The MEP and Structural Fabricators Forum Joins Forces with AU

If you’ve been a part of the MEP and Structural Fabricators Forum in the past, you know what a unique event it is—a place to learn how technology is changing the game for those who detail and fabricate MEP and structural systems. The knowledge and insight you can gain there is hard to find anywhere else. Plus, it brings a singular opportunity to connect with other contractors, subcontractors, designers, engineers, and fabricators from around the country and around the world. It’s a chance to learn how your industry is advancing from the people who are leading the charge.

This year will be more valuable than ever. That’s partly because we’re integrating the Fab Forum (as we like to call it) into the broader AU experience.

What Does This Mean for You?
If you’re an attendee, this means you’ll have more flexibility in how you plan your learning experience in Vegas, and how you connect to the larger community that gathers there. With a 1-day or 3-day AU pass, you’ll also be able to attend other AU sessions and keynotes and participate in AU networking events. The goal is make the entire experience more about you and what you need.

As for speakers, it means you’ll be better able to mix with other thought leaders at AU, share your industry and product expertise, and have a more seamless collaboration with the AU team.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more about how you can maximize your experience during AU.

Preconference Learning Continues
While the Fab Forum is becoming part of the larger AU this year, we’re continuing to offer preconferences for other specialist communities that are leading the way in industry. The Computational BIM Workshops, the Connect & Construct Summit, and Forge DevCon will all help kickstart AU Las Vegas in 2018. And for those interested in the Fab Forum, the Connect & Construct Summit will be of particular interest.

It’s Vegas or bust, people. We’ll see you there.

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Rebar in Revit: Power up your productivity with BIM Designers

Advance BIM Designers is a BIM Solution for improving structural project management. It helps users to create, design, document, track and control structural members of a BIM project whilst also working in multiple BIM environments.

GRAITEC Advance BIM Designers – Concrete Series is an innovative series of applications for rebar detailing and modeling using engineering BIM data.

PowerUp your productivity in Revit to the Next level and manage your rebar project in the most effective way with BIM Designers, an add-on made by Graitec. You can easily handle complex geometry features in Revit: create an opening around pipes, a depressure within few clicks using an intuitive and easy user interface.

You can also apply reinforcement wizards to define the geometrical parameters and generate the 3D rebar cages on beams, columns, footings.

Discover more on Reinforced Concrete Designer page:


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What’s new in Advance Steel 2019


We’re excited to announce the latest release of Autodesk’s structural steel detailing software, Advance Steel 2019.


Here is a highlight of the main new and enhanced features available in this version.

1 – Enhanced interoperability with Revit 2019

The Advance Steel 2019 Extension for Revit 2019 transfers steel members and steel connections to Advance Steel 2019. Not only are the parametric steel connection being transferred between the two products, but also individual components of custom connections such as plates, bolts, anchors and welds. This enhanced workflow helps steel detailers and fabricators to take better advantage of the steel model designed in Revit. Read more about the Revit 2019 features for steel here.


Remark: the Advance Steel 2019 Extension is a separate extension downloadable from the Autodesk Desktop App (see picture below), you can also find it in your Autodesk Account at

2 – Migrate custom settings tool enhancements

The Migrate Custom Settings tool offers a modern and informative interface for migrating your custom settings and files from a previous release to Advance Steel 2019. It helps detect and identify customized settings and enables you to choose which ones you would like to migrate.

This release offers more migration options with personalized settings such as mapping definition, customized symbols, approval comments and status, and much more.

3 – New tool for fabricated anchors

Advance Steel 2019 comes with a new dedicated “Bolt cage” tool (available in the Connection Vault) to insert customized fabricated anchors to your base plates.



The addition is for those of you who like to fabricate your own Anchor Bolts as opposed to purchasing them off the shelf.

The properties dialog allows to define these custom anchors with various shapes, sizes, complete with Tie Bars/Tie Plate and Washer possibilities.

In total there are 11 variations. Including Rectangular, Triangular and Circular options for arrangements.


Read more about this new Advance Steel 2019 feature here.

4 – Display horizontal grid lines on elevation views

If your 3D model contains grid lines on distinct levels, you have the ability to display these grid lines on the elevation views of your drawing.

For that, you need to activate the default “Display horizontal grid line in details” option which is available in the Management Tools, before creating the view on the drawing.

When inserting a vertical dimension to this grid line on your drawing, you can snap to “Preferred for manual dimensions” snap point to get smart dimensions which will adjust automatically in case the dimensioned grid line gets moved in the project.

5 – Enhanced drawing update behavior

In Advance Steel 2019, the drawing update behavior has been enhanced for smart dimensions.

Prior to these enhancements, there were some cases when dimensions got moved to another location during a drawing update. In this release, smart dimensions remain in place during a drawing update.

Also the compass symbol remains in place and keeps the style that has been assigned to it when the drawing gets updated.

6 – More control on cut views on drawings

You can easily create a cut view in Advance Steel.
The size of cut views now corresponds to the dimension between the two points picked when defining the cutting plane on the main view.

This helps having more clarity on shop drawings and general arrangement drawings.

7 – Easily share your 3D model within or outside your organization

The Shared Views feature makes it easier for you to share your Advance Steel designs with stakeholders, without sending your DWG files to them.

From the new Collaborate tab on the ribbon, you can display the Shared Views palette in Advance Steel.

After the processing is complete and the shared view has been uploaded to the cloud, a bubble notification displays on the status bar and you can get the temporary link to share with others.

Stakeholders can view, review, measure, comment, and markup the 3D view, get access to Advance Steel object properties, using Autodesk Viewer inside their web browser.

In Advance Steel, you can refresh the Shared Views palette at any time by clicking the Refresh button; and see the latest comments and other information.


See how some of our customers are using Advance Steel on their projects:

  • Complex steel structure project at Guilin International Airport: read the story
  • New Bulgari factory in Valenza, Italy: watch out for this video
  • Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi, UAE: learn more with this customer success story
  • New operational support building at Regina Airport, Canada: discover the project by reading this article
  • The Lucas residential development in Boston, USA: check out this blog post
  • Imperial Beach branch of the San Diego County Library, USA, learn more on BIM & Beam

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Overview of BIM 360 Design

BIM 360 Design is Autodesk’s cloud worksharing, design collaboration, and data management product for improved project delivery. It joins the unified BIM 360 portfolio with a familiar composition — it enables the same Revit cloud worksharing that you’ve come to love in Collaboration for Revit, except that this worksharing functionality is now also built on the new BIM 360 platform. It includes a new “Design Collaboration” module in the new platform that was developed to make BIM management and design deliverable coordination on projects a whole lot easier.

Altogether, BIM 360 Design has these components:

  1. Revit Cloud Worksharing for multi-user model co-authoring (available both on next generation BIM 360 and also with BIM 360 Team as you have been doing in Collaboration for Revit*).
  2. Document Management module for data management, access controls, and web and mobile collaboration
  3. The new Design Collaboration module for milestone tracking and deliverable coordination
  4. Other administration modules for account and project setup (for more information, please read the Getting Started guide)
  5. Autodesk Desktop Connector, to connect your cloud repository to your desktop.

Learn more:

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The Precast Show

I just had the opportunity to attend The Precast Show 2018 in Denver this March. This year’s event showcased a lot of new types of technologies that definitely warrant sharing in a blog post. I also must confess, I cannot pass up any opportunity to talk about precast concrete.

There was a lot more buzz at the conference this year around technology, especially in the areas of precast factory automation. With labor shortages plaguing the construction market at large, the precast industry is also impacted by the difficulty in finding qualified workers. The most common way that manufacturers are adapting to the labor shortage is by investing more in robotics and other automation technologies. Technologies provided by companies like Progress have been automating fabrication processes in Europe and Asia for several years now. This level of adoption of fabrication has taken awhile to grab hold in the US and Canada, but I am confident those markets are on the cusp of moving to these solutions.

Partner solutions moving to the cloud

One exciting technology that I saw was from PTAC our industry partner. They showcased the latest precast detailing capabilities for Revit using their EDGE for Revit. They also revealed some new AR/VR technology with DAQRI while touring a precast factory in Denver, CO. They started investing in the cloud a few years ago as more of their customers needed a better way to connect the design office to the factory and field. Their customers were using Revit to produce the shop deliverables digitally. But they weren’t truly leveraging the digital data in the factory to improve quality and productivity.  Therefore, PTAC began investing in the cloud and connecting their cloud technology to . They did this to better connect Revit precast assembly information in 3D to the factory to the office and field.

What is fascinating about this technology is that is gives a glimpse into the future of digitizing factory work. PTAC and DAQRI’s vision is that precast workers will be able to use digital information to improve the quality of their inspections, coordination and communication. The cloud is here and Augmented Reality investments are sky rocketing across many industries. As that continues I expect the cost of AR/VR hardware to drop, making applications like this very practical to implement.

I think it is great to see PTAC leading the industry here with what they showed. To learn more about their technology here:

At the show, technology vendors IDAT and  AGACAD who also presented their Revit-based precast detailing solutions.  IDAT provides ERP solutions for precast producers as well as services to customize Revit to drive the detailing process.  AGACAD provides precast and timber design solutions for both MEP and Structure professionals worldwide and have a nice precast solution using their novel Smart Assembly technology to automate precast production in Revit.

To learn more about the latest Autodesk BIM technologies available for precast concrete, check out Tomasz Fudala’s posts here. You will learn about the use of Revit, Dynamo and the new precast extension called Structural Precast for Revit.

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Learn What’s New in Revit 2019 for Structural Engineers and Detailers

Building on Autodesk’s strategy to make Revit a robust model authoring tool for designing and detailing, the Revit 2019 release includes a number of new features that increase modeling versatility, accuracy, and productivity for engineers and detailers. We’re excited to share these features with you—take a look!

Detailed Steel Design

Revit users can easily modify structural framing and column elements using new edit tools and apply custom parametric cuts to better accommodate the geometry of elements for a steel connection. Steel components like plates, bolts, anchors, shear studs, and welds can now be placed in the 3D model to connect structural members together.

Having a more accurately defined design model in Revit also enables a better interoperability with Advance steel for steel detailing and fabrication.

Benefit: This new functionality gives you greater flexibility in modelling simple and complex steel connections in your structural steel design.


Standard and Custom Connections

With Autodesk® Revit® 2019 users can perform detailed steel design with out-of-the-box access to a comprehensive library of 125+ parametric connections including the creation of custom connections. There is no more need to install the separate Steel Connections for Revit® add-in as with previous releases.

Benefit: This allows structural engineers and designers to design steel connections with a higher level of detail within the Revit environment. Also it allows you to create your own steel connections and store them for later reuse to improve your productivity.


Documentation with steel details

You can use a set of dedicated tools to create precise and detailed engineering drawings where steel connections are represented accurately.

These structural drawings are easily created complete with dimensions, tags & schedules.

You can get a better understanding & evaluation of steel components with accurate schedules automatically generated out of the 3D model. These schedules can include information for steel elements such as beams, columns and also bolts and plates.

Benefit: This feature allows you to deliver documentation which includes details and schedules for components of structural steel connections.


With detailed steel design capabilities in Revit, structural engineers can create new types of engineering documentation, perform BIM-based connection design, and produce more accurate bills of material (BOMs). This streamlines work processes by enabling better collaboration between structural engineers, connection engineers, detailers and fabricators in different locations.

Detailers can benefit by better coordinating with engineers and contractors and manage the changes coming from design. They can also extend their BIM-based services into preconstruction and reuse BIM-based model information directly from engineers to eliminate work.

Fabricators can benefit by receiving very accurate quantities for bidding purposes through accurate Revit design models. They can also eliminate waste in the shop and field by using the BIM environment to better coordinate their connection design to optimize for fabrication.


Free form rebar shape matching

To improve scheduling and annotation of rebar in your documentation, free form rebar now either matches existing rebar shape families or creates new rebar shape families from its bar geometry.

This is done for each bar in the set individually and allows fabrication data like individual bar segment lengths and hooks to be extracted. The geometry of free form rebar is defined by the selected references, and if possible matched to a rebar shape family.

Use the Workshop Instructions parameter to specify how a free form rebar will be fabricated and you’ll be able to choose between “Straight” and “Bend.” Straight means that the bar will be delivered as a straight bar to the site, and the shape code is of the first straight rebar shape loaded into the project, like 00. Bend means that, if possible, the bar will be matched to an existing rebar shape or a matching one will be created.

Rebar numbering and assembly matching as well as all other properties of the structural rebar category make use of the shape information (shape codes and segment lengths) when dealing with a free form bar matched to a rebar shape family.

Benefit: This feature has been introduced to better communicate design intent, fabrication data in the form of bar bending schedules showing individual segment lengths, and shape codes when using planar free form rebar. All to enhance 3D modeling and communication of fabrication instructions.


Precast automation for lattice girder slabs*

Girder slabs are now part of the precast automation process, following similar configuration rules and workflow as the existing elements. They are part of the Structural Precast Extension for Revit 2019 add-on .

Now you can find the ability to perform segmentation into girder slabs and add reinforcement according to predefined rules so you can automate the whole process of modelling precast girder slab assemblies. Furthermore, this feature can be used in conjunction with the Shop Drawings and CAM Export features so you have a seamless coordination from design to fabrication.

Benefit: This functionality gives you an enhanced and automated design to fabrication process.

API for precast automation*

The Precast for Revit dedicated API allows bespoke configurations for modelling, like segmentation or reinforcement rules, position of lifters and connections, also bespoke documentation, like custom annotation styles, or multiple shop drawings for an assembly with one click, or customized numbering.

Benefit: This empowers structural precast support and complements the Revit platform.


*Part of the Structural Precast Extension for Revit 2019 add-on, available later in May 2018 via the Autodesk Desktop App.


Learn more on what’s new in Revit 2019.


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Advance Steel Tips, Tricks, and Workflows You’ll Want to Try at the Office

Autodesk University 2017

When you think Autodesk University, you probably think about learning the latest trends and technologies but also tips & tricks on your favorite products. And that’s just what you’ll find!

For this post, I’m going to summarize some of the Advance Steel tips and tricks that I described in my class “Advance Steel Tips, Tricks, and Workflows You’ll Want to Try at the Office” during the Autodesk University MEP & Structural Fabricators Forum 2017.

1. Center of Gravity

The Center of Gravity point of an object or an entire assembly can be found in the model by using the “Center of gravity and total weight calculation” command. As a result, an AutoCAD point is displayed in the model showing the center of gravity of that element.

Center of gravity in Advance Steel


2. Assign a Material to a Layer

When defining what an entire object will look like, it is a good idea to create a new material (using a specific color or texture) and assign it to this object. If you want to apply this material to several similar objects on the same layer, the Material Attach command can be used to assign a material to a layer with a simple drag & drop operation.


3. Using specific colors for parts on drawings

You can use specific rules to assign some of the standard AutoCAD colors to Advance Steel objects displayed on drawings. Once these colors are entered in a specific table accessible through the Management Tools, they become available in the Drawing Styles Manager. You can then use them when customizing a drawing style so that your drawings look like you want them to.


4. Convert multiple DWG shop drawings to PDF file

The Document Manager gives you the possibility to convert your DWG drawings to PDF files. But did you know that you can choose between converting into a single PDF file or multiple PDF files?


5. BIM Coordination with a Coordination model

With the collaboration model feature, you can use the Navisworks link to reference models from other members of the design team within Advance Steel to help you develop a better design. In this video, you will see how you can export steel members from a Revit model to Advance Steel, and how you can XREF the rest of the project as a Coordination model through Navisworks.


6. Panorama rendering for Google Cardboard VR

You can generate a Stereo Panorama from your Advance Steel 3D model that can be viewed in a Google Cardboard or compatible device. This offers a great and inexpensive opportunity to check your design in an early stage of the process.


If you want to watch the full class, check out the recording here.

For other Advance Steel tips and tricks, read these posts on BIM and Beam:

If you want to see some other Advance Steel features in action, watch the Advance Steel Product Features playlist on YouTube.

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