Computer Software: Ease Personified!

Computer Software

Computer Software(s) have penetrated so deeply into infrastructure construction that they have become literally an inseparable part of this sector. From basic to complex, and from buildings to bridges, there's a befitting software for every application and requirement. While there are software to take care of design and detailing, they also find innovative applications to manage in-house activities. And what's more appreciative is the fact that as construction becomes more diverse, software companies are enriching their offerings with add-ons to go one step ahead in serving the clients. In the following pages, we shed light on some of these software.

Developers can gain control over project costs through the use of the RebarCAD software solution

K K Jagadish
Software such as RebarCAD from CADS India can help Real-estate / Property Developers achieve significant material and time savings on their projects, which in turn can help ensure that developments are cost effective and completed on schedule. Developers can benefit from suppliers who are able to minimise errors, reduce rebar consumption and prepare rebar quantities several times quicker than manual methods.

Developers can also benefit from Contractors who have better control over the processing of reinforcement and Consultants who have more input into material quantities. This all adds up to better accountability regardless of who produces the drawings and Bar Bending Schedules (BBS).

Rebar Fabricators can take advantage of Optimal Cut suggestions to plan the cut and bending of steel and fully utilise stock lengths. Accurate bend deduction calculations that comply with IS-2502 can help save steel before the beginning of fabrication. In addition time spent on checking and double checking of drawings and schedules is reduced significantly, whilst edits and revisions are handled quickly and efficiently without large increases to costs. The automatic revision of BBS helps save 100% of the time consumed in preparing manual schedules.

RebarCAD Software Solution

For developers, ultimately savings in time can help increase productivity and enable more projects to be handled by one preferred Contractor. This plethora of data in turn means they can combine projects, to realise even bigger material savings through maintaining control of overall rebar usage and minimising rebar waste.

Mr K K Jagadish (Managing Director of CADS India) commented;

"Quicker turnaround of high quality bar bending schedules (BBS) and drawings equals quicker and higher returns for developers! This reduces the financial risk for developers and increases confidence in the ability of the construction industry to deliver high quality projects, to budget and to schedule."

An example of this in action is Sobha Developers, headquartered in Bangalore, which is a renowned name in the industry for luxurious real estate projects in India and in the Middle East. Sobha Developers began its first landmark project in Chennai with the Sobha Meritta development. This luxury gated community, which spread across 6 acres of greenery, consists of 556 elegantly crafted apartments divided into 5 spacious blocks. Sobha wanted to start servicing the site with BBS for the first time, with the key challenge of ensuring accuracy and frugal consumption of reinforcement steel.

Mr. Rajesh Shirakol, (Sobha Developers Senior Vice President – Structures, Design & Engineering) commented on RebarCAD;

"The RebarCAD software has helped us to speed up construction and we were able to achieve a reduction in the wastage of bars. The site has appreciated the BBS to a great extent, as we never did BBS before Sobha Meritta."

ESurveying Softech: Urban Design and ESurvey CADD

Any infrastructure project starts with planning. The survey is conducted to help the urban designers plan infrastructure projects like Road Design, Canal, Layout Design, Water Supply, and Sewer Design.

Popular CAD Packages like AutoCAD, Micro Station, and BricsCAD are widely used in urban design projects. Since these tools are not specifically built on a specific stream of engineering, the plan and design using Standard Package alone will be difficult and time consuming. Understanding this need, many companies have developed various software packages to address the infrastructure industry's needs. ESurvey CADD is one such tool through which users can optimize their designs for space saving and less earthwork.

Using ESurvey CADD, many engineers have saved costs in multiple projects.

The following narrations illustrate how the software package helps engineers to save cost.

Better Earthwork Estimation: In levelling projects, if earthwork is planned in a way which does not involve bringing soil from another site or it does not demand dumping excess soil outside the work area, it will save cost. Using Earthwork module of ESurvey CADD, Optimum formation level for a given boundary can be found out. At many work sites, formation levels will be different in the same site for various reasons. In such cases also, cutting and filling can be found out for each boundary and engineers can ensure that total cutting and filling is same for entire work area, thereby avoiding the additional cost of transporting soil in and out from the work site.

Esurveying Softech

Across the country, thousands of kilometres of road are getting improved under Pradhan Mantry Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). Since these roads are not on either state or national highways, curve design is not given primary importance as road speed does not demand matching with national highways. Primary importance is given to ensure that roads are at least 7.5 meter wide. Using Section module of ESurvey CADD, engineers are able to estimate the lowest possible cost for improving the road to meet PMGSY standard requirements.

In states such as Kerala where buildings are constructed on either side of the road, the only option that is left for the public works department is to utilize all the space including footpath to be converted as a road. In the Section module of E-Survey CADD, there is specific feature called Road Widening, which prepares different layer drawings for only the additional width of the road.

As demand for more building is increasing, many sites are being converted into layouts. There is no specific software for designing the layout just by considering the layout surface. While developing layouts there will be many constraints, and parameters such as road accessibility to each plot, and bifurcation of land into roads need to be factored in, while the civic amenities have to be in compliance with the local municipality or corporations' rules. Normally such layout drawings are prepared using basic 2D drafting tools. E-Survey has developed set of lisp routines which are of great help to urban planning engineers, and save them considerable time in working with such drawings by developing code snippets within the CAD System.

Cost of land has been considerably increasing over a period of time. Acquisition of land for Public works is not as easy as earlier, and all these conditions demand fantastic engineering to ensure public comfort in infrastructure projects. Today's technology tools like AutoCAD and Specific CAD Packages, which address the engineers' need for optimum utilization of land like E-Survey CADD, are helping engineers to adapt to the situation. Considering the contribution of ESurvey CADD in Infrastructure projects, ESurvey CADD was awarded "Best Civil Engineering Software for the Year 2012" by Association of Consulting Civil Engineers (India).

SoftTech Engineers Pvt. Ltd.: IT tools in City development

City development is a crucial factor for any country's growth. In a developing country, municipal corporations/urban local bodies and other development enterprises face several challenges like rapid urbanization and unplanned development. Faster approvals of building plans in compliance with development control rules and building bye laws, transparency in processes and effective interaction with government systems are the requirements today.

Private infrastructure developers and contractors need systems that can manage the entire construction life cycle in a cost effective and efficient manner to complete projects within a given time and budget. SoftTech's products are developed to cater to the entire life cycle of construction starting from Planning, Approval, Procurement, and Monitoring to Execution.

SoftTech Engineers

Public Works Information Management System (PWIMS™), is a web based application for managing the core functional processes of works, planning, procurement and maintenance in public works organizations. It is developed keeping in mind needs of organizations engaged in works, procurement and maintenance of infrastructure assets like roads, buildings, bridges, water works and more. PWIMS™ handles the complete process of Tender management to project execution, adding the much needed teeth for improved functioning of public works departments. PWIMS has proven to:
  • Improve productivity, by aligning roles to workflows and processes, thereby shifting emphasis from tasks to outcomes and integrating all functions across the organization
  • Effective usage of resources by automating standard processes – significantly reducing paper based manual work
  • Consolidating information from various points in the works procurement cycle thereby increasing visibility and intelligence
  • Enforcing standardization through templates helps in improving compliance and accountability.
Information technology is also gaining importance in the field of building plan approvals. The government machinery has effectively implemented development control rules considering the development of a city. But with every passing year, a certain stress is created to amend the development control rules. The complexities of development control (DC) rules pose a challenge to architects and construction professionals in the form of subjectivity in interpreting bye laws and delays due to manual processes. This creates a fertile ground for introducing IT solutions. SoftTech's national award winning product AutoDCR® effectively bridges this gap. AutoDCR® is a unique and innovative e-governance solution for automation of building plan scrutiny and approval. It reads CAD drawings and maps them to the development control regulations for approval by municipal corporations and approving authorities. AutoDCR® has simplified the way proposals are submitted and approved:
  • Architects submit the plan on a CD by putting in the basic data of a proposal to a 'Single' window.
  • After automated scrutiny of the documents, a date for site visit of the building inspector or concerned officer is notified to Architects and concerned Building Inspectors via SMS.
  • The software supports palm interface whereby the visiting building inspector or officer at site will capture site visit report along with photograph on a PDA device.
  • Ownership, NOC and other documents related to plan approval are scrutinized.
  • AutoDCR completes the drawing based scrutiny.
  • Final Scrutiny reports and MIS reports are generated and published.
Once a building plan is approved the ball is set rolling with greater energy. In today's times of limited and expensive resources, managing a construction project is a gigantic task strewn with challenges of varied nature. Construction management is a zone where adaptability of IT tools is fast gaining pace. SoftTech's OPTICON™ is a ready-to-implement comprehensive construction ERP that specifically meets the requirements of the construction industry. Construction business management is a dynamic field, facing newer opportunities and challenges. With every passing year- OPTICON™ is built to satisfy the ever changing needs of estimation, tendering, project planning and control.

OPTICON Integration With Revit

As the cost of land and material is going up and limited resources are at hand, the industry has started to realize the need and importance of IT and latest communication technology. For a construction enterprise to address its growth challenges, IT tools are perhaps the only solution. The adoption of IT in the Indian construction industry is quite low, there is little awareness among the Indian builders regarding Building Information Modeling, and construction ERP. In order to manage growth, companies and government organizations will have to adopt latest technology tools.

A Complete Hit

Mrinalini Kulkarni
Mrinalini Kulkarni
Director, EDSS Pvt. Ltd.,
HIT-OFFICE, a ERP software product developed by EDSS Pvt. Ltd., is designed to smoothen construction management and inject it with even more efficiency.

The boom in the construction industry offers much scope for enhancing profits through systemization, standardization, instant information, smart analysis, and quick decisions. This is exactly where an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software system – specially designed for the construction industry – can help.

The construction ERP Hit-Office is one such software product that has been widely accepted by professionals in India and abroad. Developed after in-depth study of the processes, the HIT-OFFICE ERP is made up of several modules, like the Quotation module, the Project Management module, Purchase and Inventory Management module and Builder or Sales module with strong provision of Management controls.

Fine Details

The quotation module which is great for budgeting/estimation, generates material quantities, safeguards margins and makes provision for risks and overheads. It also creates a quantity and cost baseline for the execution of projects.

The project management module facilitates monitoring of activities and enables scheduling, subcontractor management, price comparison, billing and reconciliation, and comparison with the budget.

Furthermore, the purchase and inventory module monitors usage of material. It also keeps an eye on trends in price changes of the key materials.

The builder or sales module oversees the entire sales process – from booking the property, calculating the payments, detailed documentation to accepting payments and generating receipts.

There are other modules which make the system completely integrated like Accountancy, Staff Management, Strong Provision of Task Allocation, Equipment Management, etc.

HIT-OFFICE promises to be a worthwhile investment for project developers and managers. Investing here always returns the immediate business values and paves the way to achieve profit and business goals. It gives the client a sharper reference to all their activities to make better, low risk decisions across projects.

As Mrinalini Kulkarni, Director, EDSS Pvt. Ltd., states "HIT-OFFICE ERP is not a static solution for project in time but rather an integral part of the evolving business strategy."
NBM&CW August 2014
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