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Choosing the right engineering and design software involves a thorough examination of comparative functionality, design processes, BIM workflow 'fit', and cost. When it comes to the cost, a meaningful comparison requires an understanding of licensing alternatives, in addition to the sufficiency of the product for its intended purpose.

Perpetual Licensing
Perpetual software licenses, purchased for a once-off fee, do not expire and are a long-term asset to the company that owns them. Perpetual licensing usually goes hand in hand with an optional maintenance and support subscription, giving the owner access to technical support and latest version updates.

Rental Subscription
A rental, or rental subscription license will expire outright at the end of the arranged term. The customer must renew the license to use the software and to access existing projects designed using the same application. This means that the total expenditure will exceed that of a perpetual licensing arrangement over the long term. A rental arrangement has the advantage of ensuring that the customer is always using the latest version of the software.

Support Subscription
Technical support services may be included in a rental scheme or may be provided as an additional and optional subscription package. in the case of perpetual licenses, a support subscription will usually include version updates so that the customer can keep up to date with improvements to the software.

Lease to own
Lease to own purchase arrangements allow for a budgeted payment schedule, with eventual ownership of the software license, although the total cost outlay will eventually be more than the cost of a perpetual license at the time of purchase.

Network Licensing
Multiple users can make use of available licenses where they are not required simultaneously. Licensing options that allow for shared network licenses create a significant cost saving where module specific design work can be scheduled at different times across a team.

Software Sufficiency
A further cost consideration, beyond the licensing alternatives, is the sufficiency of the product to handle all the required tasks for which it is intended. Independent software packages that are bundled together in order to address specialized industry tasks, and marketed as fit for purpose, lead to unpredictable costs and compatibility issues. This is because the separate programs are written by different suppliers, with non-synchronized updates, version releases and independent supplementary training, support and development services.

Civil Designer's Cost Advantage
Civil Designer's licensing options include all the above alternatives. This means that a company can determine the most cost-effective solution according to their own project requirements, specializations and according to the size of their design team. The chart below indicates the advantage of implementing perpetual licenses which are shared over a network. It demonstrates how the cost effectiveness becomes increasingly evident with time and as the number of designers who require access to the software increases.

Civil Designer Cost Comparison

Civil Designer is a completely integrated civil infrastructure design platform, available as a single installation. This means that its seven design modules work through one interface and contribute towards a single model, where all the design elements are geometrically related to each other at all stages of the design process. The sufficiency of the software sets it apart from alternative packages that are bundled according to industry specializations and then marketed as fit for purpose.

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