By Nick Harris
At Autodesk University 2019, Autodesk launched its Construction Cloud brand with the promise that throughout 2020 it would work to bring its core construction technology including BIM 360, Assemble, PlanGrid and Building Connected together in one unified platform. Autodesk had been strengthening its construction product portfolio by acquiring some highly successful construction management software companies over the previous couple of years. It then had the challenge of connecting these products into a connected workflow that made sense to its customers.
At AU 2020 Autodesk announced that it had done that with a set of new products, available to its customers in early 2021. The foundation for all the new products is Autodesk Docs, not to be confused with BIM 360 Docs. It is a brand-new construction documentation platform that takes the best features of BIM 360 and PlanGrid along with some new innovations to deliver a common data environment for the unified Autodesk Construction Cloud. Autodesk also announced that Autodesk Docs will be available to all customers with an AEC Collection subscription. That is a significant change from the current offering and will mean that many more users will have access to a cloud-based document management system. Inevitably it is likely to become the ubiquitous design data sharing platform with its strong integration with Autodesk authoring products.
The new Autodesk BIM Collaborate enables project teams to align and execute on design intent by managing the entire design collaboration and coordination workflow to reduce rework, improve productivity and accelerate project delivery. Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro goes further by providing the concurrent model authoring facility previously seen in BIM 360 Design.
Autodesk Quantify is aimed at estimators and quantity surveyors and is used to automate 2D and 3D quantification. It shares some of its functionality with Assemble, but users can perform take-off tasks from both 2D drawings and 3D models.
Autodesk Build is the product targeted at the broadest construction audience. It includes configurable project management workflows, centralised cost activities and collaborative quality and safety tools. It also comes with a new mobile app, based on the much loved PlanGrid version and is called PlanGrid Build. Some of the features Autodesk announced include:
- Seamlessly manage and connect RFIs: Link RFIs to other tasks, escalate Issues to RFIs, and RFIs to Potential Change Orders to streamline workflows and reduce the risk of data loss.
- Streamline and simplify the submittal process: Initiate submittal requests, manage reviews and approvals, and access approved submittal information from your mobile device.
- Track construction progress: Track, visualise and report on work progress to reduce uncertainty and miscommunication.
- Accurate forecasts: Centralise all cost management activities in the cloud to give an accurate view of each project’s financial health and a real-time picture of cost-related risks.
- Customise workflows: Tailor terminology to align with company standards, set up custom budget structures that work with any accounting system, and create custom calculated budget columns.
- Effective safety planning: Prevent safety blind spots and risky situations at your construction sites by creating and executing standardised safety plans for your projects.
- Maintain safer jobsites: Quickly assign safety issues to team members, leveraging automatic issue creation for non-conforming checklist items and unsafe observations.
- Streamline commissioning and turnover: Reduce the time it takes to access asset data in the field, perform commissioning and resolve defects while reducing the risks.
- Accurate and comprehensive turnover documentation: Organised by folder for easy navigation, documents can be downloaded as the most up-to-date record and hard copy of a project.
There is limited detailed information about the new unified Autodesk Construction Cloud platform, but our technical team is due to get their hands on a preview version any day now. As soon as we can, we will bring you a deeper dive into what promises to be a game changer for customers delivering construction projects.