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Autodesk University 2018

Autodesk University 2018

Software and technology advancements unlock ‘the opportunity of better.’

Autodesk University 2018, held in mid-November in its usual Las Vegas venue, attracted more than 11,000 attendees for a wide range of classes, technical sessions, a large exhibition, and several keynotes.

In the opening keynote, Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost provided his perspective on automation, the changing nature of work, and how technology can unlock opportunities to do more, better, with less negative impact on the world. He proposed that technology offers “the opportunity of better,” automating repetitive tasks and allowing designers to focus their energies on creative solutions.

“[We] shouldn’t be concerned about our jobs going away but how our jobs are changing,” he said.

New cost management capabilities in BIM 360 add powerful change management workflows and reduce risk by enabling teams to manage all cost-related construction activities in a single software experience, providing real-time visibility into the financial health of the project.

BIM 360 updates

Autodesk used the gathering to highlight several software advancements for the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. During the last year, Autodesk BIM 360 advancements included 33 releases, more than 130 features, and 60 new software integrations. Impacted workflows include the following:

  • project controls, including creation, management, and tracking of RFIs and submittal items and packages;
  • document distribution, with set management and approval workflows, that gets the right information to the right people with full transparency of who did what and when;
  • controlled Revit cloud work-sharing and curated package delivery to reduce friction across project teams;
  • coordination with automated clash detection that helps teams identify and resolve potential issues around design iterations;
  • quality and safety inspections and punch lists, with customizable templates and issue attributes to capture the information needed to keep jobs on track;
  • coordination between the office and jobsite with Desktop Connector and a unified BIM 360 app for iOS and Android phones and tablets; and
  • surfacing important status updates and required actions to the project team with Project Home, and robust reports to track all project activity and progress.
Since the introduction of the BIM 360 Integration Partner Program last year, Autodesk has added 60 new software integrations, bringing the total construction partner ecosystem to more than 100 partners.

At Autodesk University 2018, the company announced support for Cost Management, which brings contracts, budgets, and change order management into the BIM 360 platform. This module was expected to be offered as a limited availability pre-release in December.

Built on the Forge platform, BIM 360 fosters a collaborative development environment, Autodesk said. Forge tools can help companies build applications that tap into their design and engineering data. Since introduction of the BIM 360 Integration Partner Program last year, Autodesk said that the 60 new software integrations brought the total construction partner ecosystem to more than 100 partners.

Additionally, Autodesk’s acquisition of Assemble Systems provides a SaaS solution that enables construction professionals to condition, query, and connect BIM data to key workflows across bid management, estimating, and scheduling.

BIM 360 now offers:

  • ability to assign clashes as an issue in BIM 360 and notify project team members that action is needed;
  • ability to “close” clashes that do not need to be addressed (for reasons such as minimal overlap, addressing them in the field, etc.);
  • new filtering and grouping of aggregated models; and
  • new viewer tools for multi-model viewing to help understand and resolve coordination issues.

Real-time 3D

A 3D planning map for Medellín, Columbia, helps plan safer communities for people living in mountainous areas at high risk of dangerous landslides. Image: courtesy Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano

Autodesk and Unity Technologies have been collaborating to provide tighter integration between Unity’s platform and Autodesk’s design tools, including 3ds Max and Maya, to provide “one click” access to rich, interactive 2D, 3D, virtual reality, and augmented reality experiences.

First integrations stemming from the collaboration are expected to launch next fall (2019). According to the companies, future integrations will enable Revit users to turn Revit models into an immersive experience with one click.

“Customers will be able to see everything in context, in real-time, so you can identify mistakes, drive consensus, and visualize the project before the first yard of concrete is poured,” said John Riccitiello, CEO, Unity Technologies.

AEC Excellence Awards

Autodesk announced and celebrated the winning small-, medium-, and large-sized projects in the categories of Infrastructure Design, Building Design, and Construction. The company also honored the winner of a new category for 2018 — Innovator of the Year.

The sixth annual Autodesk AEC Excellence Awards were co-sponsored by HP, Construction Dive, and Smart Cities Dive. For this year’s awards, an independent, global panel of judges evaluated 256 submissions from 40 countries and subsequently narrowed them down to the finalists and winners.

Winners in each category are listed below with links to additional information.

Infrastructure Design

A cloud-enabled, connected BIM approach provided close collaboration between architects, engineers, the construction manager, trade partners, and faculty members for the Brown University Engineering Research Center in Rhode Island. Image: courtesy of KieranTimberlake and BuroHappold Engineering

Small project (less than $100 million) — MIB-micro scale urban planning methodology in Antioquia, Colombia by Empresa Desarrollo Urbano de Medellin (EDU; www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim/hub/aec-excellence-2018/infrastructure/small). EDU used Autodesk BIM tools to plan safer communities for people living in mountainous areas at high risk of dangerous landslides.

Medium project ($100 million-$500 million) — The Wuhan-Xiangyang-Shiyan Railway in Hubei, China by China Railway Siyuan Survey and Design Group (www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim/hub/aec-excellence-2018/infrastructure/medium). The high-speed rail line required the collaboration of more than 50 experts in tunnel, bridge, station, and rail-line design.

Large project (more than $500 million) — The Parallel Line of the Fourth Diversion Expressway in Chongqing, China by Chongqing Municipal Research Institute of Design, Chongqing City Construction Investment (Group), Chongqing City Construction Development (www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim/hub/aec-excellence-2018/infrastructure/large). The team used BIM tools to help integrate workflows as they planned and designed the complex project, which includes seven interchanges — one of which intersects eights roads and contains 35 ramps.

Building Design

Small project (less than $20 million) — Office Building Extension eGHA in Zurich, Switzerland by Basler & Hofmann AG www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim/hub/aec-excellence-2018/building/small). The project is one of the few in Switzerland to fully embrace BIM for the full life cycle, and represents a revolution in the company’s approach to design, planning, and delivery.

Medium project ($20 million-$200 million) — Brown University, Engineering Research Center in Rhode Island, by KieranTimberlake, BuroHappold Engineering, Shawmut Construction (www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim/hub/aec-excellence-2018/building/medium). The project was one of the first institutional labs in the country delivered using the integrated project delivery (IPD) model, in which the client, architect, engineers, and contractor are all responsible for project development, stakeholder engagement, and project management aimed at an on-time, on-budget project.

Large project (more than $200 million) — Stavanger University Hospital-SUS 2023 in Rogaland, Norway by Nordic-Office of Architecture, COWI (www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim/hub/aec-excellence-2018/building/large). The project team — comprising two architecture firms, two structural engineering firms, MEP teams, and specialist consultants for fire and acoustic — were spread across Norway, requiring efficient, effective communication and collaboration to meet project goals.


Small project (less than $100 million) — Baptist Health MD Anderson Cancer Center in Florida, by Miller Electric Company (www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim/hub/aec-excellence-2018/construction/small). At the height of the construction process in September 2017, the construction team confronted a potential schedule buster — a hurricane. As Hurricane Irma headed toward Florida, Miller Electric used precise BIM plans for the project and rapidly changed them to account for impacts from the approaching storm.

Supported by 100 percent wind energy, the Clonee Data Centre includes a pair of 25,000-square-meter data halls. Image: courtesy of Mace Technology Ireland

Medium project ($100 million-$500 million) — The University of Virginia Health System University Hospital Expansion in Virginia, by Skanska USA (www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim/hub/aec-excellence-2018/construction/medium). Skanska USA, and design team Perkins+Will, used 3D construction models linked to schedules to deliver the project safely and to keep the hospital’s helipad — located 30 feet from construction cranes — in normal operation for 22 months.

Large project (more than $500 million) — Clonee Facebook Data Centre in Dublin, Ireland by Mace Group (www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim/hub/aec-excellence-2018/construction/large). Supported by 100 percent wind energy, the Clonee Data Centre includes a pair of 25,000-square-meter data halls. Cloud-based clash detection using design models allowed the entire project team to review and address issues and adopt lessons learned from previous phases.

Innovator of the Year

Zhibing Mao, chief engineer, China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited and president of China Construction Engineering Design Group (www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim/hub/aec-excellence-2018/innovator-zhibing-mao). A champion of BIM since 2009, he has relied on BIM solutions and processes to improve planning, design, and construction on a range of projects. Research teams led by Mao have applied BIM for design on more than 200 projects and for construction on more than 2,800 projects. In all, he has trained some 32,000 people in the building industry on how to improve design and building with BIM. He is also the chief editor of China BIM Standard, where he presided over creation of the country’s first national standard for BIM use in construction. Mao is a leading voice for using the Internet of Things at scale in civil engineering and infrastructure projects. In 2016, using a smart project life cycle monitoring platform developed by his team, he oversaw safe completion of Line 9 of the Shenzhen Metro, with just 5 millimeters of variation from the model and no damage to buildings above the construction.

Information provided by Autodesk (www.autodesk.com).