by ADAM HIGGINS, BIM 360 Docs
This article was originally published to the BIM 360 Docs blog on February 11, 2016.
User Impact: How Collaboration Software Affects the Spectrum of AEC Professionals
Despite working in an industry full of technological advancement, AEC professionals in every specialty continue to find the current construction collaboration process for meeting a project’s scope of work outdated. Systems lack interoperability, information isn’t readily accessible in the field and manual curation opens the door to costly errors. This antiquated workflow process stands in the way of team cohesiveness and is at odds with the best interests of the overall project.
BIM 360 Docs is a new foundational technology that specifically addresses AEC workflow problems that exist. Autodesk already offers a suite of apps for technical specialists, but this construction collaboration software seamlessly meets the needs of users across trades. The pain points solved by BIM 360 Docs are clear:
- 2D and 3D plans are now in one system instead of having to go find “the BIM guy” for 3D models.
- Markup functionality is far more sophisticated and is maintained between versions of docs
- Document version access and approval controls are available to make sure the team is working on the latest approved set at all times
- Title blocks for plans in PDF OCR formats can be rasterized and data stored as attributes allowing you to organize your project doc store by contents instead of filenames.
- All text and all properties are searchable, which is a huge improvement over flipping through piles of paper drawings to find what you need.
- File sharing and even simple viewing of sheets is made faster
So what would a BIM 360 Docs implementation mean for the workflow of every member of a project? Let’s take a look by role.
Owners and CIOs
The main priority for the highest level of AEC decision makers is to think strategically about technology deployments. They want to minimize risk and increase profitability. Right now, most of the tools being utilized are siloed by specialty; designers are using one set of tools and field construction staff another.
With BIM 360 Docs construction project collaboration software, there is now a solution that bridges the gap. Designers and those in the field are going to be able to standardize the information shared across teams. As a result, they have the most recent versions available anytime via a mobile device. What this means for owners and decision makers is a mitigated financial risk from users accessing the wrong document version, an increased ability to meet compliance regulations, and a reduction in budget line items as the number of purchased collaboration tools drop to just one.
As the keeper of all project-related documentation, a great deal of responsibility falls on document managers. They are well aware of the consequences of mistakes and yet, human error is always a possibility when there are still so many manual tasks associated with content curation and sharing. BIM 360 Docs assists them by allowing for standardization of automated naming and structuring, eliminating time spent adjusting architect naming structures for GCs. It also allows for the management of role based and version based access. For document managers, peace of mind comes with knowing that each version of every file in the project’s record set is up to date and accessible to all parties at all times via a mobile device.
Architects and Engineers
Currently A&E professionals are spending a great deal of time moving and converting documents, when their actual professional goal is to be a better contributor to the design team. Internal revisions in the current workflow can be a struggle as sometimes the only way to collaborate is to take data offline, fix it, and then add the data back in. The BIM 360 solution is especially advantageous in this regard as A&Es can manage their own docs and push out revisions to projects far more easily. They’ll also finally be able to find 2D and 3D plans in the same system and actually show the relationship between different sheets.
As managers of the day-to-day operations at a job site, the superintendent needs increased efficiency in their workflow. Right now, when a scope or design question arises, superintendents are spending time traveling back and forth between the construction site and the trailer to keep up with the latest documentation. In some cases this can take 20 minutes or more round trip if they have to ride down a construction elevator and navigate a safe pathway to the plan room. Having project data at their fingertips via BIM 360 Docs means that there is controlled communication of issues and the ability to make corrective decisions earlier. On top of that, this is a construction collaboration software that is easy to use, making them open to its adoption.
The foremen have the responsibility of putting plans into action. Any reduction in time spent with the superintendent or project engineers clarifying issues is welcome because it directly relates to them having more time to focus on putting work in place and on-time delivery of projects. Where BIM 360 Docs is most helpful to a foreman is that the most up-to-date plans are available at his fingertips via a mobile device and that the software is designed to be easy to use just like every other mobile app, without additional training required.
BIM 360 Docs is a complete solution, bringing together the needs of the entire team for the betterment of projects.