Speckle and IFC.js: Open Source Tools for BIM

Towards the end of December, I had the opportunity to attend a webinar on two open source tools I knew almost nothing about: Speckle and IFC.js. The webinar was put together by a community called Agile BIM, which I also knew nothing about.  However, what I do know for a fact is the importance of open source software development in any field, in which developers come together as a team to create software that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution, allowing it to be developed even further. The technology that is developed with open source is often something that commercial software companies, whose business it is to develop proprietary software, cannot offer.

For the AEC industry, we do have organizations such as the Open Design Alliance and buildingSMART International working to promote openness and interoperability. The IFC format has been well established for OpenBIM and is almost unanimously supported by all the leading AEC technology developers to allow their applications to exchange data with each other. So, what then are Speckle and IFC.js, what do they do, and why are they needed? The Agile BIM webinar on these two open source tools, which was held on Dec 15, 2021, gave me the opportunity to find out more about them.

URL: https://www.aecbytes.com/newsletter/2022/issue_113.html

Enscape: Real-Time Design Visualization

This review explores Enscape, a real-time photorealistic rendering application that connects directly to Revit, Archicad, SketchUp, Rhino, and Vectorworks, allowing designers to see their models in real time and present them to clients. Advanced presentation capabilities include panoramic views, animations, and stand-alone executables that allow clients to explore the design on their own.

URL: https://www.aecbytes.com/review/2022/Enscape.html

Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University: Project Profile

Kevin Myers and Tom Foggin, Directors at R H Partnership Architects, describe the implementation of AEC technology on a new building project for Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University, UK, for which they are the Architects and Lead Designers.

Due to the complex geometry and technical demands of achieving the Passivhaus standard, we would have spent much more time working out “how” to communicate information, rather than working on “what” we needed to communicate, if we had not used BIM and other AEC technology applications.

URL: https://www.aecbytes.com/profile/2022/ProjectProfile-LucyCavendish.html

William Duff Architects: Firm Profile

William Duff Architects, an architectural firm based in San Franciso whose projects include retail stores, single- and multifamily homes, restaurants, office spaces, cafés, wineries, art galleries, and full building renovations, shares its perspective on AEC technology in this Firm Profile.

Dustin Foster, our technology SI group leader, notes, “There’s such a rapid rate of new tools being released each year. Some have staying power, and others don’t. It’s challenging to invest time and resources into these tools without the guarantee they will stick around. My grand wish is minimized risk for trying all these tools.”

URL: https://www.aecbytes.com/profile/2021/FirmProfile-WilliamDuffArchitects.html

Bentley Year in Infrastructure 2021 Conference

Bentley’s annual Year in Infrastructure (YII) conference continues to be held virtually, and this year’s event, which was held last week, was focused entirely on the projects that won Bentley’s “Going Digital” awards. As Bentley’s product lineup continues to expand and diversify to include more infrastructure disciplines, so do the award categories — there were 19 this year. While the event did not feature “product updates” as such, there were a few tidbits here and there that I found noteworthy. An overview of these and some of the award-winning projects from all over the world — including the US, UK, Sweden, China, Singapore, Russia, Qatar, and India — is captured in this article.

URL: https://www.aecbytes.com/newsletter/2021/issue_112.html

Nearmap: Aerial Imagery for AEC

This article provides an overview of Nearmap, which provides frequently-updated aerial imagery of most of the populated areas in North America, Australia, and New Zealand for use in building and infrastructure design. In addition to annotating and measuring the imagery, it also includes AI-enabled automatic feature detection capabilities that can save hours of tedious, manual labor in making sense of the imagery.

URL: https://www.aecbytes.com/review/2021/Nearmap.html

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures: Project Profile

Erik Narhi, Computational Design Lead at Buro Happold, describes the implementation of AEC technology on the just-opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, California, for which Buro Happold provided structural and MEP engineering, data analytics, sustainability consulting and energy modeling, as well as lighting design.

This project is a great example of how technology moves faster than the AEC industry. We accept now that each project will start using the cutting-edge, and end using outdated technology with new technologies representing missed opportunities had we had them earlier.

URL: https://www.aecbytes.com/profile/2021/ProjectProfile-AcademyMuseum.html

BIM in Canada: CanBIM Innovation Spotlight Awards

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.

URL: https://www.aecbytes.com/feature/2021/CanBIM-Awards.html

BricsCAD Digital Summit 2021

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.

URL: https://www.aecbytes.com/newsletter/2021/issue_111.html