May 02, 2011
Autodesk’s AEC Media Day 2011 Report
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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!

For collaboration and visualization, an example may be where the architect needs to bring in the furniture designer who uses AutoCAD Architecture into layout. The architect can convert the Revit model into the DWG format and can use 3ds Max design to create high quality visuals of the project, that can be shared with the owner.

Building Design Suite 2012

Mark Strassman talked about the state of the industry, mentioning that they are not launching Plant 2012 at this time, but are focusing on construction.

Some fast facts:
  • The construction market comprises 10% of the world GDP  - a big market undergoing big transformation, 30% of construction costs attributed to waste (labor and time waste)
  • Contractors are leading the value chain
  • The recession has changed a lot, with a lot of consolidation, the emergence of design build firms, raising bonds to fund projects, public private partnerships.
  • Some technologies are really addressing waste as they haven’t before
  • BIM on the cloud gives accessibility in the field to the contractor
  • Mobile – every contractor now has a mobile device

  • What contractors care about, according to Strassman, are cost, schedule and constructability.

    Contractors want to win projects with more predictability and less risk. They are responsible for managing all the contracts to get the building built.

    A formula for this is: design, bid, build = design, install, build

    They want to be able to work mobilely, and change information into knowledge.

    Many contractors need to access ERP systems. They can use AutoCAD WS in the field, QTO, and Inventor for fabrication, also Inventor Publisher Mobile for onsite instructions.

    The products Vault, Buzzsaw and Constructware are not in the Building Design Suite; they are a separate AEC data collaboration solution.


    Peter Campot, president, Suffolk Construction, gave a keynote about his company’s use of Autodesk products. Suffolk Construction is a $1.6 billion U.S. company that employs 1200 people.

    Campot said he has been responsible for $5 billion of construction projects and is now responsible for $1.5 billion in life sciences and technology. “There has to be a way to do this better,” he said, adding: “Construction productivity has decreased over the last 50 years.”

    The reason for this is that buildings have become more complex. Now every building is a prototype, according to Campot, asking “What other industry does this? We need to transition from a “design as you go” design and constructing process to a building manufacturing process.” He suggested that building virtually before breaking ground is the way to go.

    “98% of what contractors use BIM for right now is for clash detection,” said Campot.

    Campot sees that most contractors are contracted to provide as-builts, but thinks that they should be building it exactly as per design, which gives the ability to do pre-fab.

    Suffolk’s projects are big complex structures like Baystate Medical Center. By utilizing BIM all beam penetrations were coordinated with steel fabrication, resulting in a saving of $650,000.

    They avoided the mad rush at the end by using BIM for constructability and increased the use of pre-fab through the penthouse. It was built exactly like the model, and they reduced the number of RFIs by 2/3. “This translates to about $800,000 in savings,” said Campot.

    Not only did they save money in that way, they transformed the coordination process, and completed six months early, making sure all the products fit.

    At the University of Massachusetts, Albert Sherman Research Center, the firm did eight models – including a parallel model, a parallel constructability model, and design model.

    They saved $600,000 on steel by having the model done early. They then coordinated all the steel and had the factory produce it six months ahead of time.

    Success factors for this project included:
  • Everything on the project is being built per the model
  • All MEPs were coordinated prior to bidding
  • Steel ordered prior to MEP subs being onboard
  • Model used to inform team
  • Optimized schedule
  • Reduction of RFIs
  • Elimination of construction coordination process
  • Heading towards a partial shop drawing elimination

  • “We need to go towards where architects are responsible for design intent, and contractors are responsible for constructability,” said Campot. “We have to be willing to spend more money up front.”

    Campot also contends that no material is being wasted unless you change the fabrication, so make it pre-fab.

    Cities of the Future

    James Moore, senior vice president of National Community Planning & Urban Design and principal, HDR spoke on the topic, “Cities of the Future and the Future of Cities: Challenges and Opportunities.”

    In parts of older cities such as the city of Boston, which is over 300 years old, the city functions pretty well, regardless of when they were built. “As things change, it doesn’t invalidate what was built before,” said Moore. “The technology used to build skyscrapers is not dramatically different than what is used to build the two and three story buildings in the North End.”

    Moore noted that at least 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. There is a need to grow future cities, as the post war American model for building cities is probably not sustainable. The goal is to “create high quality of life at very low consumption levels.”

    Being a sustainable community carries some responsibility – cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam have the right idea with their commitment to people riding bicycles to work and wherever else they have to go. As fuel prices are on the rise, working far away from home is not desirable and can raise the total cost of living. Moore said biking is the most energy efficient form of transportation.

    Energy, air, water, food natural resources, waste, buildings and facilities , mobility, economy, human services, knowledge, culture, land use and community form are all elements of a city.

    Moore said we lead with technical expertise instead of with vision. It is necessary to adopt a data driven approach. Data must support the vision that supports the integrated plan that supports an assessment.

    Technology used can include building information modeling, geospatial, sensor data, and quantitative data and qualitative that can all be combined into a single entity.

    Top News of the Week

    Newforma announced that it will host its first annual user conference, Nugget2011, for Newforma customers to share and discover new ways to leverage the Newforma PIM solution to streamline project delivery work processes, increase profitability and mitigate risk. The event, which is sponsored by Deltek, Trump Systems, NFS and smartsoftware offers two days of knowledge sessions with both Newforma representatives and customers presenting on April 27 and 28 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown in Chicago, Illinois.

    Autodesk’s AutoCAD WS now has a “Connect to Service” feature, which includes the ability to access all your Box content from within the WS interface. This is especially interesting since the AutoCAD WS team has a philosophy that very much mirrors our own – they want to make all of your CAD drawings accessible from anywhere on any device. As part of this launch, they have not only a web-based editor and viewer, but also apps for the iPhone and iPad as well as Android devices.

    Axiom announces the release of new software that helps eliminate the hassles normally associated translating files between MicroStation and AutoCAD. The highly-anticipated new software,
    Translation Manager , simplifies the process of translating files between MicroStation and AutoCAD and greatly improves the results.

    You can find the full AECCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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