Although AutoCAD has been used over the years by many who are self-taught in the CAD software, in the last year the number of US and Canadian professionals seeking certification in the use of Autodesk software has risen by 10% as employers and employees recognize the benefits of validating skills. There are now 14,181 architects, designers, engineers and CAD professionals certified across North America; 60% increase since 2010.
“Globalization and the increasing competitiveness of the job market are driving the need for a universal standard to demonstrate skills levels,” says Julie Gaudet, Senior Director, Customer Operations of Gilmore Global Logistics Services, Inc, worldwide distributor for Autodesk training and course materials. “Also, businesses need to maximize their investment in new software. Training and certification help ensure best practice which in turn helps accelerate productivity and encourage higher quality design.”
To meet this growing demand, there are now 231 Autodesk Authorized Training Centers (ATCs) across North America and 615 authorized training instructors; 18% more than 3 years ago.
Sean Flaherty, CEO and Dr. Biplab Sarkar, CTO of Nemetschek Vectorworks spoke last week in a webinar about their software launch of Vectorworks 2014.
Flaherty gave a business overview of the company and its progress:
Although Nemetschek Vectorworks is headquartered in the U.S. their customer base is very global, Flaherty explained, with 53% from Europe, the Middle East and Africa region, 28% from Pacific region and 19% from Americas. Their top five user countries are Japan, Germany, UK and Switzerland. AEC remains their biggest market, accounting for 60% of their sales. Landscape and entertainment design are still critical to the company.
Select Subscription customers will be the first to receive this release. Three years ago they launched Select Subscription service. Last year more than half the licenses delivered were to Select members. Vectorworks is seeing positive rebound in the AEC sector.
According to the National Association of HomeBuilders, they predict higher levels of construction activity in the years ahead. Also they are seeing positive signs in multi-family residential and commercial design.
In response to that and other industry insights, Vectorworks has expanded their staff by 50% in the last few years.
BIM continues to be a funnel for information in the architecture industry. Design begins in the mind of the architect. Vectorworks can take the design from the sketchpad to the workflow. Each year more firms are implementing BIM workflow into their projects.
¾ of firms are using BIM software for billable work. This report also found 91% of firms used BIM software for design visualization.
In the UK the government is pushing to become a world leader in BIM, and the National BIM Survey 2013 found that more than 1/3 or 33% of the survey are using BIM, up from only 13% in 2010. “One of the primary ways we feel we can help architects to greater BIM adoption is to provide BIM education to practitioners whether they are Vectorworks users or not,” said Flaherty. “More than half of owners admit to being beginners in BIM expertise.”
“BIM is a new way of realizing projects, one part in the overall BIM processes. In addition to an introduction to BIM processes, Vectorworks also offer industry professionals talks on the process from their standpoints,” said Flaherty.
This perspective of seeing BIM as “new” is refreshing coming from a CAD vendor, as most seem to espouse the belief that BIM is not new.
Vectorworks is very supportive of Open BIM because of its support of transparent open workflow, that allows for collaboration regardless of software tools, its creation of a common language for processes, and ability to provide quality project data that can be used throughout building lifecycle.
Dr. Sarkar gave a rundown of all the features. Here are the features of Vectorworks 2014 as listed in the press release:
The Vectorworks 2014 software includes more than 130 improvements that were developed for better modeling, BIM management, interoperability, usability, performance, and quality. The 2014 product line also features new BIM tools for architects, increased site design capabilities for landscape architects and designers, as well as enhancements to lighting devices, documentation, and graphic controls for entertainment designers. The following list provides a sampling of what design professionals will find inside Vectorworks 2014 software: Enhanced 3D Modeling: This release includes several key improvements to Vectorworks’ already robust 3D modeling capabilities. Built on the industry’s leading modeling kernel, Parasolid®, Vectorworks 2014 offers persistent rendered 3D navigation to provide designers with the ability to easily switch between 3D and rotated Top/Plan views; enhanced walkthrough capabilities, making walkthroughs in OpenGL faster than ever; and the new twist and taper tools that enable users to twist entire solids, solid faces, or NURBS surfaces, as well as taper the faces of 3D objects in a single snap. In addition, the new 3D X-ray Select (patent pending) allows users to temporarily see through solid objects in the area around the cursor.
Mike Gustafson, Product Manager, Tekla answered some questions about Tekla’s BIMsight 1.8 release, a free construction collaboration tool. This new version makes BIM collaboration LIVE and allows you to share models and communicate through the client instantly. The model sharing that was introduced in BIMsight 1.6 is now enhanced by the note sharing capability, thereby eliminating the need to send notes in email.
This morning Autodesk announced a pay-as-you-go model for all the company’s desktop software including the latest Design and Creation Suites, Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya and Autodesk Maya LT. A “hangout” was held this morning on Google this morning where Andrew Anagnost, SVP, Industry Strategy & Marketing for Autodesk and other industry specialists, discussed this new offering.
Businesses are increasingly adopting this type of model for consuming services and products as opposed to owning software. Options generally include renting, sharing or purchasing subscriptions such as this “pay-as-you-go” model. This way designers, engineers and architects no longer will have to be concerned about purchasing the next version of the software. New comers will also be able to get up and running on the software with few up-front costs, and get projects started with this software.
Options include quarterly and monthly or annual rental plans for customers who want to stay current with product updates, use of Autodesk 360 cloud services and support. This is a similar option to what Autodesk Subscription customers already enjoy. The rental plan will be available beginning September 2013 and applies to Autodesk AutoCAD Design Suite, AutoCAD Inventor LT Suite, AutoCAD Revit LT Suite, Building Design Suite, Entertainment Creation Suite, Factory Design Suite, Infrastructure Design Suite, Plant Design Suite, Product Design Suite, Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya LT.
For those interested in minimalistic living, Tiny Houses may be just the ticket. The home depicted here is a 210 square feet tiny house location in Washington, DC in Boneyard Studios. Photos by Paul Burk and built by Minim Tiny Homes.
Here is a video of the Vico Office 4.2 download link so you can get up and running with the latest functionality. Vico Office 4.2 is virtual construction software, augmenting 3D models with constructability analysis and coordination, location-based quantity takeoff, 4D (time) scheduling and production control, and 5D (cost) estimating that has just been released. This software is part of Trimble’s new data integration capabilities between a variety of its planning, estimating and management software applications.
See what the new interface between Tekla and Vico looks like in this video, narrated by Marcel Broekmaat, Market Manager of Project Controls, with Trimble Buildings’ General Contractor Division:
A recent article in Wired profiled some companies that have decided to move off the cloud and instead move most of their computing to some basic computers they can manage themselves. MemSQL, a Silicon Valley company founded by Eric Frenkiel, did exactly that about two years after it was founded, taking the company assets off the Amazon cloud, and saving money on managing their own computers.
‘I’m not a big believer in the public cloud. It’s just not effective in the long run,” said Frenkiel. While the cloud is great for many tasks, including launching a startup or running a small website, it may not sense for all applications. Zynga’s online gaming empire grew to monumental sizes in 2012, and promptly shifted a large portion of its operation off the Amazon cloud into its own data center.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Compensation Report, compiled from a survey of U.S. architecture firms,outlines information on how the profession is faring as well as compensation data for 39 architecture firm positions in 28 states, 28 metro areas and 14 cities.
The AIA Compensation Report cites problems from the “Great Recession” as still challenging to U.S. architecture firms, however, the economy improvement has benefitted the architectural industry as well as the construction sector.
Architecture firms report an increased revenue of almost 11% in 2012 from 2011 levels, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures, and payrolls have reflected this change. In mid-2011, architecture firms hit a low, but then have seen gradual improvement since then. According to figures provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, payroll employment has increased about 3% between mid-2011 and the end of 2012.
The report takes into account the size of architectural firms and the experience levels of employees. During the downturn, many less experienced architectural positions were eliminated. Some of the current average compensation figures may reflect a share of more experienced and highly compensated positions. The average compensation for architecture positions increased only 0.7% per year compounded between 2008 and 2011, however, growth increased to only 1.1% per year between 2011 and 2013. This figure includes base salary, overtime, bonuses and incentive compensation..
In July, Bentley Systems announced their Field Supervisor, an app for the iPad that allows users to connect to multiple data sources. It extends the reach of information that is managed securely in ProjectWise and eB, and in other user repositories to field workers with online and offline access. Now construction professionals and field workers can make on-site decisions more easily with current project information.
“We’ve been doing a lot around information mobility, and how can we help infrastructure teams share and collaborate and interact with information across the phases of a project, between systems and people,” Huw Roberts, vice president, Core Marketing at Bentley said. “Fundamentally we want people to be able to interact with project information on a mobile and have that be part of their workflow, rather than a separate app or technology. Our app strategy is built around extending and building upon those secure project environments.”
Paul McRoberts, vice president of Autodesk’s Infrastructure Business, talked this week about the company’s announcement today of Autodesk InfraWorks 360 Pro, that offers the latest 3D modeling, visualization and cloud-based collaboration technologies to address the estimated $30 trillion gap worldwide between desperately needed infrastructure and the funding required to deliver it.
To expand access to the critical BIM solutions that design professionals need to address this challenge, the new solution is available via a quarterly plan, making it ideal for firms to test-drive Autodesk 360 Pro, or use it for short-term project needs.
Those users who have been aware of the Autodesk InfraWorks environment will note that the product goes to the next level with cloud capability and the ability to integrate lots of disparate Big Data. “We are still struggling with how to manage this Big Data world,” said Paul McRoberts. “Things have been focused around the single user, GIS analyst, GIS technician, drafter, a very expert oriented environment. As were building out the InfraWorks 360 environment, we ask how does that environment get us to change?”