The Next Generation of BIM 360, Part 10: The New BIM Design Collaboration Enhancements

Posted on March 1, 2019 by Synergis Applications Consultant, Bill Knittle

Recently, Autodesk released a new set of enhancements to the Design Collaboration module of BIM 360 Design. Several key modifications have been made to reduce friction and misunderstanding while enhancing the collaborative experience of working with Revit cloud-workshared models. Let’s discuss the administrative tweaks first and then, the feature enhancements.

Enhancements to Project Administration for Design Collaboration

Project Admins preparing Project Members for the Design Collaboration experience now have more options at their fingertips when dealing with the management of Teams. Firstly, it was always possible to create Teams and assign Project Members with specified permissions. I mention this process in Part 2 of this series.

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However, it was not always possible to delete a Team. Today, un-utilized Teams can be deleted from the module with the click of a button. This will delete the Team’s folder and Shared Folder in the Document Management module.

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In addition, the new administrative enhancement is more colorful. When a Project Admin created a Team in the past, BIM 360 decided the color for each Team.

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Now, Project Admins can decide which color they want to assign to each of the Teams as viewed from the Design Collaboration timeline.

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This next enhancement is a game-changer. In the past, 3D and 2D data could only be published to Design Collaboration from within Revit or, pulled into Design Collaboration by selecting the Update to Latest button. This required manual intervention! Why couldn’t it be more automated?

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Well, it is now! A Project Admin can automate the process of publishing Revit data by creating a publish schedule for each Team. The schedule simply sets when Design Collaboration automatically publishes data from the live Revit model. The schedule stipulates a reoccurring date and time each publish occurs. For example, a Project Admin can select a Team and set the weekly publishes to occur on Sunday at 12:00 pm.

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Once enabled, the publish schedule appears in the Design Collaboration workspace for that Team.

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Well thought out BIM plans usually determine ownership of elements in the models. Such ownership includes the Levels and Phases. In the past, Design Collaboration leveraged the Team’s published model as the basis for displaying information with regards to Levels and Phases.

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To simplify this, Project Admins can now select which model is the Master Model for Design Collaboration to use across all the Teams. For example, the Architectural model can be selected to represent the Master Model. That way, the engineers’ models use the architect’s model for Levels and Phases.

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Feature Enhancements to the Design Collaboration Module

With the Issues feature unified across the BIM 360 platform, it is now possible for Teams to create, edit, and view Issues directly within Design Collaboration. With this latest enhancement, members within a Team can create their own internal Issues or, they can create Issues in the Packages of other Teams that have been shared or consumed.

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In the landing page of Design Collaboration, members will now see Issues displayed in a list to the right. With the Filter, members can display a combined list of the Team’s Issues, just their own internal WIP Issues, or just the Issues related to Packages they’ve created. Issues are tracked by either being private or public. Private or WIP Issues are created by members within a given Team. For example, the project architect wants to alert a colleague that they need to model casework in a particular room at the client’s request.

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Public Issues are created by members of other Teams reviewing Packages your Team shared. For example, the architectural Team explores a newly shared Package from the MEP Team and, creates an Issue indicating that they missed piping new sinks in the latest iteration of the design. When complete, the Issues display as symbols next to the Set or specific document the Issue resides on.

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Aside from receiving an email notification, the Issues created by the architectural Team now display in the MEP Team’s landing page as their Team’s Package Issues.

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By selecting the Issue in the landing page, it will display the Issue’s worksheet. Inside the worksheet, the linked document can be selected to view the associated document at the exact location of the pushpin for the Issue.

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Once in the view, The Issue Panel expands to display the properties of the Issue so that the recipient of the Package Issue can view and respond. This enhancement helps maintain the same transparency found in Issues for Document Management across all the Team members using Design Collaboration as they identify and resolve Issues on their ever evolving design.

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The final enhancement to the Design Collaboration module is a subtle tweak to the Place Me feature I mentioned in Part 7 of this series. In the past, members may have lost their bearings while navigating through the module using First Person mode. Not anymore! Now, Design Collaboration will display a Mini Map to show you exactly where you are in the building and in what direction you are looking as you explore the model. As you transition up and down stairs, the mini map will regenerate the plan of the current Level you are on.

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Want to learn how to leverage BIM 360 in more ways? Learn about the new BIM 360 Locations feature in Part 9 of our Next Gen BIM 360 series. Check out the Next Gen of BIM 360 YouTube playlist or contact us with your questions.

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