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July 07, 2008
Newforma Release Enriched by New Partnerships
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!

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Industry News

Newforma Release Enriched by New Partnerships

By Susan Smith

Project information management (PIM) joins the ranks of acronymed solutions available for managing the large volume of disparate information critical to architectural and engineering projects.

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A view of the BIM captured via the Newforma Snapshot tool and marked up to communicate a design review action item via a Markup Session.
Noteworthy in that category is Newforma Project Center Fifth Edition project information management solution from Newforma. In a conversation with Ian Howell, CEO and vice president of product management Bob Batcheler, features of the new release were discussed. Newforma’s support for the contract administration (CA) phase, which expands the ways in which external team members can collaborate via Newforma Info Exchange, introduces new and unique capabilities for project monitoring. The Fourth Edition was known for its email management, search and transmittals management which Fifth Edition builds upon.

The core mission of Newforma has been to look at customers’ work processes, which require the usual prerequisites of saving time and improving productivity. After using the product, now customers are giving feedback and report significant savings.

In the past year, Newforma has not only attracted an impressive customer base but also a number of resellers and systems integrator partners. They have over 17,000 seats under license, with customers indexing 49,000 projects. 47 of the top 200 A/E firms are using Newforma products. These relationships enrich the functionality of the Fifth Edition release.

Newforma is working with integrator partners Deltek Vision, Sepialine and Oce. From those associations, Newforma is being referred to their customers for workflow integration. Reseller partners include Smart Software in Australia and New Zealand, the AMR Group in Canada, and some others to be announced.

“We are an ISV partner with Deltek, and we integrate at several levels because typically a lot of AE firms already have their projects set up with Deltek,” Howell pointed out. “They assign project numbers and project team numbers so we have a basic level of integration that’s all visible to Newforma. When they use the project planning module in Newforma to set up project milestones and breakdown structure, that’s now also importable to Newforma and visible, combining business and project process. We’re building the bridge between what was a back office view, how much of my fee is left, to the front office view, for the remaining fee and where am I in terms of project
status, etc.”

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Markup Sessions activity center showing all current markups, including comments captured as the problem is resolved.
Since SharePoint is a common tool used on a number of customer sites, it made sense for Newforma to offer high value educating customers to what they can develop in a SharePoint environment along with all the dynamic project information and iterative design process information they can manage in Newforma. Newforma Fifth Edition recognizes SharePoint libraries from search capabilities and has visibility to project logs, project wikis and project sites built on SharePoint.

With Sepialine, Newforma has worked to establish smarter defaults so that when somebody does something that’s potentially reimbursable on a project, Sepialine’s Argos cost recovery software works with the current cost recovery software from Newforma to establish the defaults for billing and cost recovery.

Oce’s client tools product embodies drawings from various authoring systems and creates plot ready format for reproduction. “We’ve created an integration between Newforma Project Center and Oce Publisher where you select the drawings you like to create in plot ready format in Newforma Project Center where you have access to all your information. Those drawings are automatically dropped into the Oce Publisher environment for processing by the plotters, and the resulting plot ready formats are recorded in Newforma Project Center as a record copy of what was sent to the repro shop or the in-house device for plotting,” said Howell. This system offers a nice traceability of what
was sent to whom for what purposes from Oce Publisher. It also allows you to preview the plot ready format.

The three primary feature enhancements of Project Center Fifth Edition include the following:

Streamlined contract administration

The new contract administration (CA) module in Fifth Edition features improved support for managing submittals, email management search and support for logging and tracking of requests for information (RFIs). Bob Batcheler said that email management search and transmittals are the origins of savings reported by customers. In the new release, a submittal or RFI can be generated from an incoming email in Microsoft Outlook, received via Newforma Info Exchange or entered into the RFI activity center. RFIs can be logged, assigned, tracked and captured in reports.

“We have greatly enhanced the Info Exchange server capability in the Fifth Edition, offering the ability to be able to publish project folders, publish a project calendar and give visibility to external team members to logs of such things as action items, submittals and RFIs,” said Batcheler. “We’re putting a lot of project information that we’re managing behind the firewall in a mode where it is published and visible to an extended team on a selected basis.”

Sharing information with external project team members

Combining business and project process is key when sharing with external project team members. Newforma Info Exchange now supports external team involvement featuring action items and the sharing of updated project documents via the Project Folders activity center. Project team members can post a file folder to Newforma Info Exchange, then designated external team members will be notified about the file folder, and can respond or upload their own related files. The idea is that both internal and external team members can work with a common operational model, seamlessly republishing and receiving revisions.

New dashboard

What happens on a project often differs from what the project plan is, in terms of unforeseen changes in design, working conditions, or costs. The new My Project Center dashboard and Project Timeline functionality in Fifth Edition allow AE firms to monitor everything about their projects – offering a risk mitigation strategy which provides visibility to information for better management decisions, which Newforma calls ‘project monitoring.’ By being able to see when project activities are not going according to plan they can decide how to respond more quickly. The addition of the integration with Deltek Vision software adds project financial and planning data that integrates
technical project information for project managers.

BIM support

An important function of Newforma is the ability to be able to extend BIM by being able to compare views of the model, and compare submissions from consultants. Some of this functionality was already in the Fourth Edition but it has been enhanced in the Fifth Edition to include enhancements to My Project Center, the product’s project monitoring capability, and the new project timeline feature which integrates back to Deltek Milestones where the project plan is created.

“We’ve extended BIM support significantly to include markup review sessions, mostly for conflict resolution,” said Batcheler. “If you find a problem in the model, there’s a whole workflow in terms of how to resolve that in conjunction with your consultants in terms of what needs to be changed. None of which gets done by any of the BIM systems, which is added value by Newforma in addition to new project integration features.”

Newforma has also recently launched a
community site describing all the new functionality in Project Center Fifth Edition.

Top News of the Week

Visionary Italian architect Dr. David Fisher announced the launch of the revolutionary Dynamic Tower, the world's first building in motion, to be constructed in Dubai and Moscow with other locations planned worldwide.

Rotating Tower Technology Company, headed by the Dynamic Architecture Group, announced the opening on June 24 of the reservations list for the first Dynamic Tower in Dubai. The company has also revealed the design and master plan of the rotating building, which will have 80 floors and be 420 meters (1,380 feet) tall. Apartments will range in size from 124 square meters (1,330 square feet), to Villas of 1,200 square meters (12,900 square feet) complete with a parking space inside the apartment.


Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced an agreement with Environmental Design Solutions Limited (EDSL) of Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. The agreement grants Bentley exclusive worldwide rights to distribute EDSL’s Tas software for fast, in-depth energy analysis and simulation of demanding and challenging large-scale building environments. Behind Tas software’s speed and comprehensive capabilities is a powerful, time-proven, custom engine that incorporates sophisticated energy simulation techniques such as computational fluid dynamics. Tas’ thermal analysis capabilities allow building engineers to create more sustainable designs
by comparing alternative heating and cooling strategies and building designs for comfort, equipment sizing, and energy demand. Tas also supports designers’ efforts to reduce environmental impact by, for example, helping those designing in the United Kingdom meet Part L2 of the government’s building regulations, which focuses on reducing carbon emissions.

As part of its on-going commitment to support the practice of sustainable design and green building in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries, Autodesk, Inc. announced two acquisitions to improve building performance analysis in the building information modeling (BIM) process. Autodesk announced that it has completed the acquisition of substantially all the assets related to the Ecotect software tools for conceptual building performance analysis from both Square One Research Ltd. and Dr. Andrew Marsh. Autodesk also announced that it has completed the acquisition of substantially all the assets of Green Building Studio,
Inc., a provider of web-based whole building energy, water and carbon-emission analysis software. Terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed.

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "AutoCAD 2009 & AutoCAD LT 2009 All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies" report to their offering. Nobody ever said AutoCAD was easy, which is why you need AutoCAD & AutoCAD LT 2009 All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies! These nine minibooks cover all the stuff you need to know to set up AutoCAD for 2D or 3D, create drawings, modify and share them, publish your work, and more.

BuilderMT announced a new integration and marketing alliance with CG Visions. CG Visions is a “Building Information Modeling” (BIM) provider that also offers 3D design, material takeoffs and graphical-option-selection systems through their service offerings: BIM consulting, Residential Plan Service, Option management, Marketing Services, and their web based flex floor plan configuration tool – e-HomeInVision. -day


Meridian Systems announced the availability of a new research study from FMI Corporation (FMI) that documents how organizations are using construction project management solutions to achieve qualitative business benefits and significant return on investment. This study can be downloaded from the Meridian Systems
website at no charge. Users will need to register to access the survey report.


Autodesk, Inc. announced that Design West Engineering, a San Bernardino, California-based mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineering consulting firm, has been selected to receive a Revit BIM Experience Award. To date the firm has used Revit MEP software to complete design and construction documentation for 12 projects, and has extensively used Revit MEP models to collaborate with multi-discipline design and construction teams. The Revit BIM Experience Award is presented to commercial firms, educational institutions and individuals for innovation and excellence in implementing the Autodesk Revit platform for BIM (which includes Revit Architecture, Revit
Structure and Revit MEP software applications) on one or more projects.

New Products

Autodesk Labs announced that Project Draw 0.7.5 is now
available. This new release includes a new API method called deleteAllSessions that takes an API key and deletes all sessions still remaining on the server from both the file system and database. To give feedback write to
Email Contact.

Version 8 of Cobalt, Xenon and Argon has been released for PowerPC Mac platform machines, matching the release for Windows on January 28, 2008. Mac Intel users will have their own native version in about another month the company reports. In the meantime, v8 products for PowerPC runs well on Intel Mac machines under Rosetta emulation on the Leopard version of

The Open Design Alliance (ODA) announces the release of version 2.6 of the ODA software development platform, which includes DWGdirect and DGNdirect. DWGdirect 2.6 adds materials support to the rendering pipeline, includes a new DRX enabler for DWG files exported by Autodesk Inventor, and also contains support for newly added DWG 2009 system variables. Also included is expanded support for C3Ddirect custom entity creation.

DGNdirect 2.6 contains significant advancements in a number of areas, including attribute linkage support, tags, and reference attachments. DGNdirect 2.6 was already available on Microsoft Windows operating systems and is now also available on HP-UX and Mac OS X.

Carlson Software’s new release of Carlson Survey 2009 Embedded AutoCAD provides yet another choice for the surveyors and designers looking for feature-rich, intuitive surveying office software.

The Carlson Survey 2009 Embedded AutoCAD version has the AutoCAD OEM engine built-in. This is in addition to the Carlson Survey 2009 for AutoCAD and Carlson Survey 2009 for IntelliCAD options in the Carlson Survey 2009 product line.

NYacad, Inc. has released a new version of an add-on for AutoCAD: NYacad Symbols - VBA application for adding frequently used symbols and structural shapes into AutoCAD drawings:

- SECTION MARKS (4 types)

- TITLES (8 types)

- BUBBLES (3 types)


- MARKS: revision, centerline, round and slotted hole, elevation and others

- SECTIONS of channels, tubes and pipes

- Openings and rectangles

Informative Graphics Corporation (IGC), a leader in viewing, collaboration and redaction technology, announced that the company’s latest-generation Redact-It Enterprise Server software will be publicly demonstrated for the first time at LegalTech West.

This release of Redact-It Enterprise is the newest offering from Informative Graphic’s comprehensive set of redaction solutions for the desktop and enterprise. The Redact-It software suite is the only comprehensive solution covering desktop and server software that can intelligently detect and automatically remove privacy information such as social security numbers, names and phone numbers before making documents secure and available to a wider audience.

Matrox Graphics announced the availability of its M-Series multi-monitor graphics cards. These quad-capable display cards offer 512MB of memory, native PCIe x16 performance, and support for independent or stretched mode on up to four monitors simultaneously.

At Infocomm 2008, Matrox Graphics announces the availability and pricing of its new Veos product. This one-of-a-kind solution comprises three components -- Master unit, Display unit, and Repeater unit -- that work in harmony to create highly flexible and easy-to-work-with digital signage installations. Veos enables a single computer to output up to three channels of content along a single metal-based cable. All Veos components provide over 330 feet of extension with the ability to daisy-chain as many as required, allowing for a virtually unlimited number of displays-with zero loss to image quality.

CADaptation released the newest version of its powerful CAD Management software utility, AecBatchStylesEditor 2009. AecBatchStylesEditor 2009 software now brings its capabilities for editing multiple AEC Styles and Definitions in a single batch process to the Autodesk AutoCAD Architecture 2009 and AutoCAD MEP 2009 software platforms. The simplified workflow of AecBatchStylesEditor allows companies and individuals to configure, implement, maintain and upgrade their AEC CAD standards more easily.

The new VariCAD 2008 2.0 has been released, available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions and includes the following features:
  • 2D drawing editor works also in 3D space, which is especially important for editing solid profiles and creation of new solids using profile rotation, extrusion etc.
  • 2D drawing in 3D works also with access to 3D solids
  • improvements in 2D drawing
  • improvements in working with colors and color settings
  • improvements in 3D display and objects selection
  • and more

  • Reed Construction Data announced the SmartBIM Partnership Program, giving building product manufacturers the opportunity to have high-quality and brand-specific BIM objects modeled exclusively after their products, through
    SmartBIM Object Creation Services.

    SmartBIM Objects are designed to simulate actual products and contain crucial product data and specifications that can be used within an Autodesk Revit model. In addition to creating objects, Reed Construction Data will provide its BIM content in a searchable environment on the web, as well as within the SmartBIM Library.

    Date: July 7, 2008
    Place: Mt. Laurel Center, 309 Fellowship Rd

    Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054 USA

    Would you like to see how to intelligently link design and production drafting, greatly reducing the time it takes to implement changes? How about learning ways to streamline office processes, increase project capacity and improve customer service? Join us for this software overview to see how to complete projects faster, smarter, and more accurately.

    A complimentary lunch will be served from 12–1pm.

    Date: July 8 - 10, 2008
    Place: Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
    In the long series of concrete congresses since 1986, the Trade Fair has grown to become the focal point of the event. Concrete producers, material suppliers, project contractors, instrument manufacturers, consultancies, publishers, research, educational, and professional institutions, as well as local and government bodies are all represented. Their fields of competence cover the full spectrum of subject areas of the congress and this provides an exceptional opportunity to substantiate the knowledge attained at the sessions by the acclaimed and very popular technology demonstrations.

    Date: July 8 - 10, 2008
    Place: Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center

    Washington, DC USA
    Don't miss out on the fourth annual DesignDC, July 8-10, 2008. This year we are continuing with our green theme but with a twist: looking at how sustainable design and adaptive reuse, historic preservation and downtown revitalization can all work together.

    Date: July 11, 2008
    Place: Mt. Laurel Center, 309 Fellowship Rd.

    Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054 USA

    Get a first look at the building information modeling software available for MEP engineers. Discover the distinct differences between Revit based products and traditional CAD. Learn how to use the tools that help to easily create duct runs, size systems, wire devices and more.

    A complimentary lunch will be served from 12–1pm.

    Date: July 11, 2008
    Place: Mt. Laurel Center, 309 Fellowship Rd.

    Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054 USA

    Learn to layout duct systems and place wire devices. Become introduced to the new piping functionality in an improved operating environment. Physically perform practical mechanical, electrical and plumbing design tasks.

    A complimentary lunch will be served from 12–1pm.

    Date: July 12, 2008
    Place: Seattle, WA USA

    Skanska and BMWC Constructors have offered LCI Cascadia chapter, in partnership with WSSHE, the opportunity to tour the Health Sciences Laboratories in the G and H Wing of the University of Washington Medical Center.

    Date: July 16, 2008
    Place: Montgomery County Community College, Science Center Building, Room 214 2nd Fl

    340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422-0758 USA

    The Philadelphia AutoCAD User Group (PAUG)
    (www.paug.net ) has the distinction of being one of the longest running AutoCAD user groups in the county. Founded in 1983, PAUG is the only AutoCAD User Group in the Philadelphia region. The purpose of the organization has always been educational and is still dedicated to the free exchange of information related to the use of Autodesk products in an informal atmosphere. The group, re-focused on becoming a ‘Power User’ group, will give primary attention to seasoned users and CAD Managers. Every topic that touches AutoCAD and its day to day use is eventually addressed at the FREE quarterly meetings.

    PAUG returns to the Montgomery County Community College (
    www.mc3.edu) in Blue Bell, PA, on the third Wednesday of every 3rd month. Please feel free to contact Tim Kramer, President-elect, at 484-678-7516 with questions or concerns.

    Time: 6:30 – 9:00pm

    Date: July 17, 2008
    Place: Days Inn Hotel

    9615 Deereco Rd, Timonium, MD 21093 USA

    Experience how creating and sharing accurate drafting and construction documents is made more efficient with the system’s familiar environment, flexible implementation options, and easy-to-use architectural drawing and design tools. See how the DWG file format enables coordinated collaboration between engineers and design professionals, and integrated rendering can bring your client presentations to life.

    A complimentary lunch will be served from 12–1pm.


    9:00am -12:00pm

    Date: July 17, 2008
    Place: Days Inn Hotel

    9615 Deereco Rd, Timonium, MD 21093 USA

    See how easy it is for you create naturally, design freely, and deliver efficiently. And because it is purpose-built for building information modeling (BIM), any change you make, anytime, anywhere, is automatically coordinated everywhere in your project. Design and documentation stay coordinated, consistent, and complete.

    A complimentary lunch will be served from 12–1pm.


    1:00 - 4:00pm

    Date: July 24, 2008
    Place: Sheraton Dover Hotel

    1570 North DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901 USA

    Revit Structure can save you hours by linking your design and analysis programs. Avoid the lengthy process of coordinating information and re-modeling. Focus on your design, produce accurate and consistent documentation, and deliver on time, on budget with Revit Structure!

    Use building information modeling to do higher value tasks and produce fully coordinated construction drawings. Take advantage of parametric change technology so a change in one view accurately updates in all other views. Experience how to use a single integrated model for multiple analyses and documentation. Come on out and try it for yourself. See firsthand how this powerful BIM design tool can simplify your current methods.


    9:00am - 12:00pm

    You can find the full AECCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.