Construction & shop drawings are used to graphically depict how a structure needs to be built. The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more applicable. A full set of construction drawings is the best way to convey the designer’s intent, because it leaves very little open to interpretation. Drafting is a tool to create these essential drawings.
I’ve been drafting with AutoCad since 1992. Though I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, I have definitely honed my skills over the past 20 some years and must say I’ve become quite proficient, at least with respect to 2-dimensional drawings.
During this time, I have dabbled with newer 3-D modeling softwares. In my opinion, the most valuable program I have come across is SketchUp, simply because it was free! These other software packages can run up to $10,000 or more and the costs are eventually passed on to the client.
The license I purchased several years ago for AutoCad has already more than paid for itself. So combining SketchUp, which is used primarily for 3-D modeling and presentational purposes, along with AutoCad for construction drawings (floor plans, elevations, sections, details, etc.) we can produce the same results as the fancy, more expensive software packages. More importantly, we pass these savings along to the client.