The Next Generation of BIM 360: Introducing BIM 360 Design, Part 1: Account and Project Setup

Posted on August 22, 2018 by Synergis Application Consultant, Bill Knittle

Since Release 2 of Revit 2015, multi-discipline Revit design teams could purchase subscriptions to collaborate with a cloud-based worksharing service called Collaboration for Revit, which we have come to call C4R. C4R allowed Revit teams to concurrently author a shared model regardless of time or location. Architects and engineers could then link to each other’s live cloud models, allowing updates to be refreshed in near real-time while simultaneously exchanging communications between each other using a built-in chat feature called the Communicator. While this served the Revit teams, there were also non-Revit collaborators involved on the project that also needed to view, mark up, and share the data being generated by the design professionals. C4R allowed the Revit team to publish their models and sheets to a cloud project hosted by a service call BIM 360 Team. Each time data was published or uploaded to the project, it was given a version number. This guaranteed that the team would always be viewing the latest version of the data in BIM 360 Team. This gave way to analysis features that visually allowed one version to be compared to another.

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Three years have passed since the release of Collaboration for Revit and its partnership with BIM 360 Team. As teams have learned to use it and assume its workflow, users began to see some of its limitations. For one, if Revit teams linked to each other’s live shared models, there was no way to control whether or not the Revit host model wanted to receive the updated linked model changes. Secondly, there was no formal release structure of publishing the Revit model and its sheets during design process milestones within Revit. Thirdly, project members of a BIM 360 Team project had minimal restrictions placed on access rights to project data. Finally, BIM 360 Team was not built to support workflows beyond the design process.

Fast forward to April 9, 2018. Autodesk announces the release of their Next Generation BIM 360 services. So, what has changed you ask? For one, the Next Generation BIM 360 services are now integrated. Gone are the disconnected silos of data created by BIM 360 Team, Docs, Glue, and Field.

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So, how does this affect current C4R subscribers? For one, nothing. You can continue to use the services so long as you continue to renew your subscription and leverage Revit 2015 R2 through Revit 2018.3 for your projects. However, the installation of the Revit 2018.3 update places your organization at a pivotal point to transition to BIM 360 Design. New subscribers will not be able to purchase Classical C4R / BIM 360 Team licenses. But, current subscribers to C4R will automatically be grandfathered into accessing BIM 360 Design. This will be evident when the Contract Manager or Software Coordinator for your company logs into the company’s Account Portal. There, they will see the new service and the ability to assign it to Named Users once BIM 360 Design is activated. The license model for BIM 360 Design follows the same methodology as Classical C4R. If a subscription license is assigned to a specific Named User in the Account, that license follows that User to any project that they are members of in BIM 360. Autodesk calls this the “Bring Your Own Subscription” or “BYOS” licensing model.

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If BIM 360 Team is no longer going to host your Revit collaboration projects, what will? The answer is BIM 360 Docs. Document management is a long-standing dilemma in the AEC industry. Currently, project documentation is passed around from stakeholder to stakeholder making it impossible to properly track, protect, and guarantee the latest version is available to all involved. BIM 360 Team provided a means to centralize project documentation alongside design files. However, Team could not effectively restrict who could access the documentation and what they could do with it. Docs solves this limitation by provided folder-based permissions assigned by the individual user, their role affiliation, or company association. In addition to collaboration with Revit, Docs now supports other project lifecycle tasks such as model coordination, field management, and project management tasks such as issues, RFIs, and submittals. This makes BIM 360 Docs the common-data-environment for all project information and workflows.

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With Docs replacing Team, how does BIM 360 Design differ from classical Collaboration for Revit? From the individual’s perspective using Revit… nothing. Well, almost. For one, the Communicator will no longer function. However, the iterative exchange of progressive design updates between collaborators is improved. In Part 2, I’ll discuss the process of setting up a BIM 360 project.

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Looking to get started with BIM 360? Learn how to set up your BIM 360 account in our step-by-step tutorial and stay tuned for more videos in this series.

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