Design process transformed by use of AutoCAD mobile app


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Placing innovation at the forefront

The mission of Structural Surveys Ltd. is to be “digital first” for both its structural survey business and designs for home renovations, additions, and more. When it came to the company’s newly formed design department, the discovery of the AutoCAD mobile app brought design on-site as well as unexpected benefits with workflow, efficiency, and accuracy.

AutoCAD mobile app provides instant solution

Based in Warrington, England, Structural Surveys Ltd. was founded by Andrew Russell to focus on structural surveys of residential and commercial properties, but with a very innovative, digital-based approach and the use of tablets on-site. Since the company was started three years ago, he continually received requests for design work so he branched out to create a design department and recruited structural engineer Chris Caple. And, of course, it also needed a “digital first” approach.

“We were using AutoCAD LT to do design drawings for house extensions, alterations, new builds, and that sort of thing,” Caple says. “But we wanted to step it up to design digitally on-site and quickly, accurately capture all of the structure and geometry.”

Design in AutoCAD LT. Courtesy of Structural Surveys, Ltd.

“I did some research looking at different apps that we could use, and then I came across the AutoCAD mobile app,” he continues. “I realized we already had access to the AutoCAD mobile app because we have a subscription to AutoCAD LT. So, it just made sense to try it out.”

Caple first started to use the AutoCAD mobile app late last year—and hasn’t looked back.

“When you’re with a client, you can move around, and I can chop and change things to show what it's going to look like once the work's complete,” he says. “It's just so easy to use, and you get very accurate drawings. The drawings can then be very quickly opened in AutoCAD LT, and they all scale properly.”

Courtesy of Structural Surveys Ltd.

Since most of Structural Surveys’ design projects are for existing structures, it’s necessary to capture all of the site information. Caple finds this much easier to do with the AutoCAD mobile app.

During a client meeting, Caple will discuss their project on-site, whether it’s a new addition or to knock down a kitchen or dining room wall. He brings his iPad with the AutoCAD mobile app, Apple Pencil, and a laser measurer.

“For a house project, I'll go about measuring up all the relevant rooms using the laser measurer,” Caple says. “Then on my iPad I can draw the building quite quickly, simply, and, most importantly, accurately with the AutoCAD mobile app. I can build up a 2D plan of the house, edit it, and change the placement of the walls or show which ones will be removed or where steel beams will go for support. That’s especially helpful for the client so they can request changes immediately and visualize what the end result will be.”

Design in the AutoCAD mobile app. Courtesy of Structural Surveys Ltd.

With the basic plan drawing in the AutoCAD mobile app, Caple shares it with the team back at the office who open it into AutoCAD LT to add details, especially for construction. From there, a set of drawings for the project is made to hand off to the client.

“The AutoCAD mobile app syncs seamlessly with AutoCAD LT,” Caple says. “It’s just a straight drop from one to the other, which is great because there are no formatting issues and everything is synchronized. It’s hard to ever imagine going back to how we manually did everything before.”

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