The days of staring at your computer monitor with eyes glazed overs may be numbered thanks to recent software releases by Bluebeam and Graphisoft that are expediting the tedium of construction administration and giving architects building information modeling (BIM) and building energy modeling (BEM) tools.
While the ubiquitous PDF file format has alleviated the need for architects and contractors to strong-arm through piles of drawing sets and documents, these updates go further. Revu 12, the latest version of Bluebeam’s flagship software that converts CAD drawings and BIM files into dynamic PDFs, aims to expedite construction administration and moreover, turn design into a paperless process.
Three new features are particularly useful. For designers who’ve had the non-pleasure of hunting down punchlist items in the field, Revu’s Capture tool links photographs to specific locations on the marked-up PDF drawings for straightforward reference. Even better, you can associate photos you take with your tablet’s camera with the location on the drawings in real time.
Free yourself from the pain of setting up interactive PDFs with AutoMark 2.0 and Batch Link. AutoMark automatically repaginate PDFs pages from, say, multiple team members and from scanned sources, to create a cohesive set with a unified titleblock. Batch Link (available in Revu 12 Extreme edition) scans and creates navigational hyperlinks within your PDFs automatically. Instead of manually creating each painful hyperlink between the index sheet and a drawing page, or between a detail callout and the detail drawing, you can sit back and watch the program do the work.
Revu 12 includes many other updates, such as more intuitive measurement tools for calculating quantity take-offs from the PDFs. It also improves Studio, Bluebeam’s integrated cloud-based project management program. Users wanting to see quickly what changes have been made to project documents without committing the time to log into Studio can receive daily email alerts.
A license for Revu costs $219 for the Standard edition, which can create PDFs from Microsoft Office; $279 for the CAD edition, which can convert Autodesk AutoCAD and Revit, Navisworks Manage and Simulate, SolidWorks, and SketchUpPro files into PDFs; and $349 for Revu Extreme, which includes the more advanced markup and editing tools, such as Batch Link. Revu is compatible with Windows operating systems.
Graphisoft recently introduced its solution to two longstanding laments in the AEC industry: the lack of integration between BIM and BEM programs, and the high cost of entry for BIM. EcoDesigner Star ($2,495 for the add-on; $5,995 bundled with ArchiCAD 17) allows architects to simulate building performance directly in the BIM model. The engine behind the analysis complies with ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 140-2007: Standard Method of Test for the Evaluation of Building Energy Analysis Computer Programs, which is referenced by sustainable design rating programs worldwide, such as LEED and BREEM.
Users can customize conditions, such as weather, orientation, and occupancy, for the whole building as well as for distinct thermal blocks within the building to conduct energy balance calculations. Architects can check building details for thermal bridging, pinpoint areas of high or low energy performance, and calculate anticipated performance against a baseline building as per ASHRAE 90.1 2007 guidelines. The program has basic and expert modes to display either a snapshot of relevant model information or a detailed analysis, in which architects can collaborate with other consultants. And users can export the BIM geometry and material property data for use in other programs.
For firms wanting to purchase their first BIM software, Graphisoft recently introduced ArchiCAD Star(t) Edition 2014 ($1,995). Like its predecessor, Star(t) allows architects to create a data-rich BIM model with the typical documentation capabilities, such as sections, details, and 3D views. The latest edition provides access to ArchiCAD’s 3D modeling tools, including Shell for developing custom building exterior and object forms, and Morph for creating custom BIM components and geometries. Star(t) files can be converted for use with IFC, DWG, and DXF files. ArchiCAD and ArchiCAD Star(t) are compatible with PC and Mac operating systems.
Note: This article has been updated since first publication to clarify that Studio is integrated with all three editions of Graphisoft Revu.