Don’t Be Encased in Manually Drafting

One of the main benefits of using object based design is having the ability to make the “drafting” a much more efficient task or bi-product of the design. A basic drafting entity shown on plans is the location of concrete pipe encasements. These encasements are usually required when utility crossings don’t allow for enough vertical or horizontal separation or if the fill height is too shallow and may need structural support. A typical concrete encasement on a sanitary pipe is nothing more than a concrete poured surrounding, a minimum of 6 inches thick around the pipe, for a required minimum length. When they are needed to be shown on both plans and profiles, I see many users taking a lot of time to draft these concrete encasements “manually”.

Civil 3D gives us users another, (not so obvious), option. In this post, I’ll share with you an idea of using the Pipe Network tools to give us a better, (I think more fun), way to add these encasements to your projects.

Here is an example three views showing how these encasements can look. Obviously, you’ll be creating your own styles to match your company’s standards.


By now, I think you are probably realizing that these encasements are actually defined as pipe objects so that they can be easily shown and labeled in multiple views. If you were not realizing this, then, well… um they are defined as pipes.

Okay, so now you know the secret. So where do we start?

First, we need to venture into the Part Builder. Oh No! Seriously, it won’t be that bad. We’re just going to use what’s already there, modify some sizes a bit and save as a new part family. Now, for all you veteran Part Builder Experts, (I think there’s now 5 in the world.); you guys can create your own part for this application. One that has the circular inner diameter and square exterior wall.


Start Part Builder and select Pipe as the part catalog.

Choose Concrete Box Culvert and then the Modify Part Sizes button.


Once the Part Builder is open, right-click on the Size Parameters and choose Edit Values…


This shows us the current values that have been assigned to the Concrete Culvert. We’re going to delete all the original values and replace them with typical pipe sizes that may require encasements. Also change the wall thickness to 6 to show a minimum 6” thick encasement as shown below.


The next thing we can do in this is change the Part Size Name. This is the name that is used as the description when adding the part to a Parts List. I’ll leave the following image show you the way to change this value.


After changing the values and picking OK, we want to do a SAVE PART FAMILY AS which is shown by the icon in the following image.

image   clip_image012

Alright, now you can exit the Part Builder and take a deep breath. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Next we can create a Parts List to house our new Concrete Encasement part. You can add this to an already existing parts list if you want, but I prefer to keep it separate. My reasoning is that the Concrete Encasements must be on their own Pipe Network. So this ensures that I can’t accidentally add a concrete encasement to a network that is using another Parts List. You don’t want to give concrete encasements the ability to connect to your actual structures or pipes. They must be able to move independently.


In the following steps I’m going to just show images as references, as I am assuming that most of the readers have created their own Parts Lists before.






The next thing I’ll show is how my styles are set up. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, you will be making them match your own company standards. This just gives you a head start.



Before we get out of the styles, there’s one additional style you’ll want to create. And that is a style for Crossings. This will be controlled as an Override in the Profile View Properties as shown in the following image.


You can also setup your label styles for both that plan and profile as well. The following image shows an example of a pipe label style for the profile view.


That’s really the last of the setup that’s required.

The next step is creating a new pipe network that is going to “only” be used for the encasements.


The rest is up to you.  But please comment or send me an email if you run into any problems.


  1. Choose draw Pipes Only when drawing the encasements.
  2. When adding the encasements as pipes to the plan view just align them to the pipe you are encasing to set the correct horizontal location. Then you can wait to adjust the elevations when you add them to the profile views. The elevations can easily be edited graphically directly on the profile view.
  3. When trying to get the exact minimum length in plan view use the direct distance entry or the dynamic input. You can then move it to center them on the crossing pipe.
  4. Keep in mind, these encasements aren’t built to an exact size or a tight tolerance.
  5. Most importantly… Be happy and enjoy your job if you have one. Be grateful you have one and pray for those you know, that don’t.


Jonathan Stewart



  1. Cheers Jonathan, good post!

  2. Tom Baumberger says:

    Great post. This link is definitely a keeper.

    Now if you can only tell me how to disable the explode command.

  3. Thanks guys.

    Tom, I couldn’t agree more. The explode command shouldn’t even be an autocad command. It should be left only for our military.

  4. Juan Soto says:

    That’s great stuff, simple but effective.

  5. Troy Strunk says:

    Great post Stewart…….as always!

  6. Jason Stevens says:

    Awesome post Jonathan! I’ve thought about how I could add those before but never figured it out. Now I don’t have to, you did!

  7. Mark Jung says:

    This Post is GREAT!!! Now to implement and get everyone to use it 🙂

  8. John Mayo, PE says:

    Thanks! Great post.