A Real-World Guide to Modeling with Autodesk Civil 3D
Autodesk Civil 3D radically increases your civil engineering design and efficiency if you learn to make the most of its features and partner software platforms. Our new book, Autodesk Civil 3D 2024 from Start to Finish, teaches you how to leverage the software’s strengths and scale efficiency to large design teams.
Tony Sabat, consultant and co-author, and I help you uncover all the major features Civil 3D offers, from surface development to intelligent utility design as well as dynamic display work for smart document creation. You’ll learn to configure and manage your civil engineering designs and explore practical applications of tools and modeling techniques available within the software.
By the end of this book, you’ll have a thorough understanding of Autodesk Civil 3D and develop strategies to improve your future projects. Be on the lookout for more content being published to further extend your modeling and design techniques.
|What this book is (does offer)||What this book is not (does not offer)|
|Model and Project setup guidance||Civil Engineering educational tool|
|Understanding and practical application of Civil 3D’s modeling tools and capabilities||Full AutoCAD and 2-dimensional design workflows and applications|
|Scalability of Model and Design responsibilities across design teams||Comprehensive steps to assemble a full Construction Plan Set|
Inspiration for the Book
Anyone who may be familiar with Civil 3D, or any building information modeling design tool for that matter, understands that these products are very complex, and we can very quickly get into the weeds with how they operate. Tony and I tried to simplify usage as much as possible, but really wanted to bring to light all the technology advancements being made in the civil engineering world. Our goals included:
• Bridge the gap between institutional training and real-world application
• Level-set design and engineering professionals to expedite model management growth/development
• Make it relatable
• Keep it straightforward
My experience. I’ve worked in architecture/engineering/construction since 2003, and I’ve been fortunate to learn from, and collaborate with, many of our industry’s top Civil 3D and design experts across the globe. After reading many training guides and materials on various software products that support drafting, designing and BIM for civil-based projects, I’ve been able to identify the gaps and shortcomings in some of the content being provided to us as design and engineering professionals.
In all my time researching and learning, I have yet to come across a single software training guide that ties together project setup/configuration and foundational software knowledge, while still providing that comprehensive understanding of recommended BIM techniques. Additionally, many experts have recommended that anyone looking to fully use Civil 3D should have a basic understanding of 2D drafting in AutoCAD software before truly understanding 3D design and modeling techniques.
Although I agree that there are “drafting” concepts that should be recognized and understood, I also believe that this idea can potentially root bad design habits for those learning 3D software and may stunt the overall development of design and engineering professionals from becoming true BIM designers and managers. As Civil 3D continues to evolve and become more of a model-centric design authoring tool, I felt that this training guide could provide professionals in our industry a much better opportunity to fully embrace the concept of BIM and design with intelligence from the beginning.
We break down the tools and functionality into three main design categories or markets — land development, utilities, and transportation.
In addition to these design categories, it’s important to realize all projects, whether building- or infrastructure-driven, rely on an existing built environment. Civil 3D is a great partner for hosting these parameters as well as modeling new/proposed conditions for a complementary design. In this training guide, we cover the following categories in great length:
• From a surveying perspective, we cover tools that allow for full integration of survey databases, field books, existing conditions modeling and even point cloud integration from drone and laser scan technology. Any BIM design can only be as accurate as the survey, and the existing conditions model makes these early steps critical to successful design downstream.
• From a land development perspective, we cover methods that allow a wide array of civil site designs, including subdivisions, residential/commercial sites, parks and environmental designs.
• From a utility perspective, we cover tools and functionality that support storm drainage, sanitary sewer, waterline and natural gas designs.
• From a transportation perspective, we cover tools and functionality that support roadway designs, rehabilitations and access roads. Additionally, we cover tips and tricks on how some of these tools can be applied in civil site designs, which can even be used in stream restoration projects.
Understanding real-world applications of any newer technology solution is critical from an overall adoption and implementation standpoint. Throughout this book, readers will begin to understand how and why Civil 3D is viewed as a leading BIM design authoring tool supporting the A/E/C industry.
Civil 3D Makes Design More Efficient
Civil 3D is essentially a BIM design authoring tool that allows for design geometry and multiple components to be linked dynamically and, in a way, communicate with each other. When one component is updated, it has the potential to cause a ripple effect where it can change the design outcome of many other design components.
When we think about building a house, we start with a foundation. Then, we typically frame the house on top of the foundation and finish with walls, a roof, doors, windows and insulation. Thinking about how this concept applies on the civil engineering side, we typically start with a survey. Next, we lay out our proposed site geometry as the framework, and then build everything else based on that framework (e.g., roadways and utilities).
Within Civil 3D, we can create the following intelligent components that have the potential to be linked dynamically to each other: points, surfaces, sites, alignments, profiles, sections, pipe networks (gravity utility networks), pressure networks and corridors.
Putting these components in the context of the construction workflow described earlier, each component is a steppingstone to the next component. Without establishing the foundation and framework elements, we would truly be limited in what we can do from a design standpoint. In turn, we would be setting ourselves up for a lot of questions that can’t be answered later.
By establishing the foundation and framework elements first, we are not only setting ourselves up for a more successful design, we are also creating the ability to answer questions about our BIM design models at any given point in time. A thoroughly constructed BIM design model will give us the confidence that what is displayed in the drawing area can actually be constructed.
To learn more, please consider purchasing the Autodesk Civil 3D 2024 from Start to Finish, or referring it to your colleagues who are looking to learn more about civil design software.
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