A cloud-based project-management system has added building-information-modeling management to its 2D-based workflow. Aconex has an eye on enriching models with life-cycle data by giving access and annotation capabilities to project participants via their browsers.

The firm's new "Connected BIM" feature now is integrated with Autodesk Revit. Other integrations with Trimble's Tekla and Bentley's MicroStation are in development. Revit users can publish models from the design software directly into the Aconex ecosystem for management within the context of the common data environment and project collaboration workflow. As the project evolves, subcontractors can attach information about a facility, such as equipment data and warranty information.

"This allows the parties to attach data, and, ultimately, the model will get a richer and richer data set," says Rob Philpot, an Aconex co-founder and senior vice president of products and engineering. "We are connecting this model data with the rest of the project team and connecting the model with all of that information."

Philpot suggests that BIM should be an information model about all features of a building, not just the design. "It's way more than the model data you get out of Revit or Tekla," he says.

One of the new feature's beta testers, Aleks Baltovski, design manager for Probuild Constructions, Australia, says the benefits include being able to visualize the project in three dimensions and connect documents in the document register to the model. He says it improves on-site efficiency, helps stakeholders understand their objectives and fosters collaboration. "Connected BIM is at the center of achieving successful BIM projects [and] outcomes," he says. "It works very well."