Are Bad Standards
Many of us have very good standards in place and we go to great
lengths to enforce them. We review them on a regular basis
and update them as needed. Others have acceptable
standards that help to get people on the same page but leave a
few thing to the imagination (and CAD users can be very
I want to speak to those of us that have a very weak standard.
One that has many holes in it. One that fails to define
the needed items that everyone uses every day. If you fall
into this category - listen up. If you have to use a
standard provided by others that falls into this category -
We have all seen bad standards. Here are a few things that
I have seen that I think make for a Bad Standard.
1. The Simple Things
Bad Layer List - Basic items that are not even covered.
This might include a layer list that does not tell you color or
line weight or they may have left off linetypes.
Outdated guidelines - stated needs for delivering in AutoCAD 14
format. If I see this in a standard, I start questioning
when the last time it was updated.
2. The Hidden Things
Defining your terms - often they have left out the
definitions for the terms they are using throughout the
3. The Major Misses
Project Folder Structure - many times this is left out.
Define what goes where and how the folders interrelate.
MS and PS - what goes where. Tell me where you want
me to draw things. Don't leave it up to me to think it
4. The Little things
LTSCALE - uses and abuses of this setting have plagued
users for many years. Tell me exactly what you want done.
Saved View Names - do you want them used? - tell me how
to name them.
5. The Critical Things
Title Block Data - if you are really serious about
getting the title blocks to look the same. Define this
I say that Bad Standards are not worth having. I would
rather be given the right to use my own standard than to be
handcuffed into using a Bad One.
Now - what are the problems that may arise from using a Bad
Standard? Let's take a look...
1. A Bad Standard creates a false sense of security.
Project Managers, Upper Management, Job Leads, all
expect that the standard is being followed and that it is
suffecient to make their CAD files usable and effecient.
If your standard does not do this, you will be falling short.
2. A Bad Standard makes you hard to work with.
Others are trying to comply with your standard. Your subs
are straining to provide you with compliant files. If your
standard does not define what they must do, then they will be
frustrated and take more time (equals - more dollars)
3. A Bad Standard give you junk files. Take a
look at your internal problems with CAD. Are they there
because your folks are not able to understand your standard?
Does it fail to define some needed areas? Are those areas
open for interpretation by the users so that you end up with
scattered layer names, or block names, or design methods?
4. A Bad Standard costs you money and time.
It slows people down. If it is too complex, people won't
understand it. If it is too simple, it won't cover enough
to keep things humming.
Having a Good Standard is critical. It is not easy to do.
It takes time and thought, but it is achievable.