Collaboration between departments and across Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) organizations of all kinds has been one of the main challenges that the Autodesk’s AEC Collection and BIM 360 have solved. This has been via file interoperability challenges with software like Navisworks, or cloud collaboration with BIM 360 Design. While these challenges have specifically impacted professionals in Australia and New Zealand as users tend to adopt many software to expand their services & improve workflows, and they’re also the ones that affect the rest of the users across the world.
Samuel Macalister is focused on helping professionals solve these collaboration challenges no matter their shape or form. As an Architect & BIM Solutions Engineer for the AEC team for Autodesk based in Sydney, Australia, he focuses on building design workflows for design and construction using Autodesk’s Building Information Modelling (BIM) & Cloud computing technology. His passion for visual communication to improve design development and construction coordination was on display during his Connected Building Information Modeling with Autodesk’s BIM 360 presentation at DesignBUILD 2019.
He provided the audience with an introduction to Autodesk’s BIM 360 portfolio, with a specific focus on BIM 360 Design for BIM Cloud Working. We caught up with Samuel to further discuss many of the topics that were highlighted at his session, including what Autodesk’s commitment to the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) region looks like, how he’s seen Autodesk tools impact workflows, and what he’s looking forward to see come together in the industry and much more.
Jeremiah Karpowicz: Can you tell us a little bit about Autodesk’s commitment to the AEC space and how that commitment has changed or evolved over the years?
Autodesk has been involved in AEC since 1984 when it released AutoCAD. In the 90’s it began its journey to Building Information Modelling (BIM) with AutoCAD Architectural Desktop and Revit. Over the years, Revit has led the way with BIM for building professionals serving Architects, Engineers, fabricators and Contractors.
Does that commitment look different in the ANZ region than it does for the rest of the world?
ANZ is one of the leading regions in the world for BIM adoption and technical talent. The ANZ users are incredibly passionate about BIM technology and tend to adopt new technology earlier than other regions. For example, our Revit Cloud Collaboration software BIM 360 has the highest percentage of users in ANZ.
Have you seen Autodesk tools remarkably changed or impacted the way in which certain tasks or jobs in AEC are approached?
Yes, there is a lot happening in the market with Design for Manufacturing and assembly (DfMA) & Digital Twins. Many of the software platforms we have acquired over the last 10 years are being integrated into Revit and our cloud engine (Forge) to support these industry trends. Again, the ANZ region has been very advanced with projects in Adelaide,and Willow’s Barrack place building in Sydney.
At DesignBUILD 2019, you presented during the Connected Building Information Modeling with Autodesk’s BIM 360 session. What were you hoping to convey to the attendees?
The presentation was a high-level overview of what our AEC customers are doing around the world, and an update on some of our newer products (BIM 360 Design) and software partnerships (ESRI & UNITY) One of our customers key challenges with BIM data is working with other consultants/stakeholders on up to date data, via a single source of truth cloud solution.
One of our larger accounts, BECA has benefited on numerous projects involving tight timelines, and various consultants – check out their case study here.
Tell us a little bit about the AEC Collection. What sort of professional is getting the most out of this collection?
We saw Architects and engineers getting a lot of value out of the AEC Collection. Typically, we have architects using Revit, AutoCAD, Dynamo & 3ds Max, and a Civil Engineer using Civil 3d, Revit, Recap 360 & Infraworks 360. Subscription has made software more readily affordable to a wide variety of AEC professionals wanting to make the move from 2d to BIM.
We are seeing some AEC firms expand their services offering by providing a BIM consulting sector, that might focus on a particular service like VDC model coordination heavily using Navisworks and BIM 360.
Is your biggest challenge associated with showcasing how these tools can create value or convincing potential users that making a switch from whatever they’re using now will be worthwhile?
Autodesk provides a 30 day free trial of our software so users can test it before purchasing. We also provide other beta sites like Autodesk labs, which allows passionate users to test cool new beta software for free.
Our software is also free to education providers and students, which is great for students wanting to prepare for the real world. I’ve also taught at some of the Architecture and Construction schools and it’s beenincredible to see how advanced some of the students’ works are.
Have you seen the AEC Collection being used as a supplement rather than replacing similar tools in an existing workflow?
Yes, Dynamo has been a game changer for Design Automation in Revit. Customers can write their own scripts in Dynamo, then load into Revit via Dynamo player to automate numerous repetitive tasks.
What are some of the things you’re looking forward to see come together in the AEC industry over the years and beyond?
Design Automation and machine learning is going to become exciting, and Autodesk Forge will play a huge part in this.
What’s the best way for someone to learn more about whether or not an Autodesk solution is going to be a fit for their company or project? Would that mean getting in touch with someone specific or checking out AU resources or something else?
Definitely check out the AU website for industry updates and inspiration. We also have some talented Partners in Australia and New Zealand whom customers can work with on all aspects of BIM.