The current buzzword in the construction industry is BIM or Building Information Modeling. To participate, you would need to be involved in a high end commercial/industrial project, have highly trained AutoDesk (or other software) product drafters and estimators on your staff and a large investment in software and hardware. The basic premise behind BIM is that if all parties have access to the three dimensional electronic plans and have electronic input into the planning of the project early on, then the project will be better planned, take less time, and cost less. These are the aspects of another strange sounding buzzword: the 5D Model – Length, Width, Height, Time (to build), Cost (to build and/or maintain/operate).
This is an excellent concept. And, it is not practical for the average General or Framing Contractor because of the investment in computer software & hardware, personnel and the lack of return on investment except in very high end, large scale projects – especially in this economy. What this software does is visually show a 3D representation of the project so that everyone can better grasp the impact of all components on each other and the question “Why didn’t someone take a look at whether or not this would actually fit?” does not need to be asked/answered because everyone can see whether or not it fits before it is built. The process helps everyone understand the costs and methods required for construction of the project.
For the last 14 years as a Framing Manager, I have planned every building (several hundred homes), using inexpensive software and digital information received from architects and engineers, to the extent that I knew where every piece of wood and metal would or should be (and whether or not there were conflicts with toilets, lights, HVAC, etc) before concrete was poured. And this work was done for less than 50¢/sf – sometimes less than 20¢/sf. I have developed drafting techniques that help you understand the impact of all components using a 2D drafting system. These techniques are easily understood and learnable.
I have produced a series of videos using the Adobe Flash Player that answer the question “What Can I do with AutoCAD LT in Construction?” They are part of a 45 minute live presentation I produced. They have been separated into individual videos (rather than the 45 minute version) so that you can watch them as you have the time – and they are free. The web page to begin watching them is here.
However you learn AutoCAD LT, on your own or I assist in the learning process, I believe that AutoCAD LT is a major cost effective tool in the overall construction process. Learn to use it and benefit yourself, your career and your business.