Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Reinforcing Concrete in BIM for Structural Engineering

The excellent BIM and Beam REVIT Structure blog put me onto the a great "Autodesk Customer Success story" PDF. Though promotional in nature readers will be interested in the following trends identified in the story:
Firstly, the article highlights the different levels of granularly now available in comparable REVIT add-ons. Compare, for instance, the native automated rebar placement tool and German Software company SOFiSTiK's concrete reinforcement tool. Each does the job but SOFiSTiK's rebar placement tool does it with a higher degree of flexibility and functionality. This difference might only become apparent, and in fact becomes an advantage, depending on how much one details concrete reinforcement in REVIT. An example from the article is given by BIM specialist Sandra Hombergen of ABT Netherlands. Reinforcing concrete is her wheelhouse. So to have a tool which is both powerful in automatically detailing concrete reinforcement to EU code specifications and is flexible enough to overcome all the unique conditions found in complex projects is no doubt a relief to her and those in her position. Myself, on the other hand, who need only periodically detail reinforcement can get away with applying the native add-on and then post-processing to get the same final effect. Where a shop lay on this continuum will depend on the firm's disposition toward using software to glean operational efficiencies in proportion to the scale of their practice.
Secondly, ABT's altitude toward the collaborative nature of their work is worthy of note. The article is testament to the growing demand within the industry for one centralized model which can be distributively accessed. To quote Sandra Hombergen from the article, "It’s clear to me that 3D rebar will be a standardized deliverable in five years’ time." With the demand and functionally of such features clearly articulated, left to business is the problem of execution. Glossed over in the article is how clunky this can be in real life and any honest review of the software must admit the collaborative elements of the program can be unpredictable. And unpredictableness in a business setting can be both wasteful and stressful.

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