AutoCAD Civil 3D General Discussion

AutoCAD Civil 3D General Discussion

Active Contributor
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎08-04-2011
Message 1 of 6 (462 Views)

2D to 3D for BIM?

462 Views, 5 Replies
10-11-2011 02:38 PM

Hello all,


I've been asked by my boss to convert an existing 2D base with utilities into a 3D drawing.  Our proposed telecom and power duct banks, etc., will also be placed in the drawing. 


The client is expecting our drawing to be "BIM."  Unfortunately, after reading through forums and multiple websites, I am even more confused about what is being expected out of me.  We usually just create regular construction documents, but now it has to be 3D.  I've talked with my boss and he admits to being a bit clueless as to what exactly the client is expecting from us.


Our theory is that we will have a civil 3D drawing that shows our existing and proposed models.  Then, use those models to label everything the way we want it including creating plan & profile sheets.


With that said, I would like to know if our theory is seems right and what your suggestions are as far as project setup.


What happens when the Architect wants to use our model for BIM purposes?  Do I need a single drawing for our existing and proposed models?  Do I need to make sure that all labeling, etc. is in another drawing? 


Also, does that mean that I have to make every single item in our drawing into 3D?  For example, we have existing gate valves, cleanouts, fire hydrants, underdrains, etc. - do I need to actually show create parts or objects that represent each of these?  We have no idea what is being expected from us.


Thank you for your help,


Valued Mentor
Posts: 342
Registered: ‎07-09-2010
Message 2 of 6 (458 Views)

Re: 2D to 3D for BIM?

10-11-2011 03:00 PM in reply to: mark100177

I think you have three options; these are

  • option 1 search "How to Kiss Your **** Goodbye" with quotes replace the **** with the correct word that the acad site removes automatically
  • option 2 is search for a VDC certificate program or a BIM certificate program and
  • option 3 is called learning by doing - try searching google scholar with each of your questions as search terms - then contact the lead author for an explanation
Forest Peterson,; build-sheet
Active Contributor
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎08-04-2011
Message 3 of 6 (449 Views)

Re: 2D to 3D for BIM?

10-11-2011 03:14 PM in reply to: granite07

Thanks for the info.  I've been working on the project for a while now and my boss is pretty patient given the circumstances.  So far, I have created pipe networks for all of the existing utilities, and now I have completed creating the proposed duct banks in the same drawing.  There are miscellaneous things that I am stuck on including creating models of every object that I mentioned before such as water valves, fire hydrants, etc. 


I've searched around like crazy and would have thought that I can find something that shows exactly how and what gets converted over when an Architect brings in our work.  I think it is a simple export/import thing and I assume that revit will only show our models rather than all of the other linework and labeling.


I have an idea that sooner or later I'll have to take option #1, but I'll see if the company is willing to fork out the money for option #2, which I sort of doubt.  I have Mastering AutoCAD Civil 3D, but it seems to already assume that I know the basic stuff or doesn't cover the specific things I'm looking for.

Active Contributor
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎05-18-2009
Message 4 of 6 (439 Views)

Re: 2D to 3D for BIM?

10-11-2011 04:46 PM in reply to: mark100177

There is a website in which you can purchase water/sewer appurtenances (like FHs and elbows, tees, etc) called CAD-1.  We purchased a single seat of it for $400.  It's worth it if you are going to be doing more projects like these.  Regarding coordination with the Architect and Revit...option 1 is always the best answer.  Civil 3D does not like to talk to Revit.  If the project is in real world coordinates (Civil 3D), Revit will typically choke.  Civil 3D does not easily produce a file that Revit will import.  What I have done is this:


- set Model Space in a 3-D view (do a saveas as the next step is not pretty)

- have all of your pipe networks and any other Civil 3D object "promoted" into the drawing (if they aren't)

- EXPLODE every Civil 3D object...TWICE (no joke)

- You can then EXPORT it as an "AutoCAD" file (not a Civil 3D file)


The result is a 3D model (that has no Civil 3D information in it) that the architect can use and import directly into Revit.  Any Civil 3D information in the file will show up as a large square and will be useless.


If the architect is looking to have access to the Civil 3D information.  Navisworks is required to bridge the BIM gap between Revit and Civil 3D.  You can do all the reserach on the web that you want...there is no other reliable way.


Carl Fiorica

Burkett & Wong Engineers

Carl M. Fiorica, P.E., LEED A.P.
Burkett and Wong Engineers
3434 4th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
Valued Contributor
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎11-02-2009
Message 5 of 6 (414 Views)

Re: 2D to 3D for BIM?

10-12-2011 06:15 AM in reply to: mark100177

BIM is still relatively misunderstood in the industry, therefore, everyone has their own definition of what it is. When we get a request for BIM, we immediately ask these questions:


1. What does BIM mean to you (what exactly are you expecting)?

2. What level of detail do you need to see?

3. What software package will you be using our files in?


Before spending time creating dynamic pipe networks and surfaces, find out what they really need? (Questions 1 & 2)


Also, depending on what software package they are using, you will need to export/deliver your content differently. If they are using the same version (like 2012) of AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD MEP, then they can Xref your drawing into theirs, but they must have the correct Object Enabler installed to see your Civil 3D objects. If they are using an older version of AutoCAD product, or any Revit product, then they cannot even use the 3D objects you are spending time creating. Revit can only import a DWG file with basic linework and shapes, like polylines representing contours and 3D solids representing piping, which makes creating surfaces and pipe networks almost unnecessary.  Or they may be using another CAD/BIM software that can’t read Civil 3D objects? (Question  3)


Finally, true BIM is a process, where all stakeholders on a project share their information with each other to improve the final design, but in reality, what BIM does is improve communication throughout the project.  You or your boss really need to communicate with your client to make sure you are all on the same page, and your are delivering exactly what they expect.

"The most dangerous phrase in the language is 'We've always done it this way.'" - Rear Admiral Grace Hopper
Valued Mentor
Posts: 342
Registered: ‎07-09-2010
Message 6 of 6 (394 Views)

Re: 2D to 3D for BIM?

10-12-2011 09:36 AM in reply to: mark100177

This is a VDC guide I built for my own use - it is derived from a USACOE technical report. it addresses most of the issues recaF raised and more; there are links to publications, I recommend you read some of them.


There are many BIM guides available, the GSA has one publicly available, though geared for the building industry.


I have worked as a BIM coordinator in the building industry and the questions you ask are full of obscure issues with no real answers other than what you make up or negotiate for a specific project, even then people will change their mind as they better grasp what they want - a BIM can be a stack of papers with drawings on them and numbered sequentially - it meets the definition of BIM.


Forest Peterson,; build-sheet
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