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Civil 3D: Dynamic program that’s great for collaboration

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With the advances in technology, the engineering design world has transformed over the years.


Computer aided design has replaced the cumbersome process of hand-drafting plans for a project.

Productivity has increased by saving drafting time on revisions and general plan setup.

This increased efficiency has helped engineers and drafters refine their skills by concentrating on more projects in shorter amounts of time.

Thanks to the increased efficiency, knowledge and digital precision, mistakes are reduced during the planning phase, resulting in fewer errors during construction. This saves the client money, eases construction and increases the rate of project success.

For land development projects, the industry’s program of choice is AutoCAD Civil 3D.

Many other survey firms, civil firms and reviewing agencies use the program, which makes sharing information easier and streamlines the review process.

Besides communicating with other firms, Civil 3D also allows firms to share drawings with the structural and mechanical, electrical and plumbing MEP departments for use in Revit software and building information modeling.

Being allowed to share Civil 3D drawings with other firms or departments ensures better accuracy and overall efficiency in the planning process.


Before Civil 3D, the primary CAD design program was Land Desktop. The most beneficial difference that Civil 3D provides is the dynamic updates to data such as grading, road design, profiling and utility designs.

Building a surface in Land Desktop required a very rigid step-by-step process. If a small change to the surface was required, the process would have to start over from the beginning.

The nice thing about Civil 3D is that the surface is dynamic and can be changed at any time with a simple adjustment to surface data. Revising drawings continues to become easier and quicker.

Saving drafting time is one way to compete and keep projects on time and under budget.


Another great feature in Civil 3D is field to finish.

This new process requires extra survey shots in the field but saves drafting time by importing points into a drawing and directly creating an existing features plan. The larger the project, the more time saved.

When used in a network environment, Civil 3D allows collaboration between multiple departments and offices to work seamlessly on a project.

It even allows multiple people to make adjustments to a plan at the same time, which is crucial on projects that require multiple specialties and helps streamline large projects that have a tight schedule.

Engineer-in-training Karl J. Leitner is a staff professional in the civil engineering department of Barry Isett and Associates, an employee-owned multidiscipline engineering firm headquartered in Upper Macungie Township. He has assisted in the design in scores of projects, including DeSales University’s athletic facilities, the Humboldt Station medical office building for Coordinated Health in Hazle Township and Upper Perkiomen Middle School. He can be reached at kleitner@barryisett.com.

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