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Software/Process for all electronic delivery - experience with other agencies?

Software/Process for all electronic delivery - experience with other agencies?

**Mods - Please let me know if there is a more appropriate forum for this question**

I am a civil engineer consulting for a Chicago area transportation agency. We are helping the agency explore new approaches to project delivery that would improve efficiency in design, review and construction. I was wondering if anyone could help steer us in the right general direction in regards to available software as well as overall process flow. We would be very interested to know if anyone has experience doing this with other nationwide agencies.

Our goals are to:

a) Allow all-electronic review of engineering plans. Going beyond simply marking up .pdf's, we'd like the ability to view and annotate CAD files (originally generated in Microstation) from a PC or potentially even a tablet, and return comments to the consultants. Ideally, we would be able to take measurements, view full corridor scroll plots (as opposed to individual sheet cuts), search text and view "smart" information associated with lines any symbols (for example, to link from the plan view of a structure to the relevant detail or cross sections, etc.).

b) Facilitate contractor's work by providing more comprehensive electronic information. As of now, the contractors are converting design .pdf's into vector maps or taking 2D CAD files and then importing them into various programs to build 3D smart models. We would like to streamline this process by having this done on the design end.

Ideally, a single set of electronic files would be used for design, review and construction. If anyone can offer any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated.

Matthew Kuehl, P.E.
Oak Park, IL

RE: Software/Process for all electronic delivery - experience with other agencies?

Very commendable, but, alas, I think that it's easier said than done.

> Unless EVERYONE is using the SAME software, and possibly even the SAME revision of software, transferring native models is fraught with difficulties. The last great attempt to do this was IGES.

> Unless your software is equipped for a web-based viewer interface, that's a cost burden to the agency to maintain multiple software platforms and versions.

> Unless everyone is using the EXACT same units and dimensioning approaches, readability and usability will be difficult. Errors in transcription or units conversion could lead to problems.

I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
homework forum: //
FAQ731-376: Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

RE: Software/Process for all electronic delivery - experience with other agencies?

Look into BlueBeam. Bluebeam is a PDF program that you can markup the pdf prints, you can make Bluebeam(extreme) analyze the drawings and make all the section cuts clickable links, the document becomes dimensionable with OSnap equivalent (would not rely on this ever, same as a scaling plans)

I know some large contractors (think Turner size) use this program with their own tools and it works amazing.

I use the program to mark up shop drawings, RFIs, during design to review things with Architect. I also review other firms plans and mark their drawings up with it similar to what you are talking about i think...

And once the plans are marked, you flatten the document and now it is PDF that anybody can open with any Adobe or PDF viewer.

RE: Software/Process for all electronic delivery - experience with other agencies?

As of last September, Delaware Department of Transportation has gone to all digital submittals:

RE: Software/Process for all electronic delivery - experience with other agencies?


In the computer world, you communicate by using the lowest common denominator. In the engineering and CAD world, this has a nasty tendency to be PDF, which does not provide vector data or dimensional intelligence.

I have never tried to run CAD on a tablet, and I do not intend to. I will rethink this if you can provide me with a 23" tablet that fits in my pocket, or into my briefcase.

What are your changes of getting everyone onto the same version of CAD? Are you willing to limit yourself to vendors who install your software?

I send drawings out as PDF. People call me and ask for DXFs or STP files or the original SolidWorks files. I accommodate them. Can you provide a telephone number answered by a helpful CAD person?


RE: Software/Process for all electronic delivery - experience with other agencies?

While I can certainly see the advantages of this type of system; how do you handle who is responsible for various portions of the design? What are the requirements of the State of Illinois division of professional registration?

Mike Lambert

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