CADDManager on May 7th, 2009

Have you ever seen another firm’s standard? Have you worked for others and used their standards? You have a great starting place since you have seen and used others. You know what you liked about them and what you did not like.

No one needs to start from scratch. There are resources out there to help get you started.

Do a Google search on CAD Standards and you will find many examples and some may actually be good. Many public entities and DOT’s post their standards. Ask around and you may find others that are willing to share their standard with you.

The National CAD Standard

You could start with the National CAD Standard located at

It is not cheap, but it is a needed document for everyone who will be creating or editing a CAD Standard. It is exhaustive, but not specific to any one industry. This will cause you to need to do more work than just buying the book. You need to use it as a guide but get specific for your firm, discipline and industry.

From their website: The NCS is a consensus standard incorporating industry publications. It is comprised of interrelated standards, guidelines and tools for uniformly organizing and presenting facility drawing information. It is the only comprehensive standard for facility planning, design, construction and operation drawings. NCS v4.0 is comprised of the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Foreword, Administration, and Plotting Guidelines modules, the American Institute of Architect’s CAD Layer Guidelines module, and the Construction Specification Institute’s Uniform Drawing System modules. Visit the NCS content page to view sample pages from each module of the NCS.

Using a Client Standard

You could ask for a client’s standard. If you have a large client that is generating a major portion of your firms work you likely already have a copy. Using a client standard as a guide can benefit you because your teams may already be doing a lot of what is in their standard. No transitions needed.

Use one you have used before

You might start with a company standard you have worked with before, maybe at a prior firm. You may not want to tell people where you got it, depending on their perspective of that firm – chuckles… Using one that you have used before gives you a head start because you know it and you know its strengths and weaknesses.

You might ask around to see if anyone else has a prior firm’s standard. Get more input… Collect comments… Gather ideas…

One Response to “CAD Standards – Start with a Target”

  1. Mark,
    Great series of posts. I read your site often and use it as a go-to source for a lot of my CAD Management practices. Your topic of “Start W/ A Target” got me thinking, any chance I could see a copy of your CAD standard? Thanks for all you do for all of us.

    Tim McDougald
    CAD Manager
    KMB design groups, inc. p.s.
    Olympia, Washington

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