September 20, 2011
Using Technology Effectively
Here’s a project I’m working on right now, a hotel in Florida. It’s a 4 story hotel, and we are building the upper stories out of modules made from Cold Formed Steel. I drew the structural concept in Softplan and showed it to the client today through GoToMeeting. This can save a lot of trouble when doing a design, because I am able to make sure I am on the right trace with what I am trying to accomplish, and instead of handing the client 2d drawings to decipher, we were able to look at this 3d model and rotate it as needed to see how I plan on doing the structure. It worked very well. Additionally, this kind of modeling helps us avoid errors and figure how we’ll run wiring, piping, and HVAC:
This concept was approved by my client, and the next step is to put these together in the hotel. Right now this is looking absurdly simple, since “all” I have to do is design the walls and framing on the first floor and the stair wells. Softplan automates a lot of the drafting I have to do, such as the foundations, walls, and so on. I’m hoping this will speed up the process, I’ll update this post as the design continues. I have only recently started designing in 3d with Softplan, and I’ve seen my drafting time drop to less than half the time I spent before.
One of the issues as a business owner, or any kind of manager is how you delegate the work. If you try to do everything yourself, you limit the amount of work that can be done. Also, there are people that can work for you that can do the jobs better than you can. The flip side of this is if you hire the wrong person that person can do tremendous damage. You may spend more time trying to supervise people than you would if you just did the work yourself. For a business (government agency for that matter) employees cost money, and can drag funds away from other areas where they are needed.
My personal theory is that technology can be used as somewhat of a replacement for delegating to a person. Coming out of several years of recession and the collapse of my former primary market (housing), cash is not available for hiring someone. However, for me to spend hours on AutoCAD drawing is not productive either – I have to use a much lower billing rater, and it takes me away from doing more productive things. The compromise is technology, in this case I am automating by using Softplan to do the heavy lifting for me. It’s not the perfect solution, but it is a good solution and a way to move forward.