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.
It has been 10 years since the BIM Handbook was first published, when it emerged as the definitive guide to BIM for both practitioners in the industry as well as students and researchers in academia. Extensively researched and meticulously written by a team of leading researchers and experts in AEC technology, the third edition of the book has just been released. Coming seven years after the second edition, this review explores how the new edition of the book captures all of the many developments in the world of BIM that have emerged in the intervening years.
As with each new release of ARCHICAD, the new version that was released a few weeks ago also revolves around a theme named after a breakthrough improvement. For ARCHICAD 22, the theme is “BIM Inside and Out.” The “inside” in this case refers to the many enhancements for modeling and managing the information within the BIM model, while the “out” refers to the dramatic improvements in the Curtain Wall tool which greatly speed up and simplify the design of building façades, whether they are composed of straight lines or irregular shapes.
These two key features are explored in more detail in this review, along with the many additional improvements related to productivity, workflow, and performance in ARCHICAD 22.