This article captures the highlights of Autodesk’s recently released 2016 AEC product family as well as some information Autodesk shared about upcoming products at a dedicated AEC media event that it hosted in Boston, the new location of its AEC headquarters. These include a dramatic expansion of its BIM 360 cloud-based construction platform, a new tool for building operations in the still nascent post-construction phase, a space planning tool that can provide spatial alternatives for early stage design based on program requirements, a “SimCity”-style urban planning tool, and several other developments.
Toward the end of your review of Autodesk’s recently released 2016 AEC product family, you said…
“Likewise, it would also be helpful to the AEC industry for vendors like Autodesk to address one aspect of AEC practice that seems to have been completely untouched by technology so far—the process of getting approvals and permits from regulatory authorities. Why are we still submitting drawings instead of models for approvals? Why are design proposals still being checked manually for code enforcement instead of running automated code-checking on BIM models? The AEC technology industry really needs to address this bottleneck to derive efficiencies from BIM across the entire AEC spectrum.”
Many of us couldn’t agree more that this step of the workflow needs urgent attention.
But you got me thinking. Rather than chide ‘downstream’ parties like the software vendors for not solving and then re-solving this problem each time the code gets updated, might it make more sense to refocus ‘upstream’ and try to find a way to get the code-making authorities to publish their intellectual property in some form of standardized schema?
My understanding is that currently most of these ‘rule sets’ (if you’ll excuse my loose use of the term) are published on paper, or else in crippled PDFs that are only slightly more useful (e.g.,, ICC). Were they to start publishing in this new way I’m suggesting, the software vendors might be expected to more inexpensively and reliably integrate and support the ‘pass-through’ of these highly technical rules (really just ‘data’ from their perspective), that they otherwise might bear significant risk for failing to keep up to date. [I believe IES and maybe other vendors have already had some experience with a partial implementation of what I am proposing when they integrated the new CBECC-NRes module that was developed to support the California Title 24 2013 energy code].
I’ve never had the opportunity to properly study this code area, so I realize I may be overlooking something important. I also realize this would likely require a business model shift for the code promulgating authorities, whom I believe currently derive most of their revenue from selling new books to their relatively captive customers each code cycle. But that is a different, and I hope relatively surmountable challenge.
I also realize that local jurisdictions would need the ability to customize some subset of the inter/national code rules to meet their own local needs. Again, this seems like it could be handled through a schema that anticipated such use cases, and perhaps some kind of ‘local editor’s GUI’ that could be accessed by duly authorized permit department staff.
Do you or others have any thoughts on any of this?
Regardless, over the course of this next year I hope we’ll see more R&D dedicated to this fixing this bottleneck that you and many others have identified.
All the Best,
“and given that Autodesk already has in-house expertise in rule-based design on its Infraworks team, is it really that difficult to apply that to Revit for building design ? ”
Tom, hope you saw my article on Automating Code-Compliance, partially inspired by your comments: http://www.aecbytes.com/feature/2015/AutomatingCodeCompliance.html.