Smaller civil engineering firms have the regional knowledge and relationships with local developers to allow them to win significant subdivision design projects. Their goal is to deliver a quality design at a reasonable, profitable fee – to dominate their market!
To achieve this, these firms require design software that significantly increases their efficiency and allows them to deliver quality designs faster with minimal training.
Site design software must be:
- Available at a reasonable cost.
- Useable from day one with minimal training.
- Able to quantitatively reduce the time required to deliver accurate design drawings.
Autodesk’s Civil 3D is the de facto standard for road and highway design in the United States. It is a powerful collection of proven tools that have systematically evolved over the years. Civil 3D users tend to fall into two broad groups:
- Those who have invested the time and effort to fully learn and understand Civil 3D. These users are keen supporters.
- Those who find Civil 3D expensive and too complex to use effectively. They have made the investment in the software and training but are not realizing the benefits they expected.
I found the following quotation from an experienced Civil 3D user and instructor on Linkedin to be quite revealing:
” I love it (ie Civil 3D), I can use it, but still face all the issues listed. I stand by that out of all the users, 5% can actually use it, even after all these years. In the end, it costs everyone that tries to use it, more money than what they are doing already. I’ve made a living off of it being so difficult to use, only to be left tired of all the complaints and 2D usage of C3D!”
Civil Site Design from Civil Survey Solutions has taken a different approach. Originally marketed as Advanced Road Design, it was an add-on to Civil 3D designed to simplify and automate the generation of road designs. That anyone could successfully sell such an add-on to an already expensive product is indicative of the benefits it offers.
Now Civil Site Design has evolved into a feature rich site design application that continues to work with Civil 3D but also runs on top of AutoCAD and BricsCAD significantly reducing the overall cost of the software. The chart below compares the 5 year cost of Civil 3D rental versus Civil Site Design running on top of BricsCAD.
A smaller firm will realize a 5 year savings of close to $7,000 per license. Imagine the savings in larger firms with 20 or more licenses. Firms who have not invested in Civil 3D will recoup the cost of the software in their first design.
But there are even more significant benefits than cost alone – productivity:
- Training costs are minimal. With extensive on-line video’s and tutorial files, users can begin designing roads and sites after 8-16 hours of self training. A Civil 3D training video series is 48 hours long.
- With the automated road design tool, a preliminary design for a 10 road subdivision can be generated in less than 5 minutes.
- With real-time rendering integrated directly with your design, designers can immediately visualize a design, perform line of sight analysis, drive throughs and create videos instantly.
- Personalized support from developers who still care about you.
- Data sharing allows multiple users to work on different design components simultaneously with real-time updates amongst users.
- BricsCAD and Civil Site Design are noticeably faster and more stable than Civil 3D even on lower cost computers
Civil Site Design is not going to replace Civil 3D in the short term. But if you are a smaller civil engineering firm that wants to dominate your local market or if your organization is not realizing the full benefits of Civil 3D, spend a few minutes to review this overview video and consider downloading the free 30 day trial available at the Civil Site Design website.