Carlson Civil Suite for day-to-day CAD design
Keeping it Simple with Carlson Civil Suite
“There are things that Carlson has that make it easier for us to do what we do. I don’t find that with other software packages,” says Jon Eakins, Senior Project Engineer for the Nau Company, a civil engineering firm located in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Eakins notes that he “wears a lot of hats” for his company’s five-person team that provides land development engineering and design, stormwater management engineering and design, builder services, and transportation engineering. “I do most of the design for what we do,” he explains. “We do a lot of residential work, creating erosion control, and road design, storm design, and sanitary sewer design, and lots of different tasks on any given day.”
To accomplish these diverse tasks, Eakins uses the Carlson Civil Suite — Carlson Civil and Hydrology most of the time, he says, and the GIS module occasionally. He uses Carlson’s CAD design software with the built-in IntelliCAD. And, it works well for him.
“Getting things set up, even from scratch, has been a lot easier in Carlson,” notes Eakins, who has worked with both Civil 3D® and Land Development Desktop in former employment.
For designing roads, Eakins notes a few of his favorite things: the ability to deviate from a consistent width, designing intersections, and creating “bulbs” to take advantage of places where it would work better to expand the number of lots accessing the road.
“RoadNETwork [in Carlson Civil] allows you to deviate from a typical section very easily,” he explains. “If you’ve got a road that has variable cross sections, Carlson makes it pretty easy to create those transitions.
“It’s also a lot easier on the designer to create intersections,” he adds. “When you adjust the elevation on one of the profiles, the program is smart enough to recognize the horizontal and vertical position of other roads in the road network and streamlines the iterative process of designing a site with lots of road intersections. That process is just great in Carlson.”
Eakins also really likes the ability to give his roads access to more lots, to easily add a cul-de-sac to it, or a “bulb” as he called it. “It’s sort of a common feature that’s used when you have a little corner of land that is perfect for additional lots,” he says. “Carlson has a feature in it that makes it really easy to incorporate that into your design.”
And speaking of adding lots, Eakins likes how numbering lots, let alone creating them, is made simple in Carlson. “Say you have 100 lots in a neighborhood that you’re designing,” he says. “You can manually number them as you want by just clicking in each lot. That sort of functionality is something that people who do what we do use frequently and really appreciate.”
Storm and sanitary sewer design
The simplicity of using Carlson software extends to jobs associated with storm drainage and sanitary sewer design, according to Eakins, especially as the design evolves.
“One of the things I really like about the way Carlson works when designing storm drainage is that you can set the program up to calculate your rational runoff coefficient based on all the different land covers that are draining to an inlet,” he says, noting that these include where roads, houses, and sidewalks and parking lots are going to be, where trees are–in fact, everything that’s land cover on your site.
But, what he especially likes is if (actually when) something changes, like the site’s grading or road location, which would cause the drainage area to change, the process of recalculating the drainage area and rational runoff coefficient is very easy.
“You basically just hit a button and it will recalculate the things for you,” he says, adding, “Calculating correct storm drainage is an intricate process and anything that streamlines the process, whether it’s the second, third, fourth, or however many times it takes to get an inlet where it needs to be and get the drainage area correct, is really helpful.”
Currently, The Nau Company and Eakins are working on several single family residential neighborhoods. They are using Carlson Civil to do the horizontal and vertical roadway design and Carlson Hydrology to do the preliminary stormwater and sanitary sewer design that’s needed for the project. In this instance, they are also utilizing the Carlson GIS module to get GIS information–boundary and topo information–from the county to aid with the preliminary layout.
“While this is early in the project, we use pretty much the same process when we do the final design,” says Eakins, who notes that he often recommends Carlson to fellow engineers. “I do it all the time,” he adds. “In general terms, it seems like Carlson was designed with the civil engineer in mind to do the things that we frequently need a software package to do.”