Frequently Asked Questions

How do we pay for your service and how are we billed?

You can pay via credit card, or check. As for billing, on larger projects (three months or longer) we will do a standard AIA progress billing per a agreed upon schedule. For smaller jobs, we will send a simple invoice every 30 days. Please note that all drawings will be sent via email in PDf format with a watermark. Once you have approved the drawings and we have received payment we will release all files and plotted drawings agreed upon in our contract.

Payments for training and on site lead coordination services will require a deposit and payment on the day of the service.

Where can we get Object Enablers for your software?

  • You can get enablers for AutoCAD MEP Here (All HVAC Piping and Plumbing Shop Drawings)
  • You can get enablers for Practicad Here (For Sheet Metal Duct Shop Drawings)
  • You can get enablers for CadDuct Here (For Sheet Metal Duct Shop Drawings)


How do we access NavisWorks or .NWD files?

You can download NavisWorks freedom viewer here.   Or direct download for 32 bit here.  Instructions on how to navigate in  NavisWorks can be found here or watch the video below.

How do we access NavisWorks or .NWD files?

You can download NavisWorks freedom viewer here.   Or direct download for 32 bit here.  Instructions on how to navigate in  NavisWorks can be foundhere or watch the video below.

We are getting wire framed views of your drawing in NavisWorks.

Some of you may have experienced the display of wireframe graphics (bounding boxes) of ducts, pipes or similar during opening of a DWG file in Navisworks Manage.

In order to properly display the geometry and access the properties of these custom objects, you must have the corresponding Object Enabler (OE) installed on your computer (Note: even if you have some software installed you will still need the OE). You can obtain the necessary Object Enablers from the manufacturers of our applications from the following links above:

Follow these steps to display custom objects:

  • Open the file that contains the proxy graphics in Navisworks.
  • Click View menu > Scene Statistics. A list of the missing Object Enablers will be displayed.
  • Locate, download, and install the missing Object Enablers from the manufacturer’s website. Important! Some Object Enablers have dependencies on other OEs, and, therefore, need to be installed in a specific order. For example, the AutoCAD® MEP 2009 OE has a dependency on the AutoCAD Architecture 2009 OE. Therefore, you must install the AutoCAD Architecture OE before installing the AutoCAD MEP 2009 OE. Also, be aware that some OEs may not be designed to work with non-AutoCAD-based applications, such as Navisworks. In these cases, the OE may already be installed, even though it was listed as missing in the Scene Statistics dialog box, or it may cause the application to crash when used.
  • Start Navisworks.
  • Click Tools menu > Global Options > File Readers > DWG/DXF/SAT.
  • From the Loader for DWG drop-down menu, select the year that corresponds to the DWG year of the file. Note: Depending on the OE, you may also need to change the Render Type from Automatic to Shaded.
  • Click OK.
  • Exit Navisworks.
  • Delete any NWC (cache) files associated with your DWG file. A new NWC file will be created when the model is reopened.
  • Start Navisworks and open the DWG file.


Differences between NavisWorks file formats

This is a common question we get…what’s the difference between the 3 Navisworks file formats – NWC, NWF and NWD? Here’s how we typically explain the differences…

NWC – This is sometimes also called the Cache file. These files can only be read into Navisworks and Navisworks cannot export out or be saved as a NWC. NWC is the format that is typically created (exported) from products like Revit and AutoCAD, and also is created automatically when Navisworks opens up a DWG directly. When you open a DWG, a NWC is created and is used the next time the Navisworks project is opened unless the DWG is newer. If the DWG isn’t newer, then the NWC is used and loads much quicker.

NWF – This is the project file. The NWF contains all of the Navisworks data and pointers to the files that are loaded. Think of it this way (from the world of AutoCAD)…NWF is the sheet file and that sheet file contains a bunch of XREF’s, which are the loaded (appended) files. The content that is saved in an NWF are things like redlines, saved viewpoints, materials, etc. Again, this is your project/working file…this is the file you use daily to update info and reload updates from the linked/appended files.

NWD – This is the equivalent of a DWF or PDF. Typically, you take your project file (NWF) and publish it to NWD…which removes all links and keeps everything in the NWD. Again, to relate it back to AutoCAD…it’s like binding the XREF’s in the sheet file. This allows the ability to share a project with someone externally without having to send all of the linked/appended files. A NWD can be opened with any Navisworks program, especially Freedom Viewer.

What is level of detail or LOD?


LOD 100 – Conceptual/Visualization
LOD 200 – Approximate Geometry/Integration
LOD 300 – Precise Geometry/Coordination
LOD 400 – Fabrication
LOD 500 – As Built/Maintenance

Each level has different corresponding authorized uses regarding analysis, cost estimating, scheduling and construction (construction begins at LOD 300).


How do we access FTP site?

This is the most efficient way to access ftp sites. Use the email above if you need any further help.


Here is a good site for emailing large files

If any of these links are broken please contact us.

 How to use FileZilla to access any FTP site.

How to use FireFTP for Firefox Browser.

How do we mark up drawings with Adobe Acrobat?

Best Free PDF Viewer  (Has some limits but you can mark up and save them – pro version $39 )

Best Paid PDF Solution (If your in the contracting business you should have this)

What Software Do You Use For Detailing ?


We use AutoCAD MEP and PractiCAD 3rd party add on for detailing.

PractiCAD™ is our new, state-of-the-art, computer-aided drafting and design (CAD) system for construction industry, focused on sheet metal applications (piping, plumbing and electrical modules are coming soon).

PractiCAD™ is the first automated CAD software in our industry.

PractiCAD™ is fully integrated with our PractiCAM™ — the most advanced in the world, state-of-the-art, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and estimating system for sheet metal work, including HVAC, construction, machine-building and ship-building applications, architectural, roofing and kitchen products, signmaking, decorative metalwork and other areas.

To find out more about PractiCAD™ software and other modern HVAC technologies, please call MetaLab at: 281-870-1014 we will be happy to help you.

 PractiCAD Part 1

PractiCAD Part 2