Industry Insights: The GC and BricsCAD®
General contractors (GC) and subcontractors (Subs) face an uphill battle when it comes to what kind of software to purchase, how to incorporate the latest technology without going broke, and how much training is enough training for their staff to get their projects completed efficiently and correctly. Gary Smith, VP of North American Sales, shares with us some common examples and scenarios that GCs and subcontractors encounter, the ideal CAD solution for them, and why the obvious choice is BricsCAD®.
BricsCAD® is a modern, familiar, easy-to-adopt, 2D/3D CAD system with innovative features and workflows that provide a highly compatible user experience. With familiar command structures, dwg compatibility, as well as familiarity with tools and workflows, it is easy to learn. BricsCAD® provides a quick and easy switch from 2D to 3D, the ability to import data-rich BIM models, and accelerate productivity with AI‐driven tools in a familiar CAD environment making BricsCAD® the best choice.
Today, CAD is used in four typical areas of design: Primary Design, Secondary Design, Reviews and Markups, and Capturing As-Built information.
Primary Design is the initial project design, let’s say it was completed by an Architect. Secondary Design is then completed by the GCs and trades, which is when 3D models or drawings are generally shared, usually using a CDE like Bricsys® 24/7.
At this point though, the GCs ask themselves, “Does this model have everything I need to know to build it?”
What we have heard from the GC is, “No, it doesn’t”.
Industry Insight - GCs and Subs tell us their #1 issue is not having enough information or detail to build the project, even from a BIM model.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a GC to take an initial BIM model and revise it so they have confidence they can build it. With that stated, the majority of Bricsys customers use our software in Secondary Design, Review & Markup, and As-Is. We are generally used in primary design typically on projects where it is determined that .dwg is the appropriate platform and BIM is not needed.
That said, today’s typical AEC CAD/BIM tools are heavily focused on primary design; often very capable and powerful tools in primary design, but also very complicated and expensive to use. As well, they are focused on creating the initial design and model. If you want to move into the practicality of building the project, many times other tools are required and there also must be a dedicated staff member trained to efficiently use the complicated software.
The benefit of BricsCAD® for the GC
Let’s provide some examples to further assist with defining the benefits of BricsCAD® for a GC or Subcontractor.
You (the GC or Sub) receive the model or drawings, and you want to be able to work with the documents in your process to ensure the details are there and you can build the project as efficiently as possible with confidence it can be built.
Import RVTs and IFCS, with all the BIM data, or SKP, 3DM, and more models, without BIM data. (See Fig. 1)
- If there is no BIM data yet, add it with our AI tool Bimify.
- Then import the 2D plans and/or PDFs as Xrefs in your 3D model to verify the geometry:
- Does the 3D model match the plans?
- How do the corners come together on the plan VS on the 3D model? Etc.
- Then purge the redundant portions of the files with the help of the Structure Browser, DrawingHealth, Blockify, and other unique BricsCAD tools.
Drawing Reviews and Revisions
BricsCAD® includes numerous AI-driven productivity tools. These tools automate laborious tasks for you, while you maintain control of the created output.
- Copying, moving, mirroring, and rotating is a breeze with the Manipulator. No Command line is needed.
- Quickly apply new construction details in an automated way, when and where you need them, with the Propagate tool.
- Annotate your 2D drawings created from your BIM model with ease, thanks to the BIM dimension tool.
- Our new building toolset lets you revise the model where needed, according to your construction vision.
With the AI functionality, you don’t have to be a dedicated designer or have one on staff to be productive. In short, BricsCAD allows you to deliver exactly what you need, when you need it, without added complexity to get your job done.
And because it’s so easy to use, it’s easy to teach. That’s fewer commands for your less-technical teammates to memorize and fewer sticky note cheat sheets on the PM’s monitor.
For a subcontractor, detailed shop drawings are a big part of the process. Even if the design deliverables are less-than-stellar, BricsCAD is a great tool that allows the sub to work in an easy, familiar 2D environment with probably existing personnel or the ability to readily hire someone with standard 2D CAD skills, no need for an expensive BIM person on staff.
Like the GC, the Sub can take advantage of Drawing Health Manager or purge unused objects, reduce file size, and start the shop drawing process with a healthy base.
As we mentioned before, if 3D deliverables were transmitted, no problem. You can natively open. RVT, .IFC, 3D .DWGs, mechanical models, and more in the same environment. No need to have multiple solutions open.
Quick to 3D
BricsCAD® provides 3D when you need it and how you need it – It’s super intuitive and super easy. When I ask long-time AutoCAD® users who switched to BricsCAD® what they prefer about BricsCAD, besides AI tools, they almost always say how easy 3D is in BricsCAD®.
Most 3D software programs are complicated, require a long learning curve & can only be used by an “all-day CAD designer” or specialist, definitely not the casual user typically at a construction or subcontractor company.
Although 2D drawings are used in construction to build the project, most people are unable to look at 2D drawings and visualize what the 3D project/building will look like, so 3D is needed to visualize the project. Whether it is to help the client visualize the project/building or for your company to increase the chances of winning an RFP by including a 3D model, 3D can also be used to detail a portion of the building for constructability and shop drawings. (See Fig. 2)
3D in BricsCAD® is simple, with familiar, easy-to-use tools for 3D (conceptual) design, mass modeling, constructability, and shop drawings. Convert 2D drawings to 3D geometry/models, with boundary detection, extrude, push/pull, polysolid to trace 2D geometry, wall, and quickwall. And BricsCAD® does this in a single, unified .dwg platform in 2D and 3D.
Constructability & Point Cloud Modeling
Contractors carry the risk on building projects and need to reduce risk – and that is exactly what laser scanning and modeling existing conditions provide.
If you didn’t know, Bricsys® is owned by the same company as Leica Geosystems so we have a real advantage in Point Cloud Performance. Did you know BricsCAD® can deliver models 25-50% faster & more flexible than other BIM solutions (Revit®)?
In BricsCAD®, models can be generated quickly and accurately – No steep learning curve. It’s fast, flexible, and produces accurate modeling from point clouds. Whether the work is limited to interior walls and fixtures or exterior facades, if you need detailed 2D modeling, you can easily bring in the point clouds and start dimensioning. If you need reasonable model representation, you can bring in the point clouds and start modeling. And of course, you can bring in the Point Clouds to confirm As Is/As Built conditions.
Planar Deviation Detection
Today, the requirements for the slab to have the correct floor flatness and floor levelness number are high. High-stacking, narrow-aisle warehouses, TV studios, theme park Automated Guided Vehicles and many other builds all require very specific “F” numbers.
Simply laser-scan the surface and compare the perfectly flat concrete model to the As-Built point cloud for fast and accurate results. Immediately, the GC knows if any field modifications are needed to meet the specific specifications and can adjust accordingly.
BricsCAD® provides instant visual feedback and extremely easy functionality in the software, including visually color-guided when out of scope. (See Fig. 3)
Site Layout and Logistics
As a contractor, one of the first tasks on hand when you start a project is to deal with site logistics. You usually have access to files received from external parties (e.g., consultants). However, you usually still need to re-draw and revise, and one of the challenges today is that the GCs tend to give up on TIN Models because of the complexity and difficulty in getting them out of other Civil products and into a .dwg tool.
You can import Civil3D® TIN directly into BricsCAD, and then perform edits & labels in BricsCAD. This allows you to quickly lay out the site to consider the usual requirements – access points, portable toilets, etc. and generate quick calculations for cut-and-fill to make arrangements to move dirt around or off the site.
Currently, you may need to involve the designers or drafters specialized in certain software to help you with these tasks. With BricsCAD, you don't have to be a designer. You don't necessarily have to have dedicated draftsman/BIM specialists. The BricsCAD UI is not scary and there are pre-defined symbols, linetypes, and documentation/highlighting tools in a visual palette. Contractors can not only quickly produce the plans needed to communicate the concept, but also use the software to brainstorm scenarios.
As a contractor or subcontractor, we understand what you do - you receive a lot of drawings in all types of file formats. But chances are, these drawings might be a bit problematic.
First, the building probably can’t be built from these drawings, so there are constructability issues. Secondly, those drawings might not provide the information you need, as there is both redundant and irrelevant information. More importantly, there is information that is completely missing from the provided drawing files.
BricsCAD’s productivity tools are the ones you need, in one straightforward professional CAD platform. As such, they are certainly not ‘yet another feature in a bloated and complicated software package’. On the contrary, BricsCAD® allows you to deliver exactly what you need, when you need it without compromise.
Visit https://www.bricsys.com/industries/general-contracting to learn more about how BricsCAD is the go-to solution for GCs and Subcontractors.
More About BricsCAD®
Bricsys® BricsCAD® is professional CAD software without compromise. Accelerate your time to deliverable without compromising on performance, cost, licensing flexibility, and data security. Not ready to buy? Download the free, 30-day trial of BricsCAD® at Bricsys.com. Would you like free lessons? We have that available with Bricsys Learning. Ready to migrate to BricsCAD®? Download the Migration Guide. The latest version of BricsCAD® improves the tools and features users love, as well as new functionality and UI that supercharge productivity. Follow us today on LinkedIn or Youtube.
More About Bricsys®
Bricsys®, part of Hexagon®, is the global technology company that creates the BricsCAD® family of computer aided design (CAD) products and the Bricsys® 24/7 project collaboration platform. We are relentlessly committed to the success of our customers by offering cost-effective, mission-critical CAD software with industry-leading product support. Learn more at www.Bricsys.com.