The number of cloud-based applications for the AEC industry has been steadily rising since cloud computing was introduced over a decade ago, but so far, most of these applications have been for tasks such as project management, collaboration, model-checking, issue management, and construction planning—tasks that deal primarily with content that has been already created. Applications that actually allow you to author design content using a web browser are few and far between, and even those that exist are primarily desktop applications that have been extended to work on the web, such as SketchUp and AutoCAD. This is why when I came across Infurnia, I was intrigued, because it was developed from the ground up as a cloud-based design application. There is no desktop version and nothing that needs to be installed for it to work.
So how well does it actually work? Let’s find out.
The book, Airport Building Information Modelling, is an extended case study of the implementation of BIM on the new Istanbul Airport project, which is now in operation and is currently the world’s largest airport terminal building under a single roof.
Given that the project is relatively recent, the choice to use BIM for it is hardly surprising—after all, why would any venture not want to deploy newer and more advanced technologies that are available rather than use older and outdated technologies? Thus, the book is notable not because it tells us why BIM was used for this project, but how. Also, one of its authors, Ozan Koseoglu, was the Chief Technology Officer of the project and directly responsible for its BIM implementation, making the “how” come comes straight “from the horse’s mouth,” as it were. The co-author of the book, Yusuf Arayici, comes from academia, and his research and writing expertise is reflected in the content of the book, which is well organized and structured, making the level of detail in it easy to digest and far from overwhelming.
Layer is a new AEC application that was launched close to six months ago to address what seems to be an obvious need in the industry—organizing and integrating the vast amount of disparate data that is typically collected on site during the retrofit or construction of a building project.
You would think that with all the applications we have for BIM, design coordination, model checking, project information management, construction management, document management, and project collaboration, there would be an application that could be used to easily connect notes, images, videos, task lists, etc., to their related building element. Surprisingly, there wasn’t, as the architectural firm, BVH Architecture, discovered while working on a multi-year, multi-phase rehabilitation project of the Nebraska State Capitol, which required the team to document more than 1,300 rooms with nearly 60 data points in each room. They looked hard but could not find a good solution for organizing and coordinating the vast amount of building data that they had collected—the number of photos alone was over 40,000. There was also no way to view the captured data efficiently in Revit, the BIM application they were using. They ended up developing a software solution in-house and, given that the need for such a solution was so compelling but still unmet in the marketplace, they spun it off as a separate company, Layer.
This review explores the new features for improved modeling, coordination, productivity, and performance in ARCHICAD 23, including revamped Beam and Column tools that makes these elements faster to model and fine-tune for all types of structures, a new Opening tool for modeling mechanical voids to improve coordination between architects and engineers, and an initiative to open up the application to more custom development by significantly expanding its APIs.
Visicon is a new solution in the AEC technology field which, at first glance, seems to be entering into an already crowded field of BIM viewing, model checking, coordination, and collaboration solutions. On a closer look, however, I found that it not only has a unique mix of capabilities that span model viewing, data visualization, model interrogation, and design coordination, it also has a fresh take on many of these features, the benefit of being built from scratch. The ultimate objective, however, remains the same—to create an accurate design model that meets quality control standards, which allows the data needed for downstream processes to be easily extracted from it, and which can be reviewed by anyone (for free) without requiring the original authoring application.
While the AEC industry is more than amply served by
solutions for project management (PM), construction management (CM), and team
collaboration for our increasingly complex buildings and infrastructure
projects, the field of project information management (PIM) has, until now,
been relatively sparse. However, the need for a good PIM solution has
intensified, and one of the new solutions that has emerged in this space is
While organizing project information so that it is easier to find and eliminating duplication is the basic function of a PIM solution, it can further streamline many common PM tasks such as creating and tracking submittals and RFIs. While TonicDM provides all these capabilities, what sets it apart is its strong focus on ease of use and the use of smarts to automate many routine tasks, minimizing the work users would have to put in towards managing project information.
The book, BIM for Facility Managers, was originally reviewed in the Q3 2014 issue of AECbytes Magazine. That review is being republished as it still very applicable and relevant today. We still haven’t seemed to have made much progress in applying BIM in the operations and maintenance phase of a building’s lifecycle, a topic that AECbytes will explore in more detail going forward. Taking a look back at this seminal book, which still seems to be the only one on the topic, seems like a good way to start.
This review explores the new release of 4M’s IDEA, a BIM application for architectural design that is part of 4M’s multi-disciplinary BIM suite which also includes applications for building services and energy analysis. I last reviewed IDEA all the way back in 2010, and the new release, v.19, is a major one, representing a generational change to the 4M suite. Previously, it was based mostly on IntelliCAD, the low-cost DWG alternative to AutoCAD, but in the new release, the code has been completely restructured to work with the ODA (Open Design Alliance) engine, developed by the open-source DWG consortium of which 4M is an active founding member.
Kevin Nute’s Naturally Animated Architecture is a fascinating, cross-disciplinary examination of how contemporary architecture could more naturally integrate its exterior environment with its internal experience. More than simply an aesthetic endeavor, Nute provides a compelling argument for why such integration is important to the performance and wellness of the human beings that inhabit these buildings. It is important, he explains, to see the movements of the wind, see and hear the rain, glance at the shadows the sun casts on walls.
This review explores the new features and enhancements in the 2019 version of Allplan, including a new Planes palette which makes it easier to set up and manage the building structure of the project, the ability to create freeform 3D surfaces and use them as reference planes, a new Stair Modeler tool that can be used to create complex stairs more easily and accurately, a brand-new dedicated add-on for parametric bridge design, and several other enhancements for modeling, detailing, and interoperability.