Volume 1, Issue 5            June 1, 2008
Editor-in-Chief, H. Edward Goldberg
Copy Editor, Judith Goldberg

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The American Institute of Architects (AIA), now in its 151st year, held its national convention at Boston’s Convention and Exhibition Center from May 15th- 17th, 2008. 20,000 people, including this author, attended. This year’s theme “We the People” dealt with the architect’s role in society. Once again there was a lot of interest in sustainability, and the Building Information Model (BIM).

Prior to the convention, the AIA Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) committee presented a two day series of seminars,”Changing the World: Harnessing BIM Technology and Integrated Process Delivery for Sustainable Design”. Of all the presentations, BIMStorm from Onuma, Inc. Planning Systems, in which several disparate groups in different geographical locales collaborate on projects via the web, was the most cutting edge. Other sessions, in my opinion and that of several other attendees, were light on practical information. One reason seems to be the focus of the TAP committee on the big firm picture, perhaps due to the composition of its membership coming from General Services Agency (GSA), a large construction company, a large architectural firm, a university professor, and an IT consultant.  Nowhere on the committee is there representation from actual hands-on users, or smaller firms which actually produce the majority of the architecture in the USA. These firms and practitioners want to know what software and processes will make their job easier and more profitable –now. I think the committee would do well to expand both its membership and point of view to include these sectors.

For more detailed information on the program see:

Architects Embrace BIM at AIA Convention

Ed's Recommendations

The following are new and/or improved solutions that were shown at the convention. I include them because I believe they have great potential.


IES (Integrated Environmental Solutions)

Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) is well known for its professional suites of energy analysis tools for BIM. At the AIA convention, the company launched  IES’s VE-Ware, a free- downloadable tool which gives access to its world leading <Virtual Environment> Apache thermal analysis software. VE-Ware gives instant feedback on a building’s energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions based on real geometry, and using international data on climatic conditions and the typical characteristics of different building, room and system types.  It is ideal for use at early design stages, for both homes and commercial buildings, as it facilitates iterative design, allowing the comparison of different design, layout and system options. With this tool, an architect, facilities manager or building owner can make detailed energy and carbon assessments that impact the green credentials of the building. Initially only models exported directly from Autodesk’s (BIM) Revit platform can be accepted by VE-Ware.  However, over the coming months this will be expanded to include other options for inputting the geometry data. . Additionally in the USA, as a direct response to the Architecture 2030 Challenge (see below), VE-Ware will assess building performance against new 2030 benchmarks. 

<VE> Toolkits offer the next level of analysis – more detailed energy and carbon analysis, which can take into account simple solar shading and advanced solar penetration.  Daylighting with light transfer (penetration) between room capabilities. LEED Daylighting credit 8.1 report. Heating and cooling loads (ASHRAE/CIBSE). Results are presented in an interactive (filterable) manner and guidance on best practice and what to do next is also given alongside simulation comparison and history.  It also gives the 2030 Challenge benchmark analysis (see attached image of Toolkit analysis choice box). <VE> Toolkits – $1000 per seat, per annum. I think this is a great buy and the right tool for every architect involved with green building.


About the 2030 Challenge: http://www.architecture2030.org/
Architecture 2030, a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization, was established in response to the global-warming crisis by architect Edward Mazria in 2002. 2030’s mission is to rapidly transform the US and global Building Sector from the major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central part of the solution to the global-warming crisis. Architecture 2030 has issued The 2030 Challenge asking the global architecture and building community to adopt the following targets:

  • All new buildings, developments and major renovations shall be designed to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 50% of the regional (or country) average for that building type.
  • At a minimum, an equal amount of existing building area shall be renovated annually to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 50% of the regional (or country) average for that building type.
  • The fossil fuel reduction standard for all new buildings shall be increased to:
    • 60% in 2010, 70% in 2015, 80% in 2020, 90% in 2025.
  • Carbon-neutral in 2030 (using no fossil fuel GHG emitting energy to operate).

These targets may be accomplished by implementing innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable power and/or purchasing (20% maximum) renewable energy and/or certified renewable energy credits.



Trelligence  Affinity 5.5 
Organizing a building program from numerical information such as a Microsoft Excel file and then converting it to a 3 dimensional model can be a very time consuming and confusing. Trelligence Affinity 5.5 software is an extension of BIM that integrates programming data with a 3D model.  Once the model is documented, Affinity then allows the user to try out any number of building layout scenarios using intelligent, 3D building blocks such as spaces and openings. As conceptual floor plans and stacking diagrams are created, Affinity analyzes each element and tracks whether the initial design is in compliance with the requirements in the program.
Basically, this procedure is a highly intelligent method for going from a “bubble” diagram format to a 3D model and analyzing items such as area sizes, furniture needs, room relationships, etc. The model is bi-directional and exportable to either ArchiCAD or Revit. The bi-directional capability allows one to continuously track the detailed design against the initial requirements. This program is similar in concept to the Onuma Planning System (OPS) shown at the TAP BIM conference I previously mentioned. The main differences between OPS and Trelligence are that OPS is web based while Trelligence resides on the desktop. In my opinion, Trelligence is more capable and sophisticated. Affinity gives a building project team an intelligent and easy tool to help define the program, create initial design concepts and analyze and document the relationship between the two.
Seeing a program in action is worth ten thousand words. I highly recommend you take a look at this program on the website.


Reed Construction Data   SmartBIM 
According to Reed Construction Data:  “BIM is becoming the foundation of building design, visualization studies, contract documents, analysis, simulation and facilities management.  Autodesk Revit is the dominant BIM authoring application. Revit’s market penetration into architectural firms is occurring three times faster than the market penetration of 2-D CAD in the 1980s.  In the next few years, the majority of all projects will be modeled in Revit”.

If they are right, high quality, needs specific, and reusable BIM content will be an enabling factor for successful BIM projects and the use of BIM downstream of design.  Right now, much of the Revit content is generic.  The resources needed to develop manufacturer specific objects within an architectural or engineering firm can slow down the design and delivery of construction documents, which is the core focus of a design firm.
Reed Construction Data is partnering to help architects, contractors and building product manufacturers to manage and maximize the potential of this transition through its smart Bim products--SmartBIM Objects, SmartBIM Data, SmartBIM Library, and SmartBIM QTO.

SmartBIM Library caters to firms using Autodesk Revit and addresses Revit content management problems encountered by design firms.  Currently the Windows file system is a predominant tool for organizing and finding Revit families.  SmartBIM Library is a companion product to Revit and can assist the user with organizing, managing and locating Bim content.  It will also allow one to generate libraries from Revit families.  The family content publisher feature provides an easy to use tool that organizes Bim objects in libraries. After selecting a library one can find Revit families in a hierarchy by category and type, through 3-D visualization of thumbnails and DWF views or by searching property sets.

SmartBIM Library
ships with a library of Revit families developed by Reed construction data.  These parametric family models are designed for reuse across projects, design representation and accountability for quantity take off. The Reed icon appears in the library thumbnail for each Revit family developed by Reed Construction Data. One has the option to receive regular updates and additions of generic and manufacturer specific content developed by Reed Construction Data or on-demand by special agreement.
RSMeans Quick Cost Estimator
RSMeans Quick Cost Estimator(QCE) enables one to quickly calculate the estimated value of a project specific to a location.  One can select from more than 50 building types in 930 locations around the U.S. and Canada.  The calculations include Avalon’s cost itemizing low, medium and high estimates for architectural fees and contractors’ overhead and profit.  A trial version QCE is included with every installation of SmartBIM Library.


Adapx  Capturx

Capturx, basically consisting of a battery powered digital pen and printing software, is designed to work with Autodesk Design Review, a free markup program from Autodesk, and DWF files that are available from any Autodesk product. During the printing (or plotting) process, a faint background pattern comprised of a tiny grid of nearly imperceptible dots offset from the intersecting grid lines to form unique encoded patterns is placed on the drawing. This grid allows the digital pen to know where it is located when drawing on the plotted drawings. When markups are written with the pen, sensors capture the strokes and convert them into digital data. This data is stored in the pen for direct transmission of the markup objects into the original DWF files as layers for red-lining or editing, allowing corrections to the drawings to be sent back to the office digitally for further work.

The DWF files can be printed on ordinary paper using common four-color postscript laser printers and high resolution plotters. Capturx spatially maps the data on the original DWF file to the unique printed pattern of dots associated with that file. Capturx enables simple mark-up on DWF files using the digital pen– including notes and sketches. It extends much of the depth of Autodesk Design Review to printed paper designs, enabling natural pen-based markups while still keeping all data digital and integrated with the source DWF files. This unique functionality enables a range of review scenarios across teams of architects, engineers, contractors, inspectors, and facility managers.

Design Collaboration, Construction Collaboration, and field inspections

In the initial design stages, Capturx for Autodesk Design Review can help speed up design and design review. This solution enables architects to make large-format prints for review with internal teams, engineering teams, or clients. Prints can be spread across tables and each person given a markup pen. Capturx also supports free hand sketches drawn on the designs or in a separate notebook. Since the markup data is integrated into DWF files through Capturx, teams can get immediate access to the updated digital designs.

Capturx can also be used by contractors during the construction phase. Teams with printed plans on job sites can identify construction issues that require collaboration with subcontractors, engineering, architects or clients for quick resolution. Questions, comments and proposals can be written directly on print outs using Capturx. Instead of scanning, faxing or sending drawings by courier, updated DWF files can then be sent immediately to all the key stakeholders for resolution. Inspectors invariably work with paper drawings, taking them around sites to match construction conditions with the actual designs. Inspectors also markup drawings and take copious notes in separate notebooks for follow-up reporting. In the case of internal inspections, teams are particularly motivated to surface and fix issues quickly. With Capturx, internal inspectors can mark up plans with the digital pen, to call out and share potential problems immediately with design and construction teams. For extensive note taking, inspectors can use Capturx with a “Rite in the Rain”® notebook, which digitizes handwritten notes and integrates them with Microsoft® Office OneNote. Those notes can be cross referenced with the markups in Capturx for Autodesk Design Review. When the markups are integrated with the DWF file, the notes or sketches can hyperlink directly to corresponding notes in Microsoft Office OneNote.


About Ed:

I am a well known analyst in the AEC Industry, having been a journalist and lecturer in this arena for the past 10 years.  In my primary occupation as an Architect, I use the cutting edge digital technology about which I write, for the design and construction of buildings. I have been a Licensed Architect for 30 years, and have designed and/or built dozens of commercial, multifamily, and rehab projects. I also headed the CAD and Multimedia Department at Carroll Community College and the Industrial Design Department at Towson University. For many years I wrote the AEC column in CADALYST magazine. I authored seven books, in as many years, on AutoCAD Architecture (formally Architectural Desktop), for publisher Prentice Hall. My new Revit Architecture 2009 book will be on sale this May.

I continue to attend key industry events and keep abreast of the newest developments. If you see me at an event, please come over and chat with me; I like people, and would enjoy meeting you. You can recognize me by my trademark hat – black in winter, and white in summer.


 Please take a look at my Web Site:  http://www.hegra.org


© 2007 H. Edward Goldberg AIA, NCARB, Ed’s Independent Voice. All rights reserved


DesignDC '08: Leading ReNEWal

Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center, Washington DC

Wednesday, July 9
2:00 – 3:30pm

Ed will be giving a seminar

BIM: Its history, where it is now, and where it is going.

This session will explore the history of BIM, current software and possible future trends in automated estimating, code checking, analysis and facilities management. Learn more about the differences in BIM modeling software and the potential new profit streams that will be made available with automated estimating and facilities management.
1.5 LU
Presented by H. Edward Goldberg AIA, NCARB, HEGRA Architects


Ed Goldberg’s new Revit 2009 book is now available.

For information go to http://www.Prenhall.com