Creation of a Design Pool
Wood and Grieve sought to enhance the efficiency of the design and drafting
team by simplification of data management.
This was achieved by development
of macros to consolidate 12d Model information into a unified file format,
accessible by other software packages.
Prior to this innovation, the designer was required to export a large number of
single use files for the drafting staff to document, as well as reports for
engineers. Such single use files included horizontal curves, sewer/drainage pipe
information, clashes, chainages and so on. These exports varied in file type and
included CSV, TXT, DGN, and DWG.
the project design changed, the designer needed to export each individual file
again. This was a cumbersome task, prone to errors and/or omissions. It had the
potential to lead to confusion between exported files, resulting in wrong
information being put onto drawings. This meant a lot of scope for human error.
The proposed solution was to export data to a limited number of consistent
unified files, adopting a database file type.
The main catalyst for this innovation occurred during development of a new macro
for Clash Detection. It was realised that the data being captured would be
applicable across several existing macros, and customising the 12d files would
allow the team to incorporate additional attributes.
The intent was to export several consistent files containing all the information
required by draftees and engineers to produce drawings and technical documents.
The files had to be accessible by standard drafting packages, and also by the
Microsoft Office packages.
A database file
type was chosen to maximise the flexibility of the data to be contained.
XML was chosen as it is more robust than CSV and easier to read and navigate
than SQL and similar structures. XML also has the advantage of being easily read
and manipulated by most programming languages. In addition, the XML file type
can contain as many variables as desired, in contrast to CAD file types such as
DGN, DWG and DXF.
Several macros were
developed within 12d Model to export common data to the relevant single files.
Macros within the CAD programs were developed and customised to reference these
To capture significant
milestones within the project, these exported files were saved as a “snapshot”
of the design at that time. These files contain all the data necessary to
recreate the design information as it stood at that particular milestone,
enabling quantification of variation between milestones.
Implementing this process improvement achieved clear demarcation of the elements
of work conducted by the designer using 12d Model, and the draftee, allowing all
staff to work at their highest level. As a consequence, drawings are produced
with increased efficiency and a higher level of accuracy.
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Proposed Future Development:
is currently exported for sewer, drainage and roads. The next step for this
innovation is to incorporate LandXML for earthwork information.