Connect A, E, and C

May 27, 2011

Now, more than ever before, the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry needs to ensure there is strong communication between all project participants. Particularly with the proliferation of construction technology used on a project, it is important to have guidelines for technology usage and collaboration established upfront.

While not widely used in the construction industry yet, something like an IPD (integrated project delivery) agreement aims to establish guidelines for owners, architects, and construction professionals, which is addressed in-depth in the recent cover story in the May/June issue of Constructech magazine.

In the past week, technology providers have been coming to market with solutions that are designed to improve project delivery and team collaboration in the AEC industry.

In particular, Newforma, www.newforma.com, Manchester, N.H., announced the release of its Newforma Project Center Eighth Edition, as well as Newforma Mobile, Newforma Contract Management, and Newforma Add-in for Autodesk Revit.

According to the company, the updates available within the most recent version aim to help architecture, engineering, and construction firms work together more effectively.

For example, Newforma Contract Management is a change-management platform for the entire project team, which allows all project participants to access and manage submittals, change orders, RFIs (requests for information), and punchlists, among others. As another example, the Newforma Add-in for Revit allows the industry to manage spatial and building element information.

Owner demands for improved project performance continue to increase reliance on integrated projects, and companies such as Bentley System, www.bentley.com, Exton, Pa., recognize this need and are developing integrations for the AEC industry.

The company is allowing for tighter “hands-on” workflow among design, engineering, and construction through new partner agreements with Norconsult, Motion Computing, SMART Technologies, Synchro, Tekla, Vela Systems, and Vico Software.

For example, Bentley and Tekla are improving interoperability between Tekla Structures and Bentley’s Integrated Structural Modeling, allowing for improved collaboration and interoperability between BIM (building information modeling) workflows.

Greg Bentley, CEO, Bentley Systems, addresses the nature’s of today’s industry where constructors routinely accept the need to create new 3D models themselves because the design team’s work has been fragmented between incomplete ‘information models’ and the disconnected digital legacy of paper drawings. The hypermodel innovation allows the design team’s full work to be delivered to contractors and owners, according to Bentley.

This week, Bentley has announced quite a few innovative advances including apps for mobile devices and integrated fabrication workflows for precast concrete, among others.

Ultimately, while the technology solutions are available to improve collaboration and communication, in the end it comes down to process. While technology is a great tool to enable BIM and IPD, everyone involved in the project needs to have a hand in making sure the entire process runs as smoothly as possible.