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HOK has been using cadtest since 2003, and this new skills assessment software has become an invaluable tool in the recruitment process and in the training and development of existing staff. At second-stage interviews all potential employees have their AutoCAD abilities tested by means of cadtest, which allows staff to assess the speed and accuracy of applicants in the use of CAD.

Over the past year, HOK has worked closely with cadtest to develop an internal benchmark mechanism for the practice. All staff have now been assessed and their level of expertise has been banded to allow the human resources department to assess acurrately the skills and training requirements for the office. This banding also assists project directors and project managers in the rapid and appropriate resourcing of project teams.

HOK has established common CAD standards throughout its worldwide offices.

In the London office, it has about 40 project teams with 120 CAD users who open more than 30,000 CAD drawings each month;

therefore accuracy and efficiency in creating CAD drawings is paramount to adhere to client schedules.

Cadtest has given HOK the opportunity to identify possible areas of weakness and plan for continual improvement. Often this is through in-house skills training and support from our training partners Aztec and Excitech.

Miles Walker, HOK CAD manager said: 'In January this year we had to rapidly assemble a project team of 60 staff, including 35 CAD users, for the preferred-bidder stage of the St Bartholomew's and the Royal London hospital project. cadtest software proved to be a considerable help in identifying the right skill base to suit the project.

'This is particularly important as the 165,000m 2of new facilities are being designed and co-ordinated using advanced software technologies which include AutoDesk Architectural Desktop and Navisworks; the importance of HOK supplying accurate object data remains vital as we contribute towards the BLT Building Information Model.'

HOK continues to maintain and improve the high standards of CAD use in the office, as demonstrable results add value to client service and can help the client to understand the level of talent available in project teams through tangible results. The benchmarking exercise, now undertaken annually by HOK, has confirmed that the results produced at HOK exceed those of the national average in each criterion as carried out by cadtest.

HOK offers specialist skills to meet the needs of commercial developers, corporations, the hospitality industry, sport and public institutions such as airports, hospitals and universities. With 250 staff in London, HOK is one of the largest architectural and interior-design firms in Europe, with emphasis on work in the commercial, corporate, and public sectors. HOK International is part of a global network of offices on four continents, with a staff of more than 2,000 people serving clients by improving the built environment.

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