In what seems to have become an annual event, this article captures the many developments in AEC technology that I have not been able to cover in my regular articles and reviews. It is an encouraging sign of the AEC technology industry being so vibrant that we not only see new releases of existing products on a regular basis, but also brand-new solutions hoping to address the thorny issues of design and construction more innovatively. This 2017 AEC technology round-up looks at both—new releases of existing products such as Allplan, Twinmotion, 4M IDEA, BIM Assure, Aconex, and Autocase; as well as new solutions including Unicorn Render for rendering and BIMsmith for finding BIM content.
Now that BIM has been firmly established as the go-to technology for the design and construction of buildings, the expansion of the “information modeling” concept to infrastructure as well as cities is also underway. While infrastructure modeling seems to be a natural offshoot of BIM and closely related to existing building modeling technologies, city information modeling or CIM is a different beast altogether, which is why most of the upcoming CIM solutions are being built from the ground up by completely different developers than AEC technology leaders like Autodesk and Bentley. One such developer is Cityzenith, whose 5D Smart World platform for CIM is rapidly gaining traction. This review takes an in-depth look at Smart World and how it works.
In this article, John Hallgarth, Founder and CTO of 3D Constructor, who is a BIM enthusiast and passionate about applying Virtual Design to Construction Practices, explores some practical ways for general contractors to approach BIM, some outside-the-box ideas, and some key opportunities not to be overlooked by commercial builders.
For the past few years, GRAPHISOFT has been hosting an annual invitation-only event that brings together its key clients across the world. Called the Key Client Conference (KCC), the 2017 event was held a couple of weeks ago in Kyoto, Japan, and the opportunity to attend it enabled me to get a much better understanding of the use of GRAPHISOFT’s products at a global level rather than primarily in North America where I am based.
This article captures the highlights of the event comprising updates from GRAPHISOFT, the global launch of ARCHICAD 21, an overview of several third party solutions working with GRAPHISOFT products, and a glimpse at some examples of the use of these products by customers worldwide.
In October 2015, I published an article on the state of the art of automated code checking in AEC, in which I found that it had not made as much progress as one might expect given the early attempts to automate code-checking, even prior to BIM. Following the publication of that article, I received several comments, some of which were pointers to additional work being done in the area of automated code checking that I was not aware of. This follow-up article explores these and some additional efforts I came across in the course of my research on automating code compliance, both on the commercial front as well as in academia, where this is still very much an open topic for investigation.
This article provides an indepth look at the sustainable design toolkit used by the firm Orcutt Winslow Partnership (OWP) that is strongly committed to sustainable design. It explores the rigorous certification standards like LEED v4, WELL Building Standard and the Living Building Challenge that guide OWP in adopting and implementing different strategies for improving the performance of a design; the wide variety of tools that it uses in addition to its preferred BIM application, ArchiCAD, not just for energy analysis but for studying deeper technical aspects of building science such as product chemistry, computational fluid dynamics, embodied carbon, and life cycle analysis of materials; and additional workflow processes such as interoperability, custom schedules, and the use of templates.
As is customary for this time of the year, Autodesk launched the next versions of the wide range of products comprising its portfolio for the AEC, manufacturing, and M&E (media and entertainment) industries. This article explores the new features and updates that Autodesk shared for its three main AEC products: Revit (including each of its individual disciplines, Architecture, Structure, and MEP), InfraWorks, and AutoCAD Civil 3D. It also asks whether the AEC industry would like to do “more with less” rather than “more with more,” which is what the enhancements to these solutions primarily enable.
This article captures the highlights of GRAPHISOFT’s recent conference that is focused on users of its ARCHICAD BIM application and related solutions such as BIMx and BIMcloud. It included keynote presentations by Kai-Uwe Bergmann, a partner at Bjarke Ingels Group, and Marc Kushner, partner at the architectural firm, Hollwich Kushner, and co-founder and CEO of the digital media platform, Architizer; ARCHICAD-focused sessions from power users and experts; as well as updates from GRAPHISOFT, including a sneak peek at some exciting new features in the upcoming version of ARCHICAD.
This review explores FenestraPro Premium, an add-in to Revit for façade design whose scope extends to three main energy-related analysis categories—thermal, solar and daylighting—and how they are impacted by the façade design of a building. The tool is positioned as a design tool, in particular as a generative design tool, rather than as an analysis tool for façade design. In addition to exploring FenestraPro Premium and how it works, the review provides a broader commentary on generative design, including the question of “Are We There Yet?”
This review explores Autocase, a cloud-based tool that automates the triple bottom line (TBL) cost benefit analysis of buildings and infrastructure projects, with a focus on sustainability. TBL is a general accounting framework that considers three criteria—financial, social, and environmental—when evaluating any business venture, project, or performance, and it provides the analysis results in hard numbers, making it especially pertinent in the AEC industry where every project undeniably has a long-term cost.
Prior to Autocase, TBL analysis for AEC projects was manually done by specialized firms and was prohibitively expensive. Autocase’s automation capability not only makes the analysis more accessible, it also allows many more design alternatives to be tested and trade-offs weighed, helping to arrive at more informed and hopefully better designs.