The Little Advancement of CAD Integration - Costs


After the death of SAICIC, several Mexican programs, appropriated this market, constituting one of the engineering areas that were first automated. I remember that sometimes I gave the cost course, and it was necessary to try different applications (available in those days), such as NewWall, opus, Champion and Neodata. The latter seemed better but it bothered me not being able to distribute it in my country because it required a week in Mexico; Apart from not having the money, it seemed absurd to learn to use a program that I already knew how to use. For now Opus is calling me attention, lately it makes enough noise in AdWords to sting me to do a review any day of these ... but paid 😉

For now, for free, let's review the old story, how good these programs have been and why it has cost so much its integration with the CAD.

The need

A construction company, which withdraws the documents of a tender for a building of 8 flats and has two weeks to formulate its proposal, could spend the time of three engineers to calculate the amounts in notebook, define the unit cost sheets in Excel, approximate over-cost factors and make the estimate more fair. But if once the bids are presented they are allowed one day to reformulate a new proposal, surely there would be serious difficulties to go to the right without having nightmares about the margin of probable error.

The essential

In this, programs as mentioned above, all children of SAICIC do the same, create data structures from inputs:

  • Materials
  • Workforce
  • Subcontracts
  • Machinery
  • Tool

Then, they are ready for the construction of tabs of basic unit costs (basic), Which are later integrated into constructive elements (integrated), These are grouped within thematic lines of a budget (Departures), And finally are tailored to the needs of an economic proposal (Chapters). That logic of Indexed matrix Is the same that they have implemented the all, going one step further the tree towards Projects, Additional needs have been adapted such as the definition of economic zones and different requirements of overhead factors that vary by country but have been parameterized (more than less).

I remember doing this in Lotus 123, it was to die for but very educational to understand the continental drift, hehe, of my patience.


As a next stage, the programs integrated complements to the basic module of unit costs, the management of estimates for the collection once the construction began, a module for the planning of times with critical path, control of inventories and some modules for the management Financial - management.

Integration with CAD

The best achievement that can be considered in graphic integration, although it has been very primitive, we can mention two applications that Neodata made:

The calculation of dynamic quantities

Although the form is quite archaic by means of attributes, it can be considered a good conceptualization of the Bim (Building Information Modeling) that lately is becoming fashionable. The best gain is that the budget can be kept "semi-dynamic", such that when changing the plans, a modification of the budget can be generated if this is the case. It is also good to apply steel pieces that sooner or later will be a headache for the master builder and the steel erection contractor.

Neodata cad

The theming by attributes

In one of its modules called "housing marketing", Neodata integrates a primitive GIS, where you can paint the lots according to the state of purchase or economic solvency.

Neodata cad

In conclusion

I would like to say more, but there is not much more to see, not that it does not exist, but that its use has become popular. Finding a reason why this has not had many advances is complicated, it is not the end of the SIG by the painted maps and its precise CAD divorce. Neither can we deny that it is a superfluous need, having so many markets the CAD / CAM and the specific cost programs for AEC.

Looking for a reason, I can only refer to what in my times of Capuchino I have deduced with those who smoke in C #, I remember that more than once we have left on the blackboard a visionary project in this field. While IntelliCAD and DataCAD have tried, we conclude that the problem is the sustainability of the developments due to the instability of the most widely used vector standard (they cost a lot and last a short time). Although many recognize the dgn as more robust, the dwg is better known and the dxf is a ghost that everyone marries for unfaithful exchange interest.

Unless this changes, this dream will continue to be the nightmare that Quantity Takeoff has gone through, which despite being as old as Eagle Point and in the hands of AutoDesk, is only available for the United States. It is curious that some functions of Quantity Takeoff are integrated in Civil 3D, but we have seen very little implementation.

We hope that the consolidation of the Bim criterion that is now coming to the GIS and the Integrated work of AutoDesk - Bentley can give more stability to the standards; this should motivate the development of better applications in this area ... sustainable.

3 Replies to "The little advance of CAD integration - Costs"

  1. Neodata includes a series of programs for construction engineering. For unit costs, payroll control (payroll), estimates, housing developments, inventory, etc.

    Full information and demo versions can be downloaded from the Neodata website.


  3. In total agreement, the .DWG format -without open specifications and changing each new version- is a brake on innovation and the advancement of graphic design programs.
    As has happened with the office, I hope that the public administrations demand open formats and antitrust.

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