Monday, June 01, 2015

Project Approach Validation

No one knows everything about everything about Civil 3D. This is especially true of new users or users who haven’t had a large amount of projects to gain knowledge about the software. Occasionally I’m called into fix a Civil 3D project and wish I could have been there sooner to streamline the process at the start instead of midstream on a project. Often times a large portion of project time for a project is spent trying to come up with a design solution using Civil 3D tools. When I start a new project these are the things I like to think about.

  • What typical section is the project going to utilize? This involves looking at the design requirements and coming up with an assembly that will meet those criteria. If available a quick corridor is created to validate if the assembly will meet most of projects requirements. If needed an approach will also be created for retaining walls or tying into existing features. This phase is primarily making sure we pick the correct assemblies to get the job done.
  • Is phasing going to be utilized on the project? This involves understanding if phasing is going to be required. For most projects this is ignored and left up to the contractor to figure out. On larger projects designs are needed to account for each phase of the project. If financing is important to the project then each phase needs to have accurate quantities and how is the user going to put all of the features together. Often a workflow diagram is useful for coming up with an approach on how to design the project and help decide how to split up the Civil 3D drawings.
  • Is customization appropriate for the project? Often times customization is appropriate for a project. If the roadway is in a previously developed area a custom subassembly may be required in order to ensure the sidewalk meets ADA requirements. In an older business district the curb height may need to be variable in order to meet the minimum 2% sidewalk slope. In these cases the elevation needed to tie into the existing buildings is more important than maintaining a constant 2% cross slope on the roadway. A custom subassembly may provide for an easy solution for this. If a custom solution isn’t allowed then the ability to think outside the box is helpful to solve this problem. Since the roadway subassembly will probably need to use an advanced approach to solve the problem.
  • Does the staff have the resources to complete the project? Often times training ends up going in one ear and out the other. In talking with users it can become apparent that additional help is required for those users. Identifying it from the beginning can provide an opportunity to provide support for those users. Checking in with the users periodically will prevent wasted time where users are spinning their wheels attempting to figure out what to do next.

I’d suggest having a team meeting to validate the project approach. This also provides for a time to get buy in on the project and approach. The approach may change as time goes on, but with a good starting point I’ve found there is less time coming up with how we should solve the problem.

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