Design firms should be able to depend on access to usable files when they are contacted by a client to make additional designs.


If you and your team create designs for clients on paper, you can manipulate them in the future if you pay for file conversion through a process called vectorization.


There is no single process that CAD drawing services will use to complete vectorization of your original drawings.


It is vital to choose a CAD drawing service that consistently produces useful files. For example, the files that you should expect for your investment should be of exceptional quality, easy to read, and dimensionally correct.


It’s best to outsource the task of converting files to a CAD format to a firm that has developed its own in-house vectorization process and specializes in this service. A third-party provider handles all of the technical details of converting many kinds of drawings into vector CAD files and then packages and returns the original drawings safely to the customer. Following the conversion process, the new CAD files can be layered according to a design firm’s layering system and edited on demand.


Examples of construction industry files that can be vectorized are floor plan drawings, site plan drawings, landscape drawings, and utility maps. These files are typically drawn up by the members of a design team and are kept well-preserved by the firm in case the client needs copies of them in the future. Such files will be important to use as reference tools when a building or property owner wants to improve a site in the future.


In the design industry, CAD users will find that CAD files are helpful for new projects. They are easy to manipulate on a CAD system because users can perform such tasks as changing the size of the document and studying details that are hard to view or interpret on the original drawings.

Before your firm chooses a third-party CAD drawing service, it’s important to understand what your total costs and benefits will be. Look for a flat rate for converting each drawing or file. Seek benefits such as free shipping for paper files, industry-standard layering or your firm’s layering scheme, the choice of AutoCad or Microstation files, inclusion of any changes or redlines on the originals in the converted files, and corrections to drawings that were incorrectly dimensioned on the source drawings.


A provider should also guarantee the quality of the new CAD files, which means that those files that do not meet your standards will be redone at no charge. Finally, a reliable service should back up your files for at least one year so that they are available to you in case your own CAD files are compromised. If you don't get these standard assurances from a CAD drawing service, you should look for another provider.