PHOENIX, ARIZONA, USA — Recently, MicroStation Today had the opportunity to speak with Mark Chase from AZTEC in Phoenix, Arizona about how he and his group of talented engineers streamline their projects with MicroStation Productivity Toolkit. Here’s what Mark had to say about his career, some of the projects he has worked on and how he uses Axiom utilities to obtain maximum results for AZTEC and their clients.
MicroStation Today: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Mark: I am a registered Professional Civil Engineer in Arizona and California and I have been working in the transportation structures discipline for over eight years. Throughout my career, I have used CAD to produce a number of bridge designs ranging from small, single span canal crossings to large, multi-span freeway interchange overpasses.
MST: Tell us about your success with Axiom utilities.
Mark: AZTEC uses Axiom’s MicroStation Productivity Toolkit. The two products that get the most consistent use are FileFixer and Microsoft Office Importer. One of these two products is used nearly every week to some degree.
Our team has instituted a protocol that routinely executes FileFixer to maintain our working design files in top shape. FileFixer provides our team with the confidence that our working design files do not contain design file corruptions that will inhibit achieving our group’s focus — efficient productivity. In the time-crunched project world, most schedules do not provide extra time to manually fix file corruptions, or worse yet, redraw corrupted files.
Our team has found two distinct uses for the Microsoft Office Importer: 1) fast presentation of screed and falsework plan sheets [Editors note: A "screed machine" is used to level and smooth the concrete surface of a bridge deck. "Falsework" is the temporary structure that is built to hold the wet bridge concrete in the air until it hardens and can stand by itself. The plan sheets contain the design calculations for these.] and 2) assurance of consistent table information between plan sheets and the quantity calculations that are prepared in a spreadsheet.
For people unfamiliar with bridge plans, many agencies or contractors require the inclusion of screed and falsework elevation tables in the contract documents. [Editor's Note: An "elevation table" is a spreadsheet that contains, among other things, the slope and height measurements of something ¾ in this case, of a bridge deck]. This information typically occupies multiple plan sheets and is contained in large tables full of numbers. Microsoft Office Importer allows the information, which is typically calculated in a spreadsheet, to be efficiently and accurately presented on the plan sheets without the need for hours of text editing or formatting. Similarly, bridge plans often contain a quantity summary table that restates the information that is contained in the bid schedule for the bridge. Preparing the information in a spreadsheet, and then using Microsoft Office Importer assures us that the information shown on the plan sheets matches the information presented in the other contract documents.
MST: What impact have Axiom tools had on your company?
Mark: FileFixer and Microsoft Office Importer have both benefited our company. These simple-to-operate tools provide tangible benefits in the form of saved time, money and resources. The benefit of using FileFixer is difficult to pinpoint because the fatal corruptions that lurk in the dark corners, waiting to pounce on us at the worst times, are handled before they attack. However, the time saved running FileFixer rather than manually operating EdG is significant. The benefit of using Microsoft Office Importer grows exponentially with the amount of data that is imported. The largest screed/falsework elevation tables that we import with Microsoft Office Importer contain nearly a thousand numbers per plan sheet and the plan set will often contain several of these sheets. The intangible savings of these benefits are re-invested by allowing our cutting-edge staff the opportunity to focus on what we do best — designing innovative and complex projects while taking the time to find ways to add value for our clients and our company — rather than fixing corrupt files or manually editing pages of tabular information.
MST: What do you do with your time outside of work?
Mark: My hobbies revolve around spending time outdoors in a wide range of activities. Though not as much as I’d like, I annually spend much of my free time either hunting, fishing or hiking. When free time is less prevalent, I enjoy spending time entertaining my four-year-old chocolate Labrador Retriever with a game of fetch.
MST: Thanks, Mark.