There is a lot of buzz happening in the structural engineering community around reducing carbon. Engineers are being asked from clients what they are doing to reduce embodied carbon in their structural designs. However, many structural engineers are not clear what their role is to play in reducing carbon. If they deliver a “good” structural design that is efficient and well-coordinated, won’t that do its best at reducing carbon? This article by Michael Gustafson responds to this question and elaborates on the topic of embodied carbon as it relates to structural engineering in more detail.
This review explores the key updates in the new version of Allplan, including the integration of full BIM for Precast capabilities, expansion of its 3D site planning capabilities, improved support for point clouds, a live connection to Solibri for issue management, a live link with Lumion for visualization, expanded connection design and automated reinforcement for engineering, and several enhancements to its dedicated bridge application, Allplan Bridge.
Graphisoft Building Together 2022
A few weeks ago, Graphisoft held a virtual AEC industry summit, which brought together experts from around the world to share their knowledge and best practices on topics including sustainable architecture, digital workflows, immersive visualization, and empowering future architects and engineers. This article provides an overview of some of the sessions presented at the event by AEC firms around the world, including Enzyme in Hong Kong, Farkasvölgyi Architects in Brazil, Mostostal Warszawa in Poland, and TeCe Architects in Turkey, along with Powerhouse Company, Bond Bryan, and Pita. Together, they provided a fascinating window into how some of Graphisoft’s global customers are using BIM and other advanced technologies in their firms.
SimScale World Cities Day Event
Last week, the engineering simulation company, SimScale, held a one-day event specifically focused on the AEC industry, highlighting the importance of simulation technology in the design of projects ranging from individual buildings to entire cities. It was held to coincide with World Cities Day, which is held on October 31 every year to promote the global effort to create a more sustainable planet.
SimScale is an engineering simulation company that was started in 2013 and develops cloud-based high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics (CFD), finite element analysis and thermal simulations. It has, until now, been primarily focused on industrial and product design in industries such as aerospace, automotive design, electronics, and consumer products, which is why it has been, until now, relatively unknown in AEC. However, with the growing importance of sustainability in building and infrastructure design, SimScale is expanding the scope of its products and services to the AEC industry, not just with its own line of cloud simulation software but also by jointly developing sustainability tools with leading AEC firms like Thornton Tomasetti and KPF and partnering with technology firms like NVIDIA on its Omniverse offering.
SimScale’s World Cities Day Event provided the opportunity to learn more about these initiatives as well as the larger context of climate resilience from which they have emerged.
Trimble is one of the leading technology vendors serving the AEC industry today. While it started off being primarily focused on construction — it was founded as Trimble Navigation in 1978 and subsequently changed its name to Trimble Inc. — it has, over the years, acquired many leading applications in design and engineering including SketchUp and Tekla. In 2014, it acquired Gehry Technologies, a spin-off technology firm from Gehry Partners, and continued to develop Gehry Technologies’ GTeam cloud-based project management and collaboration platform, rebranding it as Trimble Connect to facilitate what it calls “connected construction.”
While there is no dearth of cloud-based collaboration platforms in the AEC industry that provide a CDE (Common Data Environment) for project drawings, models, and other documents — examples include Autodesk BIM 360, Graphisoft BIMcloud, Allplan Bimplus, Bentley ProjectWise, 3D Repo, Asite, Revizto, Aconex, Dalux, and BIM Track — what distinguishes Trimble Connect are the deep integrations it has with other Trimble products across all disciplines, not just with SketchUp (design) and Tekla Structures (structural engineering and fabrication), but also with ProjectSight (construction management); Sysque, Stabicad, and Nova (MEP); Quadri (infrastructure model management); Field Points (field layout); and TerraFlex and Trimble Access (topography and positioning).
ODA Summit 2022
The Open Design Alliance (ODA) – the leading nonprofit organization focused on openness and interoperability in the CAD industry – returned with its annual Summit last week in which it provided an overview of the technology updates it has made since last year’s event. While the work of the ODA is not directly used by design professionals, it is licensed by the ODA’s member companies — the current count of which is over 1,200 – most of whom are commercial CAD and BIM software companies located around the world.
Similar to last year, this year’s Summit also included brief presentations from some of these member companies including Safe Software, 3D Repo, and Graebert, demonstrating how they have implemented ODA technologies in their products. This article captures the highlights of the 2022 ODA Summit that are relevant to the AEC industry.
Construction Progress Tracking with HoloBuilder
This article provides an overview of HoloBuilder, which uses 360° photos to track construction progress guided by a mobile app on the jobsite, and provides a cloud platform for hosting, organizing, and sharing the captured images. It also integrates with several popular AEC applications such as Autodesk BIM 360, Revit, Navisworks, and Procore, allowing it to fit more seamlessly into existing AEC workflows. Additionally, it integrates with collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams, making it easier for the construction progress tracking to be shared with other team members and project stakeholders without requiring them to travel to the construction site.
The article on Graphisoft’s 2022 Product Launch published last month captured the key updates that were shared at the launch event about the latest versions of Graphisoft products including its flagship BIM application, Archicad; its cloud collaboration solution, BIMcloud; its mobile and web model viewing app, BIMx; and a new building services solution, DDScad, that was recently added to Graphisoft’s portfolio. In this review, we will take a detailed look at the features and enhancements more specifically in the new release of Archicad, version 26, which are almost evenly distributed along each of the key areas of the application: Design, Collaboration, Visualization, and Documentation.
Graphisoft 2022 Product Launch
Last week, Graphisoft had the annual launch of its product family, which was a special one this year as it was its 40th anniversary as a company. While the launch event was streamed virtually, I also had the opportunity to attend it in person in Budapest with a group of other media professionals and talk to Graphisoft’s executive team to better understand the company’s current focus and future vision.
An overview of the key product updates that were shared, as well as a future roadmap, are captured in this article.
Digital Urban European Twins: The DUET Project
A few months ago, I wrote about the SmartBRIDGE Hamburg project as an example of an actual digital twin in action, one of the few in which the emerging digital twin technology has actually been implemented. As the technology is further developed, we are likely to continue seeing more implementations, both for individual buildings and infrastructure assets, as well as for neighborhoods, regions, and cities. For the larger-scale implementations, the vision is similar to what I had described in my article on “City Information Modeling” six years ago — designing and operating cities more intelligently, efficiently, and effectively, with the ability to simulate various aspects such as traffic, congestion, energy, impact of natural disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes, flood control, etc. (It is worth noting that that digital twin technology hadn’t even been invented at that time!)
Since the emergence of the technology and its potential application in the AEC industry (see the paper, “Digital Twins in AEC,”) we have seen some traction on the application of digital twins at the urban-design level, including IES Intelligent Communities Lifecycle (ICL), which is being developed as a digital twin for the sustainable design of communities; Bentley’s Digital Cities initiative built on its iTwin platform; and Cityzenith’s Smart World platform, which started out as an CIM (City Information Modeling) application, but is now labelled as a “Urban Digital Twin Technology” application.
This article describes another promising initiative in the application of digital twin technology at the city level: the DUET project.