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.
This article by William Speakman, BIM Analyst at Caveo Consulting Engineers, describes how the firm has started utilizing 3D handheld scanning technology to document existing conditions, the advantages of this over traditional tripod based scanners, and the many benefits it has achieved with the specific solution it has adopted.
This Viewpoint article highlights the challenge of the project information explosion caused by the adoption of building information modeling (BIM) in the AEC industry and the importance of managing all this project information systematically to render order from chaos. When properly implemented, BIM is delivering tangible benefits to all project stakeholders, but AEC firms also need to adopt adjunct systems to manage BIM inputs and outputs in a way that helps them deliver on the promise of BIM.
This article by James Vandezande, Director of Design Technology at HOK, describes his experience attending the RTC Australasia event that was recently held in Gold Coast, Queensland. The Revit Technology Conference has grown since its inception in 2005 to a global event with conferences in Asia, North America and Europe in addition to the Australasia one. In addition to the highlights of the conference, James describes how the conference has grown beyond Revit but faces an identity crisis of sorts for various reasons. He also shares his thoughts on what makes RTC events so unique and successful.
This Viewpoint article by Lachmi Khemlani, Founder and Editor of AECbytes, questions why we still don’t have a smart building design tool which does not require us to painstakingly model every detail in our buildings, but can automatically create much of it from a conceptual sketch using a rule-based expert system. This is not as far-fetched or “out there” as it might seem—we already have a tool for infrastructure design that can automatically create structurally sound infrastructure components with minimal input from the user.
This article by Dr. Semiha Ergan, an Assistant Professor at New York University, Polytechnic School of Engineering in Civil and Urban Engineering Department, describes a recent project that she led with her student, Xue Yang, now a 360BIM consultant at Autodesk, to address the challenges HVAC mechanics face when troubleshooting HVAC related problems. They have developed a data schema that extends IFC and integrates as-built BIM, BAS (Building automation system), and CMMS (Computerized maintenance management system) data required for troubleshooting in a single repository which can be used by HVAC mechanics instead of going back and forth between FMS archives, command centers, and facility floors to get access to the facility/system specific information they need.
Digital signatures are taking off especially in high-volume signing applications such as banking and insurance documents, and electronic notarization is becoming more common, thanks to government regulations such as The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). However, even as the AEC industry works to add efficiency and security with digital workflows, the process of applying signatures, seals, and stamps remains primarily paper-bound. Printing a page each time a signature is needed, then converting back to a digital file to send it, clearly is inefficient and impractical for many large-scale documents. In contrast, the use of digital signatures allows files to be kept online throughout the entire project, saving significant time, money, and resources. This article summarizes the many benefits of going paperless, explains the technology behind digital signatures that makes them so secure, clarifies the difference between certifying and approval digital signatures as used in AEC, and presents two case studies of organizations that have switched to digital signatures.
It is often said that experience is the best teacher, but what happens if the teacher is absent? How will the rising generation of construction professionals apply the insight of veteran practitioners, in an industry where recent economic turmoil has driven them to retire in droves? This is the motivation of the design coordination research led by Dr. Fernanda Leite at the University of Texas at Austin, described in this Viewpoint article. It is focused on investigating how to capture the tacit experiential knowledge of veteran practitioners in design coordination to train novice designers more effectively.
In this article, Karen Kensek, Assistant Professor in USC’s School of Architecture, advocates the writing and use of macros in AEC firms to improve the efficiency of BIM, which “out of the box” is not synchronized with the way firms work. Just as CAD was customized to capture decades of accumulated wisdom of workflows that made firms profitable and effective, BIM can also be customized to obtain similar benefits. Although the programming language and implementation may be different, the technical skills and work efficiencies that firms gained from scripts/macros in CAD carry over to BIM.
In this article, Ara Massey, Sustainable Design Manager at Slaterpaull Architects, describes how important it is for her to try and understand the impact of early stage design decisions on building performance when designing green buildings. In the absence of better methods, she had to rely on rules of thumb and intuition. However, since Slaterpaull started using Sefaira’s performance based design software, she uses data analysis from the moment she starts working on a project, which has not only changed the way she designs but also tested her intuition.