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November 02, 2009
Construction Takes Center Stage
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on AECcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each AEC Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the AEC industry, AEC product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by AECCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Welcome to AECWeekly!

AECWeekly is a news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.

AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Top News of the Week, Alliances/Agreements/Acquisitions, Announcements, People, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.

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Industry News
Construction Takes Center Stage
By Susan Smith

Construction is at the heart of two recent product announcements: Intergraph’s SmartPlant Construction for process, power and marine firms to more efficiently plan and manage plant, ship and offshore construction, and the latest version of Autodesk’s Constructware 2010 project management software, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application, designed to provide an on-demand environment for construction project management and collaboration.

click to enlarge [ Click to Enlarge ]
While these products are not alike in their focus or strategy, they share a concern for reducing risk and increasing efficiency and productivity at the construction phase of infrastructure projects. SmartPlant Construction is aimed at plant and process, while Constructware 2010 is geared toward infrastructure of all types.

SmartPlant 3D

At Intergraph 2009 in May, executive vice president, Global Development Development, Process, Power & Marine, Patrick Holcomb talked about how the SmartPlant 3D products have become mature and Intergraph has seen good industry uptakes of the technology. The company has over 250 clients and over 7,000 licenses of SmartPlant 3D.

Features addressed in the version 2009 release included laser scan integration, integration with analysis, and integration with detailing through the CIS 2 standard.

Customers have reported anywhere from 15 to 35% productivity gains, according to Holcomb. “Obviously we had a setback with the global economy turning on us, and what that did is stalled a bunch of new projects,” said Holcomb. “Typically what most of the engineers do is wait for a new project to launch, in fact they wait for new projects even to upgrade. Most of them have internal rules they simply won’t do anything but critical hot fixes during a project.”

Some shifts have occurred since the product was originally built between the years of 2004 and 2008. At that time, Holcomb said there was so much money around, “it really wasn’t about being efficient it was about moving faster. And the market was frothing. One of the benefits of this downturn (we wouldn’t have wished for it), now people are getting much more focused on productivity and competitiveness, so we’re talking to people about cost competitiveness. The importance of that is in order of magnitude higher than it was just a few years ago.”

Holcomb said he believes Intergraph will assume a growth rate that’s more “organic” in nature, “so instead of growing at 20 or 30% maybe we’ll see something that’s more like 10%. That’s a big success for us and in many ways. It’s timed extremely well in that just as our 3D technology is really coming through the early adoption phase, clearing out a lot of the early problems and getting to the very beginning of our maturity just as the world cares about costs and productivity.”

SmartPlant Construction

SmartPlant Construction, a new SmartPlant Enterprise software module created specifically for process, power and marine firms to more efficiently plan and manage plant, ship and offshore construction, is said to foster increased productivity, accelerated project completion, and reduced risk.

click to enlarge [ Click to Enlarge ]
Holcomb described the product as an integration of engineering and construction into a capital facilities delivery group. The product brings together all the engineering, procurement information and scheduling information and letting a construction planner create a real fact based plan.

“Engineers like it because they can make sure they have the right information being planned and the plan is being done precisely right.” Well known is the disconnect between engineers and constructors, “They have all sorts of communication and handover problems which are a function of both the culture and the people issues and physical location, because frequently engineering is not at the site, there are time zone and other problems.”

For AEC professionals, SmartPlant Construction sounds much like building information modeling, and Holcomb agrees that it is a “very similar concept.” “We’ve got interfaces and applications, users screens and reports for constructors and we’ve got product support and interfaces in engineering which are designed to serve the construction process. We spent 2/3 of our total time on integration 1/3 on features and applications for the construction planners themselves,” Holcomb noted. “That’s the level – that’s where the user screens are going to show up in the hands of those who are construction experts.

In terms of implementing a new technology such as SmartPlant Construction during this economic downturn, Holcomb said that one of the challenges is going to be finding a project – “it wouldn’t necessarily have to be a brand new project, but it would need to be something that is not already deep into construction for them to consider using it,” he pointed out. “It’s also a function of just finding the right people, people who are interested in trying something innovative within a company. There’s a lot that goes into piloting it. I think most clients are telling us they’re burning off a lot of backlog there are not a lot of new projects starting. There are a lot of projects, ones that are ongoing and other projects that have just been delayed.”

Because a project is not over after the building is built, SmartPlant Construction will provide a database that can be handed over at the project’s end to Owner Operators to use for its maintenance planning capabilities as it will contain all the technical data with all materials.

Areas where Holcomb sees the economy doing fairly well are in the power industry and nuclear.

Firms that were instrumental in sharing industry best practice work processes to help in the development of SmartPlant Construction include premier partners such as Fluor, Technip, CTCI, Kiewit, Nexen, and URS Washington Division.

Autodesk Constructware 2010

For those who may have broader project management requirements in construction, Autodesk has come released Autodesk Constructware 2010 project management software, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application.

Senior Product Manager, AEC Industry Group, Matt Wheelis, said that Constructware 2010 is geared for building and infrastructure professionals such as contractors, construction managers, program managers, and owners. Some of their plant and process customers, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, use Constructware.

“Because our customers in Constructware typically are not designers, it’s important they are able to review, markup and redline process inputs from a variety of design platforms,” noted Wheelis, “so with upgraded viewing and upload components we can make sure we stay abreast of design technology.”

Constructware 2010 continues to be able to import Navisworks clashes to manage the resolution of the resultant issues. Additionally, Vela Systems Field BIM Software Suite, which integrates with Autodesk Navisworks, has capitalized on Constructware’s data exchange capabilities to track resolution of field issues.

“Another major feature customers are excited about is one that allows them to get access to their reporting data that is currently hosted on the web, from the standpoint of getting a download of that data that they can then integrate with other business applications they host,” said Wheelis. “That really brings the power of software-as-a-service in terms of being able to easily get out to the field, extend collaboration and project management platform to other team members and also combines that with the ability to integrate data directly with other line of business reporting applications.

Users also wanted to have reports bundled since many of them must run the same reports each week for an owner or jobsite meeting. Bundling reports once so they could later execute them and have them ready to go into meetings with saves a lot of time because users don’t have to keep redoing them.

Many Autodesk customers are concerned that their project data integrates with their back office data from ERP and accounting systems. Project data in Constructware can be integrated with data in various ERP and accounting systems.

Administering site configuration is also possible with Constructware, making it easy to designate an end user in the various offices of an individual company. Features such as renaming modules are useful for organizations that want to tailor applications to their own business processes and naming conventions.

Wheelis said the new Constructware release is a “paradigm shift” for users, in that they can get their report data off the web in an automated way and then integrate it with their other reporting applications. “For a long time we had the ability to integrate data with back office apps, but it wasn’t very targeted as providing a data store for people to simply create or integrate reports,” Wheelis explained. In this way, the learning curve for Constructware 2010 is small and supports users’ use patterns. The new release also does support field use, where most people are doing punch list input using tablet computers.

“Managing high-risk construction projects requires being able to view and report on activity across all projects in a consistent, timely way,” said Laura Dowling, director of information systems for WELBRO Building Corporation. “WELBRO relies on Constructware to help create workflows used by project teams, as well as corporate management, to more smoothly integrate our business processes across our portfolio. I'm excited to see Autodesk continue to improve Constructware.”

Top News of the Week

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced that it is re-launching its AIA Documents-on-Demand service, a Web-based service for both PC and MAC users that grants easy online access to download, electronically fill out and print 16 of the most popular AIA Contract Documents anytime, anywhere with access to the Internet and a printer. This latest version is particularly well-suited for small practitioners and MAC users.

Autodesk, Inc. unveiled a technology preview of new drawing software for design enthusiasts. Autodesk Project Cooper, from the makers of AutoCAD software, is easy to use software that requires no training and can be used to quickly create scaled drawings, layouts and plans. Autodesk Project Cooper was demonstrated during the Windows 7 media launch event in New York, and is now available for free download.

Acquisitions, Alliances, Agreements

AECOM Technology Corporation, provider of professional technical and management support services for government and commercial clients around the world, announced that it has acquired Ellerbe Becket, a 100-year-old architecture, interiors and engineering firm.

Ellerbe Becket has seven offices in the United States and Middle East, with 450 employees providing services to clients in the corporate, government, health care, higher education, professional sports and real estate development markets.
Architecture, engineering and construction industry consultant, Microdesk, Inc., has become a member of the Oracle PartnerNetwork and authorized reseller of Oracle's Primavera project management software and now provides and services integrated project management solutions based on Primavera, that help companies to successfully plan, manage and control complex projects.

Viewpoint Construction Software
introduces Source One Solutions as Viewpoint's first Channel Partner. Owned by industry veterans Paul Krieger and Tom Norris, they’ll serve select Mid-Atlantic markets including Virginia, Delaware, District of Columbia, Philadelphia, and Maryland. With more than 25 years of experience in construction accounting and management, Source One Solutions is well-positioned to help progressive construction firms realize the value of Viewpoint V6 Software.

Informative Graphics Corporation (IGC)
, announced a new strategic partnership with Clearwell Systems, a leader in intelligent e-discovery.


Autodesk, Inc. announced the release of the Autodesk Subscription Advantage Packs, product enhancements available to subscription customers that will provide new, specialized functionality, tools and content to help increase productivity. The features and benefits in the Subscription Advantage Packs are compatible with the latest Autodesk 2010 software.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced that it is re-launching its AIA Documents-on-Demand service, a Web-based service for both PC and MAC users that grants easy online access to download, electronically fill out and print 16 of the most popular AIA Contract Documents anytime, anywhere with access to the Internet and a printer. This latest version is particularly well-suited for small practitioners and MAC users.


At the Be Inspired Awards ceremony last week in Charlotte, N.C., Bentley Systems, Incorporated, recognized professor Earl Mark, Ph.D., as this year’s recipient of the Be Inspired Educator of the Year Award. Dr. Mark is associate professor, director of information technology, and chief technology officer within the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia.

The American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC), announces Mark Cavagnero, FAIA, as the 2010 recipient of the Distinguished Practice Award. This award recognizes an individual architect's work, responses to the challenges of an individual building type, design excellence, innovations within the design and construction process, and a demonstrated collaborative spirit. The award is given in recognition of a career that exemplifies dedication and commitment to the built environment.

The American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC), announces the 2010 Firm Award recipient, Pugh + Scarpa, located in Santa Monica. This award is the most significant honor awarded to a firm by The AIACC and recognizes firms who have consistently produced distinguished architecture, contributing to the advancement of the profession in areas of design, research, planning, technology, preservation and innovation for a period of at least 10 years.

New Products

New ArchiCAD and SketchUp plug-ins available on Artlantis
These new export plug-ins are now available to download here:

SketchUp 7.x to Artlantis 2.0 Mac Win
SketchUp 7.x to Artlantis 3.0 Mac Win
ArchiCAD 12 to Artlantis 3.0 Mac Win
ArchiCAD 13 to Artlantis 3.0 Mac Win 32 Win 64

InterSpec has completed the development of the e-SPECS integration of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Master Specifications. The e-SPECS integration offers AEC firms an integrated solution with CAD and BIM applications as well as non-integrated designs using the e-SPECS Checklist and Editing applications. In addition to time and cost savings for clients working on VA projects, firms can realize higher quality design documents through the e-SPECS integrated construction drawings and specifications.

MultiSUITE Software have released the 2010 version of their stand-alone application called MultiSUITE CAD.

This uses the latest Autodesk technology to provide a structural detailing environment, fully integrated with AutoCAD (OEM) 2010.

AutoCAD OEM is a development platform which allows developers to produce a tailored product for differing industry sectors, with application specific menus and interfaces, but with the essential core AutoCAD environment that is familiar to nearly every draughtsman and designer these days.

Autodesk, Inc. has announced support for Windows 7. Autodesk will support customers using nine products including AutoCAD 2010, AutoCAD 2010 LT and the Autodesk Inventor 2010 family of software, on Windows 7.

Autodesk, Inc. announced the release of Autodesk Constructware 2010 project management software. As a premier solution for the construction industry, Autodesk Constructware 2010, is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application, providing an on-demand environment for construction project management and collaboration.

Revit Extensions extend the capabilities of Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010 software in key areas, including modeling, coordination, and documentation. This pack contains updates to previously released Revit Extensions as well as 2 new features:

Content generator—Programmatically generate structural steel, concrete, and wood section families for beams, columns, and materials based on national standards databases.
Wood framing—More quickly and precisely model a wood frame structure within interior and exterior walls. Models can be automatically generated based on user-defined parameters.

With Allplan 2009 Allfa, Nemetschek Allplan announced the new version of its software for facility management. In addition to modules for cleaning management, administration and workflow, Allplan Allfa sets new standards in interdisciplinary collaboration between planning partners: The new version supports the future format IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) and provides improved data exchange with all conventional CAD programs. It also permits the exchange of PDF documents and therefore simplifies clarification and release processes.

Informative Graphics Corporation (IGC) previews new versions of its Brava! and Redact-It products which integrate with the IBM FileNet platform.

Quantapoint, recent recipient of a General Services Administration (GSA) laser scanning IDIQ contract – announced the integration of Quantapoint 3D laser scan data with Autodesk Revit using QuantaCAD. Laser data may be accessed directly within Revit as photo-realistic Laser Images of individual 3D laser scans and high-definition Laser Models of integrated laser data, not fuzzy “point clouds” whose sparse measurements make them difficult to use and understand.

Around the Web

Architect’s Challenge: A Sliver of a Space by Robin Pogrebin, October 20, 2009, The New York Times (registration required)

Autodesk crunches numbers for greener buildings by Martin LaMonica, October 27, 2009, CNET News.com

DPR Construction, Tekla Corporation and Vela Systems Release Joint Case Study PR USA.net

Autodesk seizes AED 1 million worth of pirated software in Abu Dhabi, Zawya


2009 Pacific Building EXPO
Date: November 4, 2009
Place: Hawaii Convention Center
Honolulu, HI USA

The Expo is the largest trade venue serving Hawai’i’s building design professionals and contractors.  It features the latest building products and services from hundreds of suppliers and offers a full schedule of accredited continuing education seminars addressing current issues, innovations and techniques in the building design industry.  Admission to the Pacific Building Trade Expo for attendees is FREE and exclusive to the building industry design professionals and contractors.
Architecture Exchange East 2009
Date: November 4 - 6, 2009
Place: Greater Richmond Convention Center
Richmond, VA USA

This is a working show, the specifiers attend and are looking for new products. ArchEx is at the top of my list as far as how a regional specification exhibition should be organized. It is the best run of all the many shows I attend throughout the country, including many national shows. ArchEx is just a solid presentation with a great venue and, what is particularly impressive is how well the show attendance matches up with the product specifiers I need to grow our business.
Structural Engineers' Building Conference & Expo
Date: November 5 - 6, 2009
323 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL USA

The Structural Engineers' Buildings Conference & Expo is the only annual conference to focus simultaneously on the most up-to-date technical issues in the successful completion of buildings, and the necessary management issues to increase your business expertise.
ArchiCAD 13 - A Revolution in BIM Collaboration
Date: November 5, 2009
Place: New Haven, CT USA

With today’s available technology building design teams can collaborate more effectively, not only within the core team, but also across multiple project delivery participants. BIM processes have obvious benefits by integrating data and model views. Typically, however, as the model data integration gets more complex the flexibility of workflow and performance goes down, which up until now has caused problems for team collaboration. This program will review a revolutionary solution, based on a new patented technology called the Delta BIM Server, which provides tools for high speed performance and real time collaboration.

Time: 3PM - 4:30 PM | Eastern Time
New Features in ArchiCAD 13
Date: November 5, 2009
Place: New Haven, CT USA

During this ICS hosted ArchiCAD User Group Meeting, we will present an introduction to ArchiCAD 13, the latest version of Graphisoft’s award-winning architectural Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. ArchiCAD 13 marks a turning point in BIM collaboration, allowing multiple users to work in the same model simultaneously.

Time:  5:00PM - 6:30 PM | Eastern Time
2009 Design-Build Conference & Expo
Date: November 5 - 7, 2009
Place: Gaylord National
201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD USA

In 2009, Design-Build and Integrated Project Delivery is here to stay, and has arrived as the proven A/E/C methodology of choice for achieving high-performance projects in all sectors, public and private.  With the advent of tools such as building information modeling (BIM), owners have come to demand (and expect) expertise in collaboration and faster, more efficient, cost-effective projects.  Low-bid contracting and line-item product specifying is a thing of the past, and the integrated high-performance team approach is how you now must plan and position your marketing message.
ArchiCAD 13: Revolutionizing BIM Collaboration
Date: November 10, 2009
Place: University of Miami School of Architecture Glasgow Auditorium
1223 Dickinson Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146 USA

Experience today's most innovative sustainable BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology showcasing ArchiCAD 13 and its revolutionary Graphisoft BIM Server that dramatically streamlines the workflow of practices large and small with just an internet connection.

Time:  6PM - 8 PM
Greenbuild 2009
Date: November 11 - 13, 2009
Place: The Phoenix Convention Center
Phoenix, AZ USA

Greenbuild 2009 is heading to the American Southwest, a region with unique environmental and social challenges and opportunities, and the imperative is clear: Green building can and must come home to all people, boosting the quality of life on main streets across the country and around the world.
ArchiCAD 13: A Revolution in BIM Collaboration
Date: November 12, 2009
Place: The Bull and Bear Club 901 E. Cary Street
One James Center, 21st Floor, Richmond, VT 23219 USA

The most pressing issues with BIM projects are related to performance and collaboration. This program will review a revolutionary solution, based on a new patent-pending technology called the Delta BIM Server, that provides tools for high-speed performance and real-time collaboration. The benefits of this technology can streamline the workflow of any practice and are applicable for small, medium and large firms alike. In addition, the program will cover:

Time: 12:00PM - 2:00 PM | Eastern Time
CURT 2009 National Conference
Date: November 16 - 18, 2009
Place: Buena Vista Palace Hotel
1900 Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 USA

The Construction Users Roundtable proudly presents Surviving and Thriving In Today’s Construction Industry as the theme for our 2009 National Conference of Construction Owners. The Conference Chairperson is Mr. Norbert Young of McGraw-Hill Construction and the Vice Chairperson is Mr. Jon Dutcher of Abbott.
AutoCAD Civil 3D Test Drive
Date: November 18, 2009
Place: Synergis Training Center
Codorus Valley Corp. Center, Suite 3, Terrace Level, York, PA USA

Are you a long-time AutoCAD Land Desktop user looking to make the transition to AutoCAD Civil 3D? Do you want to see firsthand how advancements in technology make AutoCAD Civil 3D able to address the ever changing demands of today’s engineering firms?

Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm - Seminar, 1:00 - 4:00 - Test Drive
Build Boston 2009
Date: November 18 - 20, 2009
Place: Seaport World Trade Center
Boston, MA USA

Build Boston is the premier regional tradeshow and convention for the design and construction industry. We are particularly interested in workshops that address the design and construction of high-quality, sustainable, cost-effective, energy efficient buildings, environments, cities and structures that serve everyone.
BIM Symposium: BIM Breakfast with GRAPHISOFT CEO
Date: November 18, 2009
Place: Seaport World Trade Center
Boston, MA USA

The Future of BIM Collaboration Build Boston 2009 kicks off the BIM symposium with a discussion of BIM collaboration. As we progress in BIM technology the role of the Architect as collaborator becomes stronger than ever. Technological changes in the tools drove small and large firms to change and evolve. Team collaboration and interoperability lead the way.

Time:  8:30AM - 10 AM | Eastern Time
The Big 5 just got bigger!
Date: November 23 - 26, 2009
Place: Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre
Sheikh Zayed RoadZayed , Dubai , United Arab Emirates

The Big 5 is your chance to get out there and talk to an audience on a mass scale, bring your brands to life, spread the word quickly and raise your presence in the marketplace. No other event in the Middle East can deliver such a comprehensive return on investment.
Civils 2009
Date: November 25 - 26, 2009
Place: Earl's Court 2
Warwick Road, London, United Kingdom

Welcome to Civils 2009. As the leading exhibition for the civil engineering industry, it is the event for you to showcase your projects, products and services in front of thousands of engineers, architects, consultants and contractors. It is the only event where you will meet all the key decision makers at the same place at the same time.

You can find the full AECCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.