Balfour Beatty, the UK’s leading construction and civil engineering company, now holds a number of licenses of the 5 time award-winning MethoCAD software developed by Creative Business Solutions, headquartered in Paris.

It is, according to Balfour Beatty Management Civil Engineer, Nigel Standing, proving to be an invaluable organizational tool in the pre-planning and maintenance of a wide range of the company’s construction sites, currently including major works planned in London.

“In planning projects, MethoCAD is extremely helpful in drawing up site plans right from the excavation stage and including positioning the tower cranes,” explains Nigel Standing. “We’ve been using MethoCAD for about a year now and it’s very easy to quickly build up an overview of the site, since all of the dimensions for the plant machinery that will be required are stored in the system. It cuts out a lot of the ‘drudge’ in drawing up these plans.”

By eliminating much of the repetitive and routine planning elements it is estimated that man-hours in the planning procedures can be reduced by 30%.

MethoCAD is supplied with a library of hundreds of 100% accurate dimensional drawings of all plant equipment employed in construction projects worldwide. In addition to excavators, this includes top and front drawings of all major machinery, including concrete batching plants, delivery vehicles and cranes.

Turning curves – from those of the delivery and removal trucks through to those for the cranes – are essential parameters which can all be quickly visualized with MethoCAD.

The positioning of tower cranes can be checked both in plan and elevations to ensure safe distances between jibs, counter jibs, anchor cables and masts for all cranes on the site. This can be particularly useful for checking the minimum clearance, for example, with minimum clearance when not working.

“MethoCAD allows us to see exactly what’s required and ensure the site will be both efficiently, and just as importantly, safely operated,” says Mr Standing.

“Other factors such as protective walkways, fences and service networks can all be quickly put in place. The main thing is it allows us to visualise the entire site, and prove that it can operate at full capacity in the timeframe provided.

It’s not only useful as a space planning tool, but also for presenting projections of the work to be undertaken for customers, and if required, it can be turned into a dynamic 3D model for video presentations.

“At the moment we are probably only using a very small percentage of what MethoCAD is capable of – just like any other modern software programme – but there’s much more there if you want it,” endorsed Standing.