As a civil engineer, you rely on various engineering computer programs to get the job done. The kinds of programs you’ll need depend on the kinds of projects you work on, as well as your specialization and where you are in your career. For example, new civil engineers might use mostly technical software, but more experienced engineers might use programs oriented towards project management.
We created this list to highlight some of the most useful civil engineering software in the construction industry and beyond. So if you’re a seasoned engineer or studying to become one, these programs should be on your radar.
AutoCAD Features and Benefits
AutoCAD is one of the most widely used civil design software programs in the industry — and for a good reason. It’s a computer-aided design (CAD) software program that allows you to easily create and edit precise drawings.
Some advantageous features of AutoCAD include:
- Photorealistic rendering
- PDF and DGN import, export and underlay
- Cloud integration
- Smart dimensioning
- 3D modeling and visualization
These features make AutoCAD civil drafting an excellent choice for any engineer. You can easily attain the following benefits:
- Versatility: Professionals across various industries use AutoCAD for project design, resulting in smooth collaboration between fields.
- User-friendliness: The user interface is intuitive and straightforward, so anyone who has a foundational understanding of drafting can use the program.
- Accessibility: AutoCAD is generally affordable. You can choose from a monthly, annual or three-year subscription, and they even offer a free yearly license to students and educators. Plus, training courses are widely available online.
Autodesk, the company that makes AutoCAD, also offers a more advanced civil engineering 3D software simply named Civil 3D. While AutoCAD is excellent for drafting, Civil 3D allows you to dive deeper into your project with various surfaces, alignments and profiles.
Microsoft Excel in Construction
Microsoft Excel is probably the most widely used program in civil engineering. Engineers perform many functions in Excel, from project tracking to simple calculations. Some other key features of Excel include:
- Visualization: Using Excel, you can easily create charts, tables and graphs to visually display your data. This feature can be especially helpful for sharing data with stakeholders, architects and others involved in your project.
- Calculation: Excel is good for repetitive calculations requiring only a few operations.
- Flexibility: You can use Excel for various civil engineering applications, making it an incredibly versatile and cost-effective program.
- Storage: You can store many different sets of data in separate spreadsheets. To better organize information, store different categories of data on new pages.
- Templates: Excel templates make it easy to plug in relevant information without extensive formatting. This capability makes Excel an affordable application for project management as well as data entry.
Because it’s so ubiquitous, working knowledge of Excel is essential for success as a civil engineer. Fortunately, you can easily find affordable courses and training workshops online if you need to brush up on your skills.
If you tend to create extensive spreadsheets, Microsoft Access can be a helpful alternative for Excel. Access is a database-building program included in the Microsoft 365 Suite for Windows. In addition to data storage, Access allows you to add forms to databases and export data to other Office applications, allowing seamless sharing and collaboration.
Primavera for Construction Management
While Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management software is most useful for project managers, any engineering professional can use it. It’s a single-platform project management tool for keeping projects on track and ensuring compliance.
Primavera P6 is a little more complicated than the other programs on this list, so it can help to take a training course or two before jumping in. However, its complexity allows it to handle projects of any size across many industries.
Effective program use can increase your planning efficiency and prevent you from overrunning deadlines. Some helpful features include:
- Standardization: This feature allows you to standardize business processes and best practices across all your active projects.
- Multiuser system: Different teams across the organization can work simultaneously on the same project, and all their work is visible to the project manager.
- Risk management capabilities: Proactively identify and resolve risks through the platform.
- Real-time reporting: Get an accurate view of your project progress and assets as your team works.
- Multi-device capabilities: You can bring Primavera onto your site using your tablet or smartphone.
While Primavera is one of the more costly options on this list, it’s a worthwhile investment for improving productivity on construction sites.
Bluebeam for Civil Job Sites
Bluebeam Revu, more commonly known as Bluebeam, is a PDF editor similar to Adobe Acrobat. You can use it for many different workflows, including quality control, document planning and submittal.
Bluebeam is handy when a CAD program might be too much of a hassle for one task. If you only need to view a design, or you need to make a few minor edits before submitting it for review, Bluebeam is going to be the program for you.
Here are some key features:
- Collaboration: Bluebeam’s Studio Sessions feature allows teams to view and edit a document at the same time, which can help you catch anything you may have missed in earlier stages.
- Standardization: Bluebeam allows you to set up custom user profiles for different workflows, which is an excellent tool for setting markup standards. That way, you can streamline communication and accountability within your project teams.
- CAD plugin: This feature allows you to easily export both 2D and 3D PDFs to send to stakeholders, which helps provide an accurate view of your project to the people you need to impress.
- Multi-device capabilities: All you need to access your Bluebeam files in the field is your laptop or tablet, making your plans portable and easily accessible.
Contact Take-Off Professionals Today
Our extensive experience allows us to take on projects of all sizes, from parking lots to highways. In fact, we prepare more data in one week than some of the largest contractors will build in a year. Our engineers work across three different time zones to meet our clients’ needs. All we need from you is three essential pieces of information:
- Your CAD files
- Your paper plans
- A completed work order
We’ll take those documents and use them to build your data exactly how you envision it. When you receive your data, it’ll be ready for use right away.
Let us take some of the work off your hands. Contact us today for more information about how our data prep services can make your workplace more efficient. We can provide you with a detailed quote, including accurate turnaround times, so you’ll know exactly what to expect from us. We also offer free trials if you want to see what we can do for you.