AllyCAD Showcase


Mark Chapman,
High Cross Forecourt Canopies, UK

CAD Draughtsman Mark Chapman knew from an early age that he wanted to be a design technician. The idea was first realised during his experience as a sheet metal worker apprentice. This was also the turning point in Mark's career and he subsequently enrolled for a computer aided draughting qualification to further his skill set as a technician.

It was at his current company that he was provided with the perfect mix, a combination of creative flair in structural designing and the opportunity to bring it all together in AllyCAD. "I have been using AllyCAD for six years. What a brilliant program," says Mark amazed.

"The software works faster than any other CAD software that I have used and the interface is so much simpler. I can produce high level detailed designs in no time, and I am pleased to hear that the 3D version is coming soon."

The image of steel structures has evolved greatly over the years. Structures were fairly basic, but have over time become works of art. "The steel creations have both shape and dimension and are personalised to suit the individual needs of the customer. Many of the forecourt canopies that I've designed are used by clients with pride. As a design technician this gives you a great sense of accomplishment," notes Mark.

Mark's organisation specialises in the design, fabrication, installation and cladding of structural steelworks. A fair amount of interaction therefore occurs with structural engineers, architects, local authorities and principle contractors during the design phase. "The design itself entails a representation of the plan and elevation views and also shows the various services that accommodate the rain flow."

"Designs are fairly detailed and show the inlets and outlets as well as the various elevation plans for the steel railings. I also do the foundation drawings and provide detailed notes for the site workers and excavation teams. All these, which include the creation of the sheet files, are done in AllyCAD."
  Besides the creation of steel canopies, Mark is also involved in the design of industrial buildings and extensions for schools, and enjoys the diversity of his role in the design office. One of his past projects involved the design of a mock lighthouse top to provide a visually aesthetic camouflage for a mobile phone mast in one of the coastal areas. This project presented various challenges.

"The project area was locally sensitive due to its historical nature and the conservation element attached to the coastal location. As a result, we had to conform to strict specifications one of which was to factor in a nautical theme to ensure a smooth integration into the existing environment. Despite these challenges, we managed to complete the project on time and the client was very happy," he says.

Mark's plan for the next five years is to produce more intricate designs and to experiment with different creative shapes. "Being a CAD draughtsman is rewarding because no two projects are ever the same. Working with AllyCAD is also a big bonus because it allows you to transform any concept into an impressive visual design."

With the current boom in the structural steel sector, the number of projects is never-ending. This provides the ideal opportunity to continue on a path of growth. Mark's love for steel allows him to explore his creativity while being challenged to provide cost effective, visually aesthetic solutions each day. His advice to any budding draughtsman is simple: "Don't be afraid to learn and ask questions from older technicians, and don't be afraid to tackle daunting projects. That is how I learnt and I continue to learn something new each day," he says. These are wise words from a dedicated draughtsman who displays a true passion for structures.

image Mark Chapman Mark Chapman is a design technician and CAD draughtsman at High Cross Forecourt Canopies in the UK. His creative mind is challenged daily to produce intricate designs in steel structures and he enjoys every minute of it. Mark is married to Teresa and they have three children, two sons and a daughter. In his leisure, Mark enjoys fishing and spending time with his family.

Block I, The Terraces, Steenberg Office Park, 1 Silverwood Close, Tokai 7945.
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