A2K Technologies Blog

Bringing back the Design Draftsperson.


Are you one of the disappearing, high on the AEC endangered list, Design Draftspeople?  A relic of the past where a set of Drawings were created without the handheld approach that we see so common today? We all know the term “tracer” implying that the person might be able to smash out a set of drawings, but only at the guidance of a well-presented mark-up. I have seen the AEC industry change from a majority Drafty to Leading Architect, Structural/Mechanical Engineer and so on ratio, to a 1:1. Or even a complete flip!

Several things I believe are the cause of this:

  • Revit software being picked up predominantly by younger staff without the years of knowledge
  • Revit becoming an industry standard and employment demands increasing the pay of any Revit user.
  • Traineeships in Engineering Drafting not as prevalent as they were over 10 years ago.
  • Resource Centres “smashing out” tonnes of work, but without local knowledge and or appropriate skill sets.
  • Broadly speaking, documentation struggling to adapt to the BIM environment. ie. Database driven.

Revit and BIM have allowed us more of an opportunity than before to bring back the Design Draftsperson. But how, you ask?

Firstly, Revit is a database, not a drafting tool.

If the Company that you work for is happy with the documentation that comes out of Revit and the line weights really pop out and it looks so close to what you did in AutoCAD back in the day, then you could be missing the point. Just to be clear, replicating a 2D based software output is typically the first step towards BIM, remake what we know, right? But what about all that glorious data and the many programmes that can access it and exploit that information.  This blog is going to stick around in Revit, but you could expand this to Navis, Rivisto, IFC to other smart software and so on. And for the AutoCAD users still out there, poke poke, haha, you can use Dynamic Blocks to create this type of workflow.

Object Modelling Example:

Depending on the object, you may have:

  • Size, Length, Width, Depth, Height, Area, Volume…..
  • The material, Weight, Omni Class, CoBi…..
  • Strength, Fire Rating, Flow rate…..
  • Cost, Construction Time, Trades involved…..
  • Mark, Type Mark, Comments, Type Comments…..

All this information can be found and visually exploited to indicate incomplete to completed modelling by using colours to describe the status of the data within the modelled object.


From an Architectural workflow, the Client comes in, concept SketchUp model is done during consultations and now it is your job to start the documentation, but there are sooooo many questions regarding the construction material. Let’s stick to the walls.

First Concept, Model for change – the Project will change, so model in a way that allows for this:

  • Boundary walls, generally modelled with Finish Face Exterior.
  • Roof Beams to Top Justification.
  • Bulkhead Beams to Bottom Justification.
  • Ductwork modelled from the Ceiling Level
  • Global Parameters used to update object locations, material.
  • Attached walls top to the roof and not use cut profile.

The second Concept visually identifies when object information is incomplete:

  • Modelled Walls to have a filter for “Fire Rating is less than or equal to 0” turn to RED.
  • Steel Framing not confirmed by the Structural Engineer, Designed “Yes/No” filter, turn RED.
    • This can be applied to many, many modelled objects.
  • Room sizes are not resolved by the Arch/Client, Mech Ductwork flow rate TBC (To Be Confirmed) on rooms to change the connecting Ducting to ORANGE, that’s designed but not confirmed for construction.
  • Column reinforcement – break down your Structural Column Tags into Bar size and Bar quantity, then use the cross-sectional area of the column vs the cross-sectional area of steel reinforcement to determine if the minimum standard for reinforcement has been met.

Setting up a Revit Template to exploit Revit Data.

I have been working on a new template for a company where I have used “CompanyName_TBC_Objects” as a Project Parameter that is Yes/No based, with Yes as default, so that if any object, eg Steel Beam is modelled and this Parameter is changed to No, then the Steel Beam will appear Red in all Views in the Project.  Almost like the object is trying to say “hey, you reading this, I have not been designed yet, don’t send me out to the site”


What other ways can you think of that this potential wealth of Data could be used for? Is the Builder onboard with BIM? How about communicating with other Consultants about Coordination issues with colours, or WorkSets. Can you embed more Data that improves communication beyond a PDF/  3D Model like Construction Phase Custom Parameters? The OOTB phasing is to simple for real-life construction.  Design constraints for waterproofing, fire rating, sound insulation, air flow…  I am aware that this does not come for free and that somebody needs to pay for this extra work but have a think about what differentiates you and or your company from the next.

Happy Data entry and colouring in.

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