Autodesk has previewed its new BIM 360 Docs product that offers a single cloud-based communications solution to wrap around BIM, incorporating document management, drawing sharing and project communications on any device.
The software, previously known as Project Alexandria in a teaser marketing campaign, was launched to delegates in a keynote address at the “Autodesk University” conference in Las Vegas this week.
It aims to create a single environment to create, access, maintain, mark up and share 2D and 3D project documents, plans and models, linking to Autodesk Revit and Navisworks, but also other authoring and content creation tools.
A promotional video highlighting its “one stop shop” capability mentions a number of online data-sharing tools and project management platforms that, by implication, could be displaced by BIM 360 Docs, including PlanGrid, Procore, Sharefile and 4Projects.
In the keynote address at Autodesk University, the company’s Stacy Scopano, a senior strategy manager for construction, explained that features included the ability to automatically extract 2D pdf documents and plans from a Navisworks design model, and allowing them to be viewed side by side on any device.
Documents could also be shared in threaded conversations within companies or with the wider project team, with permission-based access control ensuring that everyone is working on the most up-to-date versions. “It’s powerful, and it’s a sign of things to come,” Scopano summarised.
Jason Reece, technology innovation and improvement lead at Balfour Beatty Construction Services US, said in a press release: “Document management has historically posed a significant challenge for much of the construction industry, yet many still rely on a cobbled-together web of one-off solutions, which isn’t really a solution at all.
“We’ve collaborated with Autodesk throughout the development process and based on what we’ve seen so far, BIM 360 Docs is on the right track to offering the industry an integrated technology solution for this generations-old problem.”
BIM+ understands that a number of UK contractors have also been trialling BIM 360 Docs under non-disclosure agreements.
The product is expected to come to market in early 2016, but a limited free preview version is currently available by registering online here.
Next year, Autodesk will offer the option to subscribe to additional capabilities to meet more advanced needs of construction firms. The product will initially be available in English only.
Document management has historically posed a significant challenge for much of the construction industry, yet many still rely on a cobbled-together web of one-off solutions, which isn’t really a solution at all.– Jason Reece, Balfour Beatty Construction Services US