Also known as computer-aided design or CAD, computer-assisted design is a type of software tool that can be used to aid in the process of drafting, such as in the creation of blueprints for buildings and even in the creation of a layout for the installation of equipment within a building. Computer-assisted design can also be used to create plans to modify an existing structure as well as plan for the construction of a completely new building. Over time, the tools included in this type of computer programs have been expanded for use outside of drafting tasks and applied in a number of other scenarios.
The advent of computer-assisted design made it possible for architects, drafters, and other professionals involved in the process of building construction to make use of computer technology to work out various issues of building design. Along with aiding in the creation of prints for use in the process, many CAD programs also include the ability to cross-reference aspects of the design to make sure they are in compliance with local safety regulations. The nature of the software used is also normally intuitive to determine if the placement of a specific load-bearing wall within the design is sufficient to ensure building stability, allow for the placement of ductwork and wiring throughout the structure and in general assess each aspect of the design to make sure it is workable.
Making use of computer-assisted design software can often help to uncover and address flaws in the design before the construction commences. This helps to save a great deal of time and money over the course of the project. Use of the software also helps to reduce the amount of time required to manage the drafting process, since the protocols included in the software package can often aid in the creation and modification of plans at a pace that is significantly faster than more manual processes.
While computer-assisted design tends to focus on building construction and modification of existing structures, the same general concept can also be applied in other areas. Companies can use this approach to redesign the layout of equipment on a manufacturing floor, while interior decorators can utilize similar software to aid in the selection and placement of furnishings and accessories, effectively making it possible to create presentations for clients in a fraction of the time it would take to create those same presentations by hand.