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Autodesk BIM 360 – Driving Collaboration for Construction Industry

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What is BIM 360?

This article gives an introduction to Autodesk BIM 360 and the challenges that drove the development of the platform, the downside of existing construction collaboration methods and an insight into the problems that BIM 360 overcomes to help companies involved in the Design Build and Operate phases of a project move to the next generation of BIM

The Collaboration Challenges of Project Delivery

As we witnessed with the 3D Digital Prototyping explosion in the manufacturing arena whenever you generate massive amount of data effective collaboration rapidly becomes a key driver to project success and on time delivery. Fortunately, this requirement has been addressed with the development of the Autodesk BIM 360 platform for the AEC, but what factors have influenced its development?

Firstly, we have seen a continuing adoption of BIM methodology around the world firstly in the guise of mandated governmental change, but latterly this has stretched to business owner adoption as well.

The success of BIM methodology has resulted in a rash of further mandates coming to the fore as the BIM standard gains popularity in multiple countries, the result of which is a massive deluge of digital data that needs to be consumed, analyzed, checked and re-shared with Architectural teams, Engineers, Construction teams and many other stakeholders involved in the project.

collaboration software for constructionIf the sheer volume of data is not enough of a challenge to overcome, the speed of delivery (and consumption) of available construction data has accelerated to an unprecedented pace as projects are becoming more collaborative and Framework type agreements/Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) emerge as best practice enabling multiple stakeholders to share both the financial risks and rewards of a project.

Communications and the digital generation are also applying additional pressure to this already volatile environment as technology delivers and the digital generation expects near instant access to data no matter where in the world they may be or at what time.

Effectively gone are the days when construction teams can afford to wait for hours or even days for an updated set of drawings due to a poorly communicated change. Time is money and they need and demand instant access to the latest data so they can make informed decisions on the ground, effectively work around the challenge and communicate the change to a single central source of truth where the changes are visible to all, and queue drumroll…… stage right (apologies for the dramatics) enter Autodesk BIM 360.

BIM 360 Overview

If you work in the Architectural, Engineering or Construction industry you won’t need to be told how incredibly complex AEC projects are or that they produce an incredible about of data, and I’m sure a majority of our readers will already have had to overcome innumerable challenges syncing and utilizing all of their project data without a collaboration platform like Autodesk BIM 360.

Alternatives to Autodesk BIM 360

Traditionally business have had to rely on tools not specifically designed for the task in hand such as FTP locations, Microsoft SharePoint and Network Drives which become exceptionally difficult to manage once external access is required and internal /external IT teams have to start managing permissions, VPN tunnels and firewalls.

construction collaboration challenges

Basic Cloud Storage has answered some project challenges and are great for data storage and security, but unfortunately these tend to fall flat on their faces so to speak when you start to add data management and viewing requirements to the mix – the result (more often than not) is increased risk of data corruption or errors as often files need to be downloaded to a local environment and become disjointed from the main data pool.

Dedicated well known cloud solutions geared to AEC projects do tend to fare better but in the main they tend to solve more singular aspects of a projects rather than addressing the whole requirement. Often this then drives a need for further integrations with secondary solutions adding to both cost and complexity, and if you have ever been involved in cross platform development you will be aware of that horrible white elephant in the room, communication between disparate platforms.

The answer always seems to be yes they can communicate, but the reality in my experience is not can they, but rather to what level, which is where many of our clients would agree that even when using disparate platforms, the solution often falls far too short of the required mark.

The BIM 360 Solution

This is why Autodesk decided to develop the next generation project delivery platform – BIM 360 – to support the activities of companies actively involved during the Design Build and Operate phases of a project, with a construction collaboration platform that was cloud-connected to support today’s way of working so teams can access the required data anytime, or for that matter anywhere.

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BIM 360 is effectively a portfolio of tools and a collaboration environment that span the entire project lifecycle. Each tool is specifically developed to address relevant needs and challenges experienced in the various phases of a project.

The portfolio starts with BIM 360 Team and Collaboration for Revit to support the design phases of a project; to BIM 360 Docs, BIM 360 Field, BIM 360 Glue and BIM 360 Plan that support activities during the construction phase, effectively overcoming the shackles of traditional and often disparate construction collaboration methods.  

Hopefully this article has given you a top level overview of the platform and where it sits, and you'll want to investigate in greater detail how Autodesk BIM 360 can help with your project delivery and it's many collaboration challenges. To book a call with our dedicated BIM 360 specialist give us a call or click on the link below and we’ll get back to you.

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