Why You Should Have a Detail Library
A Detail Library is a good thing to have, and it is never too late to develop one. The advantages of a Detail Library are:
If the lookup and retrieval processes for your Detail Library are off-putting, or if they rarely result in helpful info, then your system won’t be used and lots of effort setting it up will go to waste.
So the main issue is how to catalog the contents of your library to describe what is on file and to guide you in retrieving what you select. That issue was solved over a century ago by Melvil Dewey. A customized version of the Dewey Decimal System is just the thing you need. The best system out there for this purpose is UNIFORMAT II. UNIFORMAT provides the overall framework for storing and retrieving re-usable detail files. At the same time, like the Dewey Decimal System, new additions are easily incorporated into the system.
Here is an example of how to use UNIFORMAT.
Now that we know how the organization will work, start clipping details in whatever convenient format works best - JPEG (e.g. phone camera), PDF (scans), HTML (web pages), DWG. Use txt or doc to record instructions and experience. Even an audio file can be saved. Give each of them a name in the format: Uniformat ID - detail number* - descriptive name; i.e. "A2020-A-Masonry Basement Wall". Let the file extension convey information about content, or add a word or two to the “descriptive name”. Use the files to store information that will help the next user; and consider a procedure that logs which projects used the detail and anything new that is learned.
Store all of this in the cloud, e.g. a Google Drive, or a Dropbox folder. Both support sorting by name, which is crucial. Use a storage place where you can easily add to and retrieve from anywhere. Google and Dropbox have the advantage of being free and allowing sharing of the Detail Library folder with everyone on the team. If you use Evernote, the keeper of the Detail Library notebook will need a Pro Account. With Evernote it is simpler to add information to the one note - additional comments, photos, files or even audio.
Concentrate on gathering useful information; then, as you use it, create, clip and store the CAD file in the same folder in Dropbox using the same name for the CAD file; or add it to the note in Evernote. Having a usable CAD detail is the holy grail of the Detail Library, but having a ready solution to a condition is a major help in its own right no matter what format.
Architekwiki has over 50 details;. take advantage of these to start your Detail Library.
* If you think it is likely that you will have more than 26 details in each group, then use 00, 01, 02, 03 etc as the detail number to accommodate 100 details in each group. There isn’t any point in storing unique details. Go for archetypal. Also bear in mind that UNIFORMAT II has additional levels, whose numbers you could implement. This reference sheds light on the system.
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