CompliCAD v1.

3 Oct, 2007 By: Scott MacKenzie

The ultimate BIM software will provide you with a challenge -- and an intense headache.

Are you comfortable with your CAD program? Do you have a stable and predictable work process? If so, don't you get a little bored with that? Wouldn't you like a little excitement and mystery in your life? To test your patience and troubleshooting skills on a daily basis, I urge you to invest your time and money in CompliCAD, from Ahtsamatta-U Hard Software.

Complicate your production process with CompliCAD, the new BIM (building information modeling) software. Spend more time installing, configuring, and troubleshooting problems than actually designing buildings. This package is designed for people looking for a more challenging work experience. Expand your troubleshooting skills by developing work-arounds and redoing your work.

Why don't they call it CompliBIM, you ask? Well that would make too much sense. When you use CompliCAD, BIM stands for Bitching Is Mandatory, Bubbee its Meshugeh, and Better Imbibe Martinis.

If you master this program, your job is protected because, chances are, nobody else in your office will understand it. Neither will anyone else in your whole geographic region.

GUI-Command Entry
Modeling and drafting are easy with CompliCAD's convenient, easy-to-type, four-digit numerical commands. If you want a graphic user interface, you can upgrade to the Advanced GUI module and you'll have tool bars, palettes, tool palettes, screen menus, and a dashboard.

CompliCAD cannot be customized. This ensures that every computer installation is the same. But you can purchase the Advanced GUI module and additional different flavors (modules) of CompliCAD to suit your needs. Caution: some flavors do not mix well; all installations should have the exact same module combinations. Otherwise, models (drawings) can become corrupt. Consult your user manual.

Modules (Flavors)

  • ChaotiCAD -- Chaos management for model managers.
  • KountryKAD -- Double-wide trailer design and more!
  • CrunchiCAD -- Environmentally conscious design tools that use only wood.
  • CurmudgeCAD -- CAD package for those who refuse to move into the world of 3D and BIM. It offers 2D drafting tools only. Has no fancy stuff like page setups or display styles.
  • DragonCAD -- Fantasy game design.
  • SnapSnapWinkWinkCAD -- Photorealistic rendering.
  • Arcrobat Professional -- For when you want to print to PDF (get your own PDF printer).

Highly detailed and high-definition object library. Each object has at least 59 modifiable variables. How about room tags with as many as 30 strings of text! Externally referenced files are nonremovable to prevent accidental deletion, unless you have the external reference-removal tool installed.

Hardware Requirements
4.0 quad-core Intel processor with 512MB dedicated video card


  • Double-sided DVD and one 3-1/2" diskette
  • Automated hourly updates to make sure you are always up to date
  • File versions not downward compatible

Suggested Educational Requirements

  • Ph.D. in computer science

Management Tools

  • Layer Manager -- thousands of preset layers
  • Color Manager
  • Styles Manager
  • Content/Block/Object Manager
  • Wall Type Manager
  • Floor Finish Manager
  • Line Manager
  • Circle Manager
  • Text Manager
  • Manager Manager

File Sharing
Work in the same model with other teammates (as long as you don't work on the same story or use the same layers.) It is highly recommended that all teammates sit close together for real-time communication. An instant messaging program is not included. That would make too much sense.

Design Tools

25 backup copies created every time you perform a task. Backup copy filenames are all the same as the main model with different file extensions for easy identification.

Software manual is not included with the software in printed form. An electronic version is provided in 12 easy-to-use TXT files. Compatible with any program, these files can easily be pasted into your favorite word processor or desktop publisher.

A hardware key is required for both stand-alone and network-based installations. Network installations require every client to use the same CompliCAD version and build number. Since a mixed environment can cause file corruption, all licenses will become locked if a client workstation with a different build number is connected to the server.

Okay, most of what is written here is false. Luckily, there is no BIM program named CompliCAD. My intent here was to put the challenges and frustrations of the new BIM technology in to a humorous light. No single program is to blame for our trouble. This is by no means an attack on the fine people in our industry that are trying to help us implement the software either. We have had exemplary help from an outside consultant at my firm to help maintain our efficiency. I stand behind their efforts 100%. A good BIM consultant is worth his or her weight in gold.

I have been in the AEC industry for a long time now. I have seen CAD take over manual drafting and the trials and tribulations that went with that. Now we are going through another technology change with BIM in how we produce our construction documents. This phase is more difficult in some respects because it demands a different skill set and adaptability for architects and engineers. Some people can not visualize and adapt to the BIM paradigm. These people can be dangerous because they can mess up the model and make more work for the model manager.

Because of this inability to adapt quickly enough, they have a tendency to trash the BIM program itself. This can cause tension and be a threat to morale. Nobody said this would be an easy transition. Roll up your sleeves and make it work; someone will thank you for it.

BIM management is almost a whole new trade that demands a specialist’s attention. The sooner AEC companies out there realize that their good CAD managers and/or BIM experts are worth the extra money and attention to keep them happy, the sooner they will get ahead of their competition.

I owe my inspiration for this article to my comrades Carlos Perez-Rubio LEED AP and Mark Harclerode AIA, LEED AP, for coining the term and some of the concepts for CompliCAD.

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!