Outsource 2D CAD Services for Technical Excellence & Cost Effectiveness



The AEC industry has witnessed several ups and downs in the last decade, more or less reciprocating to the rise and fall of oil prices and factors alike. This resulted in adherence to cost cutting measures where large architectural design firms moved into small offices. This also compelled them to lay off some of the key resources that they do not need all the time. 

However; managing building construction projects without them would and could harm the success of the project. The most prominent was collaborating or sharing various parts of the construction project with other stakeholders in the same capacity, which their reduced manpower resources were not able to accomplish.

Outsourcing these roles and responsibilities, proved really helpful to these businesses in keeping their projects going and businesses afloat. The list of resources that were outsourced remarkably includes CAD drafters, BIM 3D modelers, structural designers and engineers, CAD and BIM specialists, MEP CAD professionals, mechanical as well as electrical engineers and many more. 

Architectural drafters top the list of outsourced services in the last decade and the AEC firms have been successful in achieving cost efficiency, and managing the work even after letting go folks who were employed full time but weren’t needed. If you are one of the firms who has let go such folks and do not have a drafting department, outsourcing can help you big time.

Do your Math right

Contracts hourly rates cost you a fortune if compared to employee hourly rates, then how is it beneficial? The reason how they prove to be cost effective is that there are no additional overheads associated to these contracts in terms of vacation pay, Tax pay, Bonuses, and so on and so forth when you employ a design consultant. 

It’s quite straightforward that you only pay for what you avail. Also you have the option to not to call them back if you aren’t satisfied with the service; you spare the formalities & might as well move on to someone better. The second best part is saving the headache and overheads of infrastructure and effective CADD stations with GIS capabilities which can cost you up to around $15000. But if your drafter is not occupied for 8 hours a day for 5 days a week; how will you reach the breakeven? 

Quality over Everything 

Especially with concurrent market dynamics when work is scarce and competition is cut throat, spending adequate and quality time in growing and nurturing the business becomes more than necessary. Architects, Engineers and construction professionals, may be are the best on site, but may fail miserably when it comes to data analysis and report writing. 

Irrespective of the fact that their employees are technically sound, their methods are latest, but if the drawings don’t look technically correct and brilliant, they fail. Humans have a tendency to look and interpret “pictures” instead of reading texts, and this is what should be considered for putting in extra efforts to emphasize the quality of drawings with help of professionals at cost effective rates.

Ever heard of a design firm delivering two sets of drawings, on for the client’s brainy set of people and another for the management who do not understand technicalities, but just the progress of the project and cost involved. No - never, would someone do this. Best 2D Drafters are the ones who prepare drawings that can be understood by anyone who looks at it. These are the drafters, outsourcing CADD services providers have onboard, and you had to let off them due to cost implications.

Chose trained over training

As mentioned earlier, due to increased competition and less work, delivering projects in time - every time becomes one of the important aspect. You think upon taking up 2D CAD drawing projects for 2D representations of interior planning and demarcations, floor plans, presentation drawings, building elevation drawings, furniture detailing and many more can leave architectural firms with time to train their in-house drafters? It is practically impossible. However; outsourcing 2D architectural CAD services support designs of all types of buildings including Commercial, government, industrial facilities, Institutional and residential.

They are already trained and can transform conceptual architecture design sketches to detailed 2D CAD drawings enabling architects, contractors and construction firms in making informed decisions for improved productivity of building development projects.

Conclusion

While architectural firms focus on client requirements, their outsourcing 2D CAD partners concentrate on location drawings and general arrangement drawings, assembly drawings, building elements and details, component drawings, projections, working drawings & a lot more. Outsourcing services have proven their worth as an ongoing and effective way to save money and still provide clients with technical excellence. This is the time, Join the bandwagon o reap timely benefits.

Are You Choosing the Right 3D Printing Technology for Your Product?


The fiercely competitive market requires manufacturers to keep their products innovative, and as such, it is critical to choose the right prototyping process during the product development cycle. Unlike traditional prototyping techniques like injection molding or CNC machining, there is a tremendous growth in the usage of 3D printing or rapid prototyping technologies. This technique makes use of 3D CAD models to develop a product by printing the material layer by later. One of the significant benefits of 3D printing is its capability to develop complex parts, which is impossible with the traditional techniques.

The advancement in this technology has enabled multiple 3D printing processes to develop prototypes, and it is often difficult for the design engineer or the manufacturer to choose the right one. Let’s take a look at the benefits and limitations of each of these technologies, so that you can select the right one for your prototyping requirement.

1. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

The FDM technique involves melting and solidifying of thermoplastics resins like ABS or polycarbonate, layer by layer to develop a finished part. The prototype developed using this technique, is stronger as compared to other rapid prototyping techniques; however the surface finish quality is not good.

Key Parameters:
Price: Moderate
Strength: Low
Surface Finish: Rough
Functional Testing: Limited


2. Stereolithography (SL)

This technique makes use of a laser which is projected on a pool of liquid resin to form the part. With each layer completion, the part is lowered in the pool to solidify the next liquid layer through the laser. Parts developed using Stereolithography possess good surface finish but are relatively lower in strength as compared to other 3D printing techniques.

Key Parameters:
Price: Moderate
Strength: Low
Surface Finish: Excellent

Functional Testing: Limited

3. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

SLS involves the similar process to that of Stereolithography. The only difference is that SLS makes use of a CO2 laser to fuse metal powder and form the solid part. The major advantage of this technique is that the parts produced have better strength, and as such it is mostly used to develop functional prototypes as well as for actual production. Although the surface finish is bit rough, finishing process can assist in creating a good surface quality, high strength prototypes.

Key Parameters:

Price: Moderate
Strength: Moderate
Surface Finish: Moderate
Functional Testing: Limited


4. PolyJet

This method makes use of a print head to spray photopolymer resin layers, which are cured according to the part shape using UV light. With PolyJet, the layers printed are very thin; hence the resolution is excellent as compared to other methods.

Key Parameters:
Price: Moderate
Strength: Low
Surface Finish: Good
Functional Testing: Not Fit for Testing


5. Digital Light Processing (DLP)

In this technique, a solid part is digitally sliced into layers which are then projected on the liquid photopolymer surface. The UV light solidifies each later of the liquid polymer and process is repeated in small increments with each layer image. Once the layers are hardened, rest of the liquid polymer is drained. This technique is more suitable to develop small parts that do not require good surface finish quality.

Key Parameters:
Price: High
Strength: Moderate
Surface Finish: Moderate
Functional Testing: Limited


6. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

DMLS is useful to develop metal prototypes and is similar in process to that of the SLS. This technique provides near identical material properties to that of the part developed using CNC machining, since the same metal powder is used to print the part. Thus, the prototype can be used for further operations like shaping, milling, drilling or reaming. Also, surface finishing processes like anodizing, electro-polishing or powder coating is compatible with DMLS parts.
 
Key Parameters:
Price: High
Strength: High
Surface Finish: Moderate
Functional Testing: Limited


Interested in developing a prototype for your product using rapid prototyping? Contact us with your project details at info@hitechcaddservices.com. We deliver services like 3D modeling, reverse engineering and rapid prototyping to product manufacturers globally.

Aligning IPD Approach with BIM for Efficient Construction Projects


It is expected that by year 2040, with an increase of 32% as compared to year 2012, commercial buildings will occupy more than 109 billion square feet of floor space. This includes commercial spaces like schools, hospital, churches, warehouses, offices etc. This rapidly increasing commercial construction projects are putting human life on the planet in harm’s way. Having said this, we cannot even imagine the amount of waste it will generate, the delays that will cost double than planned and above all, it will hit hard on suitability. You will need an approach that sets the terms right along with integration of BIM for commercial building construction.
Setting the goals straight apart, unlike any other project efforts, Integrated Project delivery (IPD) creates a unique bond from the very first day of planning stages, binding all major project stakeholders including architects, owners, managers, engineers, contractors and subcontractors. Professional associations like AIA and AGC have stepped up to create standards and guidelines to be used in the Integrated Project Delivery process. 
So let’s understand what exactly should be expected from IPD.
  • Stakeholders come together to evaluate multiple solutions that can enhance the quality of the product. This will simplify the process thereby minimizing the errors and re-designing problems.
  • All evaluations from stage one must be incorporated in the design process. Sustainability goals are clearly defined with incorporating code regulations in design phase itself. If you plan your project meticulously with the Integrated Project Delivery it will help in cutting down the waste and help save on budget.
  • Prospects to use accelerated and lean construction methods on an end-to-end as well as on a per-phase basis (thus increasing overall cost and time savings). Parallel construction project scheduling is quite a chance compared to traditional project delivery.
In IPD; BIM is the essential platform for enabling 3D model integration and exchanging information among team members. In the IPD model BIM technologies sit above an intranet which serves as the project’s base IT infrastructure. It is then digital modelling which drives innovation in the project. To this end the IPD documents crafted by the AIACC mandate and promote the full scale implementation of digital technologies. 
For example, contract E 202 2008, the BIM Protocol Exhibit, explicitly encompasses a range of acceptable uses for BIM including: model ownership, model responsibilities and authorized uses including cost estimating, construction scheduling, documents, shop drawings and project adaptations.
Benefits of Integrated Project Delivery - IPD:
  • Planned and predicted outcomes, risks and gains with help of open collaboration
  • Planning of all relevant aspects of the construction process known as representation
  • Assessment of construction results with help of detailed analysis
  • Overall collaboration resulting in higher standards
  • Rapid detection and resolution to fabrication procedure issues
  • Precise Contract documentation for all stakeholders to avoid construction process pitfalls
  • Overall collaboration resulting in better and more precise job estimates
  • Diminished errors, omissions and disputes pacing up the construction process, resulting in cost efficiency
Model tenure is recognized in early stage workshops and is critical to the success of the project. Level of detailing- from LOD 100 to LOD 500, holds quite an importance depending on members capacity to detail it. The members with precise and strongest BIM capabilities are often the ‘Model Owner’ irrespective of their role in team or firm. Determining time and cost, schedule sequencing and cost estimating is linked to the 3D model and constantly updated to mirror the assessed cost of the planned design.
It will be fair to say that IPD can be looked upon as a procurement model with all parties equally responsible for any risk that falls upon. Risks are further coped up using contracts that mandate the BIM usage among all involved.

Structural 3D Modeling; Lifeline for Construction Projects

 
The structural engineer deduces the architectural design to understand the structural project; & make a particular analytical model which establishes a structural representation that fits into the total design. 
Structural 3D modeling is an integral part of building design and hence; it becomes extremely necessary to develop a high quality structural design, as the building performance heavily relies on the internal structure. 
With the shift from CAD to BIM, it’s important for structural engineers to make this transition not just for huge projects with multiple complexities, but for day to day basis as well. 3D modeling generates wider scope of transparency and minimizes the risk.
Why structural 3D modeling is important?
BIM is one of the significant factors apart from integrated project delivery and sustainability in any construction undertaken today. It aids in obtaining all-inclusive information pertaining to building designs such as architectural design, and also coordinates structural and MEP elements, position of fittings prior to construction.  
GA – general assembly drawings: It’s quite evident that 3D model generates interactive views and section in no time. Though if you are an adamant traditional follower you would very well say 2D GA drawings are just the same, but I would argue that 3D gives more refined views and clarity to the construction stakeholders in various discipline (e.g.  Foundations, steel structure, precast concrete, cladding,) and can be grouped in layers or separate views.
Structural 3D and Structural steel shop drawing are too important to leave a window for error. Structural steel shop drawings include wide-ranging data related to prefabricated elements and is developed by detailers, contractors, fabricators and even sub-contractors. So shop drawings will provide the stakeholders with detailed information of the concerned object including shape and size of all the elements, followed with dimension to every individual element, fabrication process of parts and elements, and most importantly how all the elements will be placed together, etc.
Structural shop drawings also offers detailed sequential description of construction phase such as floor plans, elevations, ceiling planes etc. If you are renovating any commercial or residential building you may need construction drawings. Having said that; 2D construction drawings obtained from 3D models help in such projects by giving an estimate of building plan. 

Not only that, you can get parts, DXF drawings and complex wooden structures form 3D models as well. BIM assists the structural engineers in generating top notch structural 3D models for building project that can later be linked to MEP model for creating final coordinated model.
BIM level 2 mandate has made several organizations establish a specific BIM framework and how can it be implemented. Usually structural engineers contribute to a part of 'the BIM' in accordance with other disciplines, who will also contribute their part. 
In the structural engineer's area, this data, which includes the model, or BIM, will usually be in the form of: 
(a)  Geometrical structural models, probably in form of an integrated part of a bigger building model
(b)  Finite Element models based on calculations and analytics
(c)  Documentation backed up with several other specifications 
No wonder if 3D modeling becomes a compulsion for structural engineers, working on any micro or macro project in near future.

Australia Should Adopt Pre-fabrication to Address their Housing Affordability Issue



Home tenure is a keystone of the great Australian vision, providing economic and emotive safety, and time and again signifying the major investment an individual will make. However, home buyers are gradually going for higher density habitants such as apartments, flats and townhouses. According to a survey, over the five years through 2015-16, industry revenue is projected to decline by an annualized 1.0% to total $40.6 billion. This includes the contraction of 2.4% during the current year, reflecting a declining number of dwelling commencements following strong growth in the previous two years. 

In the midst of Australia’s housing affordability issue, prefabricated homes offer a solution. Experts believe that prefab housing is likely to decrease the cost of a new habitant by at least 10 per cent (excluding the purchase cost of land). Case studies of UK show savings of up to 10% to 15% in building costs and a 40% reduction in construction timelines. Manufacturing is more efficient, and factories don’t lose time due to bad weather.

Cost-effective and regulatory changes are likely to push for prefabrication 1.0

The prefabricated components, or let’s say “prefabrication 1.0” is a panelized system that incorporates layers of sheathing, insulation, air barrier, and coating. The components aren’t just confined to this. It can be modular construction components as well, the six sided boxes built with flooring, a roof, and door and among other HVAC features. Prefab boosts off-site manufacturing and the assembling of components becomes much easier than onsite. Hence, prefabrication 1.0 can cut construction time by 30% and can save tons of material that of on-site working.

The benefits of prefabrication like reduced construction time, reduced site trouble, saving from natural hazards are the common and most known. However, integrating it with BIM gives you a wider scope of exploring other benefits of this method


Why you should BIM - cation (BIM prefabrication):

BIM enables designers to participate from the very onset of the project unlike that of an outdated construction method. This aids in developing 3D BIM models that are used for virtual illustrations, information storage and analyses for the concerned project. MEP or HVAC clash detection done prior to construction saves considerable time and costs as well. 

Incorporating all disciplines at the design stage enables prefabricated construction. For major services like Plant room, chilled water pipes, etc. can be fabricated beforehand off-site and just be brought on-site for putting in the right place. Apart from saving the construction time, prefabrication of MEP services lessens the threat of high labor force on site as all stakeholders will bring together and produce service modules at the on-site and carrying it to the construction site.

Designers can conduct several building simultaneously to know the operability of the building prior to construction. 4D simulations done using software such as Autodesk Navisworks can assist the team in getting an improved insight into health and safety challenges likely to happen across the building construction projects. It becomes much easier to calculate Heating and cooling loads using the model than old spreadsheet methods. Apart from this, HVAC duct sizing and pipe sizing can too be calculated and distinct reports can be made for all computational studies carried out using the model.

Prefabrication means what to whom and why you should use it,

Architects: You have the most influence during the design phase of the project in deducing if the prefabrication is suitable or not. For you, prefabrication is a huge takeaway, for it offers better project efficiency, generating more sustainable structures and eventually growing ROI for the client as well as other members of the project team.

General Contractors and Construction Managers: Prefabrication delivers anticipated results for your schedule and costs. Research and surveys have time and again shown how prefabrication can decrease the buying and fitting costs of materials and compress project plans. These issues can in the long run cut the budget and let your firms be more competitive.
 
Owners: Given the accuracy BIM provides, and the quality provided by latest materials and manufacturing services, prefabrication construction offers the chance to attain substantial outputs on your schemes.

Conclusion:

Prefabrication/modularization has not been practiced consistently over quite a period of time. It has fluctuated terribly according to wars and economic booms. Nonetheless, industrial developments over the past two decades have grown greater than before what prefabrication/modularization can attain in the construction industry. BIM, along with urbane manufacturing abilities now bids major productivity advances on projects.
With a construction industry facing severe shortages for onsite skilled labor its high time we adopt prefabrication/modular approach for better functioning and improved solutions for the projects.

BIM Data Sharing is for Transparency, but will it succeed?


One facet of BIM Level 2 is to set up of a Common Data Environment - CDE. In the setting of the Government focus for BIM Level 2, the CDE is listed by the business in the Employer's Information Requirements - EIR. This information is to a great extent, although not completely, related to the physical asset and choices the employers have to make during the growth of the facility.
Tier 1 contractual worker are exceptionally fascinated for utilizing the given data to smoother the construction process, both at the commencement stage and for managing facility. New developments are inclusive of digitizing the archives in forms attached to a BIM model. Models are connected to the programing software to create 3D visualization for clash detection and construction sequencing. Date and location specific data is recorded in the field, and at the same time one can also investigate the models for their data history.
It’s not a new thing. Contractors have so far kept all records and recorded the design developments through variations. The catch here, however is, how BIM can contribute in bringing transparency between all stakeholders. The root of BIM is “the single source of truth”, and the industry recognizes that information transparency is more than important, than ever. But the truth is that it’s a collective practice, where stakeholders look at it in their own commercial interest. The data or information is used in a very non-collaborative “need to know” basis and confidential as well at times.
It is hard to perceive how things will change; as there will be a discrepancy between records that the contractors require for their own reasons, and the data an employer might request to be kept in the CDE. In any case, if the source of information is solid and information is promptly accessible, it would help us to reduce the irregularity of records, which in previous cases would have prevented us from having a flawless picture of events in case of problems.
Project records are held in a CDE with access granted to any and every stakeholder to the project, or a committee will be asked to resolve the disputes, do you think it is a far-fetched possibility? How soon can we initiate from one source of truth held in the CDE and focus on resolving challenges from a common base?
For once-in-a-lifetime, tier 1 contractors employed with smaller projects, the information may not be recorded. But if larger tier 1 contractors bring together these practices as a set standard and make it a mandate for their supply chain to follow, the accessibility of data will become much more common, and the challenges of access and how it can be used in events of disagreements, will be a real problem for the industry.

BIM Level 2; Developing Coordination & Collaboration or Causing Complexity


One of the prime expectations of UK BIM mandate was, through improved communication and collaboration; it will bring greater clarity to projects. It would also enable better decisions and reduce risks, resulting in greater certainty of successful delivery. It will standardize procedures and the way information is provided and shared. But, holding it back is the very fact that every design practice and contractor has a diverse setup.

Expectations from BIM mandate was that it would drive increased collaboration and initiate a different set of behavior within building construction projects. Along with this anticipated change, a suite of standard documents - PAS was also designed to unify the approach across the industry. PAS 1192-2:2013 is a set of specifications for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modelling. This was to ensure that almost everyone nearly speaks the same language when it comes to BIM. 

So what needs to be assessed is, has PAS suite and some of those beliefs, helped the building construction industry to collaborate more effectively and efficiently or is complicating the situation furthermore?

As a matter of fact, architects, contractors, surveyors and several other stakeholders are still struggling to interpret the documents and the protocols. Some of them are experiencing BIM level 2 anxieties. They also fear, if they are appropriately positioned to implement BIM level 2.

LOD is sometimes interpreted as Level of Detail instead of Level of Development. This Specification uses the concept of Levels of Development. Level of Detail is essentially how much detail is included in the model element, whereas Level of Development is the degree to which the element’s geometry and attached information has been thought through. It is the degree to which project team members may rely on the information when using the model. In essence, Level of Detail can be thought of as input to the element, while Level of Development is reliable output.

Level 2 BIM has been presented more technically challenging than what it actually is, says Bhushan Avsatthi, Associate director - Hi Tech Outsourcing Services.

The challenge is that none of our clients have the time to sit and read all the government standards and documents to ensure they tick every single box as it is massively complicated. We, as BIM consultants, are sent across papers on BIM or are invited for seminars and conferences, to navigate professionals from the industry. We are confident of achieving all the principles of Level 2, and it is our constant endeavor to stay complaint to the minutest detail written in government documents.

We aim to engage at the client’s executive board level and work towards a holistic approach to define business case and strategy to embrace the value that BIM can provide and maximize benefits, yours occupants, and ours.

Though we believe and follow the standard driven approach, we strongly feel that these standards could be better coordinated. Several PAS and BS 1192 documents are greatly articulated, but they are missing on the fines in terms of a progression path that can link together all the RIBA stages. Is it advisable, leaving it out for the project teams to work it out on their own, is something which I am not very sure of.

What industry needs right now is a guide or a navigation tool that can link all the five key documents from BS 1192 to PAS 1192:5, each of which are referring to other BS standards, or are referring to different set of information that you will have to look out for, on you own.


              i.        BIM is just a tick box activity and lesser or no changes underneath
             ii.        BIM will add to complexities, instead of showing any real improvements
            iii.        BIM project benefits are likely to materialize only for experienced patrons
           iv.        BIM’s effectiveness in the design stage proved successfully
            v.        BIM is completely leveraged by almost every contractor in the construction stage
           vi.        Efficiencies from BIM in the operational phase are clearly visible
          vii.        BIM will prove to be a facilitator for enhanced and effective collaboration
         viii.        BIM will help achieve better margins and/or productivity

I am afraid that the standards have not had the desired effect of unifying suppliers approach to BIM. The reason is that everyone’s level of understanding is different, and until that is resolved, BIM level 2 is not going to happen as expected.

While discussing this with one of a colleague architect from the industry, he said they get affected at the time of handover. They as an architectural firm, receive different models from different BIM modelers, architectural design support service providers and contractors. All these models come in with different levels of graphical detail and level of component information. The models that we receive are not standardized, however; we are compelled to utilize the information it holds to carry out post-handover editing to attain standardization, he added.

Would it be wrong to say that BIM has achieved the success in spite of the standards, not because of them? There still are firms who work with their teams, not to follow the PAS 1192 documents, but to decide practically as to what they are going to do, what worked in their favor and what did not. None of the PAS documents can make people understand practically what they are supposed to do, in order to execute a BIM project, or does it?

Some building construction industry experts have all together a different counter-BIM argument to this episode. They are of the opinion that the benefits of BIM seem quite minimal if you look at them with a mindset, that most of the key design processes would be already in place. 

Why should we be dependent on BIM for our already set processes including need for consultants to collaborate? Our contracts are all equipped to create that environment to provide 3D models and run clash detection. 

Our CAFM systems are already populated with asset data. And not to forget that we have mastered these, with decades of experience. BIM walks in just to bring in all these disciplines and process under one umbrella. Client’s point of view says no benefit from BIM, however; BIM consultants are experiencing benefits out of it - big time.

Conclusion

Improved collaboration is what BIM is for. Why do we need software to help us do that? How beneficial and advisable it would be to bring teams together, who aren’t working together towards solutions?