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GLOBAL DESIGN TOOL DEVELOPED FOR CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Blackpool-based software house MAP working with Warwickshire-based design and engineering practice Fulcro Engineering Services have turned a design tool for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of construction projects into a worldwide standard.

Fulcro, based at Bidford-upon-Avon, was able to use its cutting-edge building-project skills to help MAP to develop CAD-Duct, which enables designers to produce fully accurate 3D models of buildings showing all their mechanical and electrical (M&E) systems.

The building information modelling (BIM) software has been created for the 55 per cent of professionals throughout the world that work with AutoCAD, and is being used in the US alone by more than 60 per cent of its top 100 engineering contractors.

CAD-Duct is designed to ensure that services such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and drainage and sanitation fit seamlessly by giving the design team a real-world view of how the services will look installed in a new building.

MAP originally developed CAD-Duct in the late 1980s to enable HVAC contractors to create 3D representations of ductwork over 2D architectural drawings. Working with an ever-increasing and diverse client base, including BAA on the construction of Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport, gave it the opportunity to expand the software into other areas including pipe work and electrical fittings.

Ben Haldin, Managing Director of Fulcro, said: “CAD-Duct enables the design and construction team to view a virtual building with all the actual manufactured M&E systems in place so that it can examine all the operating, maintenance and cost issues before any on-site work begins.

“With the M&E elements constituting a critical 35-45 per cent of its construction costs, the software also allows the viewer to see a part of a building in relation to its whole, so that they can detect possible conflict or clashing including any critical interfaces between fixings and supports and the main structural and plant elements.”

Stuart Barcock, Sales and Applications Manager for MAP, said: “Fulcro has proved to be an excellent strategic partner, providing us with vital feedback that has resulted in valid enhancements to the CAD-Duct software. Their high-performance standards achieved in cutting-edge projects have enabled us to push the software to its limits.

“Ben Haldin and his Fulcro team have been innovative and supportive in the development process of CAD-Duct and we will continue to progress new and exciting cutting edge construction solutions together.”

He added: “Fulcro has also helped us to develop for CAD-Duct the industry’s most extensive, expandable and customisable parametric libraries of custom object fittings, such as air handling units, flex and silencers. These libraries not only reduce drawing time and increase accuracy but are ‘data rich’ to improve the long quality chains that are increasingly required between the design, build and maintenance processes.”

Fulcro has used the software on many building projects, especially in the healthcare arena, where it has been responsible for everything from co-ordination and design development through to managing installation requirements for mains services routes.

Ben Haldin, whose experience comes from the lean production processes of the automotive world, said: “At Derby City Hospital, for example, we worked in collaboration with the design and installation team to develop an installation strategy that reduced lead times, site reworking and freed up engineering time.”

He added: “CAD-Duct has never been a more vital tool in building design, with the current recession forcing companies to look at making savings wherever possible. As a key element in the BIM process, it provides a key tool in new methods of lean collaborative working that we are successfully institutionalising among our building clients.”

Stuart Barcock said: “CAD-Duct is very much focused on productivity; it is quick to learn, easy to use and excellent for use in early stage design, accurate detailed co-ordination, fabrication and beyond. CAD-Duct has evolved to encompass the complete range of tools, features and services required for today's construction industry.

“With CAD-Duct, MAP really puts the ‘I’ in BIM through the production of detailed management reports, automated bills of materials and electronic procurement. It is also possible for the 3D models to be passed through seamless integration to our other products such as CAM-Duct for manufacturing or EST-Duct for estimating”.

“Whether used for HVAC, dust extraction, drainage and waste, pharmaceutical clean rooms or electrical systems, the software is now the modelling and fabrication application of choice for small works to major industrial and commercial building projects throughout the world.

“CAD-Duct boasts a significant software market share of the global building services and construction industry, with sales increasing by an average of 14 per cent annually over 80 countries across five continents.”

Stuart added: “From international airports, hospital developments, to the new Olympic Stadium in London, Fulcro have certainly gained a solid reputation for experienced expertise and professionalism. It is exciting and a great opportunity for the MAP research and development team to be involved with Fulcro’s current and future impressive engineering projects.

“Our companies’ relationship has proven to be mutually very beneficial, not simply for commercial reasons but for the opportunity to develop solutions that work for the industry as a whole.”

Email: simon@loisburley.co.uk


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