Facility managers are first and foremost concerned with obtaining and maximizing reports from facility data amassed into software systems. While managers are not so concerned with how this data is imported into these systems, they can find themselves and colleagues bogged down with the CAD software that desktop-based CAFM systems usually require—software that they often aren’t trained to use. The result is an inefficient, time-consuming, and unnecessarily costly workflow.
To simplify and lower the cost of these CAFM systems, faciliCAD initially introduced faciliCAD Desktop, which fulfilled some of the company’s basic goals but still required knowledge of CAD software. The system also had limitations that made it best suited for small facilities only. The team evolved the desktop software system so that non-CAD users could enter and update non-graphical database information. This feature, coupled with other design developments, grew faciliCAD’s client base across the United States.
While aiming to minimize the need for teamwide CAD software installation, the company also wanted to facilitate easier access and live data collaboration outside of closed networks, which they knew they could do with a web application. From the outset it was clear that the Forge platform was the most effective option in the development of this project.
How faciliCAD solved it with Forge
When faciliCAD partnered with nCircle Tech to develop faciliCAD WEB, one of the main drivers behind the choice of Forge was that the Forge Viewer empowers users to render files in a very short time. Large amounts of complex data are digested quickly and are simple to understand at a touch of a button. The platform also supports an extensive number of file formats and makes them accessible on multiple browsers. Users can access facilities’ data in useful formats on any device, and without the expense of, or need to learn, CAD software.
As well as maximizing the Forge Viewer API, faciliCAD Web utilizes the Model Derivative API in conjunction with the AutoCAD ObjectARX programming enviornment. Users combine multiple drawings into a single file in ObjectARX, and then the Model Derivative API converts and stores the drawing file in the Forge platform. The faciliCAD team also discovered that Forge empowers users to graphically place assets and people in drawings without using cloud-based AutoCAD software and that Forge will update any changes to drawings, further enabling real-time remote collaboration.
Now, with faciliCAD Web, non-CAD users—facility and office managers, IT, human resources, accounting, and more—can collaborate in real-time on any device. Several tools are available for identifying and reporting vacancies, as well as those for finding and placing people. Plus, users can access and print comprehensible reports from any location—all from a web browser. This essentially eliminates the dependencies on the CAD and data-entry people that desktop-based software demands. In addition, faciliCAD Web AEC customers—such as architecture firm Berners Schober—can extend the lives of their services beyond their initial offerings, and strengthen their relationships with their clients. Finally, the broad Forge community has provided robust support when the faciliCAD team has faced difficulties in development.
Forge highlights include the following:
- Speeds data conversion, making it accessible and understandable.
- Lowers cost by providing APIs that are ready to go out of the box, reducing the need for further development.
- Simplifies workflows, minimizing the need for CAD software installs and making data browser-accessible.
“In my 30-plus years in the business, I’ve never seen a release one version of a software package that is so complete—and that is due in great part to Forge.”—Bill Kilp, Owner, faciliCAD LLC
“Using AutoCAD is no longer part of my day job. But I can use faciliCAD. It’s very intuitive and easy to learn, and the amount of data you can yield from it is amazing—and Forge is integral to that.”—Ian Griffiths, President, Berners Schober
APIs and Services
Model Derivative API