AEC Technology Updates, 2016 – Part 1


Every year, AECbytes publishes a technology roundup highlighting the key developments in AEC technology that AEC professionals should be aware of as they go about their work of designing, constructing, and operating buildings and infrastructure. With the growing number of technology solutions targeted towards the AEC industry, the corresponding number of updates is also increasing every year, and we will look at them in a two-part series. This article, Part 1 of the series, looks at the key developments of the leading technology vendors in the AEC industry including GRAPHISOFT, Bentley, Autodesk, Trimble, and Allplan.



BIM Use in New Aircraft Carrier Pier and Bulkhead Rehabilitation Design


Today, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is routinely used in the design of buildings and other vertical structures. When the design for a new U. S. Navy aircraft carrier pier and the rehabilitation of existing bulkhead began in 2009, BIM was becoming a standard in vertical structure design, but had hardly been used for piers and other horizontal structures.  The Moffatt & Nichol led MN3M joint venture, which was awarded the contract for the project, decided to utilize BIM to improve coordination among design disciplines, identify potential construction conflicts, reduce errors in design, help visualize the end product, and provide the Navy with a model to be used for asset management.  This process is described in more detail by John Gaul and Michael Rieger, who worked on the project as a structural engineer and project manager respectively.


AECbytes Magazine Q2 2016


Issue Highlights

  • Zaha Hadid Architects (Excerpt from BIM Evaluation Study Report)
  • ArchiCAD 20
  • People Profile: Walid Thabet, Professor of Building Construction, Virginia Tech
  • Book Review: BIM Management Handbook
  • Firm Profile: ROJO Architecture

… and more!

The digital version is FREE. To read the magazine online or to download a PDF or iPad version of the latest issue, go to:

For a printed copy or discounted annual subscription, or to access earlier issues, go to:



The new version of ARCHICAD—typically released by GRAPHISOFT around this time every year—was formally launched at a first-of-its-kind “LiveSteam” event this year, in which the live physical launch held in Budapest was simultaneously broadcast online and available all over the world. Those familiar with ARCHICAD know that each new release of ARCHICAD revolves around a theme, and for ARCHICAD 20, this was “A Fresh Look at BIM,” which has been achieved by a revamped interface, a significant improvement in adding and managing model information, and the ability bi-directionally integrate with Rhino and Grasshopper in real-time to bring organic modeling and algorithmic design to BIM. This review explores each of these enhancements in more detail, starting with the Rhino/Grasshopper integration.


In Defense of Traditional 3D Laser Scanning


With rapid developments in 3D scanning technology over the past thirty years, reality capture is now faster and easier than ever, taking form in high definition terrestrial systems, aerial photogrammetry systems, handheld infrared systems, and everything in between. In this article, Tucker Cedarleaf of Cedar+Mac, who has been working with laser scanning equipment and software for over 10 years, debunks the assumptions many users make that all reality capture is equal and that it’s as simple as taking photographs. He shows how and why traditional laser scanning tied to survey control is the only method of 3D capture that produces baseline data of the quality and reliability required for AEC industry use.


Invicara BIM Assure: Cloud-Based Collaborative Model Checker

There has been little progress in the AEC industry so far in the application of technology to streamline the process of getting building approvals and permits from regulatory authorities, despite the fact that BIM—a critical component of the process—is now well established as the “go-to” technology for design and construction. However, a new application for model checking, BIM Assure, that will soon be launched should give fresh impetus to the eventual goal of automating code-checking in AEC. This review takes a detailed look at BIM Assure, its background, how it works, and the types of analyses that can be done with the application.


How Mead & Hunt Marshals Resources to Improve Project Delivery

In this Viewpoint article, Andy Knauf, Vice President of IT at Mead & Hunt, a top-ranked architecture and engineering firm, describes how his firm searched for and subsequently found and implemented an effective solution that would enable its multi-state workforce ¬– more than 525 employees in 30 active offices as well as numerous job site offices – around the US to share and access files and project information quickly and easily for improved project delivery.


Vectorworks Design Summit 2016

This article provides an overview of the recent Vectorworks Design Summit, an annual event for Vectorworks to showcase its products, upcoming features, and overall vision to existing and prospective users of its products. The Summit also included a fascinating keynote by Eva Franch i Gilabert, current director of the organization, Storefront for Art and Architecture, which is committed to furthering innovative ideas in architecture, art and design.


Autodesk AEC 2017 Product Portfolio

Autodesk has just released the 2017 version of many of its products, and this article looks at the highlights of its 2017 AEC product family, including Revit, InfraWorks 360, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Navisworks, and Advance Steel. It also asks why we don’t have a free version of Revit for the public at large, and what it takes for Autodesk to create an InfraWorks-like application for building design.