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Plan of proposed attenuation pond

AutoCAD Civil 3D software


Autodesk's AutoCAD Civil 3D software, as well as providing 2D and 3D computer aided drafting, is specially tailored for use in the civil engineering field. We use it primarily as a 3D ground modelling tool, often using LiDAR data to provide the ground surface information.

LiDAR data

LiDAR data is particularly useful for preliminary design work where a topographical survey has not yet been produced. The data is readily available commercially for the majority of the country.

LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. The data is produced by an aircraft mounted LASER which is directed onto the ground and the reflected light is analysed by computer to produce a rectangular grid of x, y and z ground surface co-ordinates. LiDAR data is typically available in either DTM (Digital Terrain Model) or DSM (Digital Surface Model) forms. DTM excludes vegetation and buildings while these are included within DSM data.

Conversion of 2D Topographical Surveys to 3D

As a preliminary to using Civil 3D software we are able to convert existing 2D topographical surveys in AutoCAD or dxf format into 3D surveys. This can then remove the need to carry out a new survey of the site and so save time and expense.

SUDS design

The design of SUDS features such as attenuation ponds, swales and infiltration basins often involve quite complex earthworks shapes either excavated into, or constructed above the existing ground surface. The use of Civil 3D software enables the design to be produced quickly and accurately which results in a cost effective design for our clients. The use of 3D modelling has the added benefit of allowing us to quickly produce further information such cut and fill earthworks quantities.

Hydraulic River Modelling

Civil 3D software also helps us to produce HEC-RES 1D river models directly from LiDAR data which can speed the model building process. Further survey work may still be required below water level to be able to accurately model the river bed since the LASER light is reflected by the water surface.

BIM (Building Information Modelling)

There are various definitions of the term 'BIM' but according to PAS 1192, published by the British Standards Institution, it is the 'process of designing, constructing or operating a building or infrastructure asset using electronic object-oriented information'.

According to its Construction Strategy the government plans to require the use of BIM on all its projects by 2016. We anticipate that there will consequently be a gradual move towards using BIM throughout the building and civil engineering industry. We have therefore adopted a pragmatic approach and are gradually increasing our knowledge in that area and our use of Civil 3D is part of that process.

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