12 DRAWING-OFFICE ORGANIZATION
Another side on which much progress has been made is in the pre-
paration by the British Engineering Standards Association (incorporated in
1918) of standard specifications.
The Association has issued, up to the time of writing, 136 Standard
Specifications and five interim reports on Ball Journals, Screw Threads,
Tyres, &c. All classes of work are covered, and a catalogue can be
received by sending a postcard to the Association at 28 Victoria Street,
London, S.W. i. The Specifications themselves cost is. Specifications
are in course of preparation for aircraft materials and components, and
a number have already been issued.
The Costing Department.—This department comes more properly
under the purview of the clerical staff, but it very closely affects the
efficiency and accuracy of the drawing-office work, and particularly affects
all future estimates. It is fairly common to find it in charge of a man who
has had a good technical training in the drawing office.
How the department is actually organized depends, to a very considerable
extent, on the methods of accountancy and stock-keeping adopted in the firm.
In the first place, by keeping a proper set of books, it should be possible
at any moment to get the actual cost of all the items delivered against a
job. Any material taken from stock should be shown on these books, as,
if this be not done, a particular contract might appear to work out cheaper
than it really is. Moreover, it is necessary to show what has been taken
out of stock, if the amount of stock carried is to be maintained at a level
which will enable emergencies to be met easily.
So far as the cost of labour is concerned, separate columns must be kept
for the different classes of work involved, also a statement must be made of
whether time, piece-work, or premium bonus is the method of payment.
If a premium bonus system prevails in the shops, the rate-fixing depart-
ment is usually attached to the costing department, and this department
may attain to very considerable dimensions with an extremely elaborate
system of books.
It would take us too far afield to discuss all the items involved, and
indeed it is unnecessary, as the system does not prevail to any large extent
in this country, and at present there is no indication of any considerable
The costing department has been mentioned here only because, when
a costing system is introduced into any firm, its main outlines are generally
worked out in the drawing office, although the details are left to the clerical
staff, and because the opportunity seems favourable to emphasize the neces-
sity and desirability of having this department put on a well-organized and
scientific basis, with a view to the facilitation of drawing-office and esti-
mating work. The costing system and costing department in most firms
are of the most rudimentary description. Temporary expedients and make-
shifts have been adopted as the business grew, even where it would have
paid over and over again to call in the assistance of a good accountant to
make a thorough overhaul and examination of what would require to be