Welcome to AECWeekly! Accuracy of floor plans and inspection drawings has always been critical, but since that accuracy has been difficult to achieve, many building owners and operators have had to settle for less than perfect. Read about how GiveMePower's SiteMaster mobile building and CAD software is being used to solve these problems in this week's Industry News.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Get your Accurate Floor Plans and Inspection Drawings Today
by Susan Smith
Accuracy of floor plans and inspection drawings has always been critical, but since that accuracy has been difficult to achieve, many building owners and operators have had to settle for less than perfect.
Many software vendors are addressing this critical dilemma, driven by the heightened awareness of a need for building owners and operators to be able to produce accurate digital floor plans for emergency and homeland security purposes.
In speaking with Bill Walton, CEO of GiveMePower Corporation and Jake DuPratt, president of DuPratt Precision Services of Chico, California, about the use of GiveMePower's PowerCAD SiteMaster in surveying and CAD to produce accurate floor plans and drawings.
According to Walton, SiteMaster mobile/wireless building surveying and asset mapping software allows the roles of building surveyor and CAD drafter to be rolled into one. SiteMaster is its own fully functional CAD program to be used on a Leica Disto or other hand laser measuring instruments.
DuPratt Precision Services has been in the business of providing precision floor plans and inspection drawings for many years. According to Jake DuPratt, the biggest problem they were having was cost, and next, mobility. “We were using AutoCAD and Architectural Desktop (ADT) ( which is quite a bit more expensive than AutoCAD). To have it in the field required a device that ran a full operating system and also generally took clunkier plug-ins and peripherals,” explained DuPratt. What sold them on SiteMaster, was “the fact that the SiteMaster software was designed with the Bluetooth laser as far as input and hands-free use.” DuPratt had intended to solve some of these problems on his own by using other hardware and software devices when he stumbled upon SiteMaster. “The product has grown phenomenally over the past two years. It's CAD on your wrist. If you know what you're doing with CAD, once you make a note or draw a line, or place something, it's done, you don't have to translate it to something else.”
DuPratt said that he still uses ADT and AutoCAD on some projects that are large scale many elements, but mostly he uses SiteMaster as the files are in DWG format and he can simply pull them into AutoCAD and manipulate them without having to translate them. According to DuPratt, he can move AutoCAD files back and forth from the Disto without any translation issues, and have professionally finished AutoCAD compatible results using SiteMaster.
Walton said that the uses for SiteMaster have been growing. An architect doing an historical reconstruction said that he would pad his bill by 20% if he couldn't get accurate as-built floor plans. “On a $4 million project, that's significant.” Realtors have been up and running with SiteMaster in an hour or two.
SiteMaster uses the Open Design Alliance libraries to be able to read and write DWG/DXF for vector format. They have also added other output formats, which range from publishing formats to DWF, plus standard bitmap formats. Other information such as building scheduling and detail information comes out in an Excel spreadsheet.
How long does it take to generate a floor plan? DuPratt's clients, many of whom live in Beverley Hills and Malibu, have homes of 4,500-12,000 square feet. To make renovations on a home there, you must submit as-built plans of what you plan to do. Some of the structures were built in the '20s and don't have existing blueprints. “These people are paying so much for renovations to their homes that the architects will pay me so they don't have to go out and do it,” said DuPratt.
A single person with SiteMaster on a Leica Disto can do up to 40,000 square feet of finished production plans in one day, which includes detailed plans for walls and windows. “To draft the whole thing would take a long time,” he noted.
On the commercial side, using the same solution, users can get as much as 200,000 square feet of floor plan done in a day or two, doing basically structural design. An example of this is where McDonalds restaurants needed to create plans for 340 restaurants in the UK. It was calculated as a three-man one day job. With SiteMaster they were able to do it on average in 4-5 hours with one person.
Leading IT consultancy, Cambashi, has announced the start of a Web-based survey of the structural engineering community. As the construction industry wrestles with both the shift from 2D to 3D CAD and the newly-instigated Eurocodes, this research investigates the extent to which today's engineering software meets industry's needs.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development announced that it is forming an alliance of leading global companies to determine how buildings can be designed and constructed so that they use no energy from external power grids, are carbon neutral, and can be built and operated at fair market values.
Meridian Systems announced the availability of a new Prolog customer case study profiling Costanza Builders, a third generation, family-owned company that has served the Delaware Valley region since the 1920's. Based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Costanza Builders specializes in multi-family residential, hospitality, commercial, education, and urban redevelopment projects.
Megola Inc., a leading environmental solution provider in physical water treatment, microbiological control, wastewater treatment and air purification, announced that it has joined the newly formed Canada Green Building Council.
Sepialine -- a provider of Cost Recovery solutions -- announced compatibility with AutoCAD® 2007 design software. AutoCAD 2007 is the latest version of the flagship design software from Autodesk, Inc. and the standard for computer aided design (CAD). It is used by architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms around the world.
Cyon Research Corporation, host of COFES (Congress on the Future of Engineering Software), announced that its premier event, COFES 2006, has seen unprecedented rates of registration and the think tank will open with record levels of participation next month.
A major focus of COFES this year is its 'Innovate Button' campaign: “Wouldn't it be great if there were a button we could push and innovation would just happen?” COFES 2006 will examine some new technologies we have seen that give us the hint that the fantasy “innovate button” might not be that unrealistic 6-10 years down the road.