1 today, complex building services installations can only be planned economically with integrated building services software.
With the increasing mechanization of buildings, TGA-CAD is becoming an increasingly important tool for planning, construction and operation. This market overview table shows the differences between the individual programs.
- With around 30 German-language programs for building services planning, engineering firms have a wide selection to choose from.
- This tabular market overview compares current versions of important 2D, 3D CAD and BIM software for HVAC and electrical planning.
- functions for input and modification, calculation and output, evaluation and transfer as well as data exchange of projects are listed.
- Before making a purchase decision, individual specifications such as planning priorities or compatibility with the other planning tools used in the office should be taken into account.
Building systems have to be designed earlier and earlier in the planning phase, and changes during the design and construction phase have to be responded to more and more quickly. The choice of the right planning tool is therefore of particular importance. However, a market with around 30 German-language CAD solutions for building services engineering does not exactly make selection easy.
Many programs are designed for all TGA trades, others have their focus and strengths in the areas of heating (TGA 04-2015: from the table to the installation wizard, webcode 643349), air conditioning and ventilation (TGA 08-2017: prima klima nach programm, webcode 778906), sanitation (TGA 04-2017: dimensioning and optimizing, webcode 760532 and TGA 10-2017: the process must also be right, webcode 786571) or electrical engineering (TGA 10-2017: the process must also be right, webcode 786571). While some solutions focus on conception and calculation, others have their strengths in implementation planning. What is suitable for whom should therefore be carefully examined in advance.
What should TGA-CAD be able to do?
The core tasks of building services CAD programs include supporting the building services planner in routine activities – the dimensioning of heating, drinking water and drainage pipes or ventilation ducts, the generation of schematic, overview and piping plans in the form of floor plans, sections or 3D representations as well as the output of parts lists, lengths, areas and quantities for tenders, costing, ordering, production and installation.
Since building services planners often have to enter the building structure, building components, rooms, floors and complete buildings can also be designed or calculated. "tracing". This means that every TGA program also includes a construction CAD program.
Data relevant for the tender are automatically determined and exported, whereby individual dimensions can be assigned to the lines, spaces and sections in a way that can be checked. 3D representations of ventilation ducts, heating pipes, etc. Enable visualization, optimization or as-built documentation of the cable routing, which later disappears in the floor structure, wall or suspended ceiling.
Changes are an important aspect, because without powerful tools they can quickly account for a large part of the planning effort. In the TGA-CAD program, therefore, both a geometric design and a parallel calculation according to DIN, VDI, EN, ISO, etc. should be possible. Be integrated so that geometric changes across floors are also automatically tracked in the calculation and vice versa.
Increasingly, the design and planning of technical building systems is being supplemented by integrated visualization, calculation, simulation and analysis functions as well as tools for technical, energy-related and economic system optimization. That’s why some programs not only automatically calculate the heating and cooling load, taking into account the geometry of the room/building, individual wall structures and building elements, but also the heating and cooling load. Some TGA solutions can also thermally simulate buildings.
In addition to the location and the orientation of the building, the respective annual climate data, individual utilization profiles, internal loads and numerous other parameters are also taken into account. In time steps with high temporal resolution, cooling and heating loads, room or zone temperatures can then be calculated for any days of the year. In this way, weak points can be identified or design alternatives can be optimized by comparing variants, especially in the case of buildings of a particular type or use. Some programs can also issue energy certificates in accordance with DIN/enev, create ventilation concepts or perform building physics analyses.
What to look out for?
an important distinguishing feature is the program concept: about half of all solutions have their own CAD core, the other half is a so-called program add-on. This is a CAD program that is independent of the industry (z. B. Autocad, bricscad, microstation, etc.) added subject-specific program application.
Both have advantages and disadvantages: during further development, an application manufacturer can concentrate fully on building services-specific functions and does not have to invest his capacities in the CAD basis at the same time. On the other hand, one is dependent on the application developer and the basic CAD manufacturer. In the case of software investment, the cost of the basic CAD program must be added to the cost of the TGA add-on, and the annual software maintenance costs are also doubled.
The areas of application and target groups are also important: for planning offices that cover all building services, complete solutions are ideal because they take into account the dependencies and interactions between the individual trades and input data can be used more than once and thus more efficiently. On certain areas (z. B. Drinking water or sprinkler systems), specialized CAD programs can offer special detailed functions that other solutions do not have.
Pure 2D programs are aimed more at specialist tradesmen and are in the minority with 5 to 6 solutions. 3D CAD and BIM solutions are primarily aimed at building services planners. Here the calculation and output is important, which should be looked at in detail: are calculations of important parameters, such as the U-value, the heat demand, the heating load, the heating elements, the pipe network, the distributors etc.?. Integrated or run externally? If all relevant standards are met?
Only some of the programs offer collision checks within one or more trades. There are also differences in the 3D visualization functions or in the evaluation and transfer of object and calculation data. They range from ASCII, spreadsheet and database output, the transfer of tender data via GAEB standard to AVA programs or the connection to commercial software – right through to the reconciliation and linking of data with facility management solutions (e.g., the use of the "data link" function). B. C.A.T.S. Software, linear desktop or pit – CAD). Since qualitative properties cannot be recorded in tabular form, favored products should also be subjected to a practical test before the purchase decision is made.
TGA-CAD becomes TGA-BIM
TGA-CAD is receiving new impetus from the building information modeling (BIM) planning method, which aims to optimize the planning, execution and management of buildings. At the heart of BIM is a digital building data model that contains both geometric data and object properties, such as materials, quantities, costs and deadlines, and is continuously refined by all project participants as the project progresses. In this way, a comprehensive information basis is created for planning, realization and for the longest phase – the use of the building.
In connection with the design, calculation and planning of building services systems, BIM is expected to offer the advantage, among other things, that much of the component information relevant for the calculation will be available in the digital space or data model. Building model already contains. This should reduce the time and effort required for heating and cooling load calculations, air duct or pipe network calculations, building physics or thermal simulations, etc., to a minimum. Reduce.
Other advantages of BIM include cross-trade collision control and the optimization of pipe routing, especially for building services control centers or installation shafts. Furthermore, building services systems can be documented more easily and transferred via IFC interface to building management systems (CAFM) for maintenance and service planning.
However, in practice, problems caused by excessive data volumes, interpretation or transfer errors, for example when importing the architectural model into the TGA-CAD or calculation software, repeatedly lead to a post-processing effort that reduces the benefits of the BIM planning method.
Despite these and other challenges, it is foreseeable that BIM will become a standard in construction, structural and building services planning in the medium and long term. Around two-thirds of the programs presented here are now BIM solutions and have a corresponding IFC interface (in 2014, this figure was around half). Two-thirds of the programs also contain a VDI-3805 interface for standardizing the exchange of building services product data.
What is new on the market??
Compared to the last market overview TGA-CAD from 2014 (TGA 11-2014: universal tools for TGA planners, webcode 616379) with 29 products, this product comparison presents a somewhat smaller number of TGA programs in tabular form. This is because some vendors did not participate for various reasons, including autodesk.
stabicad (see TGA market overviews of 2017, webcode 778906, webcode 760532, webcode 786571) could also not be considered. Presumable background: the Dutch manufacturer stabiplan became part of trimble at the beginning of the year, which also acquired plancal nova in 2012. How the two competing programs from the same company are now to be positioned in the market obviously still needs to be clarified.
redcad was newly included in the market overview. According to the suppliers, special apps for electrical, sanitary and heating systems are intended to enable installers to carry out simple 2D TGA planning on the basis of imported DXF/DWG or scanned PDF plans, including layer control and parts list generation.
Another new product is arcadia BIM from poland, which presents itself as an alternative to autocad, revit, allplan or archicad. The program is based on the BIM planning method and, in addition to building design, is also intended to enable the design of drinking water networks, drainage systems, gas or electrical installations, and energy requirement calculations. Unfortunately, the german provider could not provide detailed program data for the table comparison. Marian behaneck