The slow progress of CAD integration– Costs

clip_image001After SAICIC’s death, several Mexican programs appropriated this market, making it one of the engineering areas that was first automated. I remember that sometimes I’d trained costs’ course, and it was necessary to test different applications (available in those days), such us NewWall, Opus, Campeon Neodata. The latter seemed better even it bothered me I couldn’t distribute it in my country because I required to be a week in Mexico; apart from not having money, it seemed me absurd to learn how to use a program that I already knew how to be used. By now it’s drawing my attention Opus, that has recently made enough noise in AdWords so as to bite me in order to do a review any of these days… but paid clip_image002

By now, let’s review for free the old story, the good these programs have done, and why have it cost so much its integration with CAD.

The necessity

A construction company, which removes the bidding documents for an eight floors’ building and has two weeks to make their proposal, would spend three engineers time to calculate the quantities in Notepad, define the unit cost sheets in Excel, approximate overhead factors and make a fair estimate. But, if once bids are submitted it’s allowed one day to reformulate a new proposal, they would certainly have serious difficulties to go to the fair without having nightmares about the probable error margin.

The essential

In this, programs like those mentioned above, all SAICIC’s children do the same, create data structures from input:

  • Materials
  • Labor
  • Subcontracts
  • Machinery
  • Tool

Then they are ready to build basic unit costs (core) tabs, which are subsequently integrated into constructive elements (Integrated), these are grouped under budget’s thematic lines (Items), and finally fit according the needs of a financial proposal (Chapters). That logic of matrix indexing is the same that have been implemented by everybody, going one step further up the tree to Projects, in addition it has been adapted to different growing needs such as the definition of economic zones and different requirements of overexpenditure factors that vary by country, but that have been parameterized (more than less).

I remember doing this in Lotus 123, was to die, but very educational to understand continental drift, je je, I mean my patience.

The extras

As a next step, programs integrated add-ons to the basic unit cost module, the managing for the recovery estimates after the construction’s initiation, a module for planning with critical path times, inventory control and some other modules for the financial management planning module.

CAD integration

This is the best achievement that can be considered in graphical integration, although it was very primitive, we can mention two applications made by Neodata:

Calculation of dynamic amounts

While the shape is quite archaic by means of attributes, it can be considered a good conceptualization of the Bim (Building Information Modeling), which is lately becoming fashionable. The better gain is that the budget can be kept “half dynamic”, such that changing levels can generate a budget modification if you like so. It is also a good application the one which cuts of steel that eventually will be a headache for the master builder and contractor of steel assembly.


The theming by attributes

In one of its modules called “housing market” Neodata integrates a primitive GIS, where you can paint the batches according to the state of purchase or financial solvency.


In conclusion

I would like to say more, but there is not much more to see, not because it doesn’t exist, but because its use has become popular. Finding a reason why this has not had many advances is complicated, is not the GIS extreme for painted maps and its divorce from the precise CAD. Nor can we deny that it is a superfluous necessity, having the CAD / CAM programs so many markets and specific costs programs for AEC.

Looking for a reason, I can only refer to what in my moments of Capuccino’s drinking I gather with those who create and analyze (smoke) in C #, remembering that more than once we have left on the board a visionary project in this field. Although IntelliCAD and DataCAD have tried it, we ended up concluding that the problem is the development’s sustainability which is the reason for the instability of the vector standard most commonly used (it cost much and last bit). While many recognize the dgn as more robust, dwg is better known and dxf is a ghost that all marry for interests of unfaithful trade.

Unless this changes, this dream will remain the nightmare that has passed Quantity Takeoff, which in despite of being as old as Eagle Point and be owned by AutoDesk, is only available for the United States. It is curious that some Quantity Takeoff functions are integrated in Civil 3D, but very few have seen them put in place.

We hope that the consolidation of the Bim approach that is now coming to the GIS and the integrated work of AutoDesk – Bentley can give greater stability to the standards; this should motivate the development of better… sustainable applications in this area.

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