Cadac Group develops rapid validation tools for the construction industry
To put it bluntly: the construction industry is almost as heavily regulated as the space industry. With that in mind, you’d better provide solid control systems if you want to compete. The Cadac Group, an Autodesk Platinum Partner and leading supplier of software and consultancy for the manufacturing and construction industries and the government, has developed its own range of data control solutions specifically for the construction industry. ‘We couldn’t have done this without the unique input and practical support of our technology partner Nordend,’ says Björn Ramaekers, Design Automation Product Manager at the Cadac Group.
As a Platinum Partner of CAD specialist Autodesk, the Cadac Group boasts many clients from the worlds of architecture, construction, installation technology and government. Cadac also supports these clients with a wide range of its own applications. Under the collective name ‘Cadac Control’, the company develops various solutions for data control.
Respecting CAD and BIM standards
‘When creating 2D drawings and 3D models with CAD, enormous amounts of data are generated. It is important that all those drafters and modellers work in accordance with certain standards and norms,’ emphasises Björn Ramaekers. For example, in the Netherlands, this could be the CAD standard, ‘NLCS’. This is a set of rules that the government, together with the implementing parties, have drawn up, to be able to work uniformly. ‘To deliver your drawings with the necessary quality as a drafter in the Netherlands, you must comply with these rules.’
The Information Delivery Specification, or ILS, is essentially the 3D counterpart of this. It is mainly used in the context of BIM modelling or the creation of digital building models, ‘although you can use this standard more broadly,’ notes Björn Ramaekers, ‘because as a client or user you can also add rules to the specification yourself.’
“I am highly impressed by how quickly Nordend was able to shape certain processes in the development of our NLCS and ILS validation tools. The simplicity they pursued has ensured that we can now keep all these processes up to date easily, and amend them should the need arise.”
Once the rules have been established and the specifications defined, it is important to effectively use them to assess the delivered technical drawings and 3D models. The results of this data check must then be reported to the creators quickly and clearly, so that they can make any necessary corrections to their drawing and modelling work. ‘This ensures that the subsequent – often data-driven – processes run smoothly, without all sorts of errors suddenly popping up,’ explains Björn Ramaekers.
To support its customers in that control process, Cadac has developed its own validation tools for both ILS (BIM) and NLCS (CAD). At one point in this development, the company had considered using FME technology. This software facilitates the ETL processes. Simply put, FME allows data to be imported (‘Extract’), edited (‘Transform’) and exported (‘Load’) from various sources and files. This makes it much easier to connect data, and allows you to automate various work processes more quickly.
More than just FME expertise
Cadac decided to explore the possibilities and potential benefits of integrating FME into its validation solutions. ‘During this period of research, Paul Smeets, CTO of the Cadac Group, soon came across Nordend,’ recalls Björn Ramaekers. That first acquaintance formed the beginning of a long-term consultancy relationship. ‘From day one, we really clicked. This has led to us doing great things together for more than two years now.’
As a certified partner of Safe Software, the developer of FME, Nordend can naturally provide all the required FME expertise. However, the company also proved to have extensive experience with reading BIM and CAD formats via FME. Nordend was perfectly placed to build workflows to check files for standards. Moreover, it was able to write the FME code for this sort of application in a way that you as a customer or user can add new rules yourself without additional development. This not only promotes self-reliance but is also maintenance friendly.
“What particularly appeals to me about Nordend is the strong combination of expertise and pragmatism with which their consultants consistently make a difference.”
Competent and pragmatic
‘What particularly appealed to me about Nordend is the strong combination of expertise and pragmatism with which their consultants consistently make a difference. And I’m not just talking about their expertise in automated data conversions and validations via FME,’ says Björn Ramaekers. ‘For example, the consultants are also highly aware of the daily problems and typical challenges of our customers and capable of assessing these expertly. This is no easy task when, like us, you’re dealing with so many different sectors and processes. And yet they have always managed to grasp what we are talking about with ease. At the same time, their no-nonsense mentality ensures that we don’t waste any time on activities that contribute little or nothing to the project.’
NLCS and ILS validation tools
When Björn Ramaekers reflects on their collaboration with Nordend over the past few years, he is most impressed by the speed and simplicity with which Nordend consistently operates. ‘For example, I am impressed by how quickly they were able to shape certain processes in the development of the NLCS and ILS validation tools. The simplicity they pursued has ensured that we can now keep all these processes up to date easily, and amend them should the need arise.’
This speedy performance has not only benefitted Cadac, but has already impressed customers using the new validation tools. Björn Ramaekers likes to use the example of a customer who had to check up to 25,000 AutoCAD drawings per year. ‘With the existing solution, he managed to check 100 to 150 drawings per hour with difficulty. The customer feared that it would take even longer with our new solution. So, we suggested he simply put it to the test. We gave Cadac Control about 750 of those documents for processing. After less than a quarter of an hour, it turned out that they had all already been checked: a performance improvement that left the customer amazed!’
About Cadac Group
Cadac Group, as a leading supplier of software and consultancy for the engineering, production and process industries, distinguishes itself as an Autodesk Platinum Partner and Microsoft Gold Partner. With a pioneering role in digital transformation, Cadac Group offers more than 35 years of experience, supported by leading solutions and services. As one of the most innovative Autodesk Platinum Partners in Europe, Cadac Group continues to distinguish itself through its commitment to excellence in the industry. Discover more at www.cadac.com.