New software simplifies archiving and extraction of BIM data

Construction managers struggling to collect BIM project data for handover documentation or auditing purposes could benefit from a new software archiving solution available in the Autodesk App Store.

ArchiveHub is a plug-in for BIM 360, developed by AEC software specialist Matterlab, that allows users to download and browse a complete copy of project information, including version histories, issues, attachments, RFIs and names of companies and individuals. 

The tool retains all the original project data and file structures, including metadata, and comes with a dedicated desktop viewer that makes it possible to filter and search the database via a similar interface to BIM 360.

ArchiveHub is aimed at designers, contractors and engineers who often have a legal and contractual requirement to keep accurate records of projects, needed to support a reconstruction, review and analysis of events should a dispute arise, but who struggle to pull all the data together.

“The problem is at present there’s no easy way to archive and extract all your data from BIM 360 to store on your own system,” said Radu Gidei, co-founder of Matterlab. “We’ve spoken to customers who either don’t archive because it’s too hard, or they spend a lot of time manually downloading data then putting together Excel sheets or pdfs with links to files. They can spend a lot of hours putting that information together.”

In ArchiveHub, users select the project they want to preserve and the archiving process is carried out automatically in the cloud. The technology leverages Autodesk’s Forge services which, according to Matterlab, makes it possible to browse an archive five seconds after beginning a download.

The system retains a complete version history of all files and data to support auditing requirements. When browsing the database, a side panel displays who uploaded a file and when, and any issues or checklists attached to it. Click on the person’s name and their profile is displayed.

“Say a manager receives an email asking if they remember a specific issue on a specific date, they can quickly drill down into it using the viewer, find all the relevant files and everyone that participated in the discussion,” said Gidei.

Apart from creating a complete copy of a BIM 360 project, the tool produces a small archive file suitable for use as handover information to pass on to a client or a new project owner on a USB drive. This can be accessed using a bundled viewer, so the recipient does not need to install software or have login details.

Data from construction projects must be kept secure and ArchiveHub archives are processed in Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure in an EU data centre, where data is held encrypted at rest and in transit. Matterlab also wipes customer data from its system 14 days after an archive completes.

“Hosting our data centres in the EU ticks a big box for customers that have to ensure their data never leaves the Union,” added Gidei.

ArchiveHub is available for a flat $600 (£482) fee per archive as a launch promotion for the next few weeks, regardless of the volume of data. After that, prices are tiered based on the number of gigabytes.

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