Let’s Talk Technical Drawings

How Can ‘Understanding Technical Drawings’ Help You?

Recognising a gap between technical construction and the sales role, we developed our Understanding Technical Drawings courses to support delegates with the technical knowledge and skills they need to be more confident and successful out in the field. One of KSA’s key assets in helping to bridge this gap comes in the form of our Construction Knowledge & Skills trainer, Emma Townend, who is our resident expert with over 20 years’ of industry experience and knowledge as a chartered engineer. She has become invaluable not only to us but to our clients and their teams also, playing a key role in both design and delivery. To discover more about the Understanding Technical Drawings course, we went to Emma to get her expert perspective on the challenges faced by sales teams and how these unique courses support them…

What are some of the common challenges you come across?

‘Confidence is one of the biggest issues, especially with some of the less experienced team members, who often feel uncomfortable and sometimes intimidated by the level of technical expertise when dealing with the contractor or specifier. Delegates often know their products well but when going on-site, it can be challenging to communicate the connection between the products and their application. This is where an understanding of technical drawings helps to add real value to the conversation.

What delegates find great about this course is that it offers them new techniques to be able to ask questions confidently, pick out the technicalities of a drawing such as elevations or sections, and provide advice and professional recommendations based on this. It allows the conversation or meeting to take more of a consultative, solution-selling approach, which is beneficial to both sides.

In terms of the course itself, delegates often pick up the theory well but it’s the visualisation, the practice of converting 2D to 3D that they can find difficult. Having been in this environment, this is something that comes as second nature to me! From my experience, people tend to be apprehensive and therefore don’t think logically. So, rather than just picking a corner and working out from there, they let the pressure overwhelm them.

It can be daunting when faced with a new set of drawings but that’s another part of this course that delegates really enjoy and find helpful: having the opportunity to practice in a ‘safe’ environment. In a real-life situation delegates can then feel confident in their skill, think clearly, and support their customer with a true sense of professionalism.’

As the market and technology has progressed, what changes are you seeing?

‘I am aware of how much people increasingly rely on technology and I think this dependence is sometimes misplaced. Technologies such as BIM can offer exciting prospects for the future and it is important to keep in the know regarding these developments. At the moment, the roll-out for BIM is mainly at a public sector level though and it’s important to remember that technology is also not always readily available, nor financially accessible for some organisations.

Delegates are often surprised that these courses are “all paper drawings”, but at this stage, I’d say don’t be afraid or dismissive of pencil and paper. The hard-copy method is affordable, accessible, accurate, and in some cases can be quicker! The time for technology will come but it needs to be the right choice for the business, the team, and ultimately, the customers.

On that note, as technology moves on, everything seems to be becoming smaller. On the practical side though, with technical drawings bigger is better! I always print in A1, no less, because it’s really hard to get the same level of detail and accuracy from anything smaller. Once you go A1, you never go back; post-Understanding Technical Drawings course, I’ve found that quite a few clients have gone out and invested in an A1 printer. In the small print notes, the CAD technicians put that the drawing is designed to be printed to scale – there’s a reason for that!