The 3D Day Is Here

The story, "Build It First Digitally" was very interesting (ENR 10/10 p. 28). Our design software for fire sprinkler systems has allowed us to do this since 1997. It is called Autosprink, by M.E.P.C.A.D. (

It is for fire sprinklers, but the intuitive design allows the entire building and systems to be drawn in real 3D, just like you were building it. We can then plot the standard "plan view" as well as color pictures of the final product for field use and owner review. With the interference checking tool, most problems are found before the steel hits the dirt.

The day is here when the A/E team sends out a 3D model, and the subcontractors each route their respective trade through the building. Congratulations to GM for taking the bold step.

Building Trades Should Bolt

I have been a reader most of my life and a subscriber for close to fifty years. I know the industry well and I have been a student of the Building and Construction Trades Dept. and its affiliated international unions, as recently described in the article, "AFL-CIO in Turmoil As Big Unions Bolt" (ENR 8/1 p. 12).

The AFL-CIO has over the past 20 years or more grown to be nothing more that a political action committee. The building trades no longer have the power within the AFL-CIO that they once had under George Meany and they have had little in common with current AFL-CIO membership.

This is the time for the building trades to withdraw from the AFL-CIO and go on their own. They will be stronger as a result and will be more capable of developing a larger union segment by working with their employers to be more competitive and productive.