The Convergence of Design and Construction: Takeaways from AU2017

December 11, 2017 Vikram Dutt

Photo of Nicolas Magnon, VP of Architecture, Engineering and Construction at Autodesk, delivers the AEC keynote at AU2017, and it's all about an upcoming common data platform with BIM 360.

What an exciting time for the industry. Everywhere you look, powerful innovations in technology are starting to disrupt business-as-usual for us in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC), leading to new ways of working regardless of how complex your projects have become.

As part of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) process, we’re seeing a shift in emphasis from the “Modeling” to the “Information” phase, as can be seen from the large amounts of data created during every project. Cloud technology has played a big role in connecting data, systems, projects, and teams so everything–and everyone–is in constant communication with access to a wealth of information at their fingertips.

Most importantly perhaps, is the ability to put the project at the center from the start–by using unified platforms and systems–which means less time spent wrangling file types and applications.

This year, on the final day of #AU2017 at the AEC keynote, we introduced you to our vision of how BIM 360 will give you the tools to achieve digital transformation, lifecycle collaboration, and increased profit margins.

Here are my big takeaways from the keynote and why Autodesk BIM 360 will become your destination for the convergence of design and construction workflows.

Connected BIM is here

We now live in a world where smart objects and digitally enabled processes give us insight into our habits and offer opportunities to optimize them for better, targeted outcomes. “Connected BIM” (or cloud-based BIM technology) is finally giving project delivery in AEC that same stimulus by connecting design and construction across the project lifecycle using intuitive, linked workflows.

Designers and builders around the world are gaining more insight, control, and creative possibilities on challenging projects. We’ve seen this with the rise of generative design, analyses tools, stationary and UAV smart scanners, sensor data from the job site, IoT devices, and more.

This is all converging together to give AEC businesses an integrated lifecycle approach to solving complex project delivery problems.

Software for one piece of the BIM process at a time won’t cut it. When BIM software helps connect data, people, and processes across teams and time zones, that changes everything.

BIM 360 is the Common Data Platform for “A”, “E”, and “C”

Photo of Nicolas Magnon, VP of AEC at Autodesk, on the main stage at AU2017 revealing BIM 360 as the common data platform for the convergence of design and construction across AEC projects.

Nicolas Magnon, VP of AEC at Autodesk, on the AU main stage, revealing BIM 360 as the Common Data Platform for lifecycle integration and collaboration across AEC projects.

At Autodesk, we continue to build our common data platform across “A”, “E”, and “C” with BIM 360.

Starting with construction, extending upstream to design collaboration and downstream into operations and maintenance, BIM 360 will connect you to the computing power, data, and insight that you need to create more and better, waste less, and build a better future.

On the first day of #AU2017, we unveiled the new BIM 360 platform for construction project workflows. Our construction customers are invited to pilot, test, and implement this integrated workflow to unify project data, and that includes you. You can expect pre-constructability review and clash detection with design teams, sharing and drawing management, and job site management with quality control, safety, and punch lists, ALL in one solution.

We will be building similar integrations for design workflows, which brings us to a big update on our cloud worksharing solutions…

Cloud worksharing has been HUGELY successful

Image backdrop at the AEC Keynote at AU2017 showing the success of Collaboration for Revit in global projects, saving an estimated 1M hours in time spent emailing, coordinating, and transferring design data in the last month alone.

Collaboration for Revit has had huge successes in global design practices saving an estimated 1M hours of time spent coordinating, emailing, and transferring files in the last month alone.

Connecting from design to site execution is critical to removing silos and reducing fragmentation. It’s plain to see that massive amounts of coordination are needed on a bustling job site, but the fast-paced, continually iterating design phase needs coordination and convergence too.

Collaboration for Revit is a cloud-based multi-user co-authoring service in Revit that design firms currently use for easy access to central design data, where they can progress and communicate directly in the model.

Over 144 countries are accessing Collaboration for Revit. Over 100,000 shared models are being working on, with over 1.6 million updates to models happening every month!

Because of Collaboration for Revit’s success, we announced that a next-gen version will become part of the Design Collaboration solution within the BIM 360 platform, making BIM dramatically more accessible to the entire team. Continue to watch this space for more.

Cloud collaboration is not just for building design

Cloud worksharing on civil and infrastructure projects—a long overdue update. Stay tuned!

Civil and infrastructure projects will benefit from cloud worksharing and data management tools in BIM 360. Stay tuned for updates!

Infrastructure and civil teams will soon be able to use cloud worksharing and data management tools as well, in future BIM 360 updates. The new platform will support the design process and how it hands over to construction, regardless of contract structure, so that design and construction teams are acting on up-to-date, accurate information in the common data platform.

This type of collaboration will be made available across key AEC authoring tools for civil, infrastructure, and plant designers. Features like change visualization and clash detection will be available upstream so issues can be identified and addressed earlier.

The site is a part of every project, it’s not just about the building. The BIM 360 platform will enable multidiscipline BIM connecting the vertical and horizontal infrastructure. With the project at the center, all teams work towards the same goal: successful project delivery.

Industrialized construction

In the future, buildings will be assembled from components and mass customized modules that are manufactured offsite. This transformation will require all project stakeholders–designers, engineers, fabricators, and contractors to adopt new methodologies. These methods will connect design, estimation, procurement, and fabrication to make a smart process better connecting design to fabrication.

As a result, designers will have a greater impact on how buildings are made and constructed. This idea, known as Design for Manufacture & Assembly (or DfMA) focuses on manufacturing throughput and efficiency of assembly.

The Industrialization of Construction is where manufacturing and construction will converge. This convergence will radically change the way we design buildings, make their components, assemble them onsite, and manage these processes and data.

Bonus: AEC Excellence Awards

Marketing graphic for AEC Excellence Awards 2017

At this year’s AEC Excellence Awards, our customers proved to us yet again that they leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of creative, brave, and elegant solutions for their projects. That they use Autodesk tools to this end is humbling and rewarding, and we can’t wait to share those with you. You can see winners in all four categories (infrastructure, buildings, construction, and sustainability), watch the showreel, and download the Showcase Book here.

Write to us to tell us what you think. We look forward to the conversation.

To watch the full keynote for all the exciting updates in AEC at AU, click here.


We launched the Convergence blog for project stakeholders like you, to create, curate, and connect you to the information that can help you deliver your projects more efficiently. Whether you are a designer (architect or engineer), BIM manager, project owner, or extended stakeholder in project delivery, Convergence will bring you stories, inspiration, and advice on using collaboration, worksharing, and cloud tech to deliver winning projects and help grow your business.

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