With a trend toward integrated project delivery gaining traction, project teams are clamoring for a free flow of data between disciplines.

In its latest response to the evolving market needs, on Feb. 9, San Raphael, Calif.-based Autodesk Inc. presented 2010 versions of its architecture, engineering, construction and geospatial products, as well as civil design software for transportation and utilities, with changes designed to ease the adoption of building information modeling processes within and across those sectors.

The most ubiquitous change, as presented in a web conference showcasing key features of the new releases, is the replacement of tool bars across the suite of related 2-D and 3-D products with ribbons that organize context-sensitive tools under tabs, with each tab organized around workflow functions such as creation, annotation and collaboration. A similar pattern is maintained across the disciplines, say company product managers.

“It reduces time spent searching for commands and tools,” says Karen Weiss, technical marketing manager for transportation. “Moving between applications won’t be like learning a new language. It may seem trivial, but multiplied over a day or week the potential for productivity gains become significant.”

Included in the updates are 2-D AutoCAD architectural design and structural products as well as 3-D counterparts, in recognition, company officials say, that even in a BIM-style project, some processes will continue to be well-served by 2-D design tools as long as data can be passed on to other tools. In the 2-D architecture software, for example, designs exported in the Industry Foundation Class format now include space boundary information for energy analysis through AutoCAD MEP software.

Within the structural software, a link between Revit Structure and AutoCAD Structural Detailing has been created to improve collaboration. A separate reinforcement module also is available to integrate with Autodesk Robot™ Structural Analysis Professional software for analyzing loads, including temporary loads during construction. The company says there are many other improvements to that product with this release as well.

The updated Autodesk Revit platform is said to offer greater interoperability for green building analysis, providing support for the green building extensible markup language, gbXML. Specific updates include improved interoperability between Autodesk Revit Architecture software and AutoCAD Civil 3D, as well as the rendering tool Autodesk 3ds Max Design and Autodesk Inventor, which is seeing increased use for incorporating component designs. New features in 3ds Max Design include interactive lighting analysis to validate solutions early in the design process.

The company also says the new version of its Autodesk Revit MEP software for mechanical, electrical and plumbing includes more sophisticated tools for system design, heating and cooling loads analysis and enhanced gbXML export functions.

Availability of the 2010 releases will vary by country. Details and purchasing options will be announced March 24, at www.autodesk.com, the company says.