Get your Accurate Floor Plans and Inspection Drawings Today
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Get your Accurate Floor Plans and Inspection Drawings Today

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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Industry News

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.

[ Click to Enlarge ]
Clearly, inaccurate or obsolete blueprints and drawings have been the cause of many errors in construction and rebuilt efforts. This is the well-worn subject of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) study CGR-04-867, which stated that there are more than 66 billion square feet of capital facilities in the U.S. including almost 4 million commercial/institutional buildings and industrial facilities. That's not counting residential buildings. But the upshot of all this is that inadequate interoperability costs the U.S. capital facilities industry $15.8 billion per year.

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.

CADLock, Inc.. has launched new public NNTP discussion groups for use by customers and partners. The discussion groups provide an open forum for communication between CADLock staff and customers, as well as peer-to-peer discussions of CADLock software. The product support discussion group will be a primary source of technical and product support for the growing number of users of CADLock software.


Hagerman & Company, Inc., an authorized Autodesk reseller, has been named Autodesk's Channel Partner of the Year, for outstanding performance in Autodesk FY 2006. The awards were announced at Autodesk's One Team Conference, March 14-16 in Las Vegas. In addition to Channel Partner of the Year, the most prestigious award given to an Autodesk partner, Hagerman & Company received an award for the highest number of MCAD vertical seats sold in the Americas by any reseller.

Nemetschek North America congratulates the winners of the ESP Vision 2.0 Lighting Design Contest and awarded them complimentary copies of VectorWorks Spotlight 12 with RenderWorks.

Each entry was judged on these factors: complexity of cueing, cueing complimenting the song, use of truss moves, use of fixtures, and overall look. See press release for list of winners.

Pennsylvania General Services Secretary James P. Creedon received the 2006 Contribution to the Profession by a Government Official Award by AIA Pennsylvania, a Society of the American Institute of Architects, for his significant contributions and support of the architectural profession.

Autodesk, Inc. congratulates all nominees and winners of the 2006 Game Developers Choice Awards. A majority of the winners and nominees used Autodesk's 3D solutions to realize their award-winning game ideas, including Game Innovation winner Guitar Hero from Harmonix Music Systems/Red Octane. Winners were announced last week during the Game Developers Conference (GDC) at the San Jose Convention Center.

New Products

Visual Integrity has released pdf2cad v6.1, an upgrade to its popular program for converting Adobe PDF files into editable CAD drawings. The new version delivers better reporting, support for embedded images and more user-definable output options. In conjunction with the new software release, Visual Integrity is pleased to announce the appointment of as a premier on-line reseller in an effort to broaden availability for its popular conversion products.

Rasterex Software announced the release of version R8.0 of RxViewServer, their server-based solution for viewing of documents and drawings over the web.
RxViewServer allows users to view, print, measure, markup and collaborate on more than 250 different file formats over the web. Version R8.0 comes with a brand new Graphical User Interface

AVEVA Group plc announced that it is shipping its Laser Model Interface (LMI), a software solution that provides a direct link between AVEVA's VANTAGE(R) Plant Design Management System (PDMS) and four of the major 3D laser scanning systems being utilized to capture as-built data for retrofit and brownfield engineering projects.

VRCO and its affiliate Fakespace Systems, announced the availability of Conduit software for AliasStudio 13, formerly known as Alias StudioTools. As a member of the Autodesk Conductor Program, VRCO integrated Conduit as a plug-in to AliasStudio, thereby allowing designers to view and interact with native, three dimensional (3D) AliasStudio models in large-scale, interactive stereoscopic environments such as the Fakespace Power Wall, walk-in immersive rooms or high-resolution tiled displays driven by Windows PC clusters.

Right Hemisphere, the provider of Product Graphics Management (PGM) software, announced the next-generation release of its Deep Exploration client software. A powerful standalone or companion application to the company's Deep Server enterprise PGM software, Deep Exploration 4.0 is available immediately in two versions: Standard Edition and CAD Edition. Right Hemisphere also announced the availability of its two new software plug-ins for Deep Exploration CAD Edition and Adobe Acrobat 3D, called the Right Hemisphere PMI Module and the Right Hemisphere PDF Publishing Module. These plug-ins provide added functionality for 3D collaboration among suppliers and employees, and 3D PDF publishing.

Around the Web

IDC: China, India to see big gains in IT spending, by Candace Lombardi, March 23, 2006, CNET - Global IT spending growth is expected to slow slightly from 2005 due to a natural cycle shift, while China and India will see double-digit gains.

Upcoming Events

The 2006 Architectural Engineering Institute National Conference
Date: March 30 - April 2, 2006
Place: Omaha, NE USA
Conference Topics Development Processes
  • Planning
  • Programming
  • Design of different systems
  • Multihazard considerations
  • Multidisciplinary considerations
  • Integration of systems
  • Construction: including automation
  • Building Automation
  • Operations
  • Facilities Management / Building Operations
  • Commissioning / Decommissioning
  • Business, management and marketing
  • Green Buildings / LEED
  • Risk and Utility Analysis and methods
  • Building Security
  • Building sustainability
  • Life-cycle costs of buildings / infrastructures
Functions Affecting Development Processes
  • Codes and standards
  • Quality control
  • Education and ethics
  • IAQ
Building Systems Analysis, Design, Integration
  • Building envelope
  • Glazing
  • Curtainwalls
  • Anchors
  • Structural analysis and design
  • Non-Structural seismic analysis and design
  • Mechanical / Electrical Systems
  • HVAC
  • Communication systems
  • Security systems
  • Blast / progressive collapse
  • Site planning
  • Earthquakes
  • Wind
  • Noise and vibration control
  • Retrofit, including multidisciplinary concerns
  • Composite and innovative new materials
  • FEMA 426
A.R.E. Design and Site Graphics Seminar
Date: March 31 - April 2, 2006
Place: Paul Cejas School of Architecture at FIU Tamiami Campus
11200 SW 8th Street, PCA 175, Miami, FL 33199 USA
Facilities for Emerging Sciences
Date: April 10 - 11, 2006
Place: St. Petersburg, FL USA
Conference sessions will focus on facilities and fit-ups for:
  • Genomics
  • Proteomics
  • Nano-biomedical applications
  • Emerging Diseases/Biodefense
  • Nano-medicine
  • Imaging and characterization technologies
How The Weitz Company Limits Project Risk and Improves Business Processes / What is Your ROI?
Date: April 18, 2006
Place: Webinar from Data Builder, Inc.
500 SW 7th Street, Suite 104, Des Moines, IA USA
Join special guest Mark Federle, Chief Information Officer of The Weitz Company, for this Webinar and live e-PCS demonstration by Data Builder

According to a recent Iowa State University Study, "Since documentation is a critical factor in managing risk, technology that improves a company's ability to create, distribute, archive and retrieve documents will necessarily lead to better risk management protocols."

Join Mark Federle, Chief Information Officer of The Weitz Company, and Scott Lombard, Vice President of Data Builder Inc.'s Sales and Marketing department, for this one-hour Webinar to learn:
  1. How to identify the appropriate starting point to strengthen your company's management of critical information.
  2. Best Practices for implementing an electronic project control system across multiple business units and locations.
  3. An understanding of the risk and return parameters through both qualitative and quantitative benefits.
  4. How to calculate your company's Return on Investment (ROI) in adopting an electronic documentation system.
Please join us for this complimentary online event and learn first hand how our clients have strengthened control of critical information electronically with Data Builder's solutions.

One Day Only on April 18, 2006 from 3:00 PM through 4:00 PM CST

To register for this complimentary webcast, please navegate on the above link or call 515-471-1608 if you have any questions. *If you are busy that day, sign up anyway! You can play back the scheduled broadcast any time you like.


The Team at Data Builder, Inc.


Dexter & Chaney 10th Annual User Conference
Date: April 27 - 28, 2006
Place: Seattle, WA USA
Our 2006 Conference will begin with our signature kick-off event on Wednesday, April 26, 2006. The Conference sessions will commence bright and early on Thursday, April 27th and will end at approximately 5:00 p.m. on April 28th.


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