Monday, 7 November 2016

Structural Steel Detailing Is Revolutionizing the Building Construction Industry

Structural steel detailing is too important an aspect, and has brought about a revolution in CAD designs. Fabricators, architects and engineers can leverage these benefits to generate flawless design outputs. Architecture and engineering have changed over a period of time thereby making structural detailing services crucial for every constriction project. 

For building such sturdy structures, it is advisable to make most of structural fabrication drawings. Small or large, almost all architectural and structural design firms are outsourcing steel detailing service for cost–efficiency and project enhancement. One such case is of a 100 years old American company. With diverse businesses ranging from oil & gas, to mining, to construction, infrastructure, transportation, and water management, the stakeholders approached TrueCADD for professional expertise of steel detailing services. 

It all started with the client providing partial drawings of tray and pipe supports, required to be modeled into the main Tekla model at the exact coordinates which determined the position of every single pipe or tray on the main platform. Looking at the pace and efficiency, modeling of stair towers, access platforms, chain guide, and sub-sea distribution was included as additional job work. The project lasting for nearly an year, with absolutely no place for errors, and adherence to strict timelines, the team of architects and engineers also did justice to a large number of revision drawings received from the client for incorporating the changes accurately in the model.
To attain expected results the team was required to comprehend client’s structural steel modeling standards. Based on that clarification, the work was further distributed for pipe and tray layouts, stair towers, access platforms, and other sections of the main model, for implementing client’s steel detailing standards.

To ensure that the fabrication schedule does not suffer any delays, a common happening in such projects which costs the clients millions in terms of wastage of material and resources; Tekla was used for accurate modeling of the pipe and tray supports. Along with this, the stair towers, access platforms, chain guides and sub-sea distribution unit were as well modeled. 

Gone are the days when architects and engineers worked and relied on traditional methods of working on various building construction project phases. Then, the blueprints were the authority, and means of making all important decisions. With the dawn of new technology, fabricators and engineers can now work more efficiently with CAD programs that enhance detailing and modeling aspects. Architects and engineers can now create large scale 2D and 3D renditions of the model that are yet to be build. 

For construction of industrial plants, buildings, bridges and other non-building structures like large scale sculptors and models steel detailing is used by steel erectors and steel fabricators. Professional steel detailers or steel structure design service providers are in demand due to their ability to come up with highly accurate structural connection designs. 

Structural shop drawings and erection drawings prepared by them hand hold architects, structural engineers, steel fabricators and general building contractors while working on preparing actual buildings with higher accuracy. Apart from its extensive use in various commercial, municipal and industrial projects, steel detailing plays a crucial role in residential projects as well.

Friday, 28 October 2016

CAD Tools are a Must to Successfully Reverse Engineer Your Product or System

Deconstructing product or system for reverse engineering is common phenomenon today used by manufacturers to evaluate, improve or recover obsolete design information. While the traditional method of reverse engineering involves measuring the product geometry manually, it is often restricted to simple shapes, as measurement of complex shapes is often not possible. Instead, scanning techniques are often the preferred method for reverse engineering projects, as it ensures accuracy and ease of measurement when it comes to capturing information of complex geometrical shapes.

The scanned surfaces using laser scanners are then converted to solid models using CAD tools, in order to replicate the original geometry. CAD software is critical in for reverse engineering projects to convert the point cloud data to solid virtual models that can be utilized for re-manufacturing. Let’s have a look at several tools that are often used in reverse engineering. However, if you are seeking a partner who can support reverse engineering project for you, TrueCADD can help you with scanning, 2D drawings and 3D model development for product and systems of any complexity!


One of the widely adopted CAD tools across the globe, SOLIDWORKS has all the required tools to recreate the product geometry from existing physical object, develop 3D models, create molds and also export it to a 3D printer to develop a prototype. Features like Auto Trace enables users to easily import paper sketches along with surfacing tools to edit the geometry with ease.

Geomagic Design X

This is one of the widely used tools to process scanned data and convert it into a format that is easy to manipulate. Geomagic Design X is a tool that can be fully integrated with your existing CAD systems and as such generating manufacturing ready 3D CAD models is easy from the scanned data, rather than juggling with the point clouds. The software also has the ability to perform checks on deviation of the 3D model from the scanned part, allowing the design engineer to quickly evaluate the accuracy of the part before going for actual manufacturing.

HighRES Add-in for Inventor

This add-in from Autodesk is compatible with most of the laser scanning software available today and is meant to smoothly transfer the scanned data to Inventor platform for further refinement. This add-in can scan point clouds, obtain measurement data and convert into parametric CAD models with feature-tree.

Point Cloud

Point Cloud is also a plug-in that is compatible with AutoCAD and allows the users to recreate the geometry by utilizing point cloud technology. It creates surfaces using draping method as is easy to use even for the first time users looking to reverse engineer their product designs.

Utilize Reverse Engineering Services from TrueCADD for Competitive Advantage

Reverse engineering projects when done in-house often consumes valuable time of resources and money. It is thus often beneficial to shed this non-core activity to engineering service providers who can support your reverse engineering projects. TrueCADD is one such firm that provides end-to-end design support for manufacturers globally. We have the capabilities to handle reverse engineering projects of any scale and complexity. To know more about us, visit or send us your project details at

Thursday, 20 October 2016

MEP Designers & Contractors in GCC Region Work Towards Reducing Financial Losses & Unscheduled Delays

With MEP contractors, coordination has always been a prime challenge. As multiple trades are involved in the MEP process, without appropriate coordination it leads to a high risk of confusions and errors; further resulting in to financial losses and unscheduled delays. In such a scenario, MEP contractors often are held responsible for all that goes wrong in a construction project, such as excessive use of materials and repetitive work. They often end up in legal suits too.

Inadequate coordination leads to frequent alterations and when these alterations are implemented without preceding intimations the quality of work and costs are severely affected. Appropriate coordination between MEP, Architectural and Civil disciplines is mandatory in order to evade challenges across construction phases to attain expected results. Let’s not forget that integrating MEP designs and coordination with regards to load and overall building efficiency, ensures appropriate configuration of MEP services as well.

Installing MEP systems compliant to local safety regulations should be on Top Priority

MEP systems compliant to local safety regulations have taken the center stage. Most technical challenges of fire and life-safety, it seems are posed by high rise buildings, due to regulatory compliances with multiple complexities. This is where MEP designers are required to prove their expertise and experience. They should be in a position to provide adequate means of way out, followed with concise evacuation strategies as well. MEP engineers can do it by using direct evacuation and announcement procedures that also will reduce unwarranted alarms. For what matters during fire, is how swiftly the inhabitants can be moved away from the accident place?

Talking of GCC, Dubai Municipality and Dubai Civil defense have successfully defined really high standards for evacuation and building-management systems, which MEP designers are required to adhere to. And there is nothing wrong in it, as these legislative guidelines are issued to minimize the risks. And not only these two identities are working in that direction, in fact a lot of government bodies across the GCC are actively instrumental in building a safe atmosphere by adhering to rigorous health, safety and environmental practices (HSE). It is not that easy to comply with all of the regulations, however; these standards and protocols ensure safe living conditions for inhabitants.

After adherence to safety standards, sustainable designs are the next challenge

Ever increasing demands from the clients make it more than necessary for the MEP designers to develop designs that are eco-friendly and sustainable. These designs are more inclined towards conserving water and energy in the first place. Also these designs are required to reduce the operational costs of the inhabitants; upon handover to facility managers. What are the parameters and how to consider a construction project to be a “green building” is still a topic of discussion across GCC. The bottom line is that a building is deemed sustainable based on its ability to provide comfort to inhabitants and offers the end users with well-designed and implemented MEP systems.


Increased population and investments, both foreign and government, recession seems to be a long-lost era for GCC countries. The progress is a glaring evident of the reality, especially if talked about Mechanical, electrical and plumbing - MEP segment. All major building projects in the GCC region are working as if they are supposed to be finished in a crash course. This has made MEP design firms work rigorously to cope up with these ever evolving demands. Projects are addressed to on SOS basis, which has further enhanced the importance of MEP designers and the MEP design phase, holistically. However; the constant look out for better and most suited MEP designs is something that needs immediate attention of all the stakeholders in the MEP trade.

But with increased unpleasant incidents like address Downtown, Sulafa Tower and others alike, MEP designers are left with a challenging and moral task of designing systems with an ultimate goal to craft safe and well-integrated designs that cut down the operating costs and address environmental impacts.

Friday, 16 September 2016

What Should You Expect From Your BIM Model?

Today, structural engineering firms who work on mega construction projects are using BIM tools for modeling concrete reinforcement to cut down field errors and reduce waste on-site. But that’s just one side of the coin. Those structural firms working on small scale projects are still hesitant to model, and they prefer manual framework. And if you have ever used BIM, you will not deny that the concrete BIM productivity is quite low compared to other aspects like steel or wood.

So what is it that you would want, or expect of your BIM reinforced model? Well the answers lies in how you want the tool to meet your requirements. Or what can make the model really efficient. To know that let’s say what cannot. Maybe the following thoughts can help.

From what I have observed, there are two key factors that work behind ‘WHY’ engineers or rebar detailers hesitate to develop 3D rebar models is that Software used is too tough to operate and the complex layout is barely supported. Mind you, these are not the only reasons.

Poor performance of 3D rebar model too is what keeps them away. The leading software should enhance user experience by giving them the space of creating 3D models of any given rebar configuration, without constraining the productivity. With fast moving projects and tight deadlines BIM tools are likely to manage hundreds or thousands of bars, all in 3 Dimension with suitable performance and visualization competences.

What should you expect from your BIM model?

  • It should be more user friendly in terms of details, elevation and plans; when performing drawing production
  • Modifications made to 3D model should reflect in drawings with absolutely no intrusions.
  • The customized bar bending schedules and the Quantity reports should be bang on.
  • Rebar must be given mutual bar marks by means of typical marking schemes picked by the handler.
  • Alike bars would get automatically gathered to lessen the amount of exclusive bars and to reduce fabrication and building costs.
  • It should enable users to simply modify the layout of everything, quantity reports, material lists bar bending agendas and much more.
IFC, building modeling and 3D PDF are the signs that it’s time for reinforced concrete BIM to weave in full-fledge approach across project lifecycle. This shouldn’t end here. Reinforced concrete details must be accessible on mobile applications for building, collision detection and various other such features. Also, 3D models made of BIM products must be usable to downstream solution for bar tagging, automated bar shearing etc.


Taking into consideration the number of unique pieces that are required to install, the count of rebar on a jobsite would be more than any other component used. Fastening systems such as screws and nails are an exception. Stable and dependable BIM software that can be utilized for reinforced concrete projects is now the dire necessity. However; the good news is that building construction stakeholders including designers, engineers, fabricators and even detailers now have more options to choose from software applications that are maturing with time.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Design HVAC Duct Systems to Improve Indoor Air Quality, Don’t Size It

Since decades, MEP and HVAC engineers have been “designing” the duct systems; however you dig a bit dipper to realize that they are actually not designing the HVAC duct systems. They are sizing the ducts according to some set guidelines.

These guidelines vary for every engineering firm, and mostly the ducts are sized to be round by a preset friction rate decided by the engineering firm. Then incase if the spiral duct is not found to be a perfect fit, it is converted to rectangular, which eventually makes it a highly non efficient system. If this was not all, the entire ductwork system is “sized” using the duct calculator. No or minimal emphasis is given to the fittings used, and leakages of the system are not considered during the design phase.

How to design HVAC duct systems that are energy efficient? 

Of the many aspects to a green HVAC design, the most prominent one is to focus on the duct system design. Considering the size of a building construction project with multiple complexities, architects, contractors in agreement with sheet metal fabricators should first decide on to a HVAC design support service provider. 

An HVAC expert, who is equipped with latest technology/software to minimize the use of energy, time and material, and most importantly could design HVAC ducts that meet the acoustical requirements of the duct system. In order to attain all these, you need to decide on the type of duct system, what the duct system would be used for, duct system layout, fitting selection, system leakage, acoustical properties, equipment selection and much more.

Equal Friction, Static regain and Constant velocity, are the three methods used more often for duct designing for commercial and industrial duct systems. Sincerest suggestion is to consider both; the supply side (positive pressure) of the air handling unit aka Fan, and the return side & makeup-air side (negative pressure) of the fan. There are no set rules pertaining to the use of equal-friction method and constant velocity systems. 

However; equal friction is mostly used on the supply and return systems, whereas constant velocity is used for exhaust systems that are supposed to convey particulate or fumes. Static regain can certainly to be used for a positive pressure design.

Various other aspects to be paid attention to during the HVAC design phase, includes fan or air handler selection, system effects, leakage, diversity, room-air distribution, equipment layout and commissioning. In this article we will focus on the positive side of the fan air handling unit.

How to choose the appropriate and efficient HVAC duct design?

While designing duct systems for HVAC construction projects, you certainly would want to opt for a design method that minimizes energy, material and time consumption. Any design method can be used to design a duct system for almost any pressure, but static regain does not automatically design systems at a lower total pressure. A 6-inch-water-gain system can be designed either by equal friction; just increase the design friction rate or by static regain just increase the initial velocity.

In either of the scenario, the velocities are supposed to be kept within acceptable limits to avoid noise challenges, whereas the static-regain design goal is to produce a balanced system. It is the one where all paths are design legs, and or require the exact same amount of static pressure for the leg’s respective airflow. In the end for the final balancing of systems, smaller sizes in non-critical paths will use excess pressure. 

So for instance if two designs of the same duct systems are created, that have the same operating pressure, but one with equal friction and one with static regain; the later one should use smaller duct sizes because it balances the system. In such cases one can have the benefit of more round sizes and, as smaller sizes in general are used for balancing the non-design paths; the benefit of lower duct and fitting costs as well can be attained. Benefit of a spiral duct is that it has lower breakout noise, resulting in a quieter design. Additional benefit of round duct and resultant smaller size is that they are convenient to install and seal.

Total pressure Design; all paths are critical paths to make the duct system perfectly balanced

Irrespective of the fact that the system is designed with equal friction or with static regain, chances of it being imbalanced cannot be denied. Though probability is less with static regain design, but because you do not have infinite number of duct sizes, some amount of imbalance will certainly prevail. This is why treating all paths as critical is the best way of doing things, in order to make the duct system perfectly balanced. 

Basic understanding of imbalance is that some paths have more pressure available than what they require, but why can’t we think that it also means that these paths have sections that can be made even smaller. Less efficient fittings will generate more noise, but usually it is not a challenge until you get close to the final runouts. However; the best option is to design with high-quality fittings that have lower pressure drop than to use smaller sizes.

If you want to save more money, utilize multiple runs of round rather than rectangular or flat-oval ducts. Usually the process of considering a given design, determining the excess pressure available in the non-design legs and reducing their size to use up the excess pressure, is known as total pressure design. Though it is applicable to any design method, it best suits to static regain method. The disruptive technology and software brings us the good news by pointing the critical legs, making it convenient to identify where there will be excess pressure.

If compared to rectangular or flat-oval ductwork, round ones cost less, saves installation time, easier to seal and the static regain and total pressure design methods are much more balanced.
Several other advantages of total-pressure design are that it is a balanced system using smaller sections of duct, with higher attenuation and insertion losses. Hence; using this kind of knowhow, along with keeping the velocities reasonable, total pressure designs should not require extensive noise control.

Leakage; should be no more than 5 % of the total airflow volume

If a high performance duct design is to be defined, it should minimize the leakage. According to American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), system leakage should not be more than 5 percent of the total airflow volume. Is it that important? Yes, it is.

If a system leaks and airflow requirements are not met in locations they were intended, the leaks either need to be sealed or the fan speed must be increased to generate the requisite volume of airflow. Leaks that are not sealed, which is not permitted as per many codes, the additional volume will need to be pushed through with a higher static. It is so because the system will continue to leak and that the airflow volume and the additional leakage airflow volume caused by higher static pressures will have to be taken care of as well.

ASHRAE studies suggest that the cost of leakage could be $0.00050 per cfm per hour. So a 50,000 cfm system operating 2,600 hours per year with 10 percent leakage of 5,000 cfm, could cost an additional $6,500 per year. Now that huge money that you might be losing on due to leakages…...isn’t it?

To sum it up all, in order to design high performance duct systems that do not have acoustic sound problems, you need to:
  • Minimize the use of energy
  • Minimizes the use of construction/manufacturing labor and material
  • Make sure it does not add noise to the environment
  • Design balanced systems
But the question is that how would you meet these objectives? Utilizing the static regain/total pressure design to determine duct sizes is recommended, as well as widely used. A chart published in the ASHRAE 2011 Applications Handbook, could be of help.

Using static regain to size the duct sections using the most efficient fittings proves to be cost effective in the long run. Upon completion, one can use the total pressure design to further balance the system with help of smaller sizes and less efficient fitting in non-critical paths. This certainly will give you the final result in form of a well-balanced system through the smallest sizes possible for the initial velocity.

What are smaller duct sizes and how are they beneficial?  
  • Number of round duct sizes will be more.
  • Round spiral duct is much easier to install and has fewer joints.
  • Many sizes will be smaller than those in other design methods, making even them easier to install and use fewer materials.
  • Smaller sizes will be easier and less costly to seal making very low leakage duct systems possible.
  • The duct system will be balanced assuring everyone gets enough air and testing and balancing time will be minimized.
  • Done right, round ductwork results in quieter system with less risk of noise problems.

You most likely will need assistance from best HVAC Design Optimization experts, enabling you to evaluate the efficiency of HVAC systems & optimize its performance and improve indoor air quality. With experience in building energy efficiency, TrueCADD comprehensively evaluate the performance of heating and cooling systems for commercial, institutional, residential and healthcare buildings. MEP and HVAC specialists work in a close knit manner to perform HVAC analysis through CFD analyses.

Their HVAC design support services help you to develop cost-effective, energy efficient systems, in turn providing you the opportunity to efficiently utilize chillers, pumps, air handling units and maximize the areas with natural ventilation. They proficiently use eQuest to create HVAC zones that are ASHRAE compliant, and suggest ECMs post energy modeling to reduce overall energy consumptions.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

BIM for Fire Safety; Beneficial to Building, Structural and MEP Engineers

BIM for Fire Safety

MEP Clash Detection, the spatial coordination capability of BIM, is the key how projects try to take benefit of BIM when it comes to fire safety engineering. It has already benefited building, structural and MEP engineers and fire safety contractors of course.

BIM facilitates discipline-specific models produced by engineers and building product manufacturers to evaluate them together by uploading them onto Autodesk Navisworks. The best part of these is they can read multiple formats – concurrently. This is how geometric conflicts between models are resolved virtually by the project participants before they encounter physical problems in the field.

Since inception, several fire protection companies began working in BIM by leveraging their existing technology tools, trying to accommodate the new or evolved way of working. One of such approach, not ideal but workable though, is the availability of add-on software for AutoCAD to turn 2D lines into a 3D model, enabling drawings that has everything elevated to appropriate height.

Another such example is of AutoSPRINK, a specialized fire protection software program, to draw everything in 3D, calculate hydraulics and prepare a printout list or a file for fabricators. Also there is software readily available to reference 2D drawings and trace them into BIM. SprinkCAD is one of them, which permits a direct integration into BIM that saves time and improves efficiency.

Still there are architects who solely depend on conventional coordination, through transparent drawings on light tables etc., but internally they are also aware of the fact that the activity might yield them mixed results.

Building Information Modeling fondly known as BIM; has rapidly changed the way land surveyors, MEP contractors, general contractors, sub-contractors, architectural design firms and many more, work together to design, build and operate projects. To everyone’s surprise, in the last few years fire protection engineers and trades are being asked to work in a BIM environment and they are gaining tremendous drag.

How BIM helps in fire protection:

Architects, contractors, occupants and various other stakeholders can easily access the valuable information instantaneously about the building model, as BIM makes it easy for designers to create such intelligent environment.

However, the only limitation to such 3D BIM models is that they are prepared basis the amount of information and input fed in the BIM model by the architectural design support team. If a user opts for a specific component of the system, the BIM model can provide relevant details like make, model, serial number, cost and so on.

Spatial coordination is quickly becoming a standard practice, which of course has posed challenges for trades that are not 3D modeling their work. However, several contractors have taken a stand that if any supply chain stakeholder is not modeling the work with others, the non-modeling vendor will have to coordinate with the ones that do modeling. This represents a potentially major change in the traditional pattern, which has always been sprinklers go around everybody else', because now if sprinklers have a layout that goes in the building model and HVAC doesn't, sprinklers take precedence.

As a result, fire protection contractors are getting extra cautious to implement software that works in the leading clash-detection programs including Autodesk Navisworks and many more. Use of BIM is expanding beyond piping to embrace fire alarm control panels, pull stations, smoke detectors and many other elements, which comprise of the total fire protection package.

In case of fire compression system, if the user selects a fire pump; a strong, well-established BIM model can provide the user with all the necessary information required. It can even identify the flow, pressure of the pump and the performance curve as well. If the user opts for pump motor, the information will vary accordingly and it will include horsepower, voltage, service factor and so on as the designer would have fed. It might also contain defensive maintenance information and the part replacement information as well.

Enabling access to the BIM model during the design and construction process, installers can alter information as they install the components. Field technicians or commissioning agents can photograph the motors and pump nameplates, the moment they are installed or commissioned, and associate the nameplate photograph with the specific pump or motor. This info is then accessed by building engineers and maintenance staff without leaving the site.

For fully BIM integrated buildings, building engineers often can review events on the building management system (BMS) for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing issues also known as MEP issues, as a first order troubleshooting measure.

Building engineers and contractors, for buildings that are not equipped with BIM integrated systems, cannot afford to have these luxuries. When it comes to fire protection systems, they are barely integrated with BMS. However; a well-coordinated BIM Model can serve as a sole source for building engineers, contractors, MEP engineers and many more, to assess systems inside their buildings - conveniently.