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Modeling Rules
2006-10-11 | Author: Dace A. Campbell, AIA

As we leave the 20th century behind, we must discover, refine, and implement new tools, new roles, and new practices to unify the fragmented AEC industry and efficiently cope with the complexities of today's intricate business and legal climate. One of the tools critical to industry integration is building information modeling (BIM), which is sometimes described by software vendors and industry pundits as a 3D representation of architectural design intent used to create and manage 2D documentation. If BIM is not just used for drawing management but is also seen as a comprehensive information management and delivery tool, it promises sweeping, positive implications for all project stakeholders and may enable truly integrated practice...

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Two weeks ago, I attended the annual Midyear Meeting of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) held in San Francisco, California. This is not an event I typically attend; what drew me to it, however, was that BIM was actually the focus of a couple of sessions at the conference. Also, the AGC was using the meeting to release a brand-new publication called Contractors' Guide to BIM, which outlines best practices for contractors using BIM. This was intriguing, and it was also very impressive to see this kind of initiative coming from the construction side of AEC, considering that BIM has been relatively slow to take off in this sector so far. As I witnessed earlier this year at the Technology for Construction show, there were no BIM solutions on display in the Exhibit Hall, conveying the impression that BIM seems to have made scarcely a dent in the construction industry. But we now have a Contractors' Guide to BIM, well before any such corresponding guides have been made available for BIM in architecture and BIM in engineering. It is not even clear if any such guides are in the making. The construction sector may have been slow to take off with BIM, but the release of this guide and the emerging focus on BIM at the AGC conference should be heartening to those contractors eager to get ahead with this new technological development in the building industry...

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1-2-3 REVIT: Publish BIMs in DWF
2006-10-07 | Author: Rick Rundell, AIA

Several of my articles have focused on how BIMs (building information models) can be shared with distributed design teams -- using Revit Worksharing and across a WAN, for instance. But what happens when design data must be shared outside the design team with clients, contractors, city planners and other constituents in the review cycle that aren't Revit users -- or even CAD users? This month's article focuses on DWF, a tool that extends the BIM design process and facilitates the sharing of consistent, coordinated information that comes from a BIM...

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Power-users rolling more and more data into digital design and construction models are finding that getting the right data, at the right level of detail, and presenting it well-purposed for the task at hand is the key to gaining value in implementations large and small. There is a lot of experimentation and analysis about modeling going on today. Experts in technology implementation are taking the ever-expanding array of software and hardware and resolving best practices for implementing virtual design and construction tools...

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AGC Releases Contractors' Guide to BIM
2006-09-29 | Author: Cadalyst

AGC (Associated General Contractors of America) yesterday released the Contractors' Guide to BIM (building information modeling) at its annual Midyear Meeting in San Francisco. The guide outlines best practices for contractors using BIM to virtually build hospitals, hotels, bridges, offices buildings and more. BIM enables virtual construction of such structures through the development and use of intelligent computer software that helps simulate construction...

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Autodesk Revit Structure 4
2006-09-21 | Author: Lachmi Khemlani

It was exactly a year ago last September when I first reviewed Autodesk Revit Structure, the BIM application for structural engineering built on the Revit platform that, along with Revit Building and Revit Systems, forms a complete and integrated BIM suite for supporting collaborative multi-disciplinary building design. Revit Structure has been going through a highly accelerated development cycle since its first release 15 months ago. The version I reviewed last September was Revit Structure 2; this was followed by Revit Structure 3 in April. Towards the end of last month, yet another new version, Revit Structure 4, was released. This review takes a detailed look at the improvements introduced in both these recent versions of Revit Structure...

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The Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry is in the midst of unprecedented change. With project teams that span the globe, increased pressure to accelerate timelines and reduce costs, and continued advances in technology, AEC professionals have to reevaluate their business processes to remain competitive. Top of mind for many professionals is finding more effective, secure ways to collaborate across internal teams and with the growing number of outside consultants, contractors, and regulators involved in projects. A study conducted online in April 2006 by Harris Interactive for Adobe highlights the challenges and opportunities for improving collaboration across project stakeholders. The research involved interviewing more than 650 U.S. architects, engineering and construction professionals, project managers, and facility owners and operators, and represents the opinions of only the study participants. A constant theme that emerged from the responses received centered on the importance of improving project collaboration and document exchange...

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Autodesk yesterday officially launched its Student Engineering and Design Community Web site. Students now have free access to downloads of Autodesk software for architecture, industrial design, civil engineering and mechanical engineering. Soon the site will also offer resources for students in art and animation fields, the company reports. Any student or faculty member with a valid education e-mail address can participate -- more than 6,000 students worldwide already have signed up as test users...

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BIM for Stuctural Engineering
2006-08-30 | Author: Autodesk

Autodesk announced Autodesk Revit Structure 4, BIM (building information modeling) software for structural engineering, design and documentation. According to the company, Revit Structure 4 includes new advanced analytical tools and makes modeling key structural elements even more intuitive. Autodesk also announced the immediate availability of Autodesk Revit Building 9.1, which has been updated for compatibility with the new version of Revit Structure...

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1-2-3 Revit: BIM and Cost Estimating, Part 1
2006-08-07 | Author: Rick Rundell

A purpose-built BIM (building information modeling) solution such as Autodesk Revit features a computable BIM: a design model that can be understood by a computer as a building. A wall for example, knows what it is and how to react to the rest of the building. As such, it can be scheduled or quantified as a wall and that it's an assembly made of real materials. Computable BIMs enable firms to create, manage and share design information more effectively. Some previous articles featured examples of the uses of computable building information, including: structural analysis, MEP system modeling, building energy analysis and specification management. This month I begin a two-part series exploring how reliable data held within a computable BIM can be used to support yet another aspect of the building process -- cost estimating...

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AEC from the Ground Up—CAD Data Standards for AEC
2006-08-01 | Author: H. Edward Goldberg

We are now in the third decade of digital AEC design and documentation, enough time for the industry to create or adopt both actual and de facto standards. Among these are standards for raster or bit-mapped images, document compression schemes such as Adobe PDF and Autodesk DWF and vector information used in construction documents. Figure 1. Adobe Acrobat 3D software lets engineering and technical professionals publish and share 3D design information from major CAD applications. In the digital world, the appropriateness of any particular standard is mostly a function of what you want to do with it. As an example, ASCII is perfectly appropriate for representing the English alphabet, but is useless for representing Kanji, Katakana, Cyrillic and other writing systems. A standard called Unicode has been developed to deal with them...

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Autodesk Revit Building 9
2006-07-26 | Author: Lachmi Khemlani

Earlier this year, Autodesk's Revit platform officially became a complete BIM solution for supporting collaborative multi-disciplinary building design, with the introduction of Autodesk Revit Systems for MEP engineering. At the same time, Autodesk also released updated versions of its Revit Building and Revit Structure applications for architectural design and structural engineering respectively. Revit can now realize the full potential of BIM in enabling cross-disciplinary collaboration, with architects, structural engineers, and MEP engineers using the same building model and the same modeling tools for building design. AECbytes will review all three products over the course of the coming months, starting with Revit Building 9 in this issue...

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2006 2nd Annual BIM Awards, Part 1
2006-07-13 | Author: Lachmi Khemlani

Last month, I captured the highlights of the three AIA events held in Los Angeles in June: the AIA TAP (Technology in Architectural Practice) conference, the AIA Integrated Practice conference, and the AIA National Convention. In my article on the TAP conference, I described the two breakout sessions I was able to attend as well as some of the key issues that were discussed during the opening and closing sessions. However, I did not get the opportunity in that article to discuss the second annual BIM Awards that were presented at the conclusion of the conference. These awards for projects using integrated and interoperable building information models are the focus of this and the next issue of the AECbytes "Building the Future" series. In this issue, the award winning firms and projects discussed are Mortenson Construction for the Denver Art Museum Expansion project, GHAFARI Associates for the Flint Global V6 Engine Plant Expansion project, and Kirksey for the Satterfield & Pontikes Corporate Headquarters project...

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1-2-3 Revit: BIM on a WAN
2006-07-07 | Author: Rick Rundell, AIA

Most building design tools are based on legacy drafting or object-oriented CAD technology -- file-based applications with computational or practical limits constraining the size of the output files. A purpose-built BIM solution such as Autodesk Revit uses a completely different technology to define a building project; it uses an interconnected database of building information. Globalization dictates that these data-intensive BIMs must be shared between distributed design teams as well as clients and contractors. New BIM applications that serve engineering disciplines (such as Autodesk Revit Structure and Revit Systems, have further underscored the need for design collaboration across distributed teams. If project teams are in the same company, everyone can work together on a single shared model. With multiple teams or disciplines working in different organizations, the Revit platform approach lets each cross-link their models -- creating a shared, distributed BIM...

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IFCs Connect
2006-06-28 | Author: Elizabeth Bollinger

An important milestone in software development for the building industry over the past decade has been the establishment of Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs) — freely available, nonproprietary data model specifications. Now the IFCs are being applied toward automating code checking and other kinds of complex analysis...

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