Most Useful Civil Engineering Software
The Architecture, Engineering, and construction industry is moving towards digitization. The construction business has started adopting and implementing digital techniques through various civil engineering software programs and technologies.
Although conventional methods and construction practices are still used, digitization is of utter importance in the modern era of architecture, engineering, and construction.
If you are a civil engineering student or a professional working in the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, a list of software programs will assist you daily.
As the construction business is digitizing, it is essential to implement digitized methods in your construction projects. Several operations, processes, and techniques are involved in construction projects, such as drafting, modeling, estimation, project management, etc.
Each of them requires diﬀerent software or software packages for the eﬀective completion of activities involved.
In this article, we will discuss some of the most commonly used software programs in civil engineering. Let us explore some commonly and widely used software in the civil engineering industry.
Useful Civil Engineering Software List
1. AutoCAD – For CAD Drafting
AutoCAD is a drafting software by Autodesk. Traditionally, the drawings and plans of the structures were manually prepared by engineers on sheets.
The major drawback of hand-drawn plans was accuracy, and as they were drafted manually, the probability of errors was high, and it took a long time to finish.
CAD or Computer Aided Drafting was then introduced to replace the hand-drawn method of preparing plans and drawings. AutoCAD, a drafting software for desktops, was released by Autodesk in December 1982.
The application is available in 14 diﬀerent languages, including English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese simplified, Chinese traditional, Brazilian, Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Polish, and Hungarian.
AutoCAD is an easy-to-use drafting software that assists engineers, CAD drafters, surveyors, and several professionals in the construction industry.
The drafting software can perform several tasks like creating plans in2D and 3D, surfaces, profiles, and alignments of various civil structures.
Though the drafting software was made for desktops, it also has a mobile version that was recently developed for on-the-go access.
2. STAAD Pro – For Structural Analysis and Design
STAAD Pro is a popular civil engineering software owned and sold by Bentley. The desktop application is developed to assist structural experts and engineers with accurate and precise structural analysis and design.
STAAD Pro is used globally and is known for working on complex civil engineering projects. STAAD Pro is well-known for its ability to analyze and design complex structures.
Structural designers can apply more than 90 international steel, concrete, aluminium, and timber codes. STAAD Pro can perform various structural analyses and structural designing operations, such as:-
- Slab design
- Foundation design
- Seismic design
- Load analysis
- Finite element analysis
- Design of structural elements such as beams, columns, and walls
- And much more.
Microsoft Project, commonly known as MS-Project, is computer software for project management operations. It was developed by the tech giant Microsoft in the year 1980.
Microsoft Project was firstly developed for DOS in 1984. Later on, the tech giant released a version for the Windows operating system in 1990, which was known as version 1 for Windows.
The project management software was also released for Macintosh, the operating system for Apple MacBooks, later in 1991. MS-Project is widely used around the globe for construction project management.
The project management program could perform project management calculations in just a few clicks, as it is a powerful software. It assists the construction project manager by performing project management operations such as: –
- Scheduling of a project
- Cost Analysis and budget tracking
- Resource allocation and resource management
- Progress tracking of a construction project
3. Revit – For Building Information Modeling
Revit is a Building Information Modeling (BIM) software by Autodesk. It is used to create data-rich building information models of structures in a three-dimensional interface.
Autodesk Revit facilitates architects, engineers, general contractors, and civil engineering professionals to work collaboratively within the same interface.
BIM Modelers and architects can generate a detailed 3D BIM Model, collaborate the BIM Models from diﬀerent disciplines such as architectural, structural, and MEP into a single model.
It also detects and resolves interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary clashes among them BIM Models of various disciplines.
ETABS is one of the best integrated civil engineering softwares for structural analysis and building designs. ETABS offers unmatched 3D object-based modeling and visualization.
It has blazingly fast linear and nonlinear analytical power, sophisticated and comprehensive design capabilities for a wide range of materials, insightful graphic displays, reports, and schematic drawings that allow users to easily work out and understand the analysis and design results.
Usage and Industry:
- Design and Analysis
- Structural Design Consultancies and firms.
SAP2000 is another software available for the design and analysis of structures, and it has a wide selection of templates to start a new model quickly.
In this software, various parametric templates are preloaded for the following structures: Simple Beams, 3D Trusses, 3D Frames, Staircases, Dam Structures, Storage Vessels, and Pipes.
You can easily define custom views and develop elevations to view and manipulate complex geometry.
It can automatically create joints at structural object intersections or internal joints when meshing structural objects. It may display joint coordinates and information on the screen in the model window or tabular format.
Usage and Industry:
- Design and Analysis
- Structural Design Consultancies and firms
6. 3DS Max For Modelling
3DS Max is an animation software developed by Autodesk. It is a modelling and rendering software mainly used for interior design and visual graphics.
7. Primavera – For Project Management
Primavera is one of the best civil engineering software sold by Oracle Corporation, an American multinational computer technology corporation headquartered in Austin, Texas. This software facilitates the construction project managers with the following operations:-
- Project management
- Risk Analysis
- Budget tracking
- Progress tracking
- Accurate project scheduling
- Resource management
8. Microsoft Excel – For Calculative Purposes
As we all know, excel is an extensively used software in the world, and Microsoft developed it in the 1980s. MS-Excel is also available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. This programme is used for civil engineering calculations and various other functions in diﬀerent industries.
MS-excel, a part of MS-Oﬃce, is used in civil engineering for data collection and maintenance, survey, estimation, bill of quantities, and sometimes also for designs.
Although there are several uses of this software in the building industry, it is primarily used for various types of simple and complex calculations.
9. ArcGIS – For Surveying
ArcGIS is a good software for civil engineering surveying. It is developed and sold by ESRI, ArcGIS is a “Geographical Information Systems” software. The program was initially released on 27th December 1999.
ArcGIS is utilized for organizing, managing, sharing, and analyzing spatial data. The program is useful for surveying, delineating watershed areas, performing hydrologic modeling, and processing elevation data.
Also, it is used for water resource engineering, transportation engineering, and traﬃc studies.
10. Bluebeam Revu – For PDF Creation
Revu is software developed by Bluebeam Inc., an American software company founded in 2002. There are hundreds of documents in digital format in a civil engineering project.
So Bluebeam helps create PDFs of the required document, the software also allows the user to edit and markup their important PDF files.
11. HEC – HMS For Hydrology Related Operations
HMS or the Hydrologic Modelling System is a software developed by Hydrologic Engineering Centre (HEC) in 1992 to replace HEC – 1. HMS is an updated version of the HMS – 1.
It has some advanced features such as continuous simulation and grid cell surface hydrology, which make the software advanced than its predecessor. The primary use of the application is hydrologic simulation.
HEC-HMS can perform several tasks related to hydrological simulations, such as generating unit hydrographs, evaluating rainfall-runoﬀ results, and performing hydrologic routing.
12. MX-Road – For Road design and analysis
Developed by Bentley, MX-road is software for designing and analysis of roads. Mx-road integrates the 3D models of the roads with its traditional workflow to enhance the final road design and quality-assured analysis of the road design.
As mentioned on Bentley’s website, MX-road facilitates the user with the following:
- Survey and data acquisition for all field data types
- Dynamic, interactive 3D modeling of roadways and corridors
- Terrain modeling and analysis
- Interactive coordinate geometry
- Profiles and cross-sections
- Geometric design
- Regression analysis
As we know, the construction industry is going digital at the speed of light. It is important to have proper knowledge of software and applications used in civil engineering for various tasks.
We have listed some most used and best software applications in civil engineering for diﬀerent operations such as drafting, project management, structural design and analysis, and many more.
Implementing the right software may help you in eﬀectively managing the project, organizing tasks, and optimizing the time and overall project cost.
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