The first step in encouraging BIM is to engage BIM capable professionals, to include BIM capabilities in bid requirements.

By that I don’t mean a description of what BIM processes a bidder must undertake, but a request the bidders provide a description of the BIM processes they already do. In this early period of BIM take up you may extend this to include BIM processes bidders intend or are prepared to implement.

The aim is to get them to make an offer, for the use of BIM to be their responsibility.

But keep in mind BIM is but one aspect of why you select a particular bidder. Professionals are primarily engaged for their capabilities in their area of expertise, and service performance. BIM is only a tool, it won’t compensate for lack of expertise or poor service.


The second step is to ensure agreements and contractual arrangements allow BIM processes to work freely. As mentioned above all BIM processes (except facilities management) are between the design and construction teams.  This is a challenge for those drawing up and approving agreements. Traditionally contracts have been designed to be between the person paying and the one doing the work. BIM capable agreements require additional clauses that set out how those being paid will interact with third parties – other project participants.

Obviously there are a whole raft of issues to consider, and the type of BIM processes undertaken will influence what specific requirements will be. Which is another complication. The owner is not a participant in these BIM processes (with the exception of facilities management), nor are the exact BIM processes known at the beginning of a project before everyone is signed up.

The BIM evangelist’s answer is to ignore reality and assume the owner HAS to be a BIM participant, and that everyone HAS to be signed up at the very beginning of a project (as evidenced by the push for Integrated Project Delivery type contracts).

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Contracts need do no more than ensure the free flow of information in BIM type format. That is, BIM information created by project participants must be freely available to all other project participants. Sounds simple but there is a paranoia about theft of intellectual property throughout the industry. The default position is to withhold information. Contracts need to specifically override this position.

Tied in with this is that all information in deliverables must match. That information on drawings and schedules match information in BIM models. And that recipients of BIM models can rely on the information in those models. It must also be specified this only applies to information a participant would ordinarily provide. If an architect includes some ducts in their model for context, that doesn’t make them responsible for the completeness and accuracy of those ducts.

Contracts could be further extended to be BIM friendly. For example allowing for project participants to do modelling for others participants, whilst responsibility is retained by the requesting party. So the architects might model ductwork for the mechanical engineers (or sub-contractor) but the engineers or sub-contractor must check and approve that modelling work.

BIM capable agreements and contracts are in their infancy and no one can predict what their eventual form will be. But I believe if we approach them with a view to encouraging, or allowing BIM, rather than enforcing BIM, we will end up with much more useful agreements and therefore BIM workflows.


Rather than demanding direct BIM deliverables they will never use owners should look at requesting evidence of BIM. Requesting evidence also means that even if specific BIM is not defined by owners they can still influence the use of it on their project.

There is nothing wrong with requesting evidence of BIM processes as deliverables. The owner may not participate in the creation of a BIM Management Plan, but they can include it as a deliverable. They may not attend clash coordination meetings but minutes of outcomes can be requested.

However evidence of BIM should never be provided for ‘approval’. Not only does this pass some responsibility back on to the approver (the owner) but has the potential to hold up the project.

The purpose is purely to ensure what has been promised (see SELECTION section above) is being done. An owner may reject a BIM Management Plan as being incomplete or inadequate, but should never ‘approve’ it.


BIM is often touted as ‘costing more’. But research has shown overall a project using BIM processes is more cost efficient. It may be directly cheaper and/or quicker to build, or a more complex result is achievable for the same time and money.

The problem is that not all participants share these cost savings equally. Which is easy to see when you look at how BIM works. BIM models are created early in a project and passed on to participants through the term of the project. The architect models the building, the mechanical engineer uses that model to do energy calculations, the mechanical engineer’s model is passed on to the mechanical sub-contractor who uses it as a basis for shop drawing and CAM, this model is passed to the facilities manager to populate their energy management system. The further up the chain the more complete the model is and greater the savings in time and effort. And of course the owner is at the top of this chain.

Another issue is some participants are required to do more than they have previously done. Engineers traditionally produce diagrammatic drawings and performance requirements for equipment. With BIM they have to model their work accurately and select specific components (otherwise you can’t model them). Of course paying them extra to do this work is not the only solution. But someone has to do it, and no one is going to do it for free.

BIM also requires more work up front. The mechanical engineer can’t do an energy analysis on a half modelled building. If the point of BIM is to create a complete virtual building to test its buildability then it has to be completely designed and modelled before construction starts.

BIM may ‘cost more’ for some, but overall it does not. So it is not necessarily about spending more (although that will certainly bolster use of BIM!). To encourage BIM there needs to be a re-think of where and when money is spent. More money is required at the pre-construction BIM model creation stage.

This may be in the form of extra for design professionals, the appointment of additional professionals, or bringing forward engagements (e.g. services sub-contractors).

And within those engagements payment schedules need to be revised. Fees are normally broken up into stages. With BIM more work is done – more hours expended – in early stages than traditional work methods.

I don’t believe a similar concession is required at construction as BIM processes bring enormous cost benefits to contractors. In fact I believe owners need to be careful they are not paying for BIM efficiencies that the contractor will pocket. Any BIM from the design team should be treated as an asset that benefits the contractor.


And of course owners can directly encourage use of BIM. Not by demanding it, but by having a strong expectation that the team will use BIM processes. Owners don’t need to have intimate knowledge of those processes, but they can expect their design and construction professionals do.


So what is the answer, should owners ask for BIM?

As is the case with most questions, that depends. But here are some recommendations.

Ignore BIM

Not recommended. If you don’t understand BIM or don’t want it don’t stand in the way of those that do. The fact others use it will not cost you more, nor will it increase your workload.

Allow BIM

If you are unsure and don’t really understand much about BIM this is a valid approach. It provides an opportunity to learn from others.

Encourage BIM

Encouraging BIM is the best approach if the owner does not have a BIM based FM system. It allows the design and construction team to make best use of BIM for their purposes. It also creates a wealth of BIM data. It is not structured for FM use, but can still be mined for useful FM data.

Participate in BIM

A truly BIM project has everyone participating in BIM, including the owner. Owners can participate by having their own properly set up FM system that uses BIM.

Having skin in the game, so to speak, means BIM deliverables can be properly valued as to their worth. And if everyone is a participant BIM planning can be undertaken with confidence, and result in even greater benefits than individual use of BIM brings.

Demand BIM

Not recommended. Unless you are a conglomerate with architects, engineers and contractors all under the same roof you should not be dictating what BIM is done. Even then care must be taken to ensure some participants are not working inefficiently for questionable benefits elsewhere. Copied from blogger.com

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Learn what’s new in Revit 2016 subscription advantage

Learn what’s new in Revit 2016 subscription advantage

Learn what’s new in Revit 2016 subscription advantage

Learn what’s new in Revit 2016 subscription advantage

Below you can find a list from the Revit 2015 User help which highlights all the new features & functionality in the forthcoming Revit 2015 Sundial Subs Advantage release.

Architectural Enhancements

  • Solon Integration: Personalize the building performance analysis experience in Revit by defining a dashboard with charts and results that are important to you. The central web-based Solon management environment allows you to create charts and configure dashboards for all of your company Revit users from a central collaboration environment in Green Building Studio.
  • Energy analysis: To better support the analysis of large models, several methods have been implemented to reduce memory usage.
  • Wall joins: To simplify the control of wall joins in a plan view, you can now select multiple intersected wall joins with a single click, and choose to allow or disallow joins on all the selected walls with a single click. If you choose to allow joins, you can then specify a Display option (Clean Join, Don’t Clean Join, Use View Setting). See Specify Wall Join Cleanup Options.
  • IFC references and phases: Use existing geometry in a linked IFC model as references for dimensions, alignment, snapping, and hosting of some face-based families in the Revit model. When you link an IFC file, its elements are assigned to a default phase. Before using IFC Import, Link, or Export, go toAutodesk Exchange Apps for Autodesk Revit and download the latest edition of IFC for Autodesk® Revit® to take advantage of up-to-date improvements.
  • Shaft openings: To streamline the creation of a shaft opening, the Base Constraint value now defaults to the level of the current activated plan view. (SeeCut a Shaft Opening.) The instance properties have also been reordered to be consistent with families with similar properties: Base Constraint, Base Offset, Top Constraint, Unconnected Height, and Top Offset.
  • Adaptive point orientation: To improve clarity, the adaptive point instance parameter Orientation is now Orients to, and the selectable orientations have been renamed. No functionality has changed, only the names. See Adaptive Point Orientation.
  • Site design: Performance enhancements result in improved edit and regeneration times for complex toposurfaces, subregions, and building pads.
  • Perspective views: Certain modeling capabilities are now available in perspective views: (SeeWork in a Perspective View.)
    • Editing tools: Move, Align, Pin, Unpin.
    • Reset Target tool: Restores the position of the camera target to the center of the field of view.
    • Toggle between the perspective and parallel representations of the 3D view.
  • Reference other view: To search the list of available views for reference, enter keywords to locate the desired view. This feature is available when you are creating views for callouts, sections, elevations, and details, and you select the Reference Other View option (or modify a reference view). Also note that the Reference Other View option now displays on the Reference panel of the ribbon instead of the Options Bar. See Reference a Drafting View andSearch.
  • Reveal constraints: To see all dimension constraints and alignment constraints in a view, use the Reveal Constraints mode, available on the View Control Bar. See Reveal Constraints.
  • View updates: Performance enhancements result in faster updates to views that contain multiple instances of families.
  • Revit links: Further enhancements result in improved performance for cases where Revit link instances are loaded but not visible in the view (such as when they are outside the crop region).
  • PDF Export enhancements:
    • Share your designs as electronic PDF files with automatically linked views and sheets. Each view tag in the PDF file is a hyperlink. Click a hyperlink to jump to that view or sheet in the PDF file. See About Printing to PDF.
    • Avoid lengthy or unintended print jobs. If you choose to print multiple views and sheets to individual PDF files, you cannot cancel the print job once it starts. A new message warns you of this issue and allows you to cancel the print job before it starts. Instead, consider printing the views and sheets to a single PDF file. SeeTroubleshooting: Printing Views and Sheets.
  • Schedules: To easily add a data row to a schedule, use the Insert Data Row tool, which is available directly on the Rows panel instead of within the Insert drop-down. The new position of this tool makes it easier to add a data row to a room schedule, area schedule, key schedule, space schedule, or sheet list. See About Modifying Schedules.
  • Select host for tags: To specify the host element for a tag, select the tag and use the Select Host tool. See Select the Host for a Tag.
  • Annotate stair treads and risers: To streamline the process of adding number annotations to treads or risers in a component stair run, specify default properties before placing the annotation. These default property values persist for tread/riser annotations added to the model. See Number Stair Treads and Risers.
  • Thin lines: To improve consistency between Revit sessions, when you use the Thin Lines tool, the setting is stored in the Revit.ini file. When you launch Revit, the stored Thin Lines setting is used as the default. See Graphics Settings in Revit.ini.
  • Export Models with Lines that Coincide: When exporting a Revit model to a CAD format, you can decide whether to maintain model lines that coincide with other lines in the same space. See About Exporting Models with Lines that Coincide.

Structural Enhancements

  • Rebar: When reinforcing concrete elements, you can now place rebar in any 2D view. Place rebar in plan views, elevation views, and section views using the new placement plane tools. See Place Rebar.
  • Snap to model lines for structural elements: To expedite and improve the modeling workflows, the following snapping enhancements are available for structural elements. SeeSnaps.
    • You can snap to an imported and non-exploded CAD drawing.
    • Similar to the behaviors when placing structural walls and slabs, all structural elements now snap to the geometry of imported drawings.
    • 3D snapping has been enhanced.
    • Snaps such as nearest, endpoint, and midpoints are available when defining structural elements along model lines.
    • Additional snap locations are available along model lines for structural framing elements, structural columns, trusses, and isolated foundations.
    • When you place non-hosted loads, you can now snap to model lines.
  • Alignment reference: When changing the alignment reference of beam end geometry in a join, you can now select multiple framing element instances and change their alignment to a common join reference. You can also reset multiple changed references.
  • Change reference: To reset setback framing elements, use the Change Reference tool.
  • Structural framing orientation: When refining your model, you can flip structural framing elements and maintain joins, as well as setback, geometry, and justification modifications. SeeAbout Structural Framing Orientation.
  • User interface for structural elements: To improve productivity during structural modeling, take advantage of the following enhancements:
    • The Offset drop-down button for framing justification tools has been removed. The y Offset and z Offset tools now reside directly on the Justification panel. See Offset the Physical Geometry of a Framing Element.
    • The properties for point loads, line loads, and area loads are reorganized and regrouped in the Properties palette. Tooltips for these properties have also been implemented. See Point Load Instance Properties, Line Load Instance Properties, andArea Load Instance Properties.
    • The analytical properties for structural elements are reorganized and regrouped in the Properties palette. Tooltips for these properties have also been implemented. See Structural Column Analysis Properties, Beam Analysis Properties, Brace Analysis Properties, Structural Floor Analysis Properties,Structural Wall Analysis Properties,Wall Foundation Analysis Properties, Foundation Slab Analysis Properties, andIsolated Foundation Analysis Properties.

MEP Enhancements

  • Sequence for power circuits: To specify the sequence in which power circuits are created, use the Electrical Settings dialog. See Electrical Settings.
  • Most recently used panel circuiting: When you create a circuit, Autodesk® Revit® automatically connects to the most recently used panel for the current session. In addition, you can now search the Panel drop-down list. See Select a Panel or Transformer for the Power Circuit.
  • Move circuits: To move a circuit directly to a target slot without disrupting other circuits, use the Move To tool. See Move circuits on panel schedules.
  • ASHRAE table information: To identify the table that is applicable for the current condition, the ASHRAE Table Settings dialog displays the graphical representations associated with the duct fitting tables. This enhancement is helpful when you specify Coefficient from ASHRAE Table as the loss method for duct fittings. See Specify a Pressure Loss Method for Fittings and Accessories for Duct and Pipe.

Multi-Disciplinary Enhancements

  • Search: To quickly find the content you need, use the new search feature in the Type Selector or in drop-down lists. Click the Type Selector or a value field in the Properties palette or a dialog table, and enter keywords to search for. See Search.
  • File upgrades: To help you understand the consequences of file upgrades, new dialogs indicate the release of a file and the release to which it will be upgraded. In many cases, you have the opportunity to cancel the upgrade before it completes. See About Opening Models that Require an Upgrade.
  • Edit/load a family: To close the family automatically after it is loaded into a project, use the Load into Project and Close tool in the Family Editor. See Load the Current Family into a Project.
  • Properties palette: Keep your context in the Properties palette when you scroll, select a property, and then click outside the palette. This behavior can be helpful, for example, if you are selecting different family instances in the model to compare their properties.
  • Pin/Unpin icons: To determine whether an element has a relationship with a host system, select the element to see its Pin/Unpin tool icon. A different set of pin/unpin images () is used in the drawing area to indicate a relationship with a host, such as a curtain wall panel or a beam in a beam system. The behavior of the pin has not changed (clicking it still allows you to override the properties for the element), but the subtle difference (small link in the image) adds a visual indicator that this pin is different than the standard pin that locks an element in position. The Pin/Unpin tool icons on the ribbon have not changed. See Unpin Elements.
  • Import/link position: To streamline the process of inserting a Revit model or a CAD file, the default positioning is now Auto – Origin to Origin. If you change the default, the option you select for Positioning becomes the default for the current Revit session. The software remembers one default option forRevit models and another default option for CAD files. See Import and Link Options.
  • Revit link in a closed workset: To understand why a Revit link is not visible in model views, check its status in the Manage Links dialog. The status In Closed Workset now displays for a Revit link that is in a closed workset. See Manage Links Dialog.

Configuration Changes

In the Revit.ini file, the following settings are new or changed in this release:

  • Colors section: The new BackgroundColor setting replaces the InvertBackground setting in the Graphics section.
  • Graphics section: The ThinLinesEnabled setting is now supported. The InvertBackground setting has been deprecated and is no longer supported. Copied by  David Light.

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3 ways BIM could impact future domestic life

3 Ways bim could impact future domestic life

3 ways BIM could impact future domestic life

3 ways BIM could impact future domestic life

A positive impact on domestic life?

In the architecture, construction and engineering (AEC) industries, Building Information Modelling (BIM) has become the buzzword for modernisation and for making efficiencies in working practices and financial costs. Some may even say that as a buzzword, BIM has simply become synonymous with digital 3D models of digital assets.

The truth is that the heart of Level 2 BIM gives the ability for the AEC, facilities management and owner operator sectors to efficiently manage the lifecycle of their digital assets, having far reaching consequences for us all. And, it’s not a great leap of the imagination to envisage that the benefits which BIM brings to industry could be realised in a domestic context – Domestic BIM anyone?

Here are a few ways BIM could impact on our everyday domestic lives positively:

Managing your domestic appliances

Here’s a not uncommon scenario – your washing machine breaks down and after your initial disgust with this ubiquitous and inanimate object breaking down, you realise you’ll need to do the following:

  • Find out what model it is. This usually means searching high and low for some kind of manual or instruction booklet – but where is it? Who knows?
  • Find a contact number from the supplier or manufacturer to report the problem and hopefully get some idea of the repair cost, who you should call to get it repaired and how soon this can happen
  • Find out if you have a guarantee or household insurance to cover the problem. This may mean searching for receipts, a certificate or contacting your bank to search through your records for a date of purchase.

All of these things require you to find data and documentation which, let’s face it, many of us stuff into drawers, cupboards and perhaps even down the back of the sofa with the paperclips and small change.

With a digital representation of your washing machine and all other domestic appliances, all of this information could be stored and accessed easily, saving time and potentially money. Imagine being able to simply contact the correct supplier with the necessary information for them to access the likely cause, time and cost of getting it repaired.

3D Printing and BIM

3D printing and BIM have been discussed a lot recently, especially in the context of building materials and objects for larger infrastructure projects – such as in this article about structural metal nodes.

However, the potential benefits in a domestic context could also be huge if this technology becomes available cheaply and simply at home. Take your malfunctioning washing machine – you could simply input a file (which would form part of your digital representation of the object on purchase) – and print your own spare part, be it a control on the fascia or something internal. This could have ramifications for how machines are built in the first instance and from which materials they are made and it could make things simpler for any professional servicing company who may not always have direct access to a specific model’s components. Either way, access to the washing machine’s digital data could allow any part of it to be repaired more quickly, whether by 3D printing at home or by the servicing company.

Extending or renovating your home

It all comes back down to the digital data, documentation and modelling. Assuming you’ve the money to extend or renovate your home, BIM could help you do this even more efficiently.

Having a digital representation of your home has clear benefits. It would make it easier to decide what kind of structural work needs to be done to add a conservatory for example. You would have detailed information about the foundations beneath the proposed site, data about the materials already present in any existing supporting walls and information about existing electrical wiring allowing for easier decision-making when it comes to obtaining a quote from a qualified electrician.

If you wished to renovate your home, even so far as simply redecorating a selection of rooms – the exact amounts of paints and wallpapers could be understood quickly and easily because the data about the exact size of your rooms would already exist, digitally.

Digital data and a more connected future

None of these ideas are particularly difficult to imagine becoming reality – OK, maybe 3D printing is some way off domestically – however, much of the data in many cases already exists to enable digital representations to be produced retrospectively. And, where this can’t happen, it seems to make perfect sense for BIM to be applied in domestic contexts for the future.

What is interesting is that, as the first example above demonstrates, in the home, BIM and digital data can be used to solve none built environment problems and issues, making our lives easier, more efficient and potentially greener with less wasted time, materials and money.

Not only that, the potential for linking our domestic digital data with Smart City projects such as Open Data Bristol could have significant implications for improving how we live together in our built environment and manage the increasingly complex elements of our domestic lives. Copied from Paul Baguley Blog.

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Everybody is talking about BIM, Building Information Modeling, as if there is no value remained for fundamental civil engineering. Of course, I completely respect the usefulness of the tool and the technology but it does not replace the engineering part of any project.

No doubt, it’s an important tool for pre-engineering, clash detection and resolving, as well as facility maintenance but we need to consider the fitment of the same in the value chain of a project. If we go by 80-20 split, 80% should be hard core civil engineering (including Architecture, Structures and MEP Designs) and the remaining 20% should go for BIM as an Importance Factor. I may be wrong but it is portrayed the other way round by various stake holders involved in the project. Isn’t it? Or is the need being created/forced by the software companies?

Look at the market, the traction for BIM, in terms of projects or job opportunities and it seems that it is a huge market. It may be, but it should not be a replacement for engineering candidates. Everyone wants to build a BIM team for various reasons.

  1. A definite piece of business on any civil engineering project
  2. Client gets very delighted to see 3D, 4D, 5D as well as Renderings and Visualization parts
  3. Don’t need highly qualified engineers to run the show of modeling
  4. Less or almost zero liability
  5. At times, better hourly rates for modeling than engineering
  6. Lucrative offers for Junior, mid-level detailers / modelers compared to engineers and everyone is happy

Granted every business has its own roots and basis but what should the new generation choose for their career in future? Most of the industry is driven by “supply-demand” equation and apparently there are many jobs available for BIM competency, may it be Architectural, Structural or MEP. BIM world is portrayed as very fancy-lucrative industry and it appears everyone is chasing it.

If majority of the new generation goes only BIM way, who would design the foundations, slabs, beams, columns, shear walls, etc.? Who would do the feasibility studies, concept engineering and detailed engineering? It’s easy to model these elements but more in depth knowledge is required to analyze, design and detail out structural elements. We need codal compliances, knowledge of local standard, construction practices, specifications, safety norms, wind / seismic analysis criterions and so on. If BIM modeling in a building goes wrong, a contractor may have to drill a hole thru a beam to pass a pipe/conduit or run a HVAC duct below the beam, making some problems for the head room or the false ceiling. However, if the structural engineering goes wrong, structural elements could crack or bend, a building may buckle, in the worst case collapse, damaging the property and importantly the lives, which we can’t put a value on.

So, what is important in overall business? Is it structural engineering or BIM modeling? I agree it should be a good balance of both as neither could be ignored or bypassed in a project life cycle. Still, the questions remain how we give weightage to engineering aspect verses the modeling aspect. Copied from article by Mr. Mandar on LinkedIn.

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Construction in 2015

Construction in 2015

Construction in 2015

The best commercial project: The winner was 190,000 m² PTDC Logistics Center in Sipoo, Finland, by Freeway Consortium. The consortium was especially formed to collaborate on this project. In addition to modeling the structures, they used the models on site, monitored and managed the precast unit supply chain with the model and combined MEP and structural models.

Construction in 2015

The best public project: Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Midfield Terminal Building by China State Constructions Engineering Corporation has 18 unique steel arches that span up to 180 meters. BIM reduced project length and increased productivity, and clash check with Tekla prevented problems on site.

Construction in 2015

The best industrial project: The 85-meters tall Amager Bakke in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a modern waste-to-energy facility doubling as an 11-floor office – with a ski slope on the roof. MOE A/S used Tekla from the early concept creation to highly detailed design, and the software was utilized also for fabrication and erection planning.

The best sports and recreational project: Daytona Rising in the USA was submitted by the contractor Barton Malow, and includes contribution from many subcontractors. The race track stayed operational during the upgrade. In addition to structural modeling, the team utilized open BIM to plan and manage layout and for project logistics and supply chain management.

opera house

The best infrastructural project: Isoisänsilta (Grandfather’s bridge) by a project group with the same name is under construction. The team uses BIM data instead of printing documents for construction. Bidding requests were model-based, and all quantities have been extracted from the model.

The best small project: Mutant Trees by Apex Structural Design are eight 15-meter steel trees with a surface comprised of 500 triangular plates and supporting internal skeleton of tubes. The project started with the artist’s 3D model and Apex created the internal skeleton from the exterior surface.

Construction in 2015

Special recognition: At the Porvoo Oil Refinery Isomerization Unit A-Insinöörit used building information models and the digital assets of the existing structure and process equipment to design, plan and execute in a very tight schedule.

The winner of the public vote: For the beautiful Opera House at Downtown West Dubai, Eversendai Engineering LLC engineered, detailed, fabricated and installed the structural steel. The Tekla model provided information also for the acoustic engineering company.

The best student project: TongMyong University in South Korea submitted an integrated project model of an extensive building with complex geometry and multiple materials. They replicating an open BIM workflow, typically used for value engineering. Copied from tekla.com

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5 Mobile Apps for Designing and Drafting

5 Mobile Apps for Designing and Drafting

5 Mobile Apps for Designing and Drafting

5 Mobile Apps for Designing and Drafting

Which mobile apps have worn down the tips of your fingers? We’re assuming you’ve reached the point where Angry Birds and Candy Crush aren’t as stimulating as they once were, and if you’re an architect, engineer, or designer, you’re likely in need of designing and drafting apps that allow you to make the most of your creative abilities when you’re not in the office.

How often is it that you experience moments of crystalline inspiration but are nowhere near your laptop or workstation? If the thought itself makes your palms sweaty and pulse quicken, fear not. There is a veritable treasure trove of digital tools available for architects who carry around a smartphone or tablet on a regular basis. Here are five mobile drafting and design apps that can help you stay productive wherever, whenever.

1. ozPDA Sun Seeker

5 Mobile Apps for Designing and Drafting

Voted No. 4 by ArchDaily in its recent Top 10 Technical Apps for Architects roundup, this mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android features both a flat-view compass and an augmented-reality camera 3D view. It’s helpful for architects (not to mention gardeners, photographers, and real-estate and solar-panel buyers) to gather data on the sun’s position, angle, and path during the day. It also serves up reference data for summer and winter solstice paths, rise and set times, and elevation and location information.

2. Morpholio Trace

5 Mobile Apps for Designing and Drafting

A free app that builds on the idea that architects and designers are somewhat nostalgic for pen and paper, Morpholio offers Trace for iOS users. According to Architect Magazine, it’s a colorful design appthat gives users the option of choosing from a variety of palettes. For instance, there’s an architecture menu that provides pigments and shades for natural features like grass and water, as well as interior aspects, such as shadows and lighting. Another unique capability is one that allows users to view all of the various iterations of their designs, flipping back and forth through each picture. Here, you might discover or remember a particularly impactful drawing that had been previously discarded. Instead of wasting time trying to recapture the lightning in the bottle that originally inspired the designer, Trace lets you access the image quickly. Finally, you can import external images and trace or draw on top of them.

3. Autodesk AutoCAD 360

5 Mobile Apps for Designing and Drafting

ArchDaily puts this digital tool at No. 6 in its Top 10 Technical Apps for Architects list. What makes this drafting app stand out? First of all, it’s free (or $4.99 per month for the Pro version), works on either a tablet or smartphone, and functions on both iOS and Android devices. You’re able to access your drawings on the web and share across multiple platforms so that your drafts can be accessed on location or in transit. Another benefit the online resource Dexigner highlighted is the ability to create drawings using new tools that allow you to manage multiple layers. The updated app allows for larger files, which gives you more room to explore your creativity.

4. Graphisoft BIMx Docs

5 Mobile Apps for Designing and Drafting

For iOS platform users, this mobile app is a transformational experience that combines 2D and 3D renderings in the same space. Architosh indicated architects using ArchiCAD would be most at home with BIMx, being able to navigate your 3D models and walk through them as if the buildings actually existed. Users can then pull back to access 2D renderings for a schematic view. While the basic BIMx app is free (with in-app purchases ranging from $9.99 to $74.99), the BIMx Docs project presenter app is a one-time fee of $74.99. But for the price of admission, you get access to its Hyper-model functionality—integrating both 2D and 3D information for seamless navigation—and can share an unlimited number of projects.

5. neoDev CAD Touch

5 Mobile Apps for Designing and Drafting

Archh.com lists this app in its Best Mobile Apps For Architects and Interior Designers blog for architects, engineers, and designers. It features a CAD editor and viewer, objects library, OpenGL graphics with real-time rendering, and advanced tools such as OSNAP, smart dimensions, adaptive hatches, and more. The app exports DWG, PDF, and image files, and imports DWG and DXF. Copied from Technically speaking.

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National Infrastructure Commission appoints CEO

National Infrastructure Commission appoints CEO

National Infrastructure Commission appoints CEO

National Infrastructure Commission appoints CEO

The Chancellor George Osborne has appointed Phil Graham as CEO of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).

Mr Graham joins from the Department of Transport having previously worked on many of the UK’s major infrastructure projects including the high speed rail strategy, in addition to leading the team supporting Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission and working on the London Olympics.

The Chancellor said of the appointment: “I am delighted to appoint Phil Graham as CEO of the National Infrastructure Commission.

“The NIC will provide expert, independent advice to the government on the most pressing ‎infrastructure challenges facing the country. Phil’s role as CEO will be vital in overseeing this work.”

The Chancellor announced back in October the creation of the National Infrastructure Commission to give expert neutral analysis of the long-term infrastructure needs of the UK.

Since its formation, the commission has been working shadow form and has been chaired by the former Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis.

Supporting the appointment, Lord Adonis described Mr Graham as “supremely qualified”. He commented: “He has done brilliant work on a wide range of nationally significant projects from high speed rail to the London Olympics and most recently ‎as secretary of the Airports Commission.

“He is an excellent public servant and I am confident he will be superb in his new role.”

The commission will publish a National Infrastructure Assessment every Parliament, putting forward its analysis of the UK’s infrastructure needs over a 10 to 30 year horizon. The government will be required formally to respond to its recommendations.

The Chancellor has requested the commission to report on three initial projects before next year’s budget – Northern transport connectivity; Large-scale investment in London’s transport infrastructure, including Cross rail 2 and making sure investment in energy infrastructure is capable of meeting future demand in the most efficient manner. Copied from UK construction online.

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Bentley AECOsim Building Designer Reads Manufacturer Revit Family Files

Bentley AECOsim Building Designer Reads Manufacturer Revit Family Files

Bentley AECOsim Building Designer Reads Manufacturer Revit Family Files

ACCA Software – An innovative approach to software licensing

Bentley’s Technical Manager (a former Revit Manager) for this project, focused on

  1. maintaining the Revit family geometry’s dimensional integrity,
  2. retaining the Revit family parametric & visibility control behavior,
  3. retaining the embedded parameter data type values,
  4. retaining the Revit family types (embedded or family catalogs)

This new feature immediately provides Bentley users access to 10’s of thousands of Building Product Manufacturers’ (BPM) Revit families in their native RFA file format.

Bentley AECOsim Building Designer Reads Manufacturer Revit Family Files

Bentley will supports Revit family file formats for Revit 2009 through Revit 2014. When Autodesk Revit 2015 is released; Bentley will begin testing the Revit 2015 new features of the family file format (RFA).

It demonstrates Bentley’s commitment to both interoperability between different BIM software tools –and the value of providing their users with pre-built BPM BIM content for their Bentley design projects.

Bentley AECOsim Building Designer Reads Manufacturer Revit Family Files

AECOsim Building Designer (SELECTseries 5) – User Access to More and More Manufacturer Content

Bentley will soon be releasing AECOsim Building Designer (SELECTseries 5), an update to its information modeling software for multi-discipline building teams. An important new feature is the ability to read RFA files directly. This allows architects and engineers to place the RFA content found on manufacturer websites, including plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, and furniture, into their project while maintaining all of the geometry, data, behaviors, and types of the original object. This gives users access to more online content, both static and parametric, for use in their projects and gives product manufacturers greater access to potential customers who use AECOsim Building Designer.

Aside from the obvious (getting the geometry correct), there are three main goals for importing the RFAs:

  1. Retain the behavior of as many geometric parameters as possible (length, width, number of repeating elements, angles, visibility controls, and so on).
  2. Retain all informational properties such as model number, manufacturer, and whatever other information the manufacturer attached.
  3. Create the types that the manufacturer defined (either in the RFA or in a Type Catalog) as AECOsim Building Designer Catalog Entries.

The import and placement process is divided into two parts:

  1. Loading RFA content into the DataGroup Catalog, using a wizard to map RFA attributes (such as category, object styles, and property names) to their counterparts in AECOsim Building Designer.
  2. Placing the RFA contents using existing AECOsim Building Designer tools.

By dividing the process, the RFA content is integrated into the existing tools to allow architects and engineers to focus on determining what object they want without worrying about the format. The RFAs look and act like native AECOsim Building Designer content (usually in PAZ or BXF format), so door and window objects retain their ability to cut openings in their host and air-handling units have HVAC connectors that can be used to automatically size ducts that are connected to them. The RFA content will show up in reports alongside the native AECOsim Building Designer elements (a feature that is even further enhanced with several new reporting features).

This greatly expands the content available to AECOsim Building Designer users and represents a huge commitment to Bentley’s interoperability. Copied from bentley.com

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ACCA Software – An innovative approach to software licensing

ACCA Software – An innovative approach to software licensing

ACCA Software – An innovative approach to software licensing

ACCA Software – An innovative approach to software licensing

ACCA software’s new and innovative “Free UPP” software distribution system (Free Use Pay Print), allows you to download, use, learn, update and get technical support all for free.

This is the exact opposite to what is currently available in the professional software industry where licensing costs, maintenance subscription fees and training costs are extremely expensive and the software very complex and difficult to use.

Free UPP chances all of this not only by meaning convenient software but also meaning highly professional and easy to use software!

The Free UPP philosophy truly revolutionizes the architectural, engineering and building industry software solutions sector bringing you professional software in a more convenient and easier manner. You can download the full version completely FREE and without having to go through any account registration procedures allowing you to install the solutions on as many computers as you like. So you can use the software, get regular updates and technical support all for FREE and also take advantage of an extensive on-line Video Tutorial service to quickly learn all the tricks and go through hundreds of practical cases.

Furthermore each software has a dedicated forum and an e-mail technical support address where you can interact directly with technicians that will solve all of your issues by means of video explanations specifically created for your needs.

ACCA Software – An innovative approach to software licensing

Another important advantage of Free UPP is the possibility to collaborate with anyone using the same software for FREE. The sharing of projects and professional collaborations are possible with everyone: all data is saved in a single file that anyone can open and work with for FREE thanks to Free UPP.

You pay only if you print or export your documents and working drawings spending just 10 Euro cents for each page in the A4 format. You are free to duplicate purchased prints as many times as you want and the first 500 A4 page prints are completely FREE.

The cost for printing an Architectural project or a Bill of Quantities is very cost convenient. For example, to print a bill of Quantities document composed of 20 A4 standard pages only costs € 2. The cost of each print is calculated in relation to the A4 sheet format. Unit price = 10 cents. Other print format costs, such as A1, A0, A3, etc., are based on the A4 format equivalent and formats that are not perfect multiples of the A4 format will be approximated.

The Free UPP solutions that ACCA currently has available for free download are: PriMus for bill of quantities and estimates, PriMus for Ipad for mobile BoQ’s and estimates, Edificius for architecture BIM design and 3D object CAD and very soon PriMus-TO for quantity Take off. Copied from bimopedia post.

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One of the misunderstanding going around (sometimes I think wilfully) is that BIM is equivalent to facilities management. That the only thing BIM means is the use of a 3D model connected to a database to manage the maintenance of a facility.

At the extreme end of this view you have people who think that if you get the design and construction teams to use BIM you will have a fully functional BIM FM system at the end of the project.

I don’t understand how anyone could think this was true. Why would a BIM model created to design, analyse, and coordinate a building, or one to cost and program it be suitable for facilities management? Yet I have had clients say they want our Revit model provided to them, complete with paint modelled, so they can use it directly for facilities management.

A lessor, but none the less just as mistaken view, is that the BIM done during design and construction is just there to provide the data for the FM system. And further, that if BIM is not used during design and construction it is not possible to have a BIM based FM system.

Lets think about this a bit. To use BIM for facilities management you need a graphical 3D model and a database of information. You could pay someone to create the model and populate the database when you set up the FM system. Or you could get the whole design and construction team to change they way they do their work just so they produce a 3D model and populated database at the completion of their work.

Does that second method really sound sensible? Why would you compromise a much bigger process (the design and construction of a facility) to reduce the effort of a smaller process (populate an FM database)? BIM evangelists go on about how much larger the cost of running a facility is compared to building it. But design and construction BIM can only ever contribute to the initial set up of the FM database, it has nothing to do with the ongoing operation.

But BIM is not just FM. It is used for much more than that. And once that is realised the benefits can be captured.

If design professionals use BIM for their processes, they will have a lot of data, including 3D graphical data. The contractor can utilize this data for their purposes and add data they use. This data won’t be structured to suit FM, after all it has been created for other purposes. But there is a fair bit that can be used for FM. The cost of restructuring this data to suit FM is theoretically less than completely recreating it. That is the benefit of BIM.

So don’t ask for BIM if the only reason is to provide completed data for your FM system. There may be cheaper ways of doing it.

And don’t ask for BIM, or BIM deliverables, if you have a paper based rather than BIM based FM system (I know, kind of obvious, but surprisingly common).

Do ask for it if you want to access to BIM data created for other purposes for your FM system. Copied from blogger.com

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