Bringing Autodesk Advance Steel into a BIM 360 workflow is very achievable but like many collaboration challenges, the secret sauce is in the process and understanding the process makes the challenge a lot more palatable.
If you have ever purchased a product online, you may be familiar with how you can track the product’s delivery. Every time the product reaches a milestone in the delivery process, the status of the product is updated. Checking the status online gives you an indication that delivery is progressing.
This is the same principal that is used in the BIM 360 Field (B3F) workflow for commissioning equipment. All we need is a unique identifier associated with each piece of equipment that we would like to track. Equipment, in B3F can be anything that is required to be tracked through a status change.
Consider for a minute all of the possible ‘equipment’ involved in a construction project. Now consider that each piece of equipment is ordered, delivered and installed. Very similar to how you purchase a product online. If the manufacturer tags each piece of equipment with a bar code that tracks the manufacturing process then we can use the same barcode to track the commissioning process, simple.
Specialty design applications such as Autodesk Advance Steel (AS) are great for all aspects of design but what is missing is some way of bringing the design to the construction site. B3F Field has what we need to make this happen.
The equipment we are wishing to track and commission are the steel members that make up the structural model produced in AS. Let’s examine a possible workflow that brings the steel model to the field and tells us the status of each member through the build process.
As this document is more informational than instructional, I will not go into detail as to the inner workings of B3F but stick to the processes.
B3F uses a unique identifier to distinguish each object in the model. By placing unique identifiers as a property value inside the steel objects of the model in AS, we have the basis of being able to track that steel object into the field. It sounds easy but it does require a bit of thought.
That bit of thought starts with understanding how both AS and B3F can work together.
View of properties in AS
The key to joining forces between these two applications is, a unique identifier. In the above, I have used some of the User Attributes associated with each steel object. In User Attribute 09, I have entered ‘Beam Vertical. This will be a filter that I can use to group like steel objects.
In the model, each of the six columns has ‘Beam Vertical’ in User Attribute 09. I have used User Attribute 10 to give each column its unique identifier. The six columns are numbered BV-001 through BV-006.
Using the AS command ‘Export to Navisworks’ creates an NWD file that we can use in B3F that will contain all of the necessary model data. That is about all we need from AS at this point.
Gluing it all together
Before we can get to B3F, we need to have a short pass through BIM 360 Glue (B3G). In B3G we use the ‘Beam Vertical’ property value to create the set of six columns. This is known as an Equipment Set which is simply a group of similar objects we wish to pass through to B3F.
In B3F we can bring in this Equipment Set and create an equipment record for each of the six columns. Each with its unique identifier as its name and also the barcode value that will be linked to each column. We can also apply other properties to the columns such as status (what we’re after), important dates and even if there are any outstanding issues that have been raised against the column.
Here is how it looks in B3F from the web application. Below is the view from B3F iPAD app.
The idea here is that the information about the status of the steel columns has been captured in a cloud application, ready for anyone to update, collaborate, create status reports and all that BIM 360 Field and BIM 360 Glue have to offer.
The information that is required in the field has now been made available. Anyone with access to the project can take this information to the field by using the iPAD app where they also have access to the model to view the design.
The properties of the selected column are now made available to all who require it when in the field.
To find out more about Autodesk Advance Steel, BIM 360 or Autodesk Field and Glue call us today.