry practices and standards with the ability to organize effective design teams will breed a high level of project efficiency in an organization. The CAD management role comes with many responsibilities, and none of these skills should be sacrificed when hiring a CAD manager or team.
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