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Navisworks for 2D? Give it a try

Anyone who is familiar with or who has heard of Navisworks knows it is a BIG MACHINE that manages and manipulates dozens of CAD file types in three dimensions. For various reasons, such as interference checking, the visualization of scheduling applied to the model, data exchange, and quantity takeoff, this tool is revolutionizing project management. And, obviously, I can’t forget to mention BIM, for which it is essential.


While Navisworks is primarily used in building industries, I would like to specifically address civil engineering technology. What if you used Navisworks for 2D, the “regular” CAD drawings? Interference checking and scheduling are impossible at this level, but what about quantity takeoff? Some may find this idea far-fetched, but imagine you receive PDF files and have to estimate the quantities of concrete for sidewalks, curbs, surface areas for paving, or areas for turf. Navisworks provides everything you need to carry out these tasks, and also allows you to make reports.


When you insert a 2D PDF, Navisworks instantly recognizes it and adjusts the tools accordingly. The 3D functions are shaded out, leaving only the tools that are relevant. For calculating quantities, the “Quantification Workbook” features buttons for selecting or creating spaces and limits that will be used to calculate surface areas and lengths.


I can determine as many surface areas as necessary, and at all times I have the data for each selection as well as the total.

To finish, I generate a report in an Excel file. I can present my results as they are, or modify the file so that only the necessary data appear.If you know the thickness of the concrete slab, you can add a resource to the catalogue that calculates the volume simultaneously (volume for each item and total volume).



The calculations are influenced by the scale of the drawing and displayed in real values. The scale is determined as soon as the drawing is inserted in Navisworks. If you move or turn the drawing, any additions will follow the movement. You can also select objects, such as fire hydrants, to count them and add the result to the report.


I could happily go on for hours telling you about these features, but you’ve got to try them for yourself to be convinced. If you have the Premium or Ultimate Infrastructure Design Suite, you already have access to this wonderful tool. Install it and try it out. Good luck! All new technology requires a certain adjustment period, but in return you’ll get a tool that may just make your life easier.


Please feel free to contact me for any additional information.

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