I last reviewed Bentley’s multi-disciplinary BIM application, AECOsim Building Designer, in 2012 when it was in the V8i generation. A lot has changed since then with regard to Bentley’s technology. It has a brand-new CONNECT generation, which features dramatic improvements over the earlier V8i generation including speed, connectivity, mobile support, cloud capability, and interoperability with other applications. Bentley first introduced the CONNECT edition at its 2014 YII (Year in Infrastructure) conference and has been gradually releasing the CONNECT editions of all its applications, starting with ProjectWise, MicroStation, and Navigator at YII 2015 and many more of its design, analytical, construction, and reality modeling applications at last year’s YII conference. The CONNECT edition of AECOsim Building Designer has just been released and this review takes an indepth look at it to explore the new features and enhancements in this major generational update of the application.
Those familiar with ARCHICAD know that each new release of the application revolves around a theme named after a breakthrough improvement. The theme of the new release of the application, ARCHICAD 21, which was launched earlier this summer, is “Step Up Your BIM.” It’s a smart way of capturing both the two main highlights of this release: one, dramatically improved means of modeling staircases and their accompanying railings; and two, the advent of truly smart design tools in ARCHICAD, which significantly ramps “up” its ability as a BIM tool.
This review explores the new rule-based Stair and Railing tools in detail, along with the many additional improvements in interoperability, Grasshopper integration, and productivity enhancements that have been made in ARCHICAD 21.
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.
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.
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.
This review explores the book, Data-Driven Design and Construction: 25 Strategies for Capturing, Analyzing and Applying Building Data, authored by Randy Deutsch, who draws upon his experience in both academia and the industry to ponder on the question of data, why it is important, and how we can best use it to improve design and construction in the AEC industry.
This review explores a new solution, Schema from Archetris, for space programming and planning in the preliminary design phase of a building project. It comes in six distinct yet integrated modules, which collectively chart a traditional linear workflow of developing, iterating, and refining a design from the most spatially abstract to the most spatially defined solution. It also includes Revit integration, allowing the data and conceptual designs from the preliminary design stage to be transferred to the detailed design development in a BIM environment.
This review explores the book, Building Information Modeling: BIM in Current and Future Practice, which brings together many of the leading academics and researchers in the field of AEC technology writing about some of their current BIM-related research. It is published by Wiley and edited by Karen Kensek and Douglas Noble, who are both long-time faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) and actively involved in academic research and teaching. While most of the book’s 26 chapters come from academia, there are a few contributions from the industry as well. After a brief overview of the content of the book, the review explores its relevance to practicing AEC professionals as well as the integration—or lack thereof—between the industry and academia in the AEC technology field.
After the AEC dotcom boom and bust debacle in the late 1990s to early 2000s, the last few years have seen a remarkable resurgence in the growing number of cloud-based solutions for different aspects of design and construction. One cloud-based solution that has remained largely out of the spotlight until now is EADOC, a collaborative construction management application that was just acquired by Bentley a few months ago. Not only does EADOC include construction management functionality that Bentley’s flagship project management and collaboration application, ProjectWise, does not have, it also integrates this functionality with project financials and cost capabilities, making it very unique in comparison to other construction management solutions as well. This review takes a closer look at EADOC to explore how these two sets of capabilities are integrated.