Some of the most important documents used in the workplace are the technical drawings, diagrams, and schematics that specify how fabrication and construction tasks will be carried out, or describe the composition and assembly of equipment. One of the essential skills for anyone involved in a trade is the ability to correctly interpret drawings.
- Traditionally, drafters sat at drafting boards and used pencils, pens, compasses, protractors, triangles, and other drafting devices to prepare a drawing manually. Today, however, most professional drafters use computer-aided drafting (CAD) systems to prepare drawings. Although drafters use CAD extensively, it is only a tool. Drafters and tradespersons still need knowledge of traditional drafting tools and techniques.
- Architectural drawings are made according to a set of conventions, which include particular views (floor plan, section, etc.), sheet sizes, units of measurement and scales, annotation, and cross-referencing.
- Interpreting drawings requires the ability to visualize and the ability to interpret what is being drawn and written. The drawing should be studied carefully before beginning any work. The reader should attempt to visualize what is being shown on the drawing and how it will be built. Mistakes can be made when the tradesperson does not take the time to become fully familiar with the drawing.