Autodesk has entered into a collaboration with Vela Systems, a provider of mobile field automation software for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries. The collaboration integrates Vela Systems Field BIM Software Suite with Autodesk Navisworks.
Navisworks is software for combining project contributions into a single, coordinated 3D building information model. This technology integration extends the building information modelling (BIM) process to the field. It makes 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 architects, engineers and builders to explore a project digitally before it is 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.
Using Vela Systems software — including bar-coding and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tracking technology — onsite builders can access a Autodesk Navisworks project model during the construction phase. Instead of leaving the Autodesk Navisworks model and its data behind at the office, jobsite users can work with Vela Systems software on mobile tablet computers to access the intelligent model on-site.
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. Autodesk Navisworks users may also designate what information will be managed in Vela Systems. Vela Systems software enables this data to be managed and used in the field. The integration between the products is bi-directional and automated.
This new solution was tried out while constructing the company’s new AEC headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts. Tocci Building Corporation utilized Vela Systems Materials Tracker to pull objects from the Autodesk Navisworks model through an automated integration. This captured their status information (for example, delivered, ready-to-install, installed or damaged) from the field. The field gathered data was then deposited into the Autodesk Navisworks model. Tocci and sub-contractor Creative Office Pavilion were able to visualise and monitor the installation and quality status of workstations in real-time — so that they could plan for shortages or discrepancies accordingly.
The benefits of extending BIM to the field, in this example, proved useful through all stages of construction — deliver, staging, assembly and installation, and quality control for final inspection. With better oversight, the teams were able to ‘connect’ a virtual built building to the physically built one.