Even for civil engineering veterans who have successfully transitioned their project workflows to Civil 3D, odds are that there is still room to go back and learn—or at least refresh—some of the fundamentals of the program that could help expedite some part of a project’s lifecycle.
“There will always be a need for fundamentals training in Civil 3D,” Rob Bigelow, ATG’s Director of Civil/Infrastructure Services told us. Even experienced Civil 3D users, in his experience, could use a fundamentals class like the one that ATG is offering from March 2nd through March 5th, and that’s because they’re often pulled into specific tasks within their projects, without much time to practice some of the vital skills that fall outside of those day-to-day tasks.
And that means that even seasoned Civil 3D users lose some of the fundamental skills that would be helpful as they pursue time efficiencies and lower project costs.
It is for this reason that ATG offers these Civil 3D Basics courses to both new and veteran users. Covering a wide range of Civil 3D functions and add-ons and backed by prep calls with the ATG team, the course is customized to the objectives and needs of each learner and includes instruction and hands-on training on everything from the user interface to the fine details of implementing pipe networks.
We recently sat down with Rob Bigelow to get the full story on why users of all skill levels should consider taking this training, and why anyone working on public works projects should be using Civil 3D.
Here is what he told us.
GovDesignHub (GDH): Tell us about yourself. What is your role at ATG? What experience have you had in the AEC space and how long have you been working with AutoCAD programs?
Rob Bigelow: My name is Rob Bigelow, and I’m the Director of Civil/Infrastructure Services here at ATG. I have 25 years of experience in the AEC space, having worked in Land Development, Mining, Municipal, Transportation and GIS.
I’ve worked as a Civil Designer, CAD Manager, Planner, Project Manager, and GIS Analyst, and I lead a team of 10 Technical Specialists who come from the civil and infrastructure industry and that are located across the country.
We offer consulting and production services for the AEC industry, which entails custom training, project mentoring, drafting and design, CAD/BIM/CIM Management, and GIS services. We are equipped and staffed to handle most any type of service that will assist the customer in either getting their job out the door or teaching them to become more proficient in the software.
GDH: Tell us about ATG. What expertise does the company have with helping Autodesk users who are working on public works projects?
Rob Bigelow: ATG has an extensive history in working with the entire public sector, not just public works departments.
Our goal at ATG is to help our customers become self-sustainable with both current and future projects. With the AEC industry advancing as fast as it is, we’re able to help our customers migrate towards BIM (Building Information Modeling) or CIM (Civil Information Modeling) to improve the quality of data maintained as well as improve coordination between them and their consultants.
ATG is not only able to train their staff but become an extension of their team. This allows our customers to bring more work in-house and retain more of their budget by reducing outsourcing.
GDH: What types of civil engineering and infrastructure projects most benefit from utilizing Civil 3D? Is it for designing utilities only? Transportation projects?
Rob Bigelow: Autodesk’s Civil 3D provides the most tools to design and draft for all kinds of projects: utilities, transportation, land development, water resources, survey, and mapping are a few of the types of projects heavily utilized with Civil 3D.
Along with the AutoCAD and Map3D tools that are built into Civil 3D, there are other add-ons and programs that are beneficial to use alongside Civil 3D, like Storm and Sanitary Analysis (SSA), Infraworks, BIM360 for Civil, Civil View in 3D Studio Max, and Vehicle Tracking.
Using all these programs together at the right time and place will assist in a successful deliverable in all stages of a project lifecycle. This is where our industry experts assist our customers with helping them implement the workflows necessary to make projects efficient and successful.
GDH: With all of your experience working in AutoCAD, why should people working on these kinds of projects switch to BIM and Civil 3D? What benefits do users realize when they use Civil 3D instead of AutoCAD? How does it contribute to more efficient workflows and lower project costs?
Rob Bigelow: Civil 3D offers the civil engineering industry tools that they won’t be able to have in regular AutoCAD. These tools are called Civil 3D objects and contain surfaces, survey points, grading objects, alignments, profiles, assemblies, corridors, pipe networks, view frames, and annotation styles. These objects do not exist in regular AutoCAD and are essential for civil engineering design.
With that said, AutoCAD fundamentals are a necessary skillset for all Civil 3D users, since Civil 3D is based off of an AutoCAD framework. AutoCAD fundamentals—lines, arcs, polylines, viewports, model and layout space, scales, dimensions, blocks, layers, and many more AutoCAD objects—are required knowledge for a Civil 3D user.
Having AutoCAD and Civil 3D skillsets will assure that a drafter, a designer, and an engineer will have all the tools necessary to have efficient workflows, which will lead to lower project costs.
GDH: On March 2 through March 5, you’ll be hosting a Civil 3D Basics Training Course. Why is this the best way for someone to get started with Civil 3D?
Rob Bigelow: The March 2 to March 5 essentials course is designed for those who are already familiar with AutoCAD software and the civil industry. For those that meet those qualifications, it’s a great way to get exposure to the Civil 3D software and environment. It will cover the user interface (UI), alignments to corridors, and many other Civil 3D design tools so that the end user will be more familiar with the product.
For those that don’t know AutoCAD, we recommend at least an extra day or two for AutoCAD essentials training. These essential trainings won’t get the end user to become proficient in the software, for that will take time working inside the software itself practicing the concepts they learned in class.
We also offer project mentoring to assist them in applying the lessons learned in class on actual project work. This is the most effective way to have the end user become confident and competent with Civil 3D.
GDH: Walk us through the course schedule. By the end of the program, what will learners be able to do?
Rob Bigelow: Prior to doing any training, we have a scoping call to go over what we normally train on and align it with what the client is looking for. Once the scope has been signed and approved by client, we do a kick-off call to assure that everything is in order.
When the time comes for custom training, we start off with introductions and getting familiar with the types of roles and workflows the organization has. We then go through each topic in concept, in demonstration, and then hands-on practice. We go through the UI, then to parcels and survey, then alignments, profiles, assemblies, and corridors, then grading, then sheet and production, then pipe networks, and follow up with another topic that is needed in class. We use our own datasets built from scratch and the client’s datasets as appropriate.
Even though there is an outline, we find it best to keep things free-flowing and lead the training per the discussion in the group. In other words, while training, we may find out the client doesn’t need as much time as originally anticipated for a particular subject, but they need more time for another one.
We also can’t anticipate how interactive the class is, how many questions come up, or how much assistance is needed for each person, so we try and leave it somewhat open to the flow of the class. However, we always strive to wrap things up on the total amount of days identified in the scope.
GDH: This is one course in a quarterly series. Why is there such a demand for such trainings right now and what might be some of the topics covered in future programs?
Rob Bigelow: There will always be a need for fundamentals training in Civil 3D. This is often due to clients being pulled into certain subjects within their projects that they don’t have much time to learn subjects outside of the project. They just don’t get the hands-on training and lose some of those skills. We find a need for a lot of experienced Civil 3D users to take a fundamentals class so they can beef up their skills within those areas they haven’t used in quite a while. Also, there are always new users or engineers who are looking to use the software more. This is a perfect opportunity for them to learn the fundamentals of the software.
From novice to expert, the fundamentals classes are utilized to make the end user more efficient with the varying aspects of the software. In addition, we offer more advanced training and project mentoring to provide the ultimate training for the end users.
For more information – and to register – on the Civil 3D Basics Training course, click HERE.