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DAT Draughting piping up success – whilst keeping it simple

“Most people look at a building and think about its façade, about how the spaces work inside or maybe just in terms of getting cover from the rain,” says Tim Towers of DAT Draughting Services.

“What they never think about is all the hidden technical services that make it work.  The electrical cables, air conditioning ducts and pipes.  But I do,” he says, with evident satisfaction.

Tim’s business, which boasts a roster of impressive clients and projects for companies such as Skanska, Astra Zeneca and Manchester Airport, sits in the middle of a complex design process that ensures that buildings and complicated manufacturing plants get designed and built accurately.

“We provide the 3D design and modelling that ensures a contractor knows what goes where,” says Tim, aware that he needs to distil the complexity of his role.

“A mechanical and electrical consultant will design a plant in 2D and then ask us to bring it to life in 3D.  That then helps the structural engineer, the builder and the people who lay the pipes and wires to put everything in exactly the right place, usually down to tolerances of less than a millimetre.”

And, whilst he and his team of seven at The Base utilise a range of expensive design software, it’s their grounding in traditional design skills that holds the key to their performance.

“I did a BTEC in technical illustration and all the team here have those core technical skills that are key to their understanding of what is required,” explains Tim, who started work in a small drawing office in Warrington and taught himself about new software as it was introduced.

Nowadays he has a more formal approach to training, with a commitment to apprenticeships and work placements.  “It’s vital to keep bringing new blood in to our game,” he says.

Growth has seen the need to flex his office size, something he sees as a key advantage of The Base.  A major 18-month contract for Astra Zeneca’s global HQ in Cambridge saw him expand his team within the building and he cites the flexible lease arrangements and proactive management regime as a key advantage.

And next steps?  “A bigger office, bigger team and more large projects running simultaneously,” says Tim, keeping things simple, as always.

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