Taking Inventory

Kevin Ford, CAFM Administrator at Carnegie Mellon, was instrumental in getting this selfservice application off the ground. “Our goal was to update and replace Rich Text drawings
for all campus buildings so that users could view updated CAD drawings themselves—whether
they need the information for maintenance, networking, scheduling, or business reasons,” says Ford. He and his team began the project by surveying approximately 4,200 faceplates within
the dormitory, fraternity, and sorority buildings across campus. Since Carnegie Mellon is a wireless university—a feature that lets students work from virtually anywhere on campus—the team was able to capture data while they toured the campus, speeding up the survey process.

We ... configured the data and drawings right in the field....We completed entire floors in just a few hours.

Carnegie Mellon University, Kevin Ford, CAFM Administrator

Developing Standards

Another goal of the project was to develop telecommunication standards. Some existing standards were quite long, cluttering the university’s CAD drawings. Ford developed a new color-coded system to use on these floor plans, using hatch marks to signify voice and data combinations. The team also shortened many of the unwieldy codes into standard symbols.

Facilities Facts


Square Feet

Pittsburgh, PA


Autodesk AutoCAD

Also Using

A Vast Improvement

The university’s Telecom Division of Computing Services department uses the Archibus
Telecommunications & Cable Management and Archibus Overlay for AutoCAD® with Design
Management applications to graphically document telecommunications faceplate and jack information on updated AutoCAD drawings. This information is also uploaded to Archibus
for data reporting, and is made accessible to the university community via the Archibus
Web Central access solution. The CAFM project staff provides training and technical support to university personnel to streamline and automate this process.

As a result, users can now go to Carnegie Mellon’s Property and Accounting Web page to
view updated drawings in an industry-standard format—a vast improvement over the previous
manual way of locating telecommunications networks. Drawings are published in DWF format
and posted to the Web, where users can click on faceplate symbols to review the data related
to their job or work area. For example, business managers who control telecom usage for a
department can access jack information for their offices via the Web. Building and floor views
appear neat and clean without excess information crowding the drawings.

“The system helps staff relate their existing AutoCAD skills to the Archibus applications,” says
Ford. Easy-to-understand icons for performing save, submit, data edit, and zoom functions
encourage users to maintain their own data. Users can also extend their viewing capabilities
by zooming in on a room with VoloTMView and reviewing the symbols and details of the room’s telecom equipment. AutoCAD Design Center is used to maintain the telecom drawings, while Web Central is used to publish these drawings to an easily accessible Web environment. The Property and Accounting department is also using Archibus to document all campus building space as it begins to phase out existing legacy systems.

Next Steps

Ford is currently developing customized methods for the university’s Environmental Health & Safety Department to update Hazardous Materials locations using an Access® interface that links directly into Archibus. He is also leading a migration initiative from Sybase to Oracle to
ensure that all the university’s technologies communicate via a common database. In addition, he is working with the school’s housing department, which will eventually extend access to certain telecommunications details to students.

Benefits Gained

  • Cleaner, accurate CAD drawings
  • Time savings due to automatic updates
  • Increased productivity without the need for extensive training

Archibus Applications

  • Telecommunications & Cable Management
  • Overlay for AutoCAD® with Design Management
  • Web Central