CanBIM is a non-profit organization focused on advancing the development and adoption of AEC technology in Canada, and as part of its mission, it hosts an annual awards program, the Innovation Spotlight Awards, to highlight the most innovative work that is being done in the industry. The Awards program — now in its seventh year — also helps to benchmark trends and chart the evolution of AEC technology adoption in Canada. I was able to attend the 2021 Awards presentation a couple of weeks ago and came away with a better understanding of what is happening on the AEC technology front in Canada, the cutting-edge work that is being done, the solutions that are being developed and used, and the research work that is being undertaken in the field at Canadian universities. This article captures the highlights of some of the award-winning projects and solutions.
It’s nearing the end of 2021, and technology events are still being held mostly online. While the energy and vibrancy that comes from face-to-face interaction is, of course, hard to replace, the upside is that these events are now being produced for virtual viewing anywhere in the world, enabling them to reach many more people who might otherwise not be aware of the technology developments they capture. One such event that was held last month was the BricsCAD Digital Summit, which I was able to tune into to get a better understanding of the BricsCAD ecosystem and its latest developments. I learnt more about BricsCAD, how it connects with other Hexagon solutions (Hexagon is the parent company of Bricsys, the developer of BricsCAD), and how it is being used for the design of buildings as well as infrastructure.
This article provides an overview of the AEC-specific updates provided at the Autodesk University last week, including Construction Cloud enhancements, the integration of GIS and BIM in the new ArcGIS GeoBIM, Autodesk’s expansion to specific infrastructure domains with Innovyze, the launch of Autodesk Tandem and the new SpaceIQ for digital handover, and sustainability updates in Spacemaker and Autodesk Insight. It also discusses Autodesk’s expansion of Forge as the platform for all its applications and its new data-focused approach.
The Open Design Alliance (ODA) is one of the oldest organizations in the AEC technology industry committed to openness and interoperability. It was launched in 1998 with the objective of providing an API (application programming interface) for working with the DWG format, including opening, creating, and editing DWG files. This work is what has made DWG an open exchange standard for the CAD industry and enabled vendors around the world to develop low-cost versions of AutoCAD-like drawing applications such as IntelliCAD, BricsCAD, progeCAD, 4MCAD, etc. Over time, the work of the ODA has expanded to support additional CAD formats like DGN and DXF, 3D formats such as OBJ and STL (for 3D printing), and BIM formats such as IFC and BCF. It has also developed dedicated toolkits for working with popular Autodesk applications such as Revit, Navisworks, and Recap.
The ODA has a conference every year to provide the industry with an update on its latest developments. I had the opportunity to attend the 2021 event that was held last week and came away with a good understanding of what the ODA does and why it is important. In addition to the technical presentations by the ODA development team, there were also presentations by some ODA member companies showing how they were implementing ODA technologies in their products, as well as a couple of panel discussions on the topics of interoperability and Scan to BIM. The highlights of the 2021 Summit are captured in this article.
The AEC industry is seeing an increasing trend towards dedicated software development by AEC firms themselves, a trend that was highlighted in recent AECbytes articles such as Technology – A Catalyst for Innovation, Sustainability and Design at Foster + Partners and AEC Technology Development at Bryden Wood. This article captures the cutting-edge technology development initiatives at Thornton Tomasetti, a leading structural engineering firm with a global footprint, including a staff of over 1,500, offices in various cities across the world, and projects in over 54 countries. These applications are developed by a dedicated software group in the firm called CORE Studio.
I was first introduced to the cutting-edge work the A/E firm, Bryden Wood, is doing in AEC technology at the August 2020 event of the San Francisco Computational Design Institute (SFSDI), in a presentation by Phil Langley who leads this work at Bryden Wood. More recently, I had the opportunity to learn more about it at the April 2021 Glimpses of the Future event, presented by Jaimie Johnston of the firm. It was fascinating to learn about the innovative tools for design automation and industrialized construction being developed by the firm, showing that AEC firms do not always have to rely on software vendors for pushing the state of the art of technology in the field. They can take the lead on this themselves.
This article takes a closer look at some of the technologies being developed by Bryden Wood.
It has been close to seven years that I first wrote about the extension of the BIM concept of model-based design from the building domain to the infrastructure domain. At that time, Autodesk had recently launched InfraWorks as a “BIM-from-the-ground-up” infrastructure design application and was transitioning its flagship civil design application, Civil 3D, from being more CAD-like to BIM-like. Since then, there have been several developments in the field of BIM for infrastructure, including the software that is available for it, the implementation of BIM by infrastructure firms as well as government agencies, and the expansion of the IFC open standard for BIM to include infrastructure elements.
This article is focused on capturing the developments along the software front. As we will see, the field for BIM in infrastructure has expanded beyond the initial offerings that were limited to Autodesk and Bentley solutions. Let’s start by exploring these more recent offerings before going back to look at the solutions from Autodesk and Bentley for infrastructure design using BIM.
The biggest news out of this year’s annual GTC conference that NVIDIA — best known for its GPUs (graphics processing units) for gaming and professional markets such as AEC — puts together to showcase the latest developments in its products was the Omniverse. It is a 3D virtual world that can contain models created by many different people in many different applications in diverse locations around the world.
This article looks at the Omniverse in more detail, including what it is, how it works, and how it is being used by leading architectural firms like Foster + Partners and KPF (Kohn Pedersen Fox).
It has been over 15 years since I took an in-depth look at the IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) open standard and my reason for doing so at that time was that with the increasing interest in BIM in the AEC community, “the issue of interoperability as a means to integrate the various model-based applications into a smooth and efficient workflow” had emerged to the forefront of professional attention. Here we are, all these years later, and the interoperability issue is still as critical as ever, if not more so. The number of applications for the AEC industry has exploded, and it is likely to continue to increase. We need all these applications to be able to work together in order for them to be able to do what they need to do — help AEC professionals design, construct, and operate buildings and infrastructure as quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible. And in order to work together, they need to be able to exchange the building data they are creating and using with each other freely using a common standard, which is what the IFC is.
In addition to the IFC, the industry organization, buildingSMART, that develops it also develops several additional standards including BCF (BIM Collaboration Format), MVD (Model View Definition), IDM (Information Delivery Manual), and bsDD (buildingSMART Data Dictionary). What these various standards are and what they do is the subject of this AECbytes article.
This article by engineers Sorin Ficut and Dan Ferne of INTBS Romania highlights the practical benefits of using FineFIRE, a BIM software for fire protection design, through a real-world case study involving the storage capacity expansion of a bottling plant of Coca-Cola HBC S/E Europe in Timis, Romania.
FineFIRE is a flexible modeling tool for sprinkler installations, practically without any design limits. We can directly get (almost on a real-time basis) the pipe sizing results according to the standards, thus enabling engineers to focus on the substantial aspects of the design. Particularly for medium to large scale projects like the one presented in this article, FineFIRE is the ideal tool to study alternative design solutions/scenarios in order to reach the optimum one.