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Articles from 2006

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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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AIA Integrated Practice 2006 Conference
2006-06-21 | Author: Lachmi Khemlani

In the last AECbytes newsletter, I captured the highlights of the AIA TAP (Technology in Architectural Practice) conference that was one of the pre-convention workshops preceding the annual US AIA National Convention and Expo 2006, held in Los Angeles from June 8 to Jun 10. The TAP conference was followed the next day by an associated, but separate event, the AIA Integrated Practice conference. While both conferences had a similar format, the TAP conference was more focused on the application of technology within the architectural profession while the Integrated Practice conference took a broader look at technology and process changes across the building industry as a whole...

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AIA TAP 2006 Conference
2006-06-15 | Author: Lachmi Khemlani

The title of this year's TAP conference was "Models for the Future of the Architecture Profession: The Risks, Rewards, and Opportunities of Technology." Not surprisingly, most of the sessions were focused on BIM (building information modeling), which was identified as an "inevitable technology" in the opening session, along with collaboration and interoperability...

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Use of BIM by Facility Owners: An "Expotitions" Meeting
2006-05-13 | Author: Lachmi Khemlani

Towards the end of last month, I was invited to participate in a meeting of the "Expotitions" group, a B2B (Business to Business) roundtable of real estate, design, and construction professionals located in the San Francisco Bay area. This group has been around for several years, conducting informal meetings every few months to discuss a wide rage of issues related to real estate and construction. Some of the recent meetings were devoted to topics such as scenario planning, flexible leasing, flexible facilities, rising construction costs, alternate officing, biotechnology and health services, offshoring operations, and so on. The meeting on April 25, the one I attended, was entitled "Building Information Modeling: Future Technology Shift," and featured a panel discussion of four facility owners who were utilizing this emerging technology: the GSA, Intel, LucasFilm, and Walt Disney Imagineering. The highlights of their presentations and the ensuing discussion are captured in this AECbytes "Building the Future" article...

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The transfer of sophisticated Non-Photo Realistic (NPR) rendering technology from the entertainment industry (animation and video games) to the AEC industry will have far-reaching effects on building simulation and on data-driven Building Information Modeling (BIM). The so called "NPR shaders" are small graphics programs that plug into software or reside natively on powerful graphics cards. They enable the same hard-edged 3D geometry to be flexibly re-presented in a myriad of artistic styles, for example, sketchy, watercolor, oil painting, or any of several other traditional analog media styles...

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The BIM Difference
2006-03-27 | Author: Jay Bhatt

There's a reason why the first automobiles were called "horseless carriages." Designers were unable or unwilling to shift their thinking to accommodate a fundamental shift in technology. So they stuck with the familiar—it took until the 1930s with cars like the 1934 DeSoto Airflow before automobile design came to terms with technology. So it was with the introduction of the steel frame to high-rise design. Unable to see past the status quo, designers of the first steel frames clad them in masonry so they looked very much like tall versions of the bearing wall structures the world already knew. It was years until designers regularly exploited the expressive possibilities of steel in now-familiar designs, such as the Lever House by Gordon Bunshaft of SOM in New York...

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