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Good to see something on the subject of CAD (AJ 15.09.05), even if it didn't go quite deep enough. In my long years hunched over drawing boards there was very little to write home about, apart from the latest non-clogging Rotring.

But CAD is now a driving force in the design process itself, particularly with the advent of 3D, which demands a totally different approach to work methods. Who wants to draw the damn thing several times and do quants on a calculator when one model does it? Trouble is, you can't get away with things in 3D the way you can in 2D. Once mastered though, 3D object-oriented CAD is nearly twice as fast as 2D, so you can afford a bit more time to get it right, especially with Parts E and L looking over your shoulder.

A pity Joe Croser did not include Nemetschek's Allplan in his evaluation shortlist. My experience with this programme - well established in Europe - leads me to recommend at least a demo from a reseller. Bells and whistles - or nuts and bolts?

Martin Woodroffe, via email

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