Attempting an import of 3D AutoCAD dwg file with no success...

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I'm trying to import a model of a building, done in AutoCAD 2013 as a 3D
model and exported as a .dwg file - and have had no success.

My process -

Open eQuest, select "Create a New Project via the Wizard"

Choose "Design Development Wizard"

Step through 7 entry screens, to get to Navigator

Select "Building Envelope and Loads" from "Bldg Shell Components" list and
select "Edit Selected Shell" button

Click on "Next" to get to Wizard Screen 2 of 25, then select "- custom -"
from "Footprint Shape" drop-down

Leave "Start With..." button on "Previously Defined Footprint" and select "-
Import CAD file -" from "CAD File:" drop-down

Browse to file and open, then get the following messages, in order.

then then

Can anyone shed some light on what's wrong?

Feel free to respond to me directly or the list. and thanks!

Wayn Goodman, CEM

Resource Efficiency Manager

439th MSG/CER, Westover ARB, MA

Northrop Grumman Support Team

Phone: DSN: 589-3111

Commercial: 413-557-3111

Mobile: 413-822-8528

Joined: 2014-06-18
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Two things here:

1. I am not sure if you can import 3D model in eQuest. Generally 2D Cad drawings are imported in eQuest interface.

2. You can convert your dwg files to dxf files (2010 format) and see if it works.

Harshul Singhal
Project Consultant
Thornton Tomasetti
386 Fore Street, Suite 401
Portland, ME 04101
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HSinghal at

harshul263's picture
Joined: 2014-03-25
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Another option would be to save a separate DWG. Explode the 3d content and delete everything but the polylines at 0 elevation.

You then save the drawing and import THAT into equest.

I guess what I'm saying is even if you need to explode the 3d content you can still extract the 2D floorplan from everything else.

What I would do is go to front elevation view in autocad, select everything above 0 elevation (anything not a polyline) explode it a couple times. Select everything above 0 elevation again and delete. Then you would go back into plan view (top) and make sure your floor plan remains intact in 2D, then save and use that drawing for drawing your shells/zones in equest.

This would be easier with the "View" toolbar open in autocad.


Chris Baker2's picture
Joined: 2014-03-25
Reputation: 0


The only option to convert the 3D model Cad or Revit convert to gbXML were it as a volumetric space representation in 3D. The CAD applications do not have 3D space/room objects that can capture a room, the Auto Cad to gbXML software creates a building model that is not easily used in eQUEST and cannot ever be used in the eQUEST wizard, only in the detail mode.

Best Regards,
Soham Babu | Energy Analyst \ Mechanical Engineer


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Soham Babu's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
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If the drawing is in a 3d Revit model /BIM then probably the easiest way to do the energy modeling would be to use energy plus software. All it requires is a revit add-on. You then can export your BIM model data directly to energy plus.

Equest works great but I honestly feel like it is more for people who don't have 3d models or BIM models of their building because they don't have the option to simply export and abundance of data like that (door locations, window locations, lid heights, etc..)

If you have revit you can also look into the new green building software available from Autodesk.

It's a cloud based program that will estimate your LEED points for you but I don't yet know if it has the capability to do energy modeling, exclusively.

If you still want to use equest for whatever reason you would need to extract the 2d data either by exploding the 3d content and extracting them that way, or drawing 2d polylines.

To be honest, equest doesn't require a lot of 2D data to accurately model a space - which is one of the great things about equest.

If, for example, you have a building with 5 building shells, all you would need to do is show the outline of the building and the lines separating each shell. All you would require are reference points for where the outline and the shell separation.

A 5 shell building would require 5 polylines, at the most.

Any areas of the buildings that have different lid heights, HVAC or heating systems, etc.. you want to split up each of those as their own shell because they will be modeled differently.

Equest doesn't let you change anything in the cad drawing. It simply drops it in as a background block that you then trace over. The CAD drawing is only used as a reference for drawing your building shells.

You can get more specific about the modeling aspects in detailed edit mode after you do the design development wizard inputs.
This is all you would need though to draw out your building shells in equest and get going setting up your zone groupings and air-side systems.

Later on in the DD wizard you can go in and add your custom door and window layouts directly (before you go in to detailed edit).

Chris Baker
CCI CAD Drafter

Chris Baker2's picture
Joined: 2014-03-25
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Chris's direction is in line with my typical workflow.

Rather than use any BIM export directly (3D or otherwise), I prefer to use that export as a reference to develop my own shell outline and zone outlines, in consideration of the actual HVAC zoning and distribution. Do this on a new, uniquely named layer. Then, when importing the reference, you have the option to filter to only that layer with your simplified zoning layout, and you've got that much less to worry about when it comes to snapping vertices and such.

Hope that helps!


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Nick-Caton's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
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Just to throw out an example workflow that's different. We build all models in Revit, regardless of what we get from an architect. Export to GBS to get the geometry only into eQuest. Cut out plant and systems from the inp that came from GBS (automated in Excel but could be done manually in a text editor). Import custom libraries by bldg type of default inputs from an inp snippet containing plant equipment, systems, hourly reports, and formulas for space loads, constructions, zone inputs, , etc., linked to activity descriptions. Use regular expressions in a text editor to apply the default formulas (we use Excel as a text editor so we can automate the process setting them all in one shot). Then, export a text file from Revit containing activity descriptions and system assignment and bring them into eQuest through the inp file (also automated in Excel but I believe activity descriptions could be pasted in through the spreadsheet view and the systems could be placed manually in a text editor).

It took a long time to figure out how to build reliable models in Revit, build the libraries of formulas and get them working every time they're importe. But, once we did the whole process got much, much, much faster. And, having all loads applied with formulas allows for a lot more flexibility and speed of making global changes on the fly.



Jeremy McClanathan, P.E., BEMP, HFDP, LEED AP
Mechanical Engineer

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Jeremy McClanathan2's picture
Joined: 2014-06-18
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Im hoping somebody can tell me if AutoCAD 2012 is compatible with eQuest 3.64? Will I be able to import files in the Wizard from this version? I attempted to use DraftSight but the wizard wouldn't open the files. Has anyone else had this problem as I'd much prefer to continue using DraftSight?

Also, (if anyone is kind enough to answer) what does error message 1603 mean when downloading AutoCAD? I've checked my system requirements and prepared my system but every time the download fails. Any ideas?



Paul's picture
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