March 12, 2007
Lindemann Bentzon Bojack and Avatech Team Up on Whole House Design Application
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

Lindemann Bentzon Bojack and Avatech Team Up on Whole House Design Application

by Susan Smith


More frequently, AEC firms cite project tracking as one of the primary challenges of their business. Lindemann Bentzon Bojack Engineering Company, Inc. (LBBE) was processing 700,000 print jobs a year with manual processing. LBBE, which prides itself on being a supplier and proponent of “whole house design,” teamed up with Avatech Solutions to help customize an application that would organize over 700,000 Autodesk Architectural Desktop (ADT) drawings for their in-house time management system.



Whole house design means looking at the design as an integrated system. If you take one piece, it affects the other parts. It encompasses design, structural engineering, and material costing processes which occur simultaneously in the same construction model. Teams working simultaneously on a project can complete it in 30 days as opposed to 90 days.



Home builders of large tract or subdivision homes are faced with the challenge of numerous configurations in each house design, and need to be able to coordinate drawings sets from architectural plans to approved construction drawings.


Philip Russo, senior applications engineer at LBBE said they had designed an in-house time management system that allows them to accurately track projects in each phase of the process. With Avatech, LBBE set about designing a solution for customers to configure complete approved drawing sets, The information was made available via an extranet.

Avatech’s Software Development Solutions team designed a custom application to get ADT’s Project Navigator and Sheet Set Manager to dynamically drive the information into their project status portal, rather than having people enter the information manually. The applications developed by Avatech are project management oriented and are independent of 2D/3D drawing format. Each application was implemented by a team consisting of LBBE and Avatech personnel.



Avatech created two applications for LBBE. According to Beau Turner, Professional Services Director, Avatech, these were:


a. DWF Sheet Selector - DWF files are created for each drawing within a given document set. This file creation process generates a large number of DWF for each project. The DWF Sheet Selector provides an efficient means to review these DWF files and merge any number of individual DWF files into a single file DWF "book." These books are typically created for each project and maintain an entire document set in one file. This reduces overall file space requirements as well as simplifies the maintenance of these files.


b. Drawing Log - LBBE currently uses a custom online project management system to track and maintain their projects. This applications tracks revisions from the project down to the individual sheet level. Currently users are required to enter project and sheet level revisions manually within LBBE's online project manager and within ADT's sheet set manager. These revisions are then reflected on the drawing log as well as the sheets within a document set. The drawing log integration palette created by Avatech allows LBBE's user to eliminate this duplication of efforts. Revisions information is entered in the fields on the palette and automatically replicated to the SQL DB of the project
management system and the ADT sheet set manager. The integration application also provides a level if auditing to verify project and/or sheet level revisions match between the SQL DB and the sheet set. This revision data is then used to create the drawing log transmittal as well as the revision block data for the individual sheet.


A palette containing fields related to project/sheet revision information and the functions required to support these fields was created. Users enter information such as Revision date and description into the palette then apply information to the project via the functions provided. This data is then transferred to the sheet set and the SQL DB of LBBE's project management system. This data is then captured within the db for later use in areas such as revision block and drawing log transmittal generation. Queries were created to capture all "final" or released drawing and revision information. The results of these queries are then imported into a table on the transmittal document thus
automating the drawing log creation process. This data is also applied to each sheet for sheet level revision block data.


The drawing log integration application is seamlessly integrated into the ADT design environment via a custom palette. However, the DWF Sheet Selector is a stand alone application so can't be considered seamless.


Will these applications be suitable to be used by Avatech for other customers? “The DWF Sheet Selector does in fact lend itself to be a highly reusable application. As Autodesk continue to grow the DWF technology and more clients adopt this technology the need for the sheet selector application will continue to grow,” said Turner. “Any client that currently creates multiple DWF files for a project or other common purpose could benefit from single consolidation file created by the sheet selector. Although the basis for the drawing log application can be adopted by countless clients, the client specific nature of the application minimizes the direct reuse of the
application. Currently the application is keyed to attach to LBBE's project management system and captures the exact data LBBE tracks. For adoption by other clients the connectivity of the application as well as the specific data captured would be to be customize for each client.”


As a result of these applications, LBBE is able to maintain drawing sets, and saving up to 15 minutes per print job. Hans Bentzon, Principal at LBBE, said, “Before, when a client sent in a change, it might take an hour or two to configure the three different elevation books. Today the DWF Sheet Selector application performs the task in less than 2-3 minutes. It saves us up to one full-time person’s time per year.”


Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements


Meridian Systems, a provider of enterprise project management software for optimizing capital projects, programs and facilities, announced a new technology alliance with Vela Systems, Inc., developers of mobile software solutions that streamline and accelerate construction field operations via Tablet PCs. The Vela Software Suite extends Meridian’s Prolog Manager software functionality to the field and expands on that functionality to automate specific project management processes.


ABB Inc., a leader in power and automation technologies, has joined the Intergraph SmartPlant Enterprise Alliance Program. The alliance extends integration capabilities from initial control system design to plant handover for Engineering, Procurement and Construction and Owner Operators using ABB's Industrial IT Extended Automation System 800xA and SmartPlant Enterprise suite, assuring ongoing support for the life cycles of their plants and assets.


Autodesk, Inc. and
GlobalSpec, Inc. announced a strategic partnership that will enhance recently announced Autodesk Design Review 2008 software to include on-demand access to GlobalSpec's extensive product and information services. By connecting specification and procurement decisions more directly to core design tasks, the companies are helping to streamline and redefine the design process.


Announcements



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