Since the profession involves all aspects of design and drafting skills, there are some avenues along the way where you could potentially trip over speed bumps. To help things run smoother, here are five important tips I’ve created that will make the job easier:
1. Build From the Ground up, but Design From the Top Down
The profession is not only about designing all of the components to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, but also to factor in all of the various loads throughout the building. Loads start at the top and work their way down. The best designers capture the paths of those loads and input them into the design.
2. Familiarize Yourself With the Project
The job of a component designer is to complete the project on time and with no mistakes. The only way to accomplish that is to establish a good foundation of familiarity with the task at hand. One of the best habits to establish before you get started on each project is to leaf through the blueprints and familiarize yourself with both the blueprints and the building. Highlight the important elements.
3. Components Support Each Other and Work Together
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen designers make is that they fail to see how the components within a system support each other and work together to make the building structurally stable. Many projects have multiple designers assigned to them. One designer can’t assume anything. If additional designers are working on the same project, communication between all of them is critical.
4. The Most Amazing Software Can’t Do It All
The software used in today’s component industry is enough to knock your socks off. The graphics and 3-D imagery are astounding, and the capability of the programs to interact and communicate with other programs saves time and produces super-accurate output. The top component designers in the profession know that all of this amazing software can’t do it all. A designer could have the best computer in the world, but a computer only knows what you tell it.
5. Maintain a Clear Head and Meet the Challenge
Remember the reasons why you got into the design profession in the first place? The job is fun, challenging and rewarding. But there will be times when you encounter a problem you can’t quite figure out. Don’t lose your cool. Get up and go get a soda, or whatever, and then come back to it with a clear head and meet the challenge.
As the old saying goes: “If you didn’t have time to do it right in the first place, where are you going to find time to fix it?”