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Q-CAD’s staff includes CAD operators, quality control managers, architects and engineers. Each staff member is a skilled user of AutoCAD, Revit and MicroStation and works on drawings within their area of technical expertise. Our staff handles all CAD drafting and quality control. We do not outsource to other companies.


Starting a New Project

  • We setup a new project to include your drawings and Q-CAD order form. Recommended original document types that can be submitted include TIF/PDF/JPG/GIF files, photos, AutoCAD DWG background files, MicroStation DGN files, Revit RVT files, paper, mylar, or blueprints.
  • Internally we manage your project using Microsoft Project and Excel. This allows us to monitor progress at each stage of the conversion process.
  • Our staff reviews your original documents, special requirements and the Q-CAD Order Form. The special requirements for your project can include custom layering, templates, fonts,  file naming conventions, CAD background files, etc.
  • We assign a CAD operator to handle your project. A CAD operator is assigned based on their CAD specialty that best matches your project requirements (i.e. architectural, civil, structural, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, etc).
  • You will received an email confirmation that indicates the project start date, completion date, number of sheets to be converted, unit price and total project cost.

Redrawing the Sheet

  • The CAD operator assigned to your project redraws the content of each sheet using the selected software type:  AutoCAD, MicroStation, or Revit.
  • The CAD linework is drawn based on the dimensions shown on the original drawings.
  • All linework on the drawing will be inserted on the proper CAD layer. Typical layering standards include AIA, AEC, Tri-Services, Custom, or LITE layers. 
  • The resulting CAD file will be either:  MicroStation (.dgn), AutoCAD (.dwg), or Revit (.rvt)

Level 1 – Quality Control

  • Level 1 quality control is performed by the CAD operator. All linework, dimensions, layering, text, title blocks, xrefs are checked to ensure the CAD file matches the original drawing exactly.

Level 2 – Quality Control

  • Level 2 quality control in performed by the Level 2-QC manager. The Level 2 manager verifies all linework, dimensions, layering, text, spelling, title block, xrefs for accuracy by comparing it to the original document.
  • The Level 2 manager will carefully note any errors or omissions.
  • If any inconsistencies are found, the manager will return the file to the CAD operator to correct the problems.

Level 3 – Quality Control

  • Level 3 quality control is a 3rd review of the corrected CAD file to ensure any issues have been resolved.
  • The file will be approved to move forward when 100% accuracy has been achieved.

Level 4 – Quality Control

  • Level 4 quality control requires only a visual comparison between the new CAD file and the original drawing.
  • The AutoCAD DWG, MicroStation DGN, or Revit RVT file is exported to PDF format. Both color and black/white PDF files are generated.
  • The appropriate color table files for plotting are attached with the final CAD files.

Closing the Project

  • The final CAD files and invoice are emailed to the customer. The files are zipped for transmittal via email, Dropbox or FTP.
  • Q-CAD automatically archives all projects in case they are needed in the future. 


  • Q-CAD back-ups are stored for 2 years and can be retrieved anytime. 

We develop a “customer profile” or history for each project. When a future project is submitted, we review the previous history and use profile data that often includes fonts, title blocks, layering, and templates. 

CAD layering standards are essential to share graphic information data throughout the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. CAD layering and guidelines help users manage graphic information in their CAD files.

There are many different layering standards and guidelines available for CAD files. Most CAD users rely on the CAD layering standards developed by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Q-CAD uses the AIA layering standards as the default layering setup. Several other layering standards include the AEC 6.1, Tri-Services, and our Lite layering standards. CAD layers are divided into major groups and then subdivided into minor groups. Each layer is labeled with a simple abbreviation that remains consistent throughout the project.

Major AIA CAD layer groups include:

A Architectural

C Civil

E Electrical

F Fire Protection

G General

H Hazardous Materials

I Interiors

L Landscaping

M Mechanical

P Plumbing

Q Equipment

R Resource

S Structural

T Telecommunications

X Other Disciplines

Z Contractor Shop Drawing

See the complete AIA Layering Guidelines for more information.

The colors for each layer will be consistent and all objects will be drawn in color BYLAYER. This means that all objects assigned to a specific layer will be the same color. Occasionally, the need to create a new layer can arise in cases when custom defined layers or AIA layer standards are not available. 

There are other tools that help organize CAD entities. These include symbol libraries, blocks and attributes. These tools allow you to export CAD data to reports or Excel spreadsheets. They also enable software applications to count object symbols, such as doors or windows; or count attributes, such as room numbers or areas for use by space management applications.

What happens when there are ambiguities, such as unclear objects or missing dimensions, on a plan or drawing? For these situations “rules of thumb” are designed to resolve conflicts and enable uniformity. 

Undimensioned Drawings

When original drawings do not have dimensions (or fewer than 20% dimensions on the sheet) our drafting procedure changes somewhat. The CAD operator must manually scale each of the entities on the drawing such as walls, doors, windows, etc. There are often 1 or 2 check points on the drawing that we can use to verify the manually scaled dimensions. These check points can be a scale bar, or an overall building dimension, or a commercial interior door width of 36″ typical. The overall accuracy of the converted CAD file is very high and is reliably within 1%.

Unclear Dimensions or Unclear Text

Older as-built original drawings may contain unclear dimensions or text that are difficult to read. For these situations, the CAD operator will insert a “red box” on the README layer in the CAD file. The red box indicates the unclear data. You can quickly zoom into the red box area and make necessary modifications. 

Dimensional Conflicts

Occasionally a dimension listed on the original drawing will conflict with the dimension scaled by the CAD operator. In this situation, the dimension shown on your original document is the default. The dimension scaled by the CAD operator shown on the “README” layer. Each dimensional conflict is shown on the README layer should to be reviewed by the customer.

Organizations use their drawings for a variety of purposes ranging from interior renovations to space management. In order to do so, they must first create a set of internal guidelines so that each document remains consistent with the others. This ensures seamless communication. It allows anyone in the organization (or even third-party contractors) to read CAD documents no matter where they are or what software application they’re using. Maintaining consistent standards also allows for the automatic searching and indexing of large numbers of files.

Over the years, Q-CAD has used many different types of CAD conversion procedures and guidelines. Based on our experience, we recommend six standards. You can choose one or all six as inspiration for developing your own in-house standards.

Title block:

Each sheet should maintain consistent title blocks, logos, and sheet borders. Each sheet size (A, B, C, D, E, F) should have its own title block template.

Model space:

Ideally, you should draw all document entities, dimensions, symbols, notes, etc. in Model Space.


Consistency often requires a set of present variables.

File Name – Drawing Number

You should be able to easily identify a specific drawing or building. That requires good file naming conventions. Ideally, the saved file name will contain a combination of the sheet number and the building name or number. It’s also important to add each document to an electronic index immediately after conversion. That allows for easy access and cross-referencing. A good filename convention may look something like this:

Format: EJH00101.DWG

Where: E=Drawing Type (such as E=Electrical)
JH=Building number/name (such as Johnson Hall)
0101=Drawing sequence number (sheet number)
01=Revision number or letter

Style Conventions

Text should also be standardized between documents, as well as dimensions and linetype styles. Fonts such as ROMANS and ROMAND are standard. It’s also important to define the text height. The text width, on the other hand, should remain flexible. That’s because the width may change depending on the specific content of each sheet, particularly if a sheet is crowded with information. A text style may look something like this:

Example: 08ROMANS15

08=width factor=0.8=width of letter
15=oblique angle (omitted when set to 0)


Many documents contain repetitive entities (e.g., windows, doors, toilets). Blocks are used to represent such objects. It’s important that the blocks remain consistent throughout documents and projects, if necessary. If you use an “X” to define a window in one drawing, then every drawing should mark windows with an “X.” Every employee, contractor, and consultant should also know how to interpret the symbols.

In order to ensure consistency and make interpretation easier, Q-CAD recommends creating a block legend that defines each and every block used. The operator should create the blocks with Layer 0 activated. They should then insert the block into the correct layer in the drawing. After inserting the block, the operator should then re-scale it to match the dimensions of the current drawing. Finally, it’s important to list all blocks in the drawing index and remove any unreferenced blocks from the drawing.

Polygon layers make it easy to calculate the square footage of a space. By drawing a closed polygon over the top of each room and then over the entire building, it’s possible to export precise data such as perimeter, room area, or location of an object. This data can be imported into other software applications.

Q-CAD recommends one of three primary polygon layer standards:

1) BOMA – Building Owners and Managers Association International Standards

2) Institutional – Higher Education, K-12 Schools Standards

3) IFMA – International Facility Managers Association Standards