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July 02, 2007
Pre-Design Tool for Revit and ArchiCAD BIM Tools
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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 AECCafe.com. 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!

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Industry News

Pre-Design Tool for Revit and ArchiCAD BIM Tools

by Susan Smith

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Affinity 2D Schematic Design allows the designer to build multiple design scenarios by dragging and dropping Program Items (spaces, equipment and furnishings and openings) from the left-hand pane onto the Story ‘palette”. Full details are visible in the right-hand pane.

What happens before building information modeling?

In the planning of a building of any scope, there is a pre-design phase of information gathering and storing the necessary information in a database. Last year, Trelligence, a small company that has been around for a few years, introduced its Affinity 4.0 product which focuses on the pre-design phases of a building project, for the commercial architectural market. Formerly, Trelligence had focused on the residential market.

With the advent of BIM, there is a need for a product to address the pre-design aspect of the design-to-operations and maintenance lifecycle of a building. As the definition of BIM expands and shifts, the need to include more perspectives becomes evident. BIM encompasses not only 3D but all the data behind it. According to Carole Kernohan, VP Business Development, "BIM is not necessarily one model, but a combination of models, each with its own unique view, yet it can be pulled together. So if someone needs that whole view they can get to it via an electronic representation."

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Affinity 3D Viewer provides 3D views of the project design, as one of several tools for visualizing the conceptual design.

Affinity 5.0, debuting this year at AIA, offers integration with the Autodesk Revit 9.1 design tool, enhances integration with Graphisoft Archicad 9 and 10, and delivers new functionality. The software provides another view into the building model, one that begins before Revit or ArchiCAD. "Affinity has access to the initial planning and programming even as you’re progressing with that model in Revit," noted Kernohan.

The main functional areas of the Affinity 5.0 release are:

1) Planning and programming for a new project or refitting an old building. Trelligence provides a number tools to gather information needed at the beginning of a large project. Affinity 5.0 is very focused and very applicable to larger, more complex building projects.

"Architects will go through a series of interviews at beginning of process, gathering information, storing and managing it in a database that is available and accessible throughout the design process," Kernohan explained. "Typically they will use Excel, but Excel doesn’t translate into anything you can use in a design. One of the key issues noted by the AIA is the non-productivity in marketplace, because in each phase there is data that must be re-created each time. We’re saying we can store that initial information, we can give tools to build the space program and then transition that electronically into the schematic design phase, which is the second thing we do, then

transition that into the CAD or BIM environment electronically."

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Affinity Programming provides a simple-to-use interface to capture client requirements and build the Space Program. This is an example of a program for an Art Gallery
2) Affinity transitions the data into the schematic design phase, and it provides tools to allow the designer to do a number of design scenarios and work with the client. The designer can do what-if scenarios such as, if we make these design decisions, this is how it will impact square footage, quantities, types of spaces, or estimated cost. Once a schematic is agreed upon, the designer can transition that schematic straight into AutoCAD. The designer can export a DXF file, or transition it into ArchiCAD or Revit. Affinity provides bi-directional integration to do the program, schematic design, and then open that in ArchiCAD or Revit and continue to work with it, but at the same time be
able to put the design back into Affinity so that you can keep checking that you’re meeting program or owner requirements. The bi-directional integration is only in ArchiCAD and Revit (it is also available in Bentley BIM but Affinity has not yet integrated that product line). "We have the full analysis engine within Affinity that allows you to do bi-directional integration," said Kernohan. "Make a change in Revit it will be reflected in Affinity, or make a change in Affinity and it will be reflected in the Revit project."

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Affinity for Revit provides 2-way integration with Autodesk Revit Architecture®, allowing the designer to continue analyzing compliance of the design to the original program requirements. In this example, red highlights show where the design does not meet the program targets.

Trelligence has customers who have already started projects in Revit and are in the detail design phase. They have purchased Affinity because they want to continue tracking changes and comparing those to the program requirements to make sure they’re still on track. "They’ve come to us with a Revit project that we brought into Affinity and generated Affinity schematic design and layout from that project, added in program information so they can run reports. They can do the analysis, cost, constraints, and other processes."

3) New Template Editor desktop and toolkit – Affinity is template driven, which means if a firm does a lot of healthcare facilities, they would build up over time many templates which would contain standards for healthcare facilities. You can put a lot into the template reflecting your standards and processes. That information is maintained in a template. In release 5.0 Affinity adds a new template desktop on the PC so you can edit everything in the template.

4) Improved schematic design object manipulation and visualization – In release 5.0, more data is shown in the schematic design desktop. It’s designed to be easy to use. There is a new right hand information panel added to the schematic design section of 5.0, so when you click on a space or object in your layout, on the right hand side you have properties, components, requirements, or pages of notes that you can add. You can zoom into your schematic design and read a whole label even if it’s a small one, because the font will adjust according to where you are in your zoom.

5) Enhanced space planning functionality, including support for multi-phased programs, multiple buildings and department-level planning. Adding phasing to projects is key to office interior projects, where they want to do programming for three phases in the future.

The question arose as to why ArchiCAD was the first BIM tool to make use of Affinity bi-directional integration. "When we were developing Affinity release 4.0, Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD was the only available BIM tool that offered an open interface (API) which we could use in our Affinity bi-directional integration," explained Larry Ciscon, CEO of Trelligence. "Now, of course Autodesk Revit also offers an open interface, which we have used to deliver Affinity for Revit in our release 5.0."

Affinity can also be used as a presentation and discussion tool with clients. "In the programming stage, one of the ways we can gather data is through a flash based questionnaire which can be emailed or placed on the web," Kernohan pointed out. "The person filling it out doesn’t have to have the Affinity software, but it’s a great way for an architect or programmer to send out a custom questionnaire. They then email that back or submit the questionnaire online and it updates and populates the Affinity database. It has the ability to test the design as it progresses against program requirements, then if there is something that is not met, we use a color, either in reports or

on the program’s screen, which looks a lot like an Excel spreadsheet. It will highlight the target in red if the target doesn’t meet the actual."

Tom Brooks-Pilling, Architecture Practice Leader for Parsons Brinckerhoff, stated that "Trelligence Affinity allowed us to test three conceptual designs for the 4th Street Transit Center in the matter of a few days. This was pretty amazing as we were first time users for this software."

According to the press release, the new release is available free-of-charge to the existing Trelligence customer base that includes small and large architecture firms in the US, Canada and most recently, Australia.


Vyyo Inc., a supplier of broadband access equipment for cable system operators, announced that it has entered into a cooperative relationship with Bentley Systems, Incorporated to streamline the implementation of the Vyyo UltraBand(TM) spectrum overlay platform for cable system operators.

Working in conjunction with Vyyo, Bentley will incorporate a library of specifications based on the UltraBand platform into its Bentley Communications/Bentley Coax Geospatial Information System (GIS) solution for RF design. The relationship will simplify the ability of cable system operators to design spectrum overlay solutions for the delivery of residential and business services by providing increased visibility into performance and cost data with no change in GIS software.

Autodesk, Inc. announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire certain assets of Opticore, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Design Communication, based in Gothenburg, Sweden that provides software for interactive and realistic 3D visualizations and presentations. The acquisition underscores Autodesk's continued drive to deliver solutions that support best- in-class designers and manufacturers and enable them to implement a complete Digital Prototyping solution.

Synergis Software, the independent software development division of Synergis Technologies, Inc. and Bluebeam® Software, Inc. announced that their technology partnership has resulted in the release of Adept PrintWave® for Synergis’ flagship Adept document management software. PrintWave enables companies to generate native application quality PDFs or hardcopy—in single or batch mode—from inside Adept. Synergis Software uses Bluebeam’s trusted PDF technology for PrintWave’s reliable PDF publishing capabilities. At first customer ship, PrintWave will support PDF publishing and hard copy output for AutoCAD® (DWG), Autodesk

Inventor®, SolidWorks®, and Microsoft Word® and Excel® document files.

COADE announced the establishment of the COADE Global Network Partnership (CGNP), an alliance of COADE’s premier regional representatives, whose role will be to ensure the delivery of consistent high quality support and services to COADE’s global corporate accounts. As recognition of their investment in, commitment to, and knowledge of COADE’s products, the following representatives were designated as initial CGNP members (along with their regional responsibilities): AECSoft Engineering Software, Ltd. for China; CodeCAD, Inc. for Canada; ECAD, Inc. for Southwest USA; EMT R for Eastern Europe; Fern Computer Consultancy, Ltd. for Western Europe; ImageGrafix for the

Middle East; and KLG Systel, Ltd. for India. These resellers have had a long standing – on average, each has a 12-year association representing COADE – record of delivering and supporting solutions based on COADE’s offerings such as CAESAR II for Pipe Stress Analysis, CADWorx for Plant Design, PV Elite for Pressure Vessel and Exchanger Design and Analysis and TANK for Storage Tanks Analysis and Design.

To better coordinate jurisdiction, construction and building owner uses of innovative technologies, the FIATECH Board of Directors and the Streamlining Steering Committee of the Alliance for Building Regulatory Reform in the Digital Age (the Alliance) announced earlier this month that they reached agreement under which the activities of the Alliance will be housed as a new, independent project within FIATECH.


Oce N.V., an international document management company organized under the laws of the Netherlands ["Oce"], announced its intention to voluntarily terminate the listing of its American Depositary Receipts [the "ADRs"] for quotation on the NASDAQ Stock Market ["NASDAQ"]. Oce also intends to terminate the registration of its ordinary shares under Section 12[g] of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended [the "Exchange Act"], and as a consequence of which its reporting obligations under Sections 13[a] and 15[d] of the Exchange Act will cease.

Oce Business Services, Inc. announced that it has incorporated Equivio's near-duplicate document review capability into its eDiscovery platform. This enhanced functionality will help corporations and law firms improve discovery management, lower risk, and significantly reduce costs.

AVEVA has announced the dates and a preliminary program for its 8th annual International Symposium for Engineering IT (ISEIT) conference, which will be held in two locations this year. ISEIT 2007 Europe will take place in London, England from 9-10 October at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel. ISEIT 2007 Americas will be held 22-23 October at the Hotel Contessa, San Antonio, Texas, and co-located with ViewPoint Americas, an independent AVEVA user group meeting, held 23-24 October.

For the latest information on ISEIT and to register, please visit the


InterSpec, Inc. ("InterSpec") announced e-SPECS® building information modeling (BIM) enhanced integration for all Autodesk Revit®-based 2008 BIM products including: Revit® Architecture Revit® MEP Revit® Structure InterSpec, the leader in specification solutions integrating CAD drawings and BIM models, further enhances the e-SPECS specification solutions using the Revit application programming interface (API).

According to industry estimates, documents that are similar but not exact duplicates represent from 30 percent to 50 percent of email and document repositories. The redundant review of near-duplicates is time-consuming and creates a substantial hidden cost in the discovery cycle.

HEALTHCARE DESIGN.07 will take place on November 2 - 6, 2007 at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Dallas, TX. This fifth annual conference, produced by the industry's leading information and educational advocates, Vendome Group LLC, publishers of Healthcare Design and Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Management magazines, in association with The Center for Health Design, is open for registration.

Synergis® Software, the independent software development division of Synergis Technologies, Inc., announced the availability of Adept PrintWave®. Adept PrintWave enables single or batch mode printing, plotting, and PDF publishing both on-demand and in an automated mode, directly from the company’s flagship Adept document management software. By integrating high quality PDF and hardcopy output with Adept’s document control capabilities, PrintWave ensures the accuracy of information released to other departments, contractors, customers and vendors. Further, PrintWave enables Adept users to output large print jobs efficiently without monopolizing a workstation, and

without the need for an expensive license of a CAD application on their desktop. PrintWave supports native application printing, plotting, and PDF publishing for AutoCAD®, Autodesk® Inventor™, SolidWorks® and Microsoft® Word and Excel.

Beck Technology announced that their product, DProfiler(TM) with RSMeans now integrates with Sage Timberline Office estimating and database applications to provide clients with more costing choices and industry recognized best-in-class estimating software. This new integration provides existing and new customers with a graphical and interactive solution for conceptual cost estimation.

www.ShareCG.com is the new kid on the CG block, and the fasted growing CG targeted website on the web today. Since its launch on March 1, 2007 the site has grown to now deliver more than one-million page views per month, and the site continues to grow in popularity and traffic.

New Products

A contemporary new professional publication, Chicago Architect, will be launched by the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Chicago) this fall. It will debut at AIA Chicago's Designight, the chapter's annual awards event, on October 26.

An attractive four-color magazine, Chicago Architect will be published six times a year. It will highlight and illustrate innovative projects of members, feature interviews with AIA Chicago architects, report on technical developments and on other news of professional interest. The content of the new publication will have public appeal as well.

Beck Technology, LLC and FutureStone Partners Ltd. announced the first "green" assembly available in DProfiler(TM) with RSMeans - a Macro Building Information Modeler. The eco-friendly/energy efficient assembly is available for cost analysis in the conceptual and early design phases, establishing a feasible way to integrate "green" methods and materials into buildings.

Beck Technology announced that their product, DProfiler™ with RSMeans now integrates with Sage Timberline Office estimating and database applications to provide clients with more costing choices and industry recognized best-in-class estimating software. This new integration provides existing and new customers with a graphical and interactive solution for conceptual cost estimation.

Nemetschek North America announced the release of VectorWorks version 12.5.2, a maintenance update for VectorWorks Designer, VectorWorks Architect, VectorWorks Landmark, VectorWorks Spotlight, VectorWorks Machine Design, VectorWorks Fundamentals, and RenderWorks.

VectorWorks 12.5.2 builds upon the improvements released in version 12.5.1. Of particular note, the update fixes a problem some Macintosh users encountered when saving a file while other open files are minimized or docked. VectorWorks 12.5.2 also resolves cosmetic interface issues with Microsoft's Vista operating system. In addition, many users will see improvements to file size and PDF export capabilities.

Robobat has further enhanced the content and quality of each individual product, while also ensuring that they develop on their core principle of the integration of the various work processes of the structural engineering office.

Organizations increasingly acknowledge the potential value of legacy engineering documents and are seeking to have them available within their existing information system. softelec’s new VPindex Version 3 provides a highly efficient solution for readily indexing and saving files to a database.

Informative Graphics Corporation (IGC) announced the integration of its Brava!(R) Enterprise viewing and collaboration product to Primavera's project controls solution.

Primavera Contract Manager(R) helps increase construction project management efficiency and speed, while reducing schedule delays and risk by providing immediate alerts for new RFIs, answered questions, potential issues and changes. It offers real-time access to current project information, including the latest drawings and approved submittals.


Date: July 23 - 26, 2007
Place: University of Massachusetts Boston

Boston, MA USA
In 2004, the World Bank and the United Nations established the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq to help “donor nations channel their resources and coordinate their support for reconstruction and development in Iraq.” Similarly, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has expressed its commitment to support Iraqis in rebuilding their country by carrying out “programs in education, health care, food security, infrastructure reconstruction, airport and seaport management, economic growth, community development, local governance, and transition initiatives.”
Date: July 25 - 29, 2007
Place: Orange County Convention Center

Orlando, FL USA
IEEE PORTABLE 2007 will bring together communications, electrical, industrial, manufacturing, materials, mechanical, optical, and reliability engineers and business leaders involved in various types of PIDs, to address and discuss state-of-the-art challenges, attributes and pitfalls in PID-related areas of engineering and applied science, with an emphasis on the interaction of the hardware and software, as well as their functional and physical (mechanical) performance, reliability and durability.

You can find the full AECCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.