The Civil Side: It’s Time to Adopt

Given our current economic state you may think I am crazy for telling you that now is the perfect time to implement AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 as your primary production tool. No, I haven't lost my mind, and if you keep reading I will provide multiple compelling reasons why time is of the essence.

Now is the time because with a slowdown in the civil engineering market, we have more time than ever before to learn this new tool. While money may be tight, there are many programs out to help provide financial assistance. Also, with all of the new "green" initiatives coming down the pipeline such as BIM (Building Information Modeling), Sustainable Design, and IPD (Integrated Project Delivery), AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 is the Civil Engineers' answer to all of their 3D design needs.

We have the time

So here we are, with an abundance of time on our hands, but a lack of financial backing for training and implementation services. The good news is that there are many resources that are currently offering financial support for training and consulting.

For example, Autodesk has a "displaced workers" program that offers financial assistance for training on the latest technologies to individuals who are currently out of work. There are also many financing options out there to further assist with implementation services and training options. Now is the time to do it! When our economic position turns around, we will be better equipped to handle more projects with fewer resources and produce a higher level of design documents.

Higher quality design documents

The current trend in the AEC (Architectural, Engineering and Construction) industry is to move to a higher level of design documents. What this means is by using 3D model-centric digital documentation for construction, you now have the ability to use this data for constructability analysis and design visualization in order to more effectively communicate design intent.

All of this can be accomplished in the same amount of time it would take to produce "traditional" paper plans. Yes, there are upfront costs associated with becoming proficient in the use of new design tools, but that will, in turn, pay dividends on winning projects and delivering higher quality design documentation. In addition to that, AutoCAD Civil 3D also allows engineers to quickly provide multiple design alternatives because of its dynamic nature.

BIM, Sustainable Design and IPD

With the BIM initiatives, sustainable design requirements for "green building," and IPD, AutoCAD Civil 3D can deliver plans that can meet all of the above requirements. Even though BIM did originate in the architectural world, this does not mean that it cannot be incorporated into our civil engineering design documentation.

First and foremost, the best way to approach BIM from a civil engineering perspective is to relate it to the verb "building," not the noun. We civil engineers design and "build" many things such as roadways, highways, building pads, parking lots, storm drain, sewer and water lines. When relating BIM to civil engineers, we need to focus more on the "modeling" component, as this will allow us to run conflict detection, constructability analysis, and visualize and communicate our design intent. Through the use of building models for our design, we are able to run through multiple design alternatives with ease. AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 is not only a model-based design tool; it is dynamic in nature and allows for real-time design alternatives and revisions.

Integrated Project Delivery leverages early contributions of knowledge and expertise through the utilization of new technologies, allowing all team members to realize their highest potential while expanding the value they provide throughout the project lifecycle. This allows all individual players on the extended design team to coordinate on the project versus everyone working as independent silos.

A typical design project can incorporate Civil Engineering, Building Architecture, Structure and MEP (Mechanical Electrical Plumbing). If all of these groups are coordinating together on the project, then early error and clash detection can be possible and can ultimately save these projects thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the size and complexity of the projects. If the errors are caught during the construction phase of the project, the cost to fix these errors increases exponentially versus if the errors are caught prior to construction. Navisworks Manage helps to combine different models from different project stakeholders into one unified model that you can test for clashes and investigate for visualization. Navisworks can import many types of 3D files, including AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 drawing files.

Don’t wait, start implementing today

As you can see, there are many compelling reasons to move from your current design tool to AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010. It doesn't matter if you are using vanilla AutoCAD, Land Development Desktop, Eagle Point, Carlson, or even Microstation, AutoCAD Civil 3D is the civil engineering design tool of the future. It will set you apart from your competition and allow you to take your design to the next level and win more business during these trying times.

For more information on BIM, Sustainable Design and IPD, please visit: or email me directly at

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