Autodesk and Vela Systems collaborate to provide BIM

SAN RAFAEL, CALIF. — Autodesk Inc. has announced that it has collaborated with Vela Systems Inc., a provider of mobile field automation software, to integrate Vela Systems Field BIM Software Suite with Autodesk Navisworks, a software tool for combining project contributions into a single, coordinated 3D Building Information Model.

This technology integration extends the BIM process to the field by making it possible for Autodesk Navisworks 3D project models to reflect the state of objects within the design, based on field-gathered data.

BIM is an integrated process that allows builders, architects and engineers to explore a project digitally before it’s built. Coordinated reliable information is used throughout the process to design innovative projects, accurately visualize appearance for better communication and simulate real-world performance for better understanding of important characteristics such as cost, scheduling and environmental impact.

“The combination of using 3D modeling tools and practicing BIM is helping to transform the building industry,” said Tim Douglas, Autodesk industry solutions manager, construction. “The integration of Vela Systems Field BIM solution into Autodesk Navisworks software provides our customers with better accuracy and efficiency for the duration of the project — beginning in the design phase and continuing through field implementation and handover.”

Using Vela Systems software, including bar-coding and radio-frequency identification tracking technology, builders can access a data-rich Autodesk Navisworks project model during the construction phase. Instead of leaving the Autodesk Navisworks model and its data behind in the office or job trailer, jobsite users can work with Vela Systems software on mobile tablet computers to access the intelligent model onsite. This makes it possible to track material production and installation, manage commissioning, conduct quality assurance/quality control inspections, do punch lists and create electronic owner-handover documentation.

“By integrating Vela Systems and Autodesk Navisworks, our joint customers can leverage the transformative power of BIM beyond design into the construction process,” said Tim Curran, CEO, Vela Systems. “By leveraging the model in the field, contractors benefit from greater efficiencies and owners get a better end product.”

Autodesk Navisworks users may designate which information will be managed in Vela Systems and, as a result, the Vela Systems software enables this data to be properly managed and used in the field. The integration between the products is bi-directional and automated. The result is that the information from the field connects the “should be” state of design to the “as-is” state of construction.

During the construction of Autodesk’s new AEC headquarters, Waltham, Mass., Tocci Building Corp. utilized Vela Systems Materials Tracker and Issues and Punchlists software products. By combining Vela Systems software with Autodesk Navisworks, all parties were able to monitor and track office workstations at the new Autodesk facility.

Vela Systems Materials Tracker pulled objects from the Autodesk Navisworks model through an automated integration, and then captured status information (delivered, ready to install, installed or damaged) from the field. This gathered data was then deposited into the Autodesk Navisworks model. Tocci and subcontractor, Creative Office Pavilion, were able to visualize and monitor the installation and quality status of workstations in real-time, making it possible to plan for shortages or discrepancies accordingly.

The benefits of extending BIM to the field on the Autodesk project were threefold. First, upon delivery, the inventory of available workstations was confirmed against the model. This revealed that all necessary components were on-site ahead of the actual delivery manifests, so the next phase of work could begin sooner. Then, the staging, assembly and installation processes for workstations were tracked from Vela Systems back into the Autodesk Navisworks model through color coding of model elements. This enabled the team to visualize available inventory and coordinate installation processes more efficiently. Last, the quality control processes of final inspection and owner punch lists were automated in the field with Vela Systems and linked back to the Autodesk Navisworks model, improving team communication and project delivery.

“Tying together field data with the model creates new opportunities for construction delivery methods and oversight,” said General Superintendent Bob Tierney of Tocci Building Corp. “By using the integrated Autodesk and Vela Systems solution on this project, we demonstrated how we can connect the ‘virtually built’ building to the ‘physically built’ one. The model gives us better oversight because everyone can instantly visualize problem areas as ‘hot spots’ with live data from the field. It is the obvious next step for contractors looking to maximize the value of BIM.”