Gateway at Millbrae Station: Project Profile

James Woodbury, Pablo Azcona, and Trent Zane of Blach Construction describe the implementation of AEC technology on Gateway at Millbrae Station, a transportation-oriented, mixed-use development in Millbrae, California, that was built as a joint venture between Blach Construction and Cahill Contractors.

One notable observation regarding the use of AEC technology for the Gateway at Millbrae Station project is the significant impact it had on the construction schedule. By leveraging advanced tools such as laser scanning, total station survey, and BIM software, the project team was able to identify and resolve design and construction conflicts at earlier stages. This early detection led to a substantial reduction in rework and change orders, resulting in a highly efficient and streamlined construction process. Moreover, the integration of technology fostered improved communication and collaboration among team members, enhancing their ability to work cohesively towards project goals.


Augmenta: Automated Building Design Using Generative AI

This review explores Augmenta, a new AEC technology solution being developed for automating building design in Revit that is using the breakthrough technology of generative AI. It is focused on the different engineering disciplines — electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and structural — for which it can automatically create detailed, code-compliant, and constructible designs that satisfy the specified criteria. Since it works as a plugin to Revit, designers already using Revit for detailed design and BIM modeling can continue to work within it and still use Augmenta as a smart design tool within their existing workflows.


Newman Garrison + Partners: Firm Profile

Newman Garrison + Partners, a full-service architecture, urban planning, and interior design studio located in the Greater Los Angeles area, whose work includes projects in the multifamily, mixed-use, hospitality, affordable housing, and retail sectors, shares its perspective on AEC technology in this Firm Profile.

We are “strategic adopters” — not necessarily early adopters — of technology, ensuring that every tool we use provides value in the form of increasing team productivity and creativity, as well as allowing us to better service our projects and clients.


Graphisoft Building Together 2023 Collaborate Event

This article provides an overview of the recent developments in Graphisoft’s product portfolio that are specifically focused on facilitating AEC collaboration, as shared at its recent Building Together digital event. These include Teamwork in Archicad working in conjunction with BIMcloud, demonstrated in the Merdeka 118 project in in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; the BIMx mobile app being used for visualization and coordination; new features in the MEP Modeler and the closer integration of DDScad for MEP engineering; and OpenBIM-based interoperability between Archicad and other Nemetschek solutions in megaprojects like Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane, Australia.


Newforma Project Center

Newforma Project Center is the earliest “project information management” solution for architects and engineers. In fact, Newforma was the first vendor to coin that term to describe what exactly its solution does — which is to manage the large volumes of information associated with the design and/or construction of a project. In addition to the actual design documents such as drawings, models, specifications, etc., a project information management (PIM) solution captures all the back-and-forth communication between the different members of the project team as they are working on finalizing the design, including submittals, transmittals, RFIs, markups, emails, etc.

I first had a chance to explore Newforma Project Center back in 2007 when it was in its fourth edition. Needless to say, while the application has expanded its capabilities considerably since then, I would say that its fundamental value proposition remains the same — organizing the vast amount of information that is constantly being generated for a project, to not only make it easier to manage but also to be able to instantly search for a required item, as well as maintain a complete record of how the project has progressed from start to finish.


How AI Tools like ChatGPT Can Benefit Engineers, Designers, and Manufacturers

Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are becoming more mainstream today, and an increasing number of professionals such as designers, engineers, and manufacturers of heavy duty equipment are looking at ways to incorporate various AI-driven technologies into their workflows.

This article by Dijam Panigrahi, Co-founder and COO of GridRaster Inc., explores ChatGPT, the latest technology driven by AI that uses natural language processing, and shows how AI tools such as ChatGPT can benefit designers, engineers, and manufacturers.


WA 100 Webinar: Technology for Architectural Innovation

Last month, I attended an online webinar, “Architectural Innovation: The technology helping architects to design for the future,” in which three leading architectural firms headquartered in the UK shared their most recent technology implementations and insights. It is always fascinating to learn about what the top AEC firms are doing from a technology perspective, given how rapidly technology is advancing across all walks of life — see, for example, ChatGPT, and how it has taken off. The firms were BDP, Bryden Wood, and Foster + Partners, and in the span of just an hour, I was able to get a concise snapshot of some their latest technology developments. The event was part of the World Architecture 100 (WA100) Live 2023 event put together by the organization, Building Design.


Smart MEP Design for a Large-scale Residential Project using FineMEP

This article by Abdelwahab Krim, an MEP Project Manager, highlights the practical benefits of using BIM software for MEP design for achieving a high-quality result in the shortest possible time, using as reference a project he worked on — the “Mawteny Residence,” a multistorey building situated in Oran, Algeria, with over 200 apartments that is currently under construction.

The software that was deployed was the FineMEP Suite comprising FineHVAC, FineSANI and FineGAS, and it was used for the piping and dimensioning of the HVAC, sanitary and gas networks, as well as for the detailed specifications of the related HVAC and plumbing equipment. Because of the combined use and critical synergies of the three applications, the design time was also significantly reduced.


Sharing BIM and Project Information Through Improved Communication and Collaboration

If you google “BIM” or “Building Information Modeling” you’ll find several varying definitions. Is it a technology? Is it a process?  Some definitions restrict BIM to 3D modeling technology used only by architects and engineers. 

According to the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), “BIM is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. … [It] serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its lifecycle from inception onward.” NIBS goes on to describe the basic premise of BIM as collaboration by different stakeholders at different phases of the lifecycle.

However, the results of a recent study, “Finding Common Ground: The Future of Project Information Management,” reveals that BIM may still be stuck in the design phase. This Viewpoint article by Peg Landry of Newforma, which conducted the study, provides an overview of the study’s results and the insights it provides on how the communication and collaboration roadblocks between the stakeholders can be removed.