What is computer-aided designing (CAD)?
The process of using software to design is known as CAD. This broad concept has many applications and real-world examples.
Product designers use CAD for translating drawings into digital representations that can be interpreted by computers and devices, such as 3D printers, during the manufacturing stage.
Sketchpad was the first program that introduced CAD to the world in 1960. Sketchpad is credited with laying the foundation for modern CAD/CAM versions, according to the CAD/CAM Hall Of Fame.
Rapidly, CAD technology began to replace manual drawing processes for everything from automobile components to electric circuits.
The CAD system was eventually accurate enough to be used in engineering applications. This is when it truly took root in the construction industry.
Since then, CAD software is an integral part in designing and constructing buildings. You’d be hard-pressed find a large construction project without CAD software in some capacity.
What CAD systems are used and by whom?
Let’s now look at who uses CAD systems, and why they are so important in construction.
The majority of architects who use computer-aided design software are using it to create precise, easy-to-edit blueprints.
Why is CAD so important? Let’s have a closer look.
CAD gives architects the best control over how their designs are represented. They can easily change the perspective by dragging a mouse instead of creating a new drawing from scratch.
Professionals can also reuse designs using CAD. It’s easier to replicate a design for a building with many identical components than to commission a new drawing or physical model.
Another advantage of CAD software is the ease of sharing designs among teams. Cloud-based resource management software allows allocations to be made from anywhere on the planet. CAD software also makes it possible for key stakeholders to access designs no matter where they are located.
This is particularly important during the COVID-19 epidemic, which has made it impossible to rely on manual drawings in construction.
Lastly, CAD software lets users see multiple iterations of a design. Architects frequently make changes to designs to address client requests or correct problems.
The CAD software can allow professionals to compare current designs to previous iterations. This can be useful in solving problems.
Although CAD has many benefits, architects still use manual-drawn designs often in the beginning stages. These 2D layouts are used as a guideline for the overall floorplan.
These hand-drawn designs can be converted into CAD software once the project is complete. Scan2CAD, a modern software that converts drawings quickly into CAD formats, makes it very simple.
These 2D designs can be easily imported into CAD software and converted into 3D BIM layouts.
A successful design is more than just how it looks.
Software specifically designed for BIM (which is a type CAD that is used only in construction) can help architects integrate construction management considerations into the work they do. This is done during the evaluation phase.
Software for CAD in Construction
We’ve already covered the following topics:
What is CAD?
Why it is useful
How architects use it
Let’s now take a look at some of the most popular software programs that can be used to create CAD in construction.
Revit is one the most popular BIM programs. It’s produced by Autodesk, which has been a pioneer in manufacturing-related design software for more than 38 years as of writing.
Revit has many features that are essential to architecture work, such as generative design.
AutoCAD, also made by Autodesk is a broader-reaching CAD software that can be used for more than construction. It is still very popular with engineers, city planners, architects, and other engineers.
MicroStation is a product of Bentley Systems. It includes many BIM software components. It was first released in 1980 and supports many CAD formats including DWG, DXF and SKP.