PUBLICATION IN ENGINEERING NEWS,
FEBRUARY 11, 2011
By Natasha Odendaal
Integrated software solutions company Knowledge Base is in the process of rolling out its new software solution platform, Civil Designer 2011, across Africa, following a launch at an Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa conference, in October.
Civil Designer 2011, which replaces the Civil Designer 6.5 software platform, is a fully fledged, fully integrated civil engineering infrastructure design system, with a platform that functions in a graphical environment, says Knowledge Base CEO Vincent Bester.
Civil Designer was written on a 3-D computer-aided design (Cad) engine and is flexible enough to enable installation on a different Cad platform in the future, he tells Engineering News.
The software programme is scalable, which means that the platform is able to accommodate add-on modules as required, and it is fully compatible with the .dwg, .dxf and .dgn drawing formats.
He points out that the civil engineering industry has become increasingly fast-paced over the past few years and that engineers need to compete for business by proposing better prices and shorter delivery times than those of their competitors.
For example, the Gautrain rapid rail link project, which was commissioned over about 57 months, would have traditionally been developed over a period of six to ten years, with the design phase being fully completed before construction starts.
"The current trend in designing and construction seems to be 'just-in-time', which means that as one leg of the construction phase starts, the consultant is designing the next leg of the phase," says Bester.
Further pressure is added by the exponential growth in demand for infrastructure development, housing and services, while the number of qualified engineers has been declining over the past 20 years.
CIVIL DESIGNER 2011 LAUNCH|
"Knowledge Base clients are under pressure to speedily pull in data, create a design and generate the contract drawing, besides other tasks, for contractors with limited staff," he says.
He explains that the Civil Designer 2011 can produce contract drawings without the need for time-consuming Cad editing and, if a change in design is required, re-creation and reproduction can be done in an instant.
The system's Survey and Terrain module is an interactive strings-based earthworks and dam design with contours, slope and height shading.
Bester explains that another module, the Roads module, is an interactive embankment design and area calculations system for urban streets, single- and dual-carriageway roads, railways, airports, harbours and parking areas.
"The Sewer module can perform a foul water network analysis and design, which takes into account the spatial and geometric relationship between different branches," he adds.
Further, the Water module, produces an analysis and extended time simulation of large fluid-handling networks, including reservoirs, pump chambers and valves.
"Together, the eight modules that make up Civil Designer combine to form an integrated design platform for civil engineering infrastructure," Bester concludes.