Reed Construction Data of Atlanta, a division of the $10 billion Reed Elsevier publishing empire, is acquiring another Atlanta company, Tectonic Partners. The purchase, for an undisclosed sum, will combine Reed's massive data and marketing resources with Tectonic's software, potentially expanding the efficiency of Autodesk's Revit building information modeling (BIM) system for architects and other professionals.

Tectonic's BIM Library Manager works with Revit—and now with Reed's cost-data supplier RSMeans—to embed models of building components, as well as cost estimates and other forms of metadata, within digital design processes. “More money is spent counting and measuring items in a building than all the architects [and] mechanical and electrical engineers get for designing the building,” notes Tectonic CEO Arol Wolford, who will remain with the company. The system will be useful, he adds, in helping architects and product managers track components' sustainability features.

Arol Wolford

Arol Wolford

Increasing demand for green accounting is an important factor driving the adoption of BIM, says Iain Melville, CEO of Reed Construction Data, who estimates that BIM will penetrate 70 percent of the North American market by 2012. Tectonic's capacity to generate and manipulate high-quality generic and custom objects will help firms leverage skills in this digital environment, he notes: “It's not a good use of billable hours to be spending too much time designing and creating objects.” The growing BIM market reminds Melville of analog-to-digital conversion phases in publishing and other fields. “Like any new technology,” he says, “in a few years' time everyone will wonder what the fuss was about.”