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February 2012

Building Information Modelling Structural Detailing

WHITE PAPER.

Benefits and processes of using AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2012


This white paper covers the benefits and processes of using AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2012 to produce steel and reinforced concrete details; and then linking these details into a Revit Structure model to help deliver a fully detailed Structural BIM model with all the required associated documentation such as schedules and bills of materials.

Copyright 1985 - 2012 Excitech Ltd

http://www.excitech.co.uk

0845 370 1500

Excitech Building Information Modelling Structural Detailing

Benefits and processes of using AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2012

With an impending government mandate which states that all public sector projects in 2016 will be delivered using the BIM process, many consultants and contractors are desperately trying to implement products such as Autodesk Revit. However, will this really deliver all the required drawing outputs including 2D reinforced concrete drawings and steelwork details? AutoCAD Structural Detailing can be the necessary solution. Many of you will already have AutoCAD Structural Detailing as part of an Autodesk Suite such as Revit Structure Suite 2012 or Building Design Suite 2012. Autodesk have, for some time, packaged a number of products into one box called a suite, and most of the suites typically also contain an AutoCAD based application. In this white paper we are going to take a look at the benefits and processes of using AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2012 to produce steel and reinforced concrete details; and then linking these details into a Revit Structure model to help deliver a fully detailed Structural model with all the required associated documentation such as schedules and bills of materials. Many structural consultants and contractors have already realised the value of working within a Revit environment and indeed are delivering large, complex and fully coordinated projects; but of course, it is not all about the 3D model! You will also need to create many 2D details and schedules to fully document the project. Revit Structure 2012, in its current guise, is not really suitable for the efficient creation of reinforced concrete details or steel details and the required functionality is likely be a few years away. The Process AutoCAD Structural Detailing, built on top of AutoCAD, will deliver steel fabrication details and also reinforced concrete details that will suit engineering consultants, fabricators and contractors. There are many different workflows, both for reinforced concrete detailing and steel detailing; some using Revit Structure and Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis, and some using AutoCAD Structural Detailing as a standalone tool. A typical process for concrete reinforcement drawings is outlined in the diagram below with the options of using Robot Structural Analysis for the design and placement of reinforcement bar. The concrete formwork can be generated directly from a Revit Structure object and AutoCAD Structural Detailing can automatically create views with sections ready to be detailed with rebar. If you would rather issue the RC drawing directly from Revit Structure then you can link the drawings from AutoCAD Structural Detailing into a drafting view, the drawings automatically updating when details are changed within AutoCAD Structural Detailing. The output of a bar bending schedule can be completely automated and output directly to Microsoft Excel if this is a requirement.

Copyright 1985 - 2012 Excitech Ltd

http://www.excitech.co.uk

0845 370 1500

Excitech Building Information Modelling Structural Detailing

Benefits and processes of using AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2012

The steel module, having a 3D output, will have a few more options within the process diagram as you can see below.

A fabricator working with an engineering consultant can gain significant benefits from receiving a Revit Structure steel model and then being able to transfer the model to AutoCAD Structural Detailing. The steel model can be transferred via the subscription tools and allow full control over the mapping of steel section sizes. The fabricator can then send the steel model back to the contractor or architect for co-ordination purposes; typically this is an area that is neglected within the construction industry but does cause problems on site. Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis can also be used to design the structural frame by passing the structure directly from AutoCAD Structural Detailing.

Copyright 1985 - 2012 Excitech Ltd

http://www.excitech.co.uk

0845 370 1500

Excitech Building Information Modelling Structural Detailing

Benefits and processes of using AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2012

For small structural projects the connections can be saved as a 3D DWG and then imported into Revit Structure to allow drawings to be generated with connections. The Steel Module - Digital fabrication A typical steel detailing workflow would be to create a steel structure within Revit Structure and then export this to AutoCAD Structural Detailing and adding the relevant connections. You can then automatically create the 2D fabrication drawings and then link these back into Revit Structure ready to add to your drawings. The Revit Structure model can be transferred via the extensions ribbon (this will need to be installed separately and is included with your Autodesk subscription). The extension ribbon will enable the import and export of models to and from AutoCAD Structural Detailing. At the heart of the steel module are the automated macros that make the creation of the 3D model incredibly efficient. There are over 50 connection macros that can be used to join all manner of columns, beams and braces; and also parametric structures to automate the creation of typical structures such as ladders, stairs and handrails. Of course, if a connection does not exist then you can create this manually by using tools such as plate, drill and bolt macros which let you create any type of connection. Fabricated sections such as plate girders and columns fabricated from plates can be easily created with specialist macros that allow control over welds, bevels and lap splices. In the example to the left you can see a small section of a bridge girder and the parameters that control the bevels between differing flange widths and thicknesses. Once the 3D structure is complete then drawings can be automatically generated with pre-configured templates and dimension and description styles. The drawings can take the form of single components, assembly drawings or a complete structure. Each part and assembly within the model will need to be given a unique position which can be dependent on the parts size and also location within the structure. The position is used to generate drawings of each component and assembly as well as to generate a parts list. Positioning can also be useful for loading and delivery to site of the prefabricated steel structures to ensure that the correct assemblies are delivered in the correct sequence. In order to achieve a high level of automation whilst generating drawings, AutoCAD Structural Detailing has a comprehensive set of tools to define dimension and label styles. The labels, dimensions and style of drawings can be configured with powerful tools to customise the software to conform to your chosen CAD and BIM standards. The drawings can then be adding to drawing sheets by using block references. This allows for simple manipulation of drawing positions and also allows the updating of drawing views when the structure or connections are revised. AutoCAD Structural Detailing will track any changes made to the model and indicate which sheets and views require updating; allowing the user to add the relevant revision clouds and notes to the drawings. Another key tool is the ability to output NC data directly to manufacturing machines such as laser cutters and automated beam drilling lines. Automated NC manufacturing will definitely benefit from these processes but the smaller fabricator can also benefit by using the accurate drawings and various cutting lists and schedules to allow them to process the plates and steelwork.

Copyright 1985 - 2012 Excitech Ltd

http://www.excitech.co.uk

0845 370 1500

Excitech Building Information Modelling Structural Detailing

Benefits and processes of using AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2012

The Reinforced Concrete module The concrete module is predominantly a 2D application but does have some capability to view macro created bar in 3D. The software has a number of powerful macros to create the formwork of typical structures such as beams, columns and retaining walls, and also to add typical reinforcement arrangements. A wide variety of country codes are included within the software to aid in adherence to local codes and drafting practices as well as the relevant shape codes and material specifications for the rebar. The formwork can be created directly from Revit Structure, automatically creating the required elevation and section views, and dimensioning the structural object. The cover is defined and then the rebar can be added using a variety of placement methods such as picking points or sketching the bar. If the bar is manually sketched then AutoCAD Structural Detailing will automatically recognise the shape codes based on the country codes selected. Distribution of bars is handled with macros and can support linear or tapering sections as well as complex slab shapes and wire fabrics. Scheduling of the added reinforcement is completely automated, saving a huge amount of time and effort. The schedules can be output to Microsoft Word or Excel to create a bar bending schedule if required. Summary tables can also be created giving total weights for each type of bar or wire fabric - very useful for cost estimating. AutoCAD Structural Detailing can also be linked to AutoCAD Robot Structural Analysis to bring designed reinforced concrete elements into the software for detailing. AutoCAD Structural Detailing and AutoCAD Plant 3D AutoCAD Structural Detailing is now included within the Premium and Ultimate Plant Design Suites and is very useful for creating detailed steel frames. You can directly XREF a Plant 3D model into AutoCAD Structural Detailing and create accurate, fabrication-ready steel models and drawings and then XREF these back into Plant 3D or Navisworks for coordination. The creation of objects such as ladders, cages, grates and railings is automated via intelligent parametric macros that ease the generation of typical structures. The structure can then be sent to Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis for steel and connection design if required. The Challenge! One of the hurdles of adopting any new software technology is likely to be the users learning curve and the implementation of the software into working processes. But why cant we just have everything in Revit? you may ask. The future strategy for Autodesk is likely to be the delivery a fully detailed RC drawing capability and possibly a steel fabrication solution directly from the Revit Structure platform. However, this is likely to be a number of years away. As with most software, a good set of templates really is an essential element and this is something that Excitech consulting can offer as a service. As well as creating templates, we can also help integrate AutoCAD Structural Detailing into your current workflows and with your other software applications.

Copyright 1985 - 2012 Excitech Ltd

http://www.excitech.co.uk

0845 370 1500

Excitech Building Information Modelling Structural Detailing

Benefits and processes of using AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2012

A huge advantage of AutoCAD Structural Detailing is that it is built on the AutoCAD platform and this fact alone gives potential users the ability to feel quite familiar with the interface and the basic drawing operations. Excitech are also offering two training courses for end users wishing to learn the steel or concrete modules within AutoCAD Structural Detailing. This is a very important step and will ensure that maximum productivity is gained at an early stage within the implementation of the software.
Excitech Design Technology Centre, 8 Kinetic Crescent, Innova Business Park, Enfield, Middlesex, EN3 7XH United Kingdom P: 0845 370 1500 I: +44 (0) 1992 807400 F: 0845 370 1400 W: http://www.excitech.co.uk E: info@excitech.co.uk

Copyright 1985 - 2012 Excitech Ltd

http://www.excitech.co.uk

0845 370 1500