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Automation and cloud collaboration workflows for structural steel in BIM 360 and Revit

Philippe Bonneau

During Autodesk University Las Vegas 2019, I taught a class called “Connected BIM for structural steel design, detailing and fabrication with BIM 360”. I discussed how structural steel design, detailing, and fabricating teams can work together with BIM in the cloud, and I illustrated how Autodesk BIM 360 Docs combined with Autodesk Revit and Advance Steel in the AEC Collection can be helpful for coordination on a project.

The examples below, drawn from the AU coursework, illustrate the better integration and tighter interoperability between BIM tools and cloud computing, the core components to how we think about “Connected BIM” at Autodesk. Take a look and feel free to ask questions in the comments and follow me on Twitter (@Ph_Bonneau).

1) Create the structural steel model in Revit

  • Structural steel framing

Revit is a multi-disciplinary BIM platform offering structural engineers the tools they need to design buildings containing steel elements such as structural columns and structural framing.

This video shows how structural engineers can easily model a steel structure in Revit.

  • Propagate parametric steel connections

Revit provides access to a variety of parametric steel connections, enabling connections to be easily and efficiently added to the structural model.

This video shows how the Propagate Connection feature automates the process of inserting the same steel connection in multiple locations in Revit.

2) Collaborate on Revit models with Autodesk BIM 360

  • Upload the design model to the cloud

Uploading and sharing project files is the first step in establishing a successful management process for your project. BIM 360 can house any type of document related to the project (e.g. Autodesk files, PDFs, Microsoft Office files, and many more).

To organize the documentation, you can add additional folders in BIM 360 Docs. Subfolders can be helpful if you want to separate documents by milestone and/or by file format.

  • Compare two versions of the same design model

BIM 360 Docs keeps track of file versions, which means that when a newer version of a file is uploaded, BIM 360 Docs simply adds the file to the project and updates its version “tag” (V2, V3, V4, etc.).

When multiple versions of a 2D or 3D file are present, they can be compared to visually inspect changes over the history of that design.

When comparing two versions of a 3D model, you can identify object-level information about what has been added (green), removed (red), or modified (yellow) between the two versions.

3) Turn a design model into a fabrication detailed model

  • Seamless workflow between steel design and detailing

In a BIM workflow, structural engineers can use Revit to deliver more accurate designs to the steel detailer and fabricator; they can then create accurate deliverables for fabrication with Advance Steel – reducing waste both in the shop and in the field.

This video shows how you can install the Advance Steel extension for Revit to enable bidirectional data interoperability between these two products.

  • Automated shop drawing creation

Advance Steel enables steel detailers and/or fabricators to create deliverables that provide the information necessary for shop personnel to fabricate and assemble steel components.

Advance Steel may also be used to drive steel machines in the shop as it automatically generates fully-compliant files (e.g. DSTV,DXF, etc.) for CNC machines.

This video shows how you can leverage ready-to-use templates to automatically create shop drawings using Advance Steel.

4) Collaborate on Advance Steel models and drawings with BIM 360

  • View and compare detailed models

Tracking modifications between different versions of your 3D model has always been a challenge. With BIM 360 Docs, you can upload multiple versions of the same detailed model and use the compare tool to see what the changes are.

This video shows how steel detailers and/or fabricators can quickly and easily compare Advance Steel models in BIM 360 Docs, enabling them to see exactly what’s been modified, added, and even deleted in every version of a design.

  • View and compare 2D shop drawings

Once the deliverables for fabrication have been created – automatically – out of the 3D model in Advance Steel, you can upload the DWG files of the shop drawings to BIM 360 Docs to make them accessible to the project team.

This video shows how you can upload multiple versions of the same drawing created with Advance Steel and use the compare tool to view the differences between them.

If you’ve taken a look at the videos above and wish to see the full class from Autodesk University, you can view the recording at this link.

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Philippe Bonneau

Philippe Bonneau is the Technical Marketing Manager for Advance Steel software at Autodesk. Prior to joining Autodesk, Philippe spent 20 years filling various roles in the structural industry, including working in steel engineering & detailing companies and then acting as a product manager for Advance Steel at Graitec SA. Philippe attended the University du Maine in Le Mans, France, and he is a mechanical engineer. He is based in Paris, France.

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