Autodesk announced a new integration of several of its design and construction management software tools Nov. 18 at its Connect & Construct trade show in Las Vegas.
Autodesk Construction Cloud combines existing design and construction tools. The upgrade required more than 50 enhancements and integrations to software, including changes to construction management platform BIM 360. A new predictive analytics capability allows data to flow in a more seamless manner from design through construction to operations.
Assemble, BuildingConnected, BIM 360 and PlanGrid are the main products that have been updated and enhanced as part of Construction Cloud with enhancements and deeper integrations between each of them to allow project data to flow across all stages of construction, according to Jim Lynch, Autodesk’s vice president and general manager of construction solutions.
It also includes new artificial intelligence functionality to help construction teams identify and mitigate design risks.
“The idea is we bring three key pillars together,” Lynch says. The first is “the advanced technology of the products we bought, including BIM 360 but coupled with Assemble, BuildingConnected and PlanGrid. And then the second pillar is the [subcontractor] network that we got with BuildingConnected that is 950,000-strong, so it’s meaningful.”
The third pillar of Construction Cloud, Lynch says, is a predictive insights capability, which is based on Construction IQ and TradeTapp. “[TradeTapp] is the tool for subcontractor risk mitigation and uses machine learning algorithms to essentially extract data, extract key insights and learnings and pull data that really was previously siloed,” Lynch says.
Autodesk was developing its own predictive insight capabilities with Construction IQ when it acquired TradeTapp as part of BuildingConnected last December. Lynch said putting those development teams together added horsepower to the predictive insights opportunity.
“What I think you’ll see us do is extend the predictive insights opportunity from what happens on the job site into the pre-construction planning phase, which is really what TradeTapp does, then into construction and, eventually, handover,” Lynch says.
Instead of a single bundled product price, Autodesk Construction Cloud costs will vary depending on which of the four main products—Assemble, BuildingConnected, PlanGrid and BIM 360—a customer uses.
Jenny Moshea, head of technology at Seattle-based Sellen Construction, uses Assemble, BuildingConnected and Autodesk’s design products. She says that closer data connections are what Sellen needs for its projects.
“We want to be a leader in the region around cost and schedule data,” she says. “The way to do that is to have all the data in one place that all the teams are using and then can pivot on it in different ways. That’s really a driving force for Sellen's 2025 strategy as we embark on new ways of capturing data and visualizing data.”
Some of the projects Sellen has completed include Amazon Seattle Headquarters, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Headquarters and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Sellen’s use of Assemble has allowed it to centralize 3D models and share them via the BIM 360 Cloud.
“Pulling the files down locally is a huge interrupter of workflows for us,” Moshea says. “The file saving, the file sharing, the file moving, that is what really snags our project teams in their day to day operations. It’s not only the complexity, that’s a part of it. We’ve been doing complex projects over our 75-year history but access to [models and files] is what’s really helped our projects managers make decisions and plan.”