June 04, 2007
BE Conference 2007 – The Building Group
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

BE Conference 2007 – The Building Group

by Susan Smith

The Bentley BE Conference 2007, held in Los Angeles this year, provided a broad view of what to expect in the upcoming version of MicroStation (code-named Athens), the state of Building Information Modeling (BIM), and sustainable design. This article will focus on the activities of the Building Group.

Bentley reports growth in the adoption rate of BIM over the past two years, as do other vendors of that type of software. Huw Roberts, Bentley's global marketing director for Building, said that users recognize that BIM is becoming the “standard of what people want to practice.” 

Roberts took a stab at why BIM is being used now. “The building industry is in a state of change, concerned with change in a lot of different ways.” The industry is looking for ways to manage change within a project. There are many contributing factors to cause change, i.e., the budget changed, something cost more than you thought, and the design profession and construction are well aware that change is part of their life. “BIM is a way to help them deal with that. By having a better understanding of your building and design and of the implications of decisions you’re making, you can understand the implications of change on what you’re doing and

everyone is doing. You can react to a change from someone else or another condition because you can see those implications and where to make a change, and where it leads when you do it,” explained Roberts.

Additionally, the building industry as a whole has recognized that the industry itself is changing. The topics most professional organizations are discussing focus on reacting to the NIST study of a few years ago. The study has been a catalyst, revealing that the building industry was not very productive.

Bentley BIM and Information management systems are perfectly aligned with the objectives of the integrated practice initiatives set forth by the AIA, according to Roberts. Some of the BE Award winners demonstrated a synergy between how they were doing business and how they were using technology, by having an open information and integrated multidisciplinary model that helps you understand your project in a business climate. This allows  everyone to benefit.

Announcements at the conference included

* latest versions of BIM tools and ProjectWise Information Management.

* Bentley has received IFC 2x3 certification for BIM applications in architecture, structural and electrical and mechanical.

* Pricing promotion for those applications for people moving from any competitor’s products, also from MicroStation platform into BIM applications.

GenerativeComponents (GC)

GenerativeComponents (GC ) is getting ready for commercial release and may be announced at the BE Conference in London. It has been in “release candidate mode” for awhile, which means the software has been completed, the features are done, but the final testing processes are not finished yet.

GenerativeComponents (GC) is according to Robert Aish, director of Research & Senior Scientist at Bentley, “an associative design system, giving designers and engineers new ways to efficiently explore alternative building forms without manually building the detail design model for each scenario. It also increases their efficiency in managing conventional design and documentation.” GC shows all the relationships that form the foundation of architecture and shows how to build those relationships in geometry.

The Smart Geometry Group, formed to use and research GC, presented work at the BE Conference. Even though GC is not released, it’s already in use on real buildings everywhere. “It’s unusual to be working on real buildings with the beta and even the alpha version,” said Roberts.  “It’s now undergoing more formal and rigorous software testing and production processes to make it commercial grade software rather than research software.”

Dynamic Views

The next version of MicroStation, code named “Athens,” will be released later this year. One of the new features in all Bentley applications will be new display technology called Dynamic Views.

Dynamic Views represents a whole new way of relating all the different views and presentations of your model. “Right now, for example, in Bentley Architecture,  I can be looking at my model in multiple windows at the same time. I can look at an isometric view, plan view, section view, elevation view and they’re all live views I can work in any of those views and work shows up in all of them,” Roberts explained. “In Bentley BIM now, people divide the work up and so they can use multiple model files that relate to each other. The drawings you get from those models are connected and linked and you can work in them and have work go back into the model, but they

are a sort of a snapshot process. You have to actively publish drawings. It is a specific point in time process to update drawings.”

In Dynamic Views, you can have the files live instantaneously. “What is different about that is that it is happening across reference files,” Roberts noted. “For instance, I can still divide my model up and have a model for each discipline: structural, architectural, etc. but I may want to further break that up so I have shell, interior layout and core, by floor, east wing or however it makes sense for convenience. The way you want to display information in a model is different than how you want to display it in all the views you might have. In a model view, where I’m editing, I may want to see a wall as a box. In another view, I may want to see it in a realistic mode, to see it with brick with all the visualization. In a plan view I want to see it as lines and patterns of cross hatching, the standard industry symbols for a brick wall. On an elevation view, I may sometimes want to see brick coursing, on other views, I may not want to see it. In a building section view, I may just want that wall to be filled in black. It’s always the same wall, with different views for different purposes. Right now, we can handle it from the drawing publishing model where you extract drawings from the model to the other views. In the process of extracting we resymbolize. It’s presented in the graphics that are appropriate for the use you’ve


Dynamic views does all of that live, in real time, and across files. “If I have a drawing file that has a plan with a hatching in it, and I have a building section that is filled in black, those are all resymbolizing themselves that way live. If I work in them, I work in the symbology of that view. But if I draw a new wall in the floor plan, I’m actually working on all of them at the same time and generating them at the same time. You can do that in a single file right now in Bentley Architecture, or by doing the extraction process, where you decide you’re going to update the rendering floor plan, etc.” Dynamic Views  is extremely fast, and across

different file formats, and files.

Green design

The BE Awards included a category of BIM  for Sustainable Design, also the topic of a BIM Executive Summit held in New York City this year. Sustainable design and BIM go hand in hand quite well, according to Roberts. “BIM allows you to see, simulate and understand the performance of your building better than you can without a BIM.”

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