What is CAD in Construction

A Complete Guide on What is CAD in Construction?

So what is CAD? And how is it used in construction? There has been a recent push towards increasing the use of technology in construction. This is benefitting the industry, as many tools can cut back timelines and improve construction. That being said, there are a lot of new technologies and how they will benefit a specific business is not always clear. To clear up one of theses construction technologies, we’ll cover what is CAD in construction and how it’s used to benefit the industry.

What is CAD
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What is CAD

CAD, or Computer Aided Design, is software used by engineers, architects, designers or construction manager to create designs. These designs are precise drawings or illustrations of new buildings or plans and can be either two-dimensional or three-dimensional. This depends on the software, some software works entirely in 2D while others work in 3D and more translate it between the two. CAD is also known as CADD, or Computer Aided Design and Drafting. The principle idea behind it is still the same. Engineers, architects and such use software to design and draft buildings.

CAD was developed in the 1960’s. It let designers interact with to computer to build drawings. It wasn’t until the 70’s where manufacturers started using CAD to interact with and create designs. While it feels like new technology, CAD isn’t. Industries have used one form or another of CAD in manufacturing and designing. As it gains in popularity now, it’s important to remember that this technology isn’t new and untested, it’s older and ever improving.

Is CAD 2D or 3D?

A common misconception surrounding CAD is that it is a 3D modeling tool only. However, CAD can be used as a 2D drawing tool as well. Construction designers might use a CAD tool that only works in 2D while architects might work in a 3D tool that has a 2D converter. It is highly dependent upon the actual platform used. This can be convenient because a company might only use a 2D tool and can pay for that tool alone. However, as construction centers around 3D models and informational models, it will be harder for companies only to use a 2D tool.

What is CAD
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What is CAD Used For In Construction

Reading the above paragraphs, one might wonder what is CAD used for in construction? There are a lot of uses for CAD in construction. Subcontractor’s designers can take the drawings made by the architect and add in additional needed details to ensure constructability. From there they have a plan that they can work off of and check their work against. Companies have already done this to a degree of success. Some companies were able to use a combination of drones and 3D models to notice issues with the construction. Specifically, a company can overlay their live drone footage with the model. They could note that the foundation would be off and make corrections.

CAD benefits contractors because the drawings and plans can be easily stored in the cloud. This allows for contractors to use their plans at any location. Also, if they are included in a shared file for the project, they can easily see changes to the plans. So a subcontractor could quickly determine which changes were made, by who, and how it will impact construction.

Another benefit of CAD software is it is more accurate than manual drawings. It’s easier for designers to ensure accuracy in their drawings through CAD software then it is when it’s manual. And it’s easier for subcontractors to add details into than it is in manual drawings.

How BIM & CAD are Different

With all of the talk about new construction technology and adding construction technology to the mix, many contractors have probably heard about BIM. So what are the differences between CAD and BIM. For starters, CAD is a modeling, drawing, designing tool, while the BIM platform contains the database of information. A BIM platform uses a model and the information stored in the BIM platform to do more than look at a model. Depending on what project managers have set up in BIM, they can use it to help total takeoffs and help with he estimating. This can reduce the amount of time necessary to complete estimates. It can also increase the accuracy of estimates.

What is CAD
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What is CAD’s Trends in the Future of Construction

As time progresses, there will be a continued increase in companies using CAD software for their design needs. With time, the level of detail and accuracy will only increase, as well as the ease of use. This will help level the field between large construction companies and smaller construction companies.

More systems will start integrating with BIM and project management platforms. This will allow for the ease of sharing between platforms. It’s necessary for project managers to be able to attach CAD files to their RFIs and change orders. Being able to attach the files to these documents will make it easier to know what specifically project managers are referring to. The overall increase in accuracy and reduction in project timelines will be of great benefit to the construction industry.

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