Engineering Design Services Company

CAD services for structural engineers provided by experienced CAD specialists like The AEC Associates play a vital role in the design, analysis, and documentation of building structures, as well as ensuring the efficiency, safety, and viability of building projects of all types in the year 2023, and beyond. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) is a powerful tool that enables structural engineers to create precise and detailed digital representations of their designs. There is often a misconception that the use of CAD software is limited mainly to architecture, manufacturing, graphic design, animation illustration, fashion design, etc. However, the significance of CAD services for structural engineers can certainly be maintained in an era when structures are getting more and more complex with each passing day. With CAD, structural engineers can efficiently develop and communicate their structural concepts, produce accurate construction drawings, and streamline the overall engineering process.

6 Ways CAD Services For Structural Engineers Help Navigate Complex Projects In 2023

Importance of CAD for Structural Engineers

CAD design and drafting have become an integral part of structural engineering services. Structural CAD drafting has gradually replaced the erstwhile manual process making it much faster and more accurate. Engineers initially lay out the first set of drawings as per the architectural planning and then the team of drafters details them out with all the parameters.

Structural drafting services adopt a process that involves carrying out one or more of the following functions using the latest CAD software:

  • Drawings for foundation plan and footing
  • Bar bending schedule for Rebar
  • Drawings involving detailing of stairs, handrails
  • Detailing of Slabs, roof truss, and joints
  • Drawings for prestressed components

CAD can be leveraged in the following ways by structural engineers for optimum performance-

  • Design Development: CAD allows structural engineers to create and modify structural designs digitally, making it easier to explore different options, analyze load-bearing capacities, and optimize the structural system for efficiency and safety.
  • Detailing and Documentation: CAD services enable the generation of precise construction drawings and detailing for structural elements. These drawings include plans, elevations, sections, and schedules, providing crucial information for contractors, fabricators, and construction teams.
  • Collaboration and Coordination: CAD facilitates seamless collaboration among project stakeholders, including architects, MEP engineers, and contractors. By using a common digital platform, structural engineers can exchange design information, coordinate with other disciplines, and resolve conflicts or clashes in the building model.
  • Structural Analysis Integration: CAD software (AutoCAD) often integrates with structural analysis tools, enabling engineers to perform structural calculations and simulations. This integration ensures that the design aligns with safety codes and regulations, while also allowing engineers to assess the behavior and performance of the structure under various loads and conditions.

Benefits of CAD services for structural engineers:

  • Unparalleled accuracy

Structural CAD drafting ensures precision and accuracy in details and dimensions when preparing the construction documentation. The result is a flawless execution of the project since there is no scope for any errors/ omissions in these drawings.  Structural engineers are able to deal with multi-floor designs and complex structures easily and effectively using CAD to make sure the design is viable and practical.

  • Improved 3D visualization

CAD software creates 3D models that allow for effective visualization. The results are exceptional and it also saves a lot of time and effort. You can also use these models to convey the design intent to the clients and take their feedback. A better client interface helps you take early approvals and decisions.

  • Convenient data storage

Storage and retrieval of drawings and documents has always been a headache for AEC professionals including structural engineers, requiring a lot of space and effort. CAD, being computer software, solves this issue by allowing storage on the computer server. This offers better access to all stakeholders and is also environment-friendly saving paper.

  • Minimizing rework and revisions

Complex structural drawings are always likely to require changes/ modifications, and the manual drafting process also contained many errors. CAD software creates very accurate drawings with a minimum of errors. In addition, revisions and rework become easier and faster due to some powerful features available. Any change would automatically reflect across all related drawings saving a lot of time and effort.

  • Faster turnaround time

CAD makes the design and drafting much faster and more efficient than the manual process. Modifications made in one part can be penetrated into other parts of the model. For example, if there is some error/ proposed modification in one part of steel fabrication drawings, you don’t have to erase and draw the entire drawing again now. CAD ensures the changes are reflected across the entire set with just a mouse click. Structural engineers are thus able to stick to defined timelines and ensure faster turn-around time every time. 

  • Additional benefits

There are benefits galore of using structural drafting services that may be summarized as follows:

  • Ordinary design drawings from jpg, pdf, png, and so on can be converted to CAD files
  • The generation of drafting documents is simplified for structural engineers
  • Modifications are possible in existing designs too
  • Can generate bills of materials in a better way, saving extra expenses
  • Easy sharing and transferring of information between team members
  • Better coordination with architectural, MEP, and other stakeholders

 

Hiring CAD services for structural engineers will help you make your buildings safer and more efficient besides ensuring better collaboration with other services like architecture, interior designing, MEP, and FP. CAD makes the design and drafting process more accurate and efficient, faster, and less error-prone for faultless execution of the construction project.

An Engineering Outsourcing Services Firm provides Design Support for the structural, mechanical, electrical and public health systems required for the correct functioning of a building or interior.

Services provided:

Typical services that come under their purview would be:

  • CAD Documentation
  • Modeling
  • Clash Detection
  • Coordinated Service Drawings
  • Material Take-offs
  • Load, strength and stress analysis
  • Bid documentation and cost analysis
  • Project Management support

Hiring

An Engineering Outsourcing Services Firm is hired after evaluating their competence, work processes, quality assurance, manpower availability, track record and price.

Once a client has decided, in principle, to engage the services of an Engineering Outsourcing Services Firm, the following steps are taken to complete and formalize the hire:

  1. Get an estimate for the proposed project
  2. Discuss the schedule of the proposed project, laying stress on interim milestones
  3. Understand the communication medium and processes of the Engineering Outsourcing Services Firm
  4. Establish compatibility between the teams that will together from the client’s and the Service Provider
  5. Sign non-disclosure agreement
  6. Finalize fee, terms of engagement and contract

Delivery

It has been said that for successful completion of a project, the maximum energy is required at 2 stages: (a) Kick-off and (b) Completion

It is of paramount importance at the kick-off, that the teams from either side arrive at an agreement on the nuts and bolts of the work methodology. Paying special attention on these points will make a world of difference:

  • Schedule: More than the date, the 3 most ignored points in schedule are:
    • Deliverables of either side
    • Time: It is best to specify that each date automatically implies that the receiver will get the promised inputs before his work day begins
    • Time zone!
    • Expectations: For example, the deliverables on a particular day might have a set of drawings. But what must be specified further are things like:
      • Format: CAD / PDF / Model Space / Layout / Version of software / X Ref specs etc.
      • Transmission medium:  Email / Client FTP / Service Provider FTP / Public domain / Secure server etc. Some client emails have restrictions on the size of attachment. In case the Engineering Outsourcing Services Firm sends the client an email at the end of his day, he would never know it bounced, and the client would have lost a day!
      • Points of Contact: A communication matrix must be shared, with people, roles, access times and numbers available

Completion

Experience has it that both the client and the Engineering Outsourcing Services Firm stand to gain if the project is reviewed and documented post completion. Points to be reviewed may be:

  • Quality of end product versus expectations and versus requirements
  • Success of communication
  • Surprises (emergencies)  and how they were handled
  • Commitment to time of delivery and interim milestones specified in the schedule
  • Competence of people involved
  • Commercial viability

At the end, the possibility of working again should be shared transparently. Reasons for not repeating the transaction should be discussed. In case the intent to work together again has been mooted, then points for improvement should be documents

Hiring the services of an Engineering Outsourcing Services Firm can provide a good boost to the profitability and growth of an organization. If handled with care, the experience can prove to be as beneficial as intended, if not more.

What is an Engineering Design Services Company?

An Engineering Design Services Company is responsible for the design and implementation of the structural, mechanical, electrical and public health systems required for the correct functioning of a building or interior. This field is called differently in different countries, the most common being:

  • Building Services Engineering
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Building Engineering

What are the different types of an Engineering Design Services Company?

Various Engineering specializations integrate to create a successful built environment. They can be broadly categorized as:

  • Structural: Design of the structural components like columns, beams, trusses, foundations, etc. Structural Design Engineers test the soil, analyse the design for live and dynamic loads and also protect the structural elements against earthquakes and environmental forces like winds, corrosion, etc.
  • Mechanical: A broad category, covers many important ‘moving’ parts of the built structure like:
    • Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
    • Escalators and elevators
    • Refrigeration
    • Energy supply – gas, electricity and renewable sources
  • Electrical:
    • Low voltage (LV) systems, distribution boards and switchgear
    • Lightning protection
    • Artificial lighting
    • Security and alarm systems
    • Fire detection and protection
    • Communication lines, telephones and IT networks (ICT)
  • Public Health Engineering
    • Water supply
    • Drainage
    • Plumbing
    • Waste management

 An Engineering Design Services Company can specialize in one of these fields, or combine some, or all. The trend is that small and medium sized firms stick to single specializations. In some countries, due to work volume and synergy, it is common to combine Mechanical, Engineering and Plumbing Design Services in a single head, colloquially termed as MEP.

The firms that combine all services into one are normally large organizations that often have a national or global presence.

What is the role of an Engineering Design Services Company in the Building Process?

Speaking on the classic divide of Architects vs. Engineers, I (an Architect myself) love reminding people of this:

A project has to begin with an Engineer –whether it is Survey of the site, or testing of the soil. The design or even concepts cannot start without these.

Similarly, a building cannot be commissioned without the Municipal Engineer signing on the completion certificate. In the case of an interior, say of an office, the office is commissioned only when the IT Engineer tests and commissions the Network.

Here is briefly how Engineering Services tie into the Building Process:

  1. Conception: Structural Engineers have to approve these points at the concept stage:
    1. Stability: the building will stand and withstand wind, earthquakes etc.
    2. Pragmatism: the imagined structure can be constructed with available materials and practices.
    3. Constraints: time and budget parameters will not be exceeded
  2. Development: All Engineering Services give their plans and costs. This helps the Architect to detail out the space accurately and the client to get a closer idea of costs.
  3. Implementation: All Services give Construction Documentation, which the Architect combines to create a Coordinated Services Plan. All consultants monitor the progress of work, and commission their Services on completion of the project. Each Engineering Design Services Company has a critical contribution in the As Built Drawing Set. Since most Engineering Services are concealed, it is only these drawings that give the client knowledge for any repair, addition or alteration in the future.

How do we collate the output of each Engineering Design Services Company in a project?

The last thing you want in a project is a clash of engineering components. Traditionally, this clash was avoided by all the consultants meeting, and the Architect, using different colors for each service tried to avoid a clash. However, due to the complexity and 3 dimensional natures of all the components of services and the structure, clashes are not uncommon to find. Unfortunately these are discovered during construction and cause a lot of time and money to correct.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) a revolutionary technology allows us to create the project in 3 Dimensions, and to produce clash detection reports whenever they are seen by the software.

BIM is the future for the success and efficiency of the project and the client, and a must for the Engineering Design Services Company.

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