Canadian Consulting Engineer

Autodesk’s Building Design Suites

August 1, 2011
By Rita Wong, P.Eng., Entuitive Corporation




In May 12 Autodesk held its “Make Your Most Amazing Ideas Happen” event in Toronto, where it launched its full suite of Autodesk 2012 products.1

Pierre Hoppener, Autodesk Canada’s AEC territory manager, started by giving an introduction to Building Information Modeling (BIM) for those unfamiliar with the topic. He encouraged Revit users to participate in user groups that have formed in Ontario: the Ontario Revit Users Group (ORUG) and the Greater Ottawa Revit Users Group (GORUG).

Next, the new Autodesk Building Design Suites of software were presented – the Standard Suite for drafters and detailers, the Premium Suite for architects and engineers, and the Ultimate Suite for contractors.

John Janzen, AEC technical specialist at Autodesk, highlighted the new and updated features with live demonstrations. Following are some of those new functions I feel will be most useful to engineers.

In AutoCAD, 3D models can now be imported from Pro/Engineer, CATIA, Rhino and SolidWorks for annotation and documentation. The Inventor Fusion plug-in for AutoCAD will allow these 3D models to be modified in native DWG format. Better use can be made of laser scans of existing buildings, with support for point clouds of up to 2 billion points and feature recognition. Engineers attending meetings or site visits with iPads or Android phones can take advantage of the free AutoCAD WS mobile application to view and mark up DWG drawing files.

For Revit 2012 there are improvements common across the platform, and some that are specific to Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP. Cross-platform improvements include: graphics display and new view styles, updated worksharing functions, point cloud support, improved user experience such as compatibility with 3Dconnexion devices, and compliance with Citrix.

Revit Structure

Structural engineers working with the analytical models in Revit Structure will find the following enhancements: faster access to the visibility control of analytical element categories, the ability to toggle the entire analytical model’s visibility, colours to differentiate start/end points of members, the capability to adjust analytical nodes, and surfaces that represent wall and slab analytical elements.

The modeling of steel reinforcement in concrete elements has been improved, with support for multi-planar reinforcement and more options for the placement of planar reinforcement. Construction modeling tools have been added to facilitate the transfer of the design model to the construction team. Elements such as walls and slabs can be divided into parts to reflect the concrete pour breaks in construction. Creation of Assemblies will allow the generation of views and schedules that can assist with shop drawing production.

Revit MEP

In Revit MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing), conceptual energy analysis has been enhanced through the use of the cloud-based Green Building Studio software. A massing model sent as a GBXML file to this analysis tool will produce reports on energy efficiency and the carbon footprint. The energy analysis will take into consideration the construction types of the roofs and walls, and allow for the definition of building zones.

Other improvements for Revit MEP users include support for sloped piping, a system browser that shows the connections of systems, the ability to convert 2D placeholders for pipes and ducts into 3D elements, modeling of parallel conduits and pipe runs, interference checks accounting for duct and pipe insulation, and panel schedules that can display total current or load values.

Aside from the Revit platform, new and updated features of Vault Collaboration AEC 2012 and Navisworks 2012 were presented.

Caesar Ruest, BIM Solutions Executive with Autodesk, then showed how BIM can be used for the prefabrication of building assemblies, or leveraged by an owner for facilities management throughout a building’s life-cycle. Models created from BIM software have also been combined with augmented reality technologies to allow owners and AEC members to virtually see the buildings on site before they’re built.

These new and enhanced products will provide engineers, architects and contractors with tools to work more efficiently and collaboratively. cce

Rita Wong, P.Eng., is with Entuitive Corporation, a structural consulting firm based in Toronto,


See CCE, June-July 2011, p. 39 for a summary of the infrastructure session at the Autodesk event.


Stories continue below

Print this page

Related Stories