Beyond Design is the blog that intends to show how BIM design data can help construction managers increase productivity by improving workflows, influencing the design, and managing projects in a better way overall.
Just wanted to provide an update for SmartPlant 3D (.vue) file format support in Navisworks.
On Friday we published updates to the 2016, 207 plugins and published a new 2018 version of this popular plugin for Navisworks. The update incorporates fixes for some customer reported issues, as well as bringing the loader in line with the latest version of Navisworks. The plugin is available to all Navisworks customers with an active subscription (which must be associated with your Autodesk ID to allow downloads – speak to your account admin if you can’t access), and is available with immediate effect. More detail is available on the app store.
Here are the direct links to the Navisworks app store:
It seems like 2017 is a huge year for birthdays at Autodesk, earlier this year Autodesk celebrated its 35th birthday, Revit celebrated its 15 years' anniversary since acquisition, and now Navisworks is celebrating a double header!
Back then NavisWorks was primarily used as a viewer for large files rather than what it is today, but much of that technology and principles are also found in other tools you may use every day like AutoCAD, Revit and BIM 360.
Tim Wiegand, the brains behind NavisWorks, was working on these problems for three years before anything commercial was produced; as architect of the wider BIM 360 portfolio today he had this to say about the anniversary: -
"Whenever I think about the impact Navisworks has had, I find it hard to believe that it all started in the corner of a scruffy University research lab, and that at least some of the code I wrote then is still in the product somewhere."
Peter Thompson, Managing Director of NavisWorks Ltd 10 years ago, and now Senior Director for Building and Product Design here at Autodesk, said: -
"Everywhere I go, every customer interaction I have, any time I talk about workflow, (and without me volunteering that I used to work at the company) NavisWorks is mentioned as THE key product that makes a project work. Still, to this day."
To celebrate these anniversaries, we're announcing the first ever Design Night Sheffield! Part of a global movement of celebrating design and making in all its forms we're really pleased to host this event at the beautiful Old Post Office in Sheffield, now the Sheffield Hallam University Institute of Arts on Tuesday October 24th 2017.
More details to follow in the coming days, and get a teaser here
For those that follow me on social media you may have seen we've been trying out something a bit different to get news to you about tips, tricks, news and information about products in the form of a YouTube channel. The European team of technical specialists has set up a YouTube channel named 'Autodesk AEC Bar' where we talk about products for Architecture, Engineering and Construction, and industry topics typically more focused towards Europe and answer your questions, industry and technical.
We've posted around 20 videos up till today and aiming to get at least one a week out. So far the most popular video has been myself and previous Beyond Design blogger, Paul Walker, currently a Product Manager for BIM 360, discussing the workflows between BIM 360 Glue and Navisworks and how they can be complimentary to an overall coordination strategy. Watch it below: -
The AEC Bar Volume #4 - BIM 360 Glue vs Navisworks - YouTube
One of the key things about working in and covering the European area is the number of languages spoken, as we'd like to be able to reach as many people as possible so we're trialing subtitles on this video in French and German, to access them you need to switch on subtitles using the icon shown below on the video, then select the language you want to view. There's even English for those who need help with our North of England accents (hopefully those of you who watch Game of Thrones will be able to follow them!)
If you want to subscribe to the channel head to the AEC Bar YouTube channel and press Subscribe in the top right corner whilst you're logged into your Google account. And give us feedback!
Annual product launch is always a busy time of year for the Navisworks team and this year has been no different. We've completed some interesting projects this year, so here we would like to introduce them to you in some detail. You've asked us to improve our connectivity and our interoperability and we heard you! Navisworks 2018 continues to improve our BIM workflow integration, with a particular focus on Revit, Recap 360 and IFC. Underpinning this are three key themes that describe our approach to developing Navisworks:
Making sure that Navisworks stays up to date with the latest file formats and data types (e.g. we recently added extensive IFC improvements; and added support for .vue format)
Integrating Navisworks with Autodesk cloud solutions (e.g. Navsiworks integration with BIM 360 Glue), plus integration with other Autodesk desktop solutions and complementary suites products (e.g. we invested in Navisworks integration with Revit via the underlay feature for Revit 2018; integration with Recap 360 Pro).
Fixing blocking bugs and significant regressions.
Revit 2018 & Navisworks 2018 – together at last!
Two years ago, with the release of AutoCAD 2016, we introduced the ability to bring your Navisworks model directly into the design app. Ever since, we have been working closely with our friends in the Revit team to offer the same capability with the release of Revit 2018. Using the 'Coordination Model' feature you will now be able to open NWC & NWD files and import them using model origin or shared coordinates. Once in Revit you can visualise the coordination model in plan, elevation, section or 3D view.
Revit 2018: Navisworks Coordination Model - YouTube
This was a major project that required us to fold Navisworks components (aka Navisworks Core Engine) directly into the Revit codebase.. We think it was worth the effort - now you can bring all the 60+ supported Navisworks formats directly into your Revit projects, with the ability to work with the same huge datasets that you can in Navisworks. Best of all, this performs the same as Navisworks and wont cripple your working environment in Revit.
This workflow could fundamentally change how your project teams collaborate. Rather than the design team or supply chain working independently and then coordinating with other team members after they have produced their designs, the Revit user will now be able to design within the context of the whole project view. This is a big step towards the holy grail of 'clash avoidance' – project team members creating coordinated, clash free data as a seamless part of the design and detailing process.
Further to this, the Revit folks are very excited that this unlocks the "direct context" workflow, where huge models, such as the city of Berlin shown below, can now be used as context for your projects at a scale that was previously impossible!
Huge Navisworks models now load into Revit 2018 - YouTube
Fabrication parts in Navisworks
Autodesk continues to invest in building out our fabrication and detailing capability on the Revit platform to extend design development through fabrication level of detail and coordination to installation on site. Navisworks is a key part of this workflow, and we introduced support for the new Revit Fabrication parts properties as part of the 2018 release.
IFC Interoperability Enhancements
IFC is an increasingly important format and there are some significant improvements wrapped into the 2018 release. A completely new IFC file reader is integrated within Navisworks, which leverages the work that the Revit team have done in support of IFC.
This doesn't mean that we now only support IFC from Revit (as some of you have asked). Now, Navisworks has the benefit of parity with Revit because we are using the same open source code to handle IFC files. This translates to greater consistency for your workflows and illustrates our investment into the support of the open source format.
You still have the option of using the older Navisworks IFC reader, but from 2018, the Revit IFC reader is now the default. Direct benefits of this include support for additional IFC property and object types, such as IFCSpace and IFCZone, plus PSets and improved IFC hierarchy handling. In addition, more than 80% of our backlog of IFC bugs were addressed.
Some of you will know that we introduced this as in its first release as an update last year. Since then, we have worked directly with our customers and made improvements to the handling of property data and organisation. We continue to listen out for more, so keep the feedback coming!
Recap 360 and Reality Capture workflows
Bring your Navisworks model directly into the ReCap 360 Pro desktop product (see the reality capture team's blog here). This lets you visualize your as-designed data from Navisworks directly alongside your as built data in Recap 360 Pro 'Real Views', enabling a set of quality and progress-checking workflows by comparing planned and actual datasets. Alternatively, if you want to bring your ReCap models into Navisworks, the current integration will now support filtered ReCap points. This lets you work with a subset of the point cloud data, so speeding up review and verification workflows by importing just what you need for your process.
This video highlights the possibilities for construction workflows where progress scanning is blended with the as-designed data for immediate review and coordination purposes that will benefit the entire team.
Recap 360 & Navisworks 2018 - YouTube
General fixes, product stability and performance enhancements
We continue to invest in the stability, performance and quality of Navisworks – the new 'optimize on load' function has a dramatic impact on file size when working with previous versions of Navisworks as many of you still are. One customer reported that a Navisworks 2016 file of 4.7gb was reduced to just 200mb using this function– saving them several minutes every time the model was opened. We always encourage you to work with the latest versions, hopefully this is another reason why that's such a good idea!
Navisworks and BIM 360
Using Navisworks together with Glue, Field and Layout opens up real value for construction teams. By leveraging the power of 'connected BIM' – where the desktop and the cloud work in unison, project teams can realise great savings in time and cost through greater collaboration and anytime, anywhere access to the as-designed data you create in Navisworks. This year we further simplified that workflow, by integrating the Field connection directly into the ribbon interface for Navsiworks. Now its even easier to pull field data through your project by connecting to BIM 360, and bring in progress or commissioning data into your Navisworks model for your analysis workflows.
So, that's the Navisworks 2018 release. We hope you find the additions and improvements useful.
This year Amar spoke at Autodesk University about the Autodesk Desktop App, and showcased a new experience for updating our products, integrated into the desktop and providing a smoother way to access updates releases and the like. Navisworks 2018 is part of that, and as the business as a whole transitions into a subscription model as well, we're looking into delivering more frequent updates and less 'big bang' annual releases that we have traditionally done. Whilst this changes the way we deliver updates, hopefully you can see from above that we're continuing to work on the themes we've set out.
And of course in addition to our own work we continue to maintain our API. Navisworks alongside BIM 360 has an extensive API and we have many customers and partners that are building on the core product. We've seen many partners realise many workflows this way, and the Navisworks app store has several examples of some great functionality that leverage the API for specific workflows.
As always, we look forward to your feedback. Thanks and enjoy this release.
Want to showcase that amazing project you've been working on for weeks/months/years/as long as you can remember (*delete as appropriate). The AEC Excellence awards have come around again and we're looking for you to submit the amazing work we know you do! Introduced back in 2012 to recognize BIM in Infrastructure projects, this world-renowned competition now includes Infrastructure, Building, Construction, and Sustainability categories that showcase innovations using connected BIM workflows and Autodesk software.
Awards include 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes in each category, which makes this your chance to show off your truly inspirational projects. You know, the ones you're most excited about, like projects that use augmented reality, virtual reality, drones, generative design, computational design, and more—in short, your best design efforts using BIM workflows and Autodesk technology!
As well as all the free publicity across AEC publications and through us, HP and Construction Dive, you could win a brand-new HP workstation, a trip to Autodesk University Las Vegas 2017, and recognition at the Autodesk University Awards Ceremony. And, of course, you'll receive a beautiful trophy you can show off to colleagues and clients once you return.
Take for example, 2016 winners, this amazing project, the Vamma 12 Hydropower dam in Norway, it not only was a feat in physical engineering, it also used only 3D models, not a 2D sheet in sight. It also used mobile technologies like BIM 360 on site to reduce potential communication errors and ensure everyone was working from the latest versions, and used extensive reality capture and 4D to reduce risk in complex operations.
The Vamma 12 project - teaser - YouTube
The deadline for entry is June 23, 2017. Finalists for each category will be announced in August, and then winners will be announced at the AEC Excellence Awards Ceremony at Autodesk University Las Vegas 2017 in November.
Navisworks has long been a place to aggregate models and data into one place for advanced design review and clash detection. One of the key ways to get value from Navisworks is ensuring as many object properties are included in the model as possible. This blog explains the process to include additional properties from Bentley AECOsim in Navisworks thanks to our ANZ consulting team, special thanks to Quoc Pham for putting this together.
Navisworks supports Bentley AECOsim .DGN file format. Not all the AECOsim properties are available through the standard translation, by using DataTools you can link the metadata to the model.
First export the model from Bentley AECOsim as an NWC or import it into Navisworks
Bentley AECOsim Structural and Architectural model elements
Modify the Options located in the Menu Browser > Options > Model > Performance > Collapse on Convert, set to None.
Note: If you do not do this you will have multiple Element ID's.
Bentley AECOsim Mechanical, Hydraulic and Electrical
Modify the Options located in the Menu Browser > Options > Model > Performance > Collapse on Convert > Select All Objects.
Import the property data using Datatools and ODBC drivers
This previous blog about Navisworks DataTools should help you understand the feature. The following example applies it to a project where our client had multiple AECOsim models that needed to be appended into Navisworks and retain metadata.
Export model properties from Bentley AECOsim
Click on the Building Designer > DataGroup – Building Components > Open Data Group Explorer…
In the DataGroup Explorer select the Export drop down list and select Export All Instances to Excel.
Once exporting has completed the Excel file will be created.
Open Navisworks Manage, Append the model.
Run DataTools, the DataTools dialog box will appear.
Create a new DataTools Link, the Edit Link will appear.
As per the image below:
Set up the Connection, click on Setup and follow the prompts.
Input the appropriate SQL string. In this case Select the Walls Table where we are looking at Element ID as the key.
To add the fields, double click on the right pane. Type in the name of the Excel Field name and required Display Name.
Once completed click ok, and make sure that the DataTools Link is checked.
To get this information into BIM 360 Glue you can save the file as an NWD and simply upload to BIM 360 Glue. You can automate the process of loading these file and saving NWD's by using the Batch Utility to run this process overnight, then upload the file in the morning. This same process can work to get other data into Navisworks associated with a file.
One of the main uses for laser scanning in construction has been checking your 3D CAD and BIM against the real world situation, to check some refurbishment work will fit or the next trade can install their HVAC run rather than turn up onsite and not be able to work. It has long been possible to do this within Navisworks, and more recently with the introduction of Recap, also within Revit. Both of these do the job, but are still in the hands of the specialists.
Towards the end of last year the Recap team snuck out quite a big update, allowing you to view Navisworks NWD models alongside the 360° panoramic Realviews within Recap. These are the easy accessible way to access the point cloud, think of Google Street View in your laser scan!
So what does this mean? Well you can bring your files from over 50 different file formats together in Navisworks (or via BIM 360 Glue), and save out an NWD file. This can then be "Attached" in Recap (make sure the scan and model files are on the same coordinate system), whenever you then go into one of the Realviews, you'll be able to see the models alongside the images captured by the scanner with correct depth being applied (so items in front of the model are shown as that).
The video below is courtesy of Faro and BAM Construct who worked together on seeing what this new feature could do on a real life project.
FARO Scans and CAD models - Mixed Reality in Autodesk Recap - YouTube
Tips related to Navisworks and Recap Realview
To check the coordinates in Navisworks open the Measure dialog (View > Window > Measure Tools) and when you make a measurement the coordinate will show.
To check the coordinates in Recap you should see the coordinates in the lower left corner as you hover over the view.
We wanted to take a moment to thank you for your appreciation and support over the past year. This time of year brings so much excitement to our team as we express wishes of a happy holiday season to all of you. 2016 has been a remarkable year for Autodesk, and we hope that it has been just as amazing for you, your colleagues and your loved ones.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season from the very merry team at Autodesk.
Hungry, Stockholm? The BIM 360 Food Truck is on its way to deliver hearty free food to your entire construction site!
Mark your calendars... On January 24th, the BIM 360 Food Truck will be visiting selected construction sites in Stockholm to give free hearty meals, refreshments and goodies to your hard working construction workers.
Morning, lunch or afternoon, we are ready to satisfy those taste-buds on your site for FREE. Imagine a truck filled with delicious pulled pork baguettes then wash it all down with refreshments... Sounds like a dream! This truck will be waiting on your site to feed & re-energize your crew.
So what are you waiting for? If your construction team, subs and trades like FREE food, January 24th could be your lucky day. Nominate your construction site and start bringing in the votes. Get your project on the top of the leaderboard to win a visit from the BIM 360 Food Truck. But hurry, the leader board locks on January 17th!
If you are proud of your construction site and crew – nominate your site and vote, vote, vote...
This year, Autodesk University in Las Vegas brought us the first ever AEC Excellence Awards, showcasing project success stories across the industries to help customers celebrate and promote their achievements.
With 162 submissions from 29 countries, a very compelling competition was formed around state-of-the-art projects that are embracing the future of making things for AEC and civil infrastructure by utilising BIM technology. With the highest number of submissions from Chinese projects, we also had a great showing from the USA and India. After a tough evaluation process by our panel of experts, Mortenson, BIAD and Rambøll Sweco ANS were awarded 1st Place Awards for Construction, Building and Infrastructure respectively. Tianjin Architecture Design Institute (TADI) and Nina Maritz Architects were also honoured as winners in the philanthropic categories.
Mortenson received top honours in the construction category with U.S. Bank Stadium project, home of the National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings. They teamed up with HKS Architects for creating this architectural wonder which utilized BIM technology from design through final construction.
BIAD (Beijing Institute of Architecture Design) captured first place in the Building category for one of the most visually astounding new buildings in Beijing, the Phoenix International Media Center, inspired by the endlessly curving form of a Möbius strip. To bring this striking design into existence, BIAD worked exclusively with BIM tools and used paperless processes, making this project among the first in China to rely solely on BIM.
The Phoenix International Media Center by BIAD - Image Courtesy of BIAD
There are many more winners in additional categories including design and fabrication, communication and collaboration, computational design, and small and large building construction projects. HFB is one of these celebrated winners.
With their work on Project Summertime in Amsterdam, HFB was awarded 1st Place in the featured Small Building Construction Collaboration category. HFB partnered with BAM to construct this project which will be one of the city’s architectural landmarks. With its irregular façade with very little design repetition, Project Summertime includes 197 apartments that at times, seemed challenging to build. HFB utilized BIM technology by using 3D Models in their design phase and since then, they continue to count on BIM as their main tool during every phase of the project lifecycle.