In an interview with Matt Mason, director of software development at IMAGINiT Technologies division of Rand Worldwide, we discussed the newly released IMAGINIT Utilities for Civil 3D 2016, IMAGINiT Utilities for Vault Client 2016 and IMAGINiT Utilities for Vault Server 2016, all of which are now compatible with Autodesk 2016 products. There are two new tools in IMAGINiT Utilities for Civil 3D: Pipe Grade and Multi-Part Swap. IMAGINiT is also introducing enhancements to IMAGINiT Utilities for Vault Client and IMAGINiT Utilities for Vault Server as well as a new tool in IMAGINiT Utilities for Vault Server, Vault Command Line.
Autodesk recently celebrated the one-millionth app download on the Autodesk Exchange Apps, a web-based design and engineering app store created for the Autodesk community. In three years since launching, the site has published 1,800 apps from third-party developers, which are available for download in 14 different languages and in 191 countries.
CADtoEarth 2.2 for Autodesk® Revit® extending a family of add-ins that establishes a bi-directional connection between CAD environments and Google Earth or Google Maps. The CADtoEarth 2.2 add-in now allows users to create personal accounts on the CADtoEarth web application and provides individual control over the visibility of uploaded data.
Chris Scotton, president and CEO of ClearEdge, talked with AECCafe Voice about the latest release of EdgeWise, EdgeWise 5.0. In this release, the ClearEdge team has updated the core automated feature extraction algorithms. The EdgeWise 5.0 release is for the BIM Suite and the Plant Suite.
Recently, Trimble introduced Tekla® Structures 21, the latest version of its building information modeling (BIM) software for the engineering and construction markets.
According to company materials, with advancements in interoperability, drawing control, usability and performance, Tekla Structures 21 improves industrial and commercial construction project workflows across construction disciplines. The new version delivers benefits to structural steel and precast concrete designers, detailers and fabricators, concrete contractors and general contractors, and enhanced collaboration with Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) design engineers, architects and others.
AECCafe Voice spoke with Mark Allphin, P.E., business manager for Steel at Tekla, Inc., a Trimble Company, about the new version and what it means for engineering and construction professionals.
AECCafe Voice: Would you say Tekla Structures 21 is a more complex BIM like Revit or one that more stakeholders, other than those actually creating and adding to the model, can take advantage of? It looks like it allows more freeflow of information with stakeholders.
Mark Allphin: Tekla Structures is both of these. It is a fully functional BIM software platform with a construction level detail capacity unmatched anywhere in the AEC software industry. Tekla Structures also offers various configurations that fit varying levels of user requirements. For instance, there are configurations for adding/modeling the full level of detail required for fabrication and construction. And, there are configurations for simply viewing and adding additional information to model objects already created. This allows project stakeholders to use the detailed model to track and manage project status and tasks, and communicate those with the rest of the project team.
AECCafe Voice:What are the most profound additions in this release?
MA: There are two new online services released with Tekla Structures 21: Tekla Model Sharing and Tekla Warehouse.
Tekla Model Sharing is a fast, secure way to share information and collaborate.A new service from Tekla, it allows project team members to work on the same Tekla Structures model from any location or time zone for faster and more flexible project delivery. Tekla Model Sharing works for all sizes of projects, both online and offline. The model data is stored safely and transferred encrypted, according to the highest security protocols.
Tekla Warehouse is a new free online BIM library of Tekla Structures add-ons, libraries and templates to help users achieve more efficient workflows and higher quality projects. The warehouse includes applications, custom components, parts, profiles and materials such as steel and concrete grades, rebar, mesh, shapes and templates for Tekla Structures. Manufacturers can upload their products and tools to the Tekla Warehouse, allowing Tekla Structures users to build models with the highest accuracy and exact material information for planning and procurement. All content is easy to find, import, install and share internally and globally.
Also, there are numerous modeling and drawing enhancements, a few of which are as follows…
Simpler, More Efficient Modeling — Tekla Structures 21’s new “what you see is what you get” direct modification makes modeling more intuitive and user friendly. Drawing construction lines, circles and points and placing custom parts is straightforward, and editing the position is easy and immediate. The Tekla Structures Organizer tool allows users to use the accurate, object-based material data in the model for quantity take-offs, while automation eliminates tedious manual counting or post processing. Improvements in the precast concrete floor layout make it easier to create and detail precast slabs. With mesh bars, reinforcement modeling is also easier, more efficient and reliable.
Drawing Control and Automation – Tekla Structures 21 provides greater control over drawings by simplifying the processes of navigating, printing
And viewing drawing properties. Tekla users also can now give customized company-specific dimensions to their own standard parts, such
as bolts and embeds. Tekla’s view level control of dimensioning automates working with assemblies like handrails, cast units and
sandwich walls. Welds and weld marks in drawings support customization and weld paths can be shown in single-part drawings.
Better Concrete Pours — Tekla Structures 21 makes modeling cast-in-place concrete and modifying pour breaks easier and more reliable. Because concrete pour information is now automatically inherited after a pour break, no vital information will be lost.
AECCafe Voice: How has integration improved between this release and Revit?
MA: Our integration with Revit has been augmented in two ways with this release. Our link with Revit has been updated to provide deeper data transfer, enabling more information to be referenced and even accessed on drawings. Also, we have enhanced our IFC Change Management functionality allowing more control in the detection, management and accommodation of changes between subsequent IFC files exchanged with other project participants. This works very well in a Revit-to-Tekla and vice versa workflow where model coordination is the focus.
AECCafe Voice: Does the product integrate with the BIM software of other companies such as Bentley BIM?
MA: Absolutely. Tekla is a primary supporter of the Open BIM initiative and Building Smart, which means we are dedicated to comprehensive IFC model exchangebetween software platforms. However, we also offer integration with software such as Bentley’s ISM technology, Autodesk’s Revit platform, and Trimble SketchUp Pro via direct integration links. In addition, Tekla is a Trimble Connected product enabling data flow within the complete suite of Trimble Buildings software applications.
AECCafe Voice: Can you describe a common workflow for the use of this product?
MA: In all seriousness, this could be a near endless answer because of all the various workflows that are in use today. However, the most common workflow would be similar to the following: A Structural Engineer first uses Tekla Structures to create a conceptual design model, either from scratch or from a ‘seed’ model provided by an architect using Revit or Archicad. The Engineer can also link with various structural analysis & design software, including the recently released Tekla Structural Designer, to refine the model for the design loads. The model can then be passed to various trade detailers and sub-contractors, such as steel and rebar detailers, so that they can add the appropriate level of detail necessary for fabrication. This includes the production of shop drawings and CNC data that will drive automated machinery in the shop. This detailed, construction-level model can then be passed to the general contractor, sub-contractors and other project participants for use in further coordination, execution and tracking of the project including reporting and model colorization for project status of individual assemblies/pours. And, now with the release of Model Sharing for Tekla Structures 21, this can all be hosted in a cloud environment for access by all parties. Tekla Structures provides a complete model solution for cradle-to-grave design, fabrication and construction of the building structure.
AECCafe Voice: Is there a way for users to focus on one specific area of interest of the building model without having to access the entire building model? Please describe.
MA: Yes, there are tools within Tekla Structures for categorizing and ‘partitioning’ the project based on area, level, material, etc. so that a user may quickly isolate only the portions of the model that they need at that time. This is achieved with the Organizer tool which is automated and has also been enhanced in v21.
Cities worldwide are charged with the same challenge: that of creating or retrofitting sustainable, intelligent infrastructure. Cities need the best in design, geospatial, visualization and analytical tools to realize a viable and intelligent city design. 3D City design is architectural design times thousands, plus it must have the ability to be interwoven with other surrounding infrastructure and foster an urban conversation.
The ability to integrate video surveillance into building information modeling adds a new very important dimension to the design of buildings.Vince Lupe, director of Business Development, Hikvision USA (pronounced “HikeVision”), discussed the way Hikvision’s cameras and video surveillance systems are made an integral part of all architectural design, by being considered in the Building Information Model from the early design phase.
AECCafe Voice: How are Hikvision’s cameras considered CAD elements?
Vince Lupe: System layout and camera field of view are accurately viewed at the earliest stages of the design process, improving device placement, decreasing incompatibility issues, and boosting efficiency overall. In this way, video surveillance is transformed from an afterthought to an architectural cornerstone – a trend that is especially suited for Hikvision’s user-friendly and highly scalable products.
Hikvision’s award-winning array of video surveillance solutions, including bullet, dome, box, turret, PTZ, and fisheye cameras, as well as rackmount and standalone DVRs and NVRs, are all available options. With functionality and usability as Hikvision trademarks, the BIM counterparts to the real-life technology follow suit.
AECCafe Voice: Who are your customers?
Security consultants, architects and engineering firms, security specifiers
End-user customers, building owners, property managers
Security distribution channels
AECCafe Voice: Do users utilize Hikvision content in Autodesk Seek or can it go directly into Autodesk Revit?
Vince Lupe: They can access the content in Seek for use in Revit.
AECCafe Voice: Is the content in the cloud?
Vince Lupe: Not yet. It will be part of our AE portal for easy download and accessibility for our customers.
AECCafe Voice:Can you suggest a sample workflow including Hikvision?
Vince Lupe: An architect, engineer, or security system designer can download Hikvision camera models directly into their BIM model to see exactly where a camera will be placed, what the scene will look like through the camera lens, and what its blind spots might be, allowing for adjustments to be made in terms of the physical construction of the structure, or in terms of the types of cameras and where they will be placed. The BIM model can even be dropped into a three dimensional area of the neighborhood where the building will be located, in order to get a glimpse of what the fields of view of any exterior cameras would be. Important details such as product features, model numbers, and physical characteristics are included in the models for a quick reference to designers and can be changed with a click of the mouse. One of the most important elements of such a streamlined workflow is that it allows for a true collaborative process from the very earliest stages. Electrical wiring, lighting, location of building entrances, and other design elements can be taken into consideration to create the most efficient and effective video surveillance system.
AECCafe Voice:Is the federal government interested in this product or using it currently?
Vince Lupe: We’re thrilled at the prospect that the federal government will be able to incorporate Hikvision into their BIM models, and we’re eager to hear of the success stories from that market.
At AIA, Autodesk’s Phil Bernstein spoke about “Next Era BIM” and how technology is evolving in the building industry. In an example, he said a Chinese developer built a 30-story building in seven days. The same developer wants to build a 202-story building in a week. The delivery implications of this are quite mind-boggling.
“Design became separated from construction in the Renaissance era,” said Bernstein, with Alberti. Now digital technology has drive ideas of construction/architecture with the following concepts:
1) It took analog and translated it to CAD.
2) The transition from electronic drawing to digital – making files into models
3) Context – the advent of the cloud, social networking, design and construction in a systems context.
The evolvement of this went from diagrams to prototypes to integrated simulations. Now we can build new spaces with new types of data, according to Bernstein.
The concept of “archetypal relationships” was touched upon, but I’m not sure what was being referred to here, an Oedipal complex or the relationship between documentation and the way things are connected?
“The way I see it, the computer puts architects back in the driver’s seat, because we can control all that information,” said Frank Gehry.
Anthony Houch of Autodesk introduced Project Skyscraper, a new cloud-based collaboration software for Revit that allows architects, engineers and contractors to collaborate on the Autodesk 360 cloud platform. This allows extended teams to search, view, and provide feedback on project models on any device. The tool is in beta now with full commercial release of the software expected by the end of the year.
In addition Autodesk spotlighted Dynamo at the conference, exploring computational BIM with Dynamo and Revit, as well as generating different design options for varying elements including façade systems.
In discussion about the Case Building, the discussion turned to how architects put data to work. And how do they leverage building data in order to set the bar for future content? Autodesk’s interest in reality capture continues on, while they work on figuring out how to turn that information into something meaningful for architects as well as the movie industry.
Houch said that Autodesk is “agnostic about how people access information.” This appears to extend to the new way that Autodesk is delivering information to the media as well. One PR person said they don’t send out as many press releases; everything is available on their site and on their blogs, and Autodesk Labs. This presumes that we are all going to go looking for press materials rather than them arriving conveniently in the newsfeed.
Perhaps the “new spaces with new types of data” that Bernstein envisions will be places that we will all readily visit, just as we open our email each morning.