Collaboration is the engine of every design project. If you’ve worked on a design project before, you know that exchanging work-in-progress (WIP) design data between project members and teams in concurrent iterations is no easy task! Outdated versions, unregulated access to WIP files, and tedious markup workflows quickly become bottlenecks, reducing the teams’ momentum in the design phase.
That’s why we launched the BIM 360 Design Collaboration module. We saw the need for project teams to better manage and streamline the exchange of design data using software that is made for the AEC industry.
In the past few months, we’ve been hard at work to release some critical, much-requested updates that will improve collaboration efficiencies both within teams and between them. You’ll be able to seamlessly integrate all types of Revit models into your workflows, quickly view the status of a project, and automate certain admin tasks.
Let’s dive in.
1. At-a-glance project status
This new table makes it easy to understand the status of your project models in a quick overview, which will help you troubleshoot potential model issues and keep the project running on time.
The activity log provides you with a status update as well as detailed information for each model published in Design Collaboration — including who published the model and when.
More importantly, you’ll see a path to the model’s location in BIM 360, along with a “Details” section that provides a snapshot of the model’s title block. This is helpful when submitting tickets to Autodesk in the event of model errors.
Being able to see this high-level overview will allow admin stakeholders in engineering, construction or architecture companies to quickly review the publish status against deadlines so they can plan the next steps.
2. Support for all Revit files
Until now, the Design Collaboration module only supported cloud workshared models in its workflows. This meant users could not view, navigate, or share non-cloud models seamlessly within Design Collaboration’s UI. With this new update, Design Collaboration will now support all Revit files, including RVT files that have been uploaded using Desktop Connector or dropped directly into BIM 360 Document Management.
This means you and your teams are no longer limited to cloud workshared files when using the project model visualizer in the Project Timeline. Now you can aggregate models, compare changes, and get package support, no matter the Revit file you’re using. You can also directly work in the Cloud Models for Revit interface, bringing your non-workshared file from Revit into Document Management module.
This helps when working with teams that don’t use cloud-shared model formats. With the ability to incorporate and reference external files, this means you can now bring Revit and Revit LT files into your workflows from consultants or partner firms too. Being able to incorporate these files seamlessly into ongoing work can speed up the design process and help keep everything in one place.
At this stage, Design Collaboration supports all Revit files except when using the “Schedule Publish” feature — this is as yet only available for cloud workshared models.
3. Support for internal team collaboration
This recent update has expanded the Design Collaboration module’s capabilities from being able to not only facilitate multi-company collaboration but also to include internal team collaboration. This was a hotly requested feature update by the many teams who were predominantly using BIM 360 Design internally in high-trust workflows within their teams.
For internal teams, this new function creates a seamless workflow that exposes published or uploaded model versions to the Project Timeline. It also allows those models to be shown or hidden while aggregating data in the Team Space. This is a workflow that only externally collaborating teams were able to leverage. Now, everyone in the project can participate in this, allowing for a better understanding of co-authored changes and how they will affect the design process.
This is an important update, both for teams who want to better track how they work together to improve efficiency, and for managers who want a better overview of how teams work across a larger project.
4. Speed up team creation with a simplified admin workflow
The process of creating teams and assigning models becomes more efficient with this Design Collaboration update. The automated team setup simplifies admin workflows by automating the team creation process. Design Collaboration detects when cloud workshared Revit models exist in a folder in Document Management, and recommends a quick, automated way to create a new team for the folder. Admins can select which teams to create and adjust the team names and colors.
This will reduce the extra clicks that admins take to create teams for a new project. The automated process happens in the background and will push the recommendations directly to admins via the Project Admin module.
It’s worth noting, though, that Design Collaboration only supports RVT files when making team recommendations.
5. Stay in the loop with email notifications for activity on packages
Proactive email notifications now eliminate the issue of team members needing to log in to BIM 360 to see if a new package had been shared with them. Now, when a package is shared to the Project Timeline, all team members with Design Collaboration access participating in the project receive a notification, along with a direct link to access the package.
When a team consumes a package, the sharer of the package is also notified. This means the owner can better stay up-to-date on the project’s progress, as well as follow-up if they don’t see progress as expected.
This will help to move a project along to the next stage and will eliminate unnecessary wait times to review, consume and use a package. It’ll also remove the need for users to manually update others via chat or email when they’ve completed a step on a time-sensitive project.
6. Hyper-navigation in mini-map
Up until now, it was only possible to view the project model mini-map in plan view for the 3D model. The project model mini-map now offers an expanded, side-by-side view, with the ability to show sheets when available.
This update adds another level of context to your change visualization workflow, allowing you to more easily navigate the project model.
Watch this 4 min, 30 sec video for an in-depth walkthrough of the updates
We’re constantly improving your BIM 360 experience
BIM 360 has always been about making your collaboration workflows run more smoothly, improving the way your teams work together, while letting project managers keep an eye on project progress.
And remember, if you have a BIM 360 Design subscription and want to start using these features, all you have to do is log-in. The BIM 360 platform is regularly updated with new features and enhancements like these, which is a huge benefit of your cloud subscription!