8 thoughts on “Autodesk FMDesktop: Extending BIM to Facilities Management

  1. Hi Lachmi,

    I enjoy your articles and look forward to you periodic emails. I enjoyed your article on FM. I am a Revit user and see the potential of this software. I am surprised that Autodesk would build on MS Access rather than on Revit. It would seem that using the Revit database directly rather than importing/exporting would be much more effective and certainly allow the FM much greater and direct query ability. I’m also curious if and when we will see software that will begin taking advantage of the 64 bit processors. If you could speculate on these thoughts sometime in the future I would appreciate it.

    Thanks,

    Gerry Lotton

  2. Having reviewed your article on extending BIM to FMDesktop, is anyone aware of resources (e.g. web sites, user groups) on extending BIM to construction project management applications? Speaking with an Autodesk Account Manager recently, my impression is that their intention is to extend BIM to Constructware. But which data this involves is not clear.

    Is anyone aware of interoperability development between BIM and other Project Management software, e.g. Prolog Manager, Expedition, CMiC? Is there a demand for this and what data would be involved?

    Thanks in advance.

    Michael

  3. Hi Gerry,

    In response to your question about why FMDesktop is built on top of Microsoft Access rather than Revit, it was because a Revit-based FM application would have been much too complex. FM professionals do not want to have to learn CAD, let alone BIM. Autodesk was actually developing its own DWF-based FM application, which it briefly mentioned at Autodesk University 2005 (see http://www.aecbytes.com/newsletter/2005/issue_24.html). That project was scraped once they decided to acquire FMDesktop, which was also built on top of DWF, from Applied Spatial Technologies. Autodesk plans to continue to expand the range of intelligent object data that can be brought into FMDesktop from Revit via DWF export. So I think that overall, have a separate application for FM is a good strategy.

    With regard to 64-bit versions of software applications, Autodesk showed a 64-bit version of 3ds Max at Autodesk Unversity 2006. Hopefully, that indicates we might start to soon see 64-bit versions of other applications as well.

    Hope this helps. Thanks for writing in!

    Lachmi

  4. Hi Michael,

    In my articles on technology for construction, I have often bemoaned the lack of integration of project management solutions used in construction with the emerging BIM processes in design. For example, see the “Analysis and Conclusions” section of this article, http://www.aecbytes.com/buildingthefuture/2006/TFC2006_sessions.html, and the last two sections of my Prolog review, http://www.aecbytes.com/review/2004/Prolog.html. I think that integration of BIM and project managements solutions is critical, but don’t see the traditional project management applications vendors like CMiC or Meridian doing anything about it. They will probably wait until their customers actively demand this capability.

    Autodesk is in a good position to work on this integration, since it develops both BIM and project management applications. But I don’t know when we can expect to see something concrete. It would be good to also watch a new vendor like Newforma, which has started developing project management solutions from a clean slate and may be able to provide BIM integration sooner rather than later.

    Hope this helps!

    Lachmi

  5. Why does Autodesk continue to intergrate only with their products and not other solutions out in the marketplace. By using the propietary DWF rather than some other non-propietary intermedia they limit access by other BIM applications or CADD applications. The ICF is developing standards that need to be followed so that BIM can truely work for all users of BIM and CADD apps and a file format that would allow this interoperability needs to be adhered to so BIM can truely be realized. As it is Autodesk conttinues to buy the close apps to work within there own ecosystem. Wish they could understand that building the best app is what breeds success in the long run not building castles.

  6. I really enjoyed this article, Lachmi, thank you. A great topic and one I hope to hear more about in the future. I have been looking at CAFM programs for a few years and really believe that BIM is something I’d like to move to in the future and it’s nice to know the capabilities are there.

    Stan, one of the more irritating things about software companies is their proprietary software.
    I will admit that I balked a little when I read that FMD was using DWF instead of… well, DWG. One of the strong points of FMD under autodesk is that it can read information from AutoCAD, ADT and Revit. I am not a programmer, but, I would imagine it would be hard to first of all choose, second of all translate the information from different filetypes into one or the other. I think a quasi-neutral, light-weight format is really the only practical solution. And, as Lachmi said here in a comment, that Facility Managers don’t want to learn BIM, they just want a simple program that anyone can use. Now, why they couldn’t have used something like pdf instead of DWF? or done entirely web-based (pngs, gifs, etc?) I don’t know.

  7. Water finds its own level every time. Conceptually this article (Autodesk FMDesktop: Extending BIM to Facilities Management) is sound and I agree whole heartedly. I personally think it relates to CAD as well, IMHO.

  8. It’s disappointing that even now, more than a year later, 64 bit applications haven’t really taken off in a big way. True, there is still a lot of legacy hardware out there that can’t run it but… hey, when did software manufacturers let that stop them?

    Newforma has now, for a while, had support for BIM.

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