Computer-aided design (CAD) refers to software that engineers, architects, and construction managers use to create precise drawings or illustrations of new buildings in either two-dimensional drawings, or three-dimensional models.
What is CAD designed to solve? The purpose of CAD is to help architects and designers avoid costly errors by creating more accurate models of their projects. Construction managers can now use CAD to take precise measurements, spot design flaws and do advanced analysis on designs they would not be able to otherwise by switching to CAD.
What information does CAD software show? Every CAD software has its own unique characteristics, but the core of it all is geometry. All AutoCAD software will include X (horizontal), Z (depth), and Y (vertical) coordinates. Depending on the user’s needs, CAD software can create models in two- and three dimensions.
Construction managers can reap the benefits of CAD
The CAD program allows you to visualize the entire building and all its parts, from the steel beams down to the smallest screws. This allows you to see a detailed blueprint of the building, which will allow you to make changes as needed and ensure that you don’t miss any details during construction.
Because CAD is more accurate than paper blueprints, it results in a better-quality design. This also means that you are less likely to make costly errors and cause delays.
There’s also the documentation. Everything is organized neatly on your computer, and it’s easy to find. Most CAD software allows you to access your plans online, so you can view them on your smartphone in an instant.
Before you buy CAD software, here are some things to keep in mind
Different platforms. Different platforms. CAD software options can run on different platforms. Some run on Unix-like platforms, while others don’t. Some work on Windows, while others use Macs. Some of them work on mobile platforms like Android and iOS.
2D or 3D. You can also choose whether they offer 3D modeling or 2D modeling. While you will most likely need 3D functionality, sometimes a 2D model will suffice for small projects.
License. Construction managers who wish to modify the software to suit their business’ needs will need a license. Many software options are proprietary, meaning that you cannot make any changes to them. However, there are open-source versions.
Compatibility with BIM. BIM is a popular technology that not all CAD software can support. Although BIM can be used in conjunction with CAD, it is not the same as CAD. A BIM file contains key performance characteristics, specifications and connections that can be useful to construction managers.
There are other considerations. Each CAD software has its own advantages and disadvantages. Microstation PowerDraft is less expensive than AutoCAD, but it still costs $2,500. However, some reviewers feel it is not as good in 2D as AutoCAD. MicroStation PowerDraft is, according to one reviewer, “a bit too complicated” for basic 2D drafting. AutoCAD reviewers, however, praise the software’s ease-of-use in 2D.
Chief Architect is an architect who creates detailed models. However, his primary focus is on home design and architects as the name suggests.
Sketchup and ProgeCAD are both easy-to-use CAD programs that leave out some of the more complex features. This is enough for most construction managers, who don’t have to be involved in designing the project.
You should also check that the software supports the file types you will be using. DesignCAD, however, is a good option. However, it does not support files such as STL, DGN, and SKP. You want CAD software that is compatible with DWG and DXF files. These are the most common formats in the industry.