‘The details are not the details. They make the design.’
Charles Eames

A detail-focussed design professional will be well aware of this famous quote by American designer, Charles Eames. They’ll also know that if the details aren’t documented accurately, their true design intent is unlikely to see the light of day!

Clear, concise and accurate technical drawings ensure your designs aren’t left open to vague interpretation by others. Software like PYTHA 3D-CAD makes the execution of excellent plans easy, but knowing the fundamentals of technical drawing is also essential.

Pytha Partners Australia have shared a simple ‘A-B-C’ method that will ensure your technical drawings are detailed to a tee.

A for Australian Standards

If you’re looking for consistency in your technical drawings, Australian Standards are an excellent reference.  Using the following Standard as a starting point for a quality control checklist will make sure you’re on the right track.

AS 1100.101-1992 (R2014) Technical Drawing General Principles

This Standard sets out the basic principles of technical drawing, including:

  • common abbreviations
  • sizes and layout of drawing sheets
  • types and thicknesses of lines to be used, with examples of their application
  • requirements for distinct uniform letters, numerals and symbols
  • recommended scales and their applications
  • methods of projection and indication of various views (elevations etc)
  • methods of indicating sections, and conventions used in sectioning details
  • recommendations for dimensioning including size and geometry tolerances
  • conventions used for the representation of components

AS 1100.301-2008 Technical Drawing Architectural Drawing is another useful Standard. It’s complementary to AS 1100.101 (above), and indicates methods of presenting drawings of architectural work, before, during and after the construction period. It includes information on additional abbreviations, the layout of drawing sheets, line conventions and conventions for the cross-referencing of drawings, coordinates and grids.

Check your local library for copies of these standards, or visit www.saiglobal.com for more information.

B for Brevity

Many designers and drafties think their intentions will be made clearer by filling their orthographic drawings with notes, but this is not always the case.

Applying the ‘KISS’ theory (keep it simple, stupid!) to your drafting will make for easy-to-read, uncluttered documentation. Consider the following when aiming for brevity:

  • Be consistent with your layouts, linework, dimensioning, abbreviations and symbols (using Australian Standards and your quality control checklist). Avoid large blocks of notes, and embrace white space!
  • Include a legend to explain and/or confirm the meaning of abbreviations and symbols.
  • Back up your plan set up with a comprehensive specification (set out in table format) and an accurate 3D rendering, and you’ll ensure everyone is on the same page, with all the information they’ll need.

C for Clarity

Technical drawing is a method of communication – think of it as a language that everyone should be able to understand. By delivering clear and consistent plans, you’ll be more likely to be understood, and less likely to have to explain your intentions over and over again. To ensure your drawing set comes together in a way that can be clearly comprehended:

  • Plan your drawing set in advance (floor plan, elevations, mechanical/structural plans, sections and 3D renderings). Lead the reader through the set of drawings with clearly set out call-outs (symbols) and references.
  • Plan each individual drawing before getting in to the detail, making sure the layout is clear and logical – don’t be afraid of white space!
  • Consider how the reader will be viewing your plans: will they print them out (A4? A3? A0?) or view them on a big screen monitor or an on-site iPad? Can your drawings be easily read when reduced or enlarged?

The level of flexibility that your software allows will naturally impact upon the above. A quality CAD system like PYTHA will allow you to adjust your setouts and linework and conform with Australian Standards, ensuring the technical drawings you produce are top quality, every time. 

Find out more about PYTHA at www.pythapartners.com.au.