Anyone who has heard my presentations over the years knows that standardization always seems to find its way into my material whether it’s on the agenda or not. Why? Because transitioning from a non-standardized environment to a standardized one can save you significant production time. In my experience as a consultant the statistics I gathered consistently showed an increase in productivity of at least 50 percent.
Standardization means different things to different people. Most of us CAD folks jump to the conclusion that it means CAD standards. You know...colors, linetypes, etc., but that's only part of it. Standarization also includes an IT standard—that is to say a place for everything and everything in its place. Yup. A naming standard for every file that gets filed on a server or PC is part of the process and absolutely critical.
If you have surveyors or even if you subcontract to surveyors, you should require that they use a field-coding standard. When a manhole or back of curb shot is taken, these items and all other entries, need to be entered into the data collector the same way, regardless of the surveyor, his or her mood, or hangover!
The field coding standard ties directly to the CAD standard. When a manhole, for example, is shot in the field, the description along with any additional notes will dictate which Point Style (Civil 3D) or AutoCAD block (Land Desktop) to use, how to scale and/or rotate the block and how to specify on which layer both the point and the block should go.
So what do you need to get started? You need to create your standards in this order: survey, CAD, IT. To do this, you will need to create a DWT (AutoCAD Drawing Template) that includes all your predefined layers, styles, line types, layouts, viewports, blocks, dimension and text styles, and title blocks.
To create a DWT:
- Open an existing drawing with all the layers, styles, etc. already defined.
- Delete all the CAD data you don’t want t included in the DWT.
- From the File menu, click Save As.
- Change the file type from the default DWG to DWT.
That’s it. Next time you start a new drawing select the appropriate DWT and just like that, you should never have to create another layer, load another line type, etc.
Standardization typically requires a mandate from upper management. Taking the time to get their buy-in first should prevent any silly arguments over colors, etc. I am not exaggerating when I say that if you are not using standards you are NOT getting your money’s worth from your software! Standardize now. You can thank me later.