March 13, 2006
Paving the Way to BIM
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each AEC Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the AEC industry, AEC product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

About this Issue….

Welcome to AECWeekly! Last week's
story on AutoCAD 2007 platform technology impressed upon readers Autodesk's new direction of ramping up for the move from 2D to 3D. This week the discussion continued, but from the viewpoint of the Autodesk Building Solutions Division (BSD), headed up by vice president, BSD, Jay Bhatt. Read about the new developments in building information modeling at Autodesk in this week's Industry News.

AECWeekly is a news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.

AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Alliances/Acquisitions/Agreements, Announcements, Contract Awards, People, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.

AECWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think.

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Paving the Way to BIM

by Susan Smith

Last week's
story on AutoCAD 2007 platform technology impressed upon readers Autodesk's new direction of ramping up for the move from 2D to 3D. This week the discussion continued, but from the viewpoint of the Autodesk Building Solutions Division (BSD), headed up by vice president, BSD, Jay Bhatt.

At the heart of BSD is building information modeling, or BIM, which, defined by Autodesk is “building, design and documentation methodology that relies on an internal consistent, coordinated and computed representation of the building.” Autodesk Revit Systems is the company's new product this year for BIM that offers BIM for MEP engineering. The slogan is similar to that of the original Revit: “an intuitive design tool that works the way mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers think.”

Autodesk Revit Platform

The adoption rate on Revit has been very high; in 2005, Autodesk has enjoyed a 150+% growth in Revit Building installed base. It seems that once customers embrace the mindset of BIM, they become very enthusiastic adopters of the product. There has also been huge growth in Revit Building sales in EMEA and APAC, and particularly China. Companies moving to a BIM workflow must adapt to making changes in their design process, workflow and in staffing in order to move to Revit.

Bhatt said that Autodesk was extending the data underneath BIM to extend to other disciplines. For example, facilities management needs access to information from the design level to manage facilities post construction. The Revit building platform is also used for green building design, and “allows designers to conceptualize the design and stay in the design phase for much longer than they have before.”

A description of each of the Revit tools in the Revit Platform is as follows:

Autodesk Revit:
  • purpose-built for building information modeling

  • based on state-of-the-art parametric building modeling technology

  • provides fully coordinated building design information
  • Autodesk Revit Building:
  • For architects, interior designers, and other design professionals. Primary enhancements in this release include more tools for conceptual design, better construction documents, more options for Design Insight and Analysis. New features include: sun studies, detail library, material takeoff, keynoting and IFC import and fully certified export

  • Autodesk Revit Structure:

  • Concurrent modeling for engineering, design, analysis and documentation. New features include: enhanced engineering insight, improved modeling and analysis, better construction documentation, greater multidiscipline interoperability

  • Autodesk Revit systems:.

  • Building information modeling for MEP engineering. Features include: built-in calculations and MEP system auto-routing, optimized system design support, system modeling, design and documentation coordination with Revit Building.
  • While Revit is cleaning up the town, AutoCAD Architectural Desktop (ADT) is also gaining in usage. In 2005, ADT adoption rose by 15,000 seats, and grew 15% in installed base.

    AutoCAD Architectural Desktop (ADT)

    ADT is like AutoCAD in that it is a drafting tool, but it is object based. Users must get accustomed to the way objects behave in ADT, and that has slowed the adoption process to some degree. Autodesk anticipates that the 3D tools available in the AutoCAD 2007 release will help ease people from AutoCAD to ADT and Revit, or at least to the use of 3D tools initially. As ADT is built on AutoCAD, it has all the features of AutoCAD 2007, plus its own exclusive features.

    ADT provides features that make construction documentation easier and more accurate for architects. It also allows for sharing of information using DWG. New features in the 2007 release include: automatic space generation with area tagging, mapped drives for extended design team support, line-work to stairs conversion.

    Autodesk Building Systems 2007

    This product is designed for those who want to continue to use AutoCAD for MEP engineering, and offers AutoCAD-based design and construction documentation software for MEP engineers. Features include: single-line and double-line productivity tools, enhanced MEP specific AutoCAD commands, and construction documents: automated sections, elevations and scheduling.

    Autodesk VIZ 2007

    This product, a modeling, rendering and animation toolset that brings life to 3D data, is tightly integrated with Autodesk 2007 design solutions. Professional tools in this release include: advanced photometrics for real world lighting, effectively manage large datasets, slash render times with mental ray satellite rendering, choice of third party renderers, brings 3D data into Autodesk Combustion and blends animation with live footage, and professional animation tools. Some of these features such as mental ray are now partly (or wholly) integrated into the AutoCAD 2007 release.

    New features of VIZ include: connect VIZ files to AutoCAD products via DWG, enhanced support for Revit Building and Revit Structure files, run medium-sized render farms right out of the box with satellite rendering, asset tracking and new edit poly tools for modeling.


    In order to hasten the move over to 3D and BIM, Autodesk offers bundles of Revit products with AutoCAD 2007. Bundles include the Autodesk AutoCAD Revit Series for Building 9, Structure 3 and Systems Plus.

    In each of the products above with the exception of VIZ 2007, “improved construction documentation” seemed to stand out as one of the primary enhancements, and rightly so. In taking customers from 2D to 3D, Autodesk is assuring them that construction documentation, the main medium of exchange for the AEC industry, will not be thrown by the wayside in the interests of 3D and BIM. The other advantage of BIM, product lifecycle management, is a harder one for customers to adapt to as it requires some significant changes in workflow and processes, somewhat counter to “working the way engineers/designers/architects think..”

    One would hope that the supreme effort of providing 3D tools in AutoCAD 2007 that are easier to use than past solutions will help users make the move first to 3D and then, as needed, pave the way to embrace the advantages of BIM for design and product lifecycle management.


    Kelar Corporation has recently been approved as an Autodesk Authorized Training Center (ATC) in addition to being an Autodesk Premier Solutions Provider. Being an ATC distinguishes Kelar from any other training provider. Autodesk ATCs are held to high standards when it comes to quality of instruction, facilities and student satisfaction. ATC managers and instructors are given a great deal of support from Autodesk to ensure that the customer's training experience exceeds expectations.


    Autodesk, Inc. congratulates visual effects facility Weta Digital, which crafted champion visual effects for the Oscar-winning film King Kong. Autodesk also congratulates Industrial Light & Magic and Sony Pictures Imageworks for shaping the Visual Effects category nominated films The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and War of the Worlds. For the eleventh consecutive year, Autodesk technology was used to realize winning visual effect ideas for films in this category. In addition, Autodesk's Discreet Lustre system was used to digitally color grade Oscar-winning films in the Visual Effects,
    Documentary Feature and Foreign Film categories.

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    -- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.


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