CADDManager on June 4th, 2009

Here are some notes about the folders that you may need to create to hold your CAD and other files.

You can see example folder structures here.

Admin, Specs, etc: Storage for non-CAD project files, such as budgets, email, reports, etc. Define usage and consistent subdirectories per project or office requirements.

CAD: All CAD files for the project.

Photos: Common location for all digital images for a project. Copy them from Photos to the Sheet folders for use in CAD. Rename them per the outline.

Discipline Folders: The various files for each discipline will be separated according to either the single or double character discipline and expanded upon for each discipline’s use. Note: For Discipline Designators see this post.

Detail: Discipline specific, project detail staging folder. Details will be inserted as blocks from this folder.

XREF: The live, working, under development model files. All files are to be referenced into sheets from here. Schedule files may be created here also and the referenced into Sheet files.

Sheet: Sheet files for each discipline, built from the CAD files in \Model. Raster files are also placed here.

Sketch: Drawings put together as examples, exhibits, marketing and other such non-construction documents. May include model and sheet files.

[Temp]: (Usage is optional) User storage for temporary blocks, scratch files, etc. I don’t really recommend having this folder. It is kind of like Misc. Not needed if you define where everything should go.

Inbox: Files received from outside sources, kept in a protected folder. When you need to use a file form this folder you will copy it to the XREF or other appropriate folder. Do not reference or insert files from this folder directly into CAD files.

This folder will be broken down into subfolders using Who_Date. (ex. Inbox/FAA/2009-02-15/*.dwg)

Outbox: Files sent to clients / subs / etc. This folder will be broken down into subfolders using Who_Date. (ex. Outbox/FAA/2009-04-15/*.dwg)

Support: Optional – Non-standard items needed for the project, such as a specific pen table, unique symbols, or applications (lisp, script, etc), logos and graphics.

Graphics: Optional – location of graphics work to be used in CAD. Copy to the referencing folder to use.

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3 Responses to “CAD Standards – Folder Notes”

  1. Mark,

    In your experience, how often have you seen a design team just use working drawings and not use sheets saved in another folder?

    I am used to having working drawings and sheets in separate folders that can be archived easily.

    The team that I am working with moves their working files to each issue folder and works on them as the project develops. The sheets are just the layout in each file. This seems very inefficient to me and I am just looking for your thoughts.



  2. If you are talking about AutoCAD based files, then the reason for splitting them out is so multiple people can work on the files. If the Sheet is part of the working file, then only one person can work on both. By splitting them out you can distribute the work.

    I have seen small teams use “bundled” files, but I do not think it works for larger teams.

    I am not sure why they move the files from one folder to another. I encourage never moving the files once XREFs are attached.

  3. Mark,

    Yes, I am talking about CAD files.

    I completely agree with you. Moving files is inefficient and not needed. Using relative pathing for xref’s makes the transition from folder to folder slightly less complicated. It is still a whole process of work that I think is not required.

    I find the danger of having several active files really impacts the flow of a project, especially when you have enlisted newer hires or junior staff to assist. The potential of working on the wrong files is too costly and time consuming.

    I am hoping that I can get a good explanation from them soon. So far, I am hearing the old “This is how we have been doing it for 20 years and never learned anything else” reasoning.



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