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CBG Consultants utilises both Trimble’s ProDesign and Stabicad solutions for improved accuracy and productivity

CBG Consultants utilises both Trimble’s ProDesign and Stabicad solutions for improved accuracy and productivity

CBG Consultants has invested in both Trimble’s electrical design package ProDesign and its Stabicad for Revit MEP design solution. This has helped the building services consultancy to achieve greater productivity and streamlined processes, as well as CIBSE-SVA verified outputs.

CBG Consultants is a building services consultancy practice that provides a wide range of M&E engineering services, including specialisms in lighting design, building physics, Passivhaus and sustainability.

The business, which employs more than 50 engineers and has offices in Oxford, London, Cambridge and Manchester, works on projects of all sizes across a wide range of sectors. This includes high-end residential, education, healthcare, offices, retail, transport infrastructure and heritage buildings.

The Challenge: Standardising MEP design

CBG Consultants has been using Trimble's ProDesign for its electrical design work since 2010 before naturally expanding into using Stabicad for Revit for mechanical design when Trimble launched it in the UK, bringing all ventilation and plumbing system designs and calculations into one single environment. Before adopting these solutions, CBG Consultants had utilised various different solutions for both electrical and mechanical design.

Adam Grant, Associate at CBG Consultants, explained: “We had CBG Consultants use ProDesign for their electrical calculationspreviously used ProDesign for several years but had largely moved to a different MEP solution that appeared to rival ProDesign in terms of functionality; yet in practice suffered a number of problems and was not nearly as intuitive. As a result, we made the decision to fully return to ProDesign. In many ways, it’s the easiest and most logical software to use for designing and calculating circuits, meaning we can be more productive.”

Talking about why a new solution was also required for its mechanical work, Thomas Dykes, Mechanical Engineer at CBG Consultants, said: “We had originally been using a basic, older-generation package that wasn’t particularly user friendly. As such, we then switched to the same MEP software as our electrical design software; however, this didn’t integrate efficiently with Revit and was missing some of the key features relevant to our work. We looked at several options on the market and, following demonstrations from the Trimble team, we selected Stabicad for Revit as the best all-round solution.”

The Results

Several of the features of ProDesign and Stabicad for Revit were of particular benefit to CBG Consultants. Among the most important is the quality of product data available in both packages. This allows the engineers to design using specific components rather than generic data, meaning greater accuracy of the design and calculations. Stabicad provides instant access to over 600,000 BIM items from product manufacturers through an integration with MEPcontent. Similarly, ProDesign includes a live-link to Luckins to deliver the UK’s largest range of manufacturer-approved fuses, circuit-breakers and relays, protective devices and a comprehensive selection of cables and manufacturer-specific busbar ranges.

In addition, the calculations carried out in Stabicad and ProDesign are CIBSE SVA-verified, which is shown by the CIBSE logo on the calculation output – a first in the UK. This provides CBG Consultants’ clients with peace of mind and confidence in the accuracy and compliance of the calculations. It also enables CBG Consultants to increase efficiency levels, with improved accuracy meaning that the teams don’t have to rely on other pieces of software to cross-check results – a potentially time-consuming process.

While CBG Consultants plans to move to Stabicad for both mechanical and electrical design and calculations in the near future, ProDesign, as a 2D design package, is currently the most suitable option for their electrical teams. It offers both familiarity and high levels of productivity, whilst they fully transition to using Revit.

Adam explained some of the specific reasons why ProDesign is the preferred electrical design and calculation solution: “One of the biggest advantages of ProDesign is the way it works from a user perspective. For example, the distribution board diagrams in the software are laid out in exactly the same way as the physical distribution board. It is also much better with circuit breaker selectivity than many other software packages and provides excellent graphical representations of faults to make pinpointing these issues far easier."

On the mechanical side of the business, due the extensive use of Revit, the fact that Stabicad operated directly within the Revit platform was an important advantage. This means the engineers have the calculations and models in the same design environment, reducing the need to switch between packages and manually import data.

One feature that has proved particularly useful to its engineers is the Isometric Nodesolver tool, which helps to achieve accurate solutions to complicated connections. Thomas said: “When it comes to complex connections, the Nodesolver tool saves time and streamlines the detailing process. Often you know what needs to be achieved but manually detailing it can be both challenging and time-consuming. The Nodesolver tool provides various generic or manufacturer-specific options that could be used for connecting the pipes or ductwork and you can simply select the one you prefer, which is then applied automatically to the model."

In addition, CBG Consultants has also received on-going support from the Trimble team to help ensure both ProDesign and Stabicad continues to meet the needs of its engineers, with on-demand support and guidance provided by Trimble as required.

Trimble has also worked closely with CBG Consultants, as well as other users, to make improvements to the software and develop new features in line with customer feedback. Commenting on this, Thomas said: “One of the areas we found was missing was support for British Standard domestic water calculations. We fed this back to the team and told them what we needed. Trimble’s engineering team built this into Stabicad and it works really well. When asked, Trimble has also expanded the parameters for tagging in Revit, which has again helped make our work easier."

Adam concluded: “We’ve found ProDesign and Stabicad to be the best options on the market. The packages have made our MEP design work easier and more productive, and the support from the Trimble team has been excellent."

Want to know more about ProDesign and Stabicad?

For more information about ProDesign visit: and see more about Stabicad at: