For some reason I have been thinking about keynoting, although I have been retired for 2-1/2 years now. We were not cutting edge with CAD by any means since we were still using AutoCAD 2002. Maybe we were missing out. We were definitely missing out on the opportunity of paying Autodesk every year for the privilege of using the same program that we purchased in 1986.
How well does keynoting work these days?
Keynoting is complicated. There is the issue of maintaining a list of standard keynotes. Adding a new standard keynote means updating the master database and also the project at hand. Getting the keynote list onto the drawing is another step. And of course it is ideal to show just the keynotes that appear on the drawing in question. I wouldn't be surprised if this complexity keeps most firms from using keynotes.
The alternative, after all, is to type a note and add an arrow. Easy peasy.
The alternative, let's call it Noting, actually takes less time.
A quick search for Keynoting in Revit and Keynoting in AutoCAD turns up the surprising (to me) information that both programs support keynoting now. The not-so-surprising information is that the process looks like it is at least ten times as complicated as Noting. Dealing with all that complexity creates significant 'overhead' for the user of Keynoting.
WHEN TO USE KEYNOTING These are my suggestions, and they are based on nothing more than the desire to Keynote and subsequently wrestling with the complexity that Keynoting entails.
Keynote when you are 'it'. When you are the designer, drafter and project manager, your Keynoting system will be hand crafted by you, you will understand it, and you will (eventually) see the benefits.
Keynote when you are part of a firm of 32 or more. When you are part of a larger firm, the firm thrives on organization and will be able to get the benefits of Keynoting.
Instance #1 could apply to about 66% of all architectural firms if each project manager is responsible for his/her own Keynoting system. But more realistically the number is about 20%. After all small firms thrive on the lack of organization. Instance #2 applies to less than 7% of all architectural firms. Everyone else will struggle to implement Keynoting and to keep it consistent and organized. Keynoting is kinda like writing specifications - you don't just do it. It is a process, not a task.
THE BENEFITS OF KEYNOTING So why does anyone consider keynoting? Here are the benefits that I perceive.
Coordination with specifications
Consistency from project to project
Helps to prevent omissions / promotes completeness
Assists contractors in understanding the scope of work
These are worthwhile benefits, but I submit that it is the rare keynoter that achieves any time savings. I spent most of my career wanting to have a keynoting system. I didn't realize until I wrote this article that we didn't "qualify" (5-6 people ususally). I hope those of you that don't fall into Instance #1 or #2 feel some relief that keynoting isn't a challenge that you need to undertake.