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Estimator (Site Development)

With our Estimator tool (also known as the Site Development tool), you can create an early-stage site cost study or a site master plan. Using this handy feature, you can set up a graphic preview of the various usage areas that will be installed throughout your site. Examples include regions marked for buildings, pavement, planting, and water features. 

 

 

You can also use this feature to apply cost data to each of the site usage categories. Armed with this information, you can conduct an informed early review of your master plan's budget based on the assigned area for each use.

Estimator (Site Development) Overview

Open the Site Development Manager:

 

F/X Site ribbon, Estimator flyout

 

 

 

Graphics toolbar

F/X Site menu, Site Development option

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphics RefNotes toolbar

 

 

 

 

or type FX_SiteDevelopment in the Command line

 

 

 

The Site Development dialog box will open.

 

 

1. New Site Development categories will be displayed in the main dialog area.

 

 

2. Create New categoriesEdit categoriesDelete categories, or Import categories from another project.

 

 

3. Up and Down buttons to move the listing order of the categories.

 

 

4. Place a highlighted category in your drawing.

 

 

5. Generate a Site Development Schedule.

Creating a New Site Development Category

Open the Site Development Manager, and click New to create a new category.

 

 

 

Selecting a Hatch or Color

 

The Hatch dialog box opens immediately when you create a new Site Development category.

 

This dialog box also opens when you select a new hatch or color for an existing Site Development category.

Scroll through the color options using the scroll bar to the right, and select a color or a site hatch to represent your Site Development category.

 

 

Click OK when finished.

While the name of the color may have some sort of land use suggested in the name, such as Planting-Foundation, that color does NOT have to be used for that purpose. It's just a color, and, in this case, the name happens to indicate planting.

The thumbnail views are representative, as AutoCAD may not show each color to a precise level.

 

 

Adding or Editing Data

After you select a color, the ;New Site Area dialog box will open.

 

 

1. Give your new Site Development category a Title.

 

 

2. If you want, enter a Note to provide additional detail on the category. The note will appear below the category title in the Site Development Schedule.

 

 

3. If you want, apply a Cost per square foot or meter to the category. If you add a cost to each category, you can use these costs to generate a total cost estimate for the site.

 

 

4. User Fields: Create as many subfields as you want for further development of the site definition. This optional feature is meant for more complex site designs.

 

 

5. Symbol: A sample of the color assigned to this category. Your screen may not display this color completely accurately, but it's the best example your computer can give you. Click this area to select a new color or hatch, or to add your own custom color.

 

 

6.  Check this box to place a Gradient on your new site area.

 

7. Selecting an option from the Linetype menu will affect the polyline boundaries of any areas where you place this category in your drawing. Making it Non-Plot will automatically convert the bounding line to a non-plotting line on a non-plot layer.

 

8. If you want, associate a photo with this site usage. You can then call out this category in your drawing using our Photo Callouts tool.

 

 

 

Example of information filled in

 

 

 

 

 

Example of a photo assigned to a site usage category (optional)

 

 

 

After you click OK, the site usage category will appear in the Site Development Manager.

Placing a Site Development Area

In Model Space, on any layer, draw a polyline border around where you want to place your Site Development area.

 

 

 

Open the Site Development Manager. Select the category you wish to place, then click Place.

 

 

 

The cursor will turn into a pickbox. You can now click an existing closed polyline area to place your Site Development area within that boundary. You can also:

  • Begin drawing a closed polyline area. Your hatch will be applied to this area once you close it.
  • Type M for Multiple: This option allows you to select one or more closed polyline areas within your hatch boundary and exclude them from the hatch.

 

If you type M for "Multiple," the cursor will change to a pickbox that will allow you to make a polyline selection.

 

To draw a Site Development area "on the fly," just start drawing a closed polyline after clicking Place. Once you close it, the hatched area will appear within the polyline boundary.

In previous versions, drawing your hatch boundary on the fly would require you to first type D for Draw. We've now built in the ability to simply start drawing your closed polyline. As long as the first point you select isn't an existing polyline, the Draw command will be fired automatically.

 

This feature works with all of our hatch types, including:

The area you select or draw will be filled in with the selected color, and the bounding polyline will be changed to layer L-BRDR-NPLT and be non-plotting.

Editing a Site Development Category

To edit a Site Development area, select the area in the Site Development dialog box and click Edit.

 

 

 

You can also use our Edit Object/Block Data tool to select a Site Development area you've already placed in your drawing. This tool opens a pickbox, which you can use to select an area in your drawing to edit.

 

 

The Edit Site Area dialog box will open.

 

 

 

Here, you can make any necessary changes or additions to the Site Development area.

For a breakdown of information you can add or change, see the Adding or Editing Data section above.

 

 

 

Selecting a New Hatch or Color

 

To select a new hatch or color for the Site Development category, click the Symbol area.

 

 

 

You'll be brought to the Hatch dialog box, where you can select a new hatch or color for the selected Site Development category.

 

 

Select the Site tab to pick one of our site hatch patterns for your category.

 

 

Select the Truecolor hatch to select a solid color for your category (pictured to the left).

 

 

 

Editing a Placed Site Development Area

You can edit a Site Development area you've already placed in a drawing by selecting that area using the Edit Object/Block Data tool.

 

Open Edit Object/Block Data:

 

 

F/X Site ribbon, Edit Object button

 

 

 

or by typing FX_PlantInfo in the Command line

 

 

The cursor will turn into a pickbox, and you'll be prompted to Select Object.

 

 

Click the interior or boundary of the Site Development area to select it.

 

 

 

The Edit Site Area dialog box will open, allowing you to edit data for the selected category or select a new hatch or color.

Adding a Custom Color

Don't see the exact color you want? You can add your own custom color.

 

 

Open the Edit Site Area dialog box by either:

 

 

Click the Symbol button in the Edit Site Area dialog box.

 

 

 

The Hatch dialog box will open.

 

 

 

Scroll to the very bottom using the scroll bar to the right.

 

 

Click one of the black rectangles.

 

 

 

The Select Color dialog box will open. Here, you can choose a color from one of the following three sources:

  • The 255 AutoCAD Index Colors
  • True Colors
  • Color Books (Pantone, etc.)

 

 

Follow our instructions to select a custom color.

 

 

Click OK when finished.

The AutoCAD Index Colors will plot in various shades of grayscale and black rather than in color. If you want to plot in color, do not select an Index Color.

For detailed information on the various components and options in the Select Color dialog box, see our Select Colors page.

 

 

Once you've selected a color, the Edit Truecolor dialog box will open.

 

 

 

Type a Description for the color, then click OK.

 

 

 

Your custom color will be available for you to select in the Hatch dialog box, and you can now select it when creating a new Site Development category or editing an existing Site Development category.

 

 

 

Deleting a Custom Color

To delete a custom color, type DELETEHATCH in the Command line and press Enter. Then select the color to delete. Note that Land F/X default colors or hatches can’t be deleted – they will continue to repopulate. Only custom hatches and colors you've added can be deleted.

Creating a Site Development Schedule

In either Model Space or Paper Space, click the Schedule button in the Site Development Manager.

 

 

 

Select one of the following destinations for your schedule: 

  • Drawing
  • Table
  • Spreadsheet

 

 

 

Selecting Drawing will place the schedule directly in your drawing, as pictured below.

 

 

 

Selecting Table will place the schedule in your drawing in table format, as pictured below.

 

 

Selecting Spreadsheet will open the spreadsheet program you have on your computer (such as MS Excel) and enter the schedule data into a spreadsheet in that program.

 

 

Schedule Text in Uppercase (or Upper and Lowercase)

You can control whether the text in any of your schedules appears in all uppercase, or in upper and lowercase, from the General Preferences. For instructions, see our Schedule Text in Uppercase article.

This setting will apply to all schedules you place in your drawings, including:

  • Plant Schedule
  • Irrigation Schedule
  • Details Schedule
  • Site schedules such as:
    • Reference Notes (RefNotes) Schedule
    • Lighting Schedule
    • Concept Schedule
    • Zoning Schedule
    • Site Development Schedule
    • Grading Schedule

 

 

Work Areas and Site Development Schedules

Functioning essentially as drawings within a drawing, Work Areas allow you to divide your site into a number of distinct areas. In this way, you can break up your design into separate regions, phases, scope-of-work requirements, and virtually any other way you can imagine. This feature makes it possible to limit any of your site schedules, including the Site Development Schedule, to specific Work Areas. You can also break up your schedule to show separate summaries of Site Development items in each Work Area. For information on dividing your Site Development schedule (or any other site schedule) in this way, visit our Limiting Site Schedules With Work Areas page.

Keep in mind that our software does not allow you to split a single hatch (such as a Site Development area hatch or color) between multiple Work Areas. Splitting hatches in this way is not possible for a number of reasons – primarily because the only way to do so is to convert every hatch to a Region object, and then perform a Union and Subtraction against the Work Area in order to determine the area inside vs. outside the hatch.

 

This process can misfire because not all hatches can be converted to Region objects. Allowing splitting of hatches would require the software to highlight those areas in some fashion to alert users to them. But more importantly, that process of converting to Regions and Union/Subtracting takes time. For a complicated design with hundreds of areas could easily chug the computer for a number of minutes. While of course some users would be willing to accept that hit, we feel it's a bit beyond the acceptable range of about 7 seconds for the computer to finish doing whatever it was doing.

 

Even more importantly, splitting jobs into zones or phases typically coincides with a desire to turn off or half-tone the objects outside of the current viewport. In order to do this, you would need to draw the hatch as two separate hatches.

 

But after all that explanation, we do believe that the ability to split hatches between Work Areas would be a handy feature to include in the software! In the future, as the Region functions become more reliable and a bit quicker, we will certainly be adding this functionality.

 

 

Create a Background Fill or Mask for your Schedules

Some designers want to give their schedules a background fill to allow it to pop from the rest of the drawing. You can create a background fill for your schedule using the Table Style Manager. Find out how. >

Importing Site Development Categories from a Template or Project

If you find yourself adding the same Site Development categories to multiple projects, we recommend setting up a project template and then adding your commonly used Site Development items to that template. You can then import them into a new project from that template. This practice can save you immeasurable amounts of time, considering all the data you need to fill out for each category you create. With templates, you only need to add and configure your categories once, then import them – along with all attached data – into the present project.

The following steps also apply to importing Site Development categories from regular Land F/X projects. However, we recommend setting up and importing from a template – mainly because templates are set up to be read-only. This means you can rest assured that the data in your templates hasn't changed when you import your Site Development categories into a project.

 

 

 

To import Site Development categories into the current project, click the Import button in the Site Development Manager.

 

 

 

The Select Project dialog box will open.

 

 

Select the template that includes the Site Development categories you want to import.

 

 

Click OK.

 

 

 

You'll now see a dialog box that lists all Site Development categories included in the template or project you selected.

 

Highlight the categories you want to import, and click Add to Project to add them to the current project. You can select multiple categories by pressing the CTRL key (Windows keyboard) or Command key (Mac) while selecting.

 

 

Click Done when finished.

 

 

 

The Site Development Manager will now include the categories you've imported.

 

 

Those items, and all their data, are now added to your project, and you can place them as needed.

Related Webinars

  • Concept Site Plan Tools: Conceptual design is an important preliminary step in any site design. We’ve made some recent improvements to our site concept tools that will make it even easier for you to develop an initial plan that lays out your design intent in a logical and clear way. (56 min)

Troubleshooting

Issue: Unable to see hatches (including Site Development hatches) or colorized plants in a 3D model (AutoCAD or Civil 3D)

 

Issue: You are unable to send your Site Development Schedule to an Excel spreadsheet

 

Issue: Work Areas are not recognizing or calculating a Site Development hatch

 

Issue: The screen flashes several times when you place a Site Development/Estimator Schedule in Paper Space

 

Issue: Text in the Site Development Schedule columns is overlapping

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 January 2019 10:28
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