Say good bye to the CAD guy, the whipping girl/boy of all AEC firms engaged in delivering drawings of any kind.

This cloistered technician who suffers the whims of delivery teams as a personal affront to efficiency; we are approaching the extinction of a species and seeing the last of their kind.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best over the years, from CAD monkeys to BIMpanzies and it is on the shoulders of these giants we stand now in the BIM world. They all face the same challenge, no matter how average or excellent they are. They were all faced with the fact that by doing their job well they were preventing the development of the firm they were in. This was clear in the simple fact that the firm they were delivering for had delegated the knowledge of delivery to them to the point that the business leadership neither knew nor cared what was going on at the delivery level. This is evidenced today with the difficulties AEC firms have in transitioning from one way of working to the next – from traditional CAD delivery to collaborative BIM delivery.

So, when we say good bye to the CAD guy, we’re also saying good bye to a whole generation of hesitation – not the CAD guys themselves, but those whom over the past 40 years had reduced the skills of highly capable technical people to statements like “CAD, it’s just lines and circles, get on with it.” Even today with the proliferation of BIM and the ‘evolution’ of skills, one will still hear “just BIM it and send me the drawings, get on with it.”

The industry has finally turned the corner with a generation of AEC professionals opinionising off into the sunset. This in turn is activating a period of change where a new generation of AEC leadership, born from the CAD and now BIM ranks, are embracing the change and progressing along a digital path to greater productivity and targeted information driven outcomes for their clients. These are the same clients whom are also undergoing the same digital change.

Taking it full circle, “CAD is dead, long live CAD.” For CAD in its purest form is ‘computer aided design’ and with the connectivity of design platforms and parametric information delivery, we are not seeing the extinction of a species but rather the evolution of this species and the birth of the computer-generated asset age. Lest we forget, the humble chimpanzee was first to venture into space. So too are the CAD people the first to innovate in future delivery.