4 Ways to Get the Most out of the Recent BIM 360 Releases
Autodesk product teams are constantly making improvements to Autodesk Construction Cloud products. To keep our customers informed about the latest product updates and how they can benefit, we have recapped all our latest product updates on our Autodesk Construction Cloud Blog When it comes to BIM 360, we have made some significant improvements. The most noteworthy of which is the early access release of the new Assets module as well as the addition of Project File support bridging the gap between design authoring and model coordination.
Without a coordinated asset management system, construction teams often use separate Excel documents or paper-based tracking tools creating a disconnect. With information living in silos it makes it really hard to trace the lifecycle of a single asset or track and schedule long lead items. As a result, the process can be disorganized and time consuming and lead to schedule delays, cost overruns, increased risk, or potential liability in addition to tarnished client relationships.
With the release of the Assets module in BIM 360, teams can easily track key milestones in the asset lifespan, from design and fabrication, to delivery, installation, commissioning, and ultimately handover. By serving as a single source of truth and collaborative and customizable tool for all asset documentation, the BIM 360 Assets module helps speed up the commissioning process, reduces overall project costs, mitigates potential risk, and improves visibility into the project status.
Today, users can request a sneak peek into the Assets module by contacting their Customer Success Manager or Sales Representative and asking for early access. Otherwise, the new module will be available to all BIM 360 Build customers in mid-June.
Another noteworthy update to BIM 360 this month is Project Files support, which directly helps the flow of design documents for Model Coordination users. Prior to this release, design teams had to undergo a highly cumbersome workaround in order to share models for coordination. This included publishing models to Project Files, downloading those published models locally, then reuploading these models into the Plans folder—for every single model revision.
By adding direct support for Project Files, design teams can scrap the workarounds and work directly with their design data, or easily copy it within a workflow in Project Files. This results in:
- Quicker turnaround from design teams resolving issues
- Greater productivity from the project teams moving through and resolving clashes
- Better collaboration between design and construction
In addition to the two product updates above, here are four ways that you can start seeing benefits from the most recent BIM 360 feature enhancements:
1. Improve Overall Usability and Accessibility to Project Information
Making it easy to control the services applied to a project is critical. Project Admins need to get their teams up and running on new projects as quickly as possible since as they cannot afford to waste any of the project’s schedule on these tedious tasks.
With the new Project Services Page, Project Admins can easily turn services on or off at a project level as well as easily use project templates. Once a project template is selected, Admins can see what services are included in that template and turn on any additional services needed. This new user-friendly interface saves time by giving users a single location to modify settings as well as self-service functionality to easily set up new projects or use existing project templates.
On a similar note, with the new Admin public beta Forge API, we’re making it easier than ever to generate a list of all users on a specific project with the Get Project Users API. By using this API, users will save time and simplify the set-up process by allowing Admins to create a new project and automatically add the same users from a previous project if the team is the same. Other public beta APIs include:
- Get Account Activities, which gives an activity stream for admin actions like creating new projects or inviting users
- Get Project Activities API, which shows an activity stream for all project activities like uploading a document to the project or opening an RFI
Lastly, we know that collaboration and communication is critical to project success. However, communication preferences can vary across firms, projects, or individuals. With the release of the Email Digest feature, BIM 360 now enables Project Admins to customize notification preferences for RFIs, Submittals, and Issues for their project members, or let their project members set their own preferences. Users can choose between instant, hourly, or daily email notifications, ensuring they are receiving the information they need, when they need it.
2. Boost Connectivity and Visibility for Project Management and Cost Workflows
Construction processes can operate in a fragmented way, with a high level of disconnection between project workflows leading to disjointed teams, siloed data, and higher risk. But BIM 360 makes it possible to remove barriers— streamlining workflows and connecting data. With the most recent release, BIM 360 increases connectivity across project management and cost management workflows and adds new capabilities to help increase efficiency and visibility into critical project information.
When an RFI runs the risk of incurring a potential cost change, Project Management Admins and RFI Managers with a Cost Management license can now generate a Potential Change Order (PCO) directly from the RFI record (or link existing RFIs to PCOs). This connection not only saves time and reduces the risk or error, but it makes it easy to track the origin of the change orders and access the information needed to make informed decisions. All activity is also captured in the RFI and PCO activity logs for audit purposes.
Another enhancement to the RFI workflow to help increase efficiency is the addition of improved status details on the top portion of the RFI record on Web. At a glance, you can quickly identify where the RFI falls within the workflow and ball-in-court.
When it comes to creating meeting agendas, outstanding Issues and RFIs are often included. With the newest release in the Meetings toolset, Meeting Organizers can link existing BIM 360 Issues and RFIs directly to meeting items, saving time during meetings by increasing accessibility to needed information. It also creates a bi-directional relationship between the Issue/RFI and meeting record. When exporting the agenda and official minutes to PDF, the linked items become hyperlinks making it simple for meeting invitees with BIM 360 to access the referenced information.
For Submittals, as Items move through the workflow (forward or backward), BIM 360 now automatically tracks transition dates, making it easier to hold parties accountable to contractual review periods. Project Management Admins and Submittal Managers can override dates and pull the information in reports.
Finally, to help increase efficiency on the cost side, Cost Management users can now generate non-editable documents (PDFs) using the document generation functionality and email them to recipients directly from the system. This process creates a seamless workflow and keeps an accurate record of what information was sent and to whom.
Additionally, rolling out this week in the Project Admin module, Admins can now turn on a setting that will automatically store generated documents and uploaded attachments in individual supplier folders in the Document Management module. This creates a single repository of all generated documents specific to each company for future audit purposes. If desired, the folder can be shared with other project members to access the information.
3. Enhanced Discoverability and Accessibility for Field Workflows
Field workers need quick access to the information they need to complete core safety and quality workflows, while ensuring workers in the office have the flexibility and control needed to monitor and audit field processes.
To support these needs, we’ve released new capabilities to make it easier to find issues and checklists across both Web and mobile devices, including additional filtering options for checklists and issues, and improved search, sort and filter options for issues on mobile.
For checklists, a new template name filter makes it easier to find and assign checklists to field workers. And, new sub-location filters let project teams make sure that field workers on the jobsite know which checklists should be used when working in a specific area of the project – helpful for things like safety checks prior to work starting.
Issue discoverability has also been improved with the ability to perform text searches within the title, description, and response fields on the Web, as well as the ability to filter by custom properties. This lets trailer and office teams quickly find issue information to be able to aid in resolution or better understand the history of an issue. The addition of sub-location filters and issue type/sub-type filters for iOS makes it simpler for workers in the field to find the issues they need to resolve.
Finally, with the new ability to move an issue pushpin on a drawing or model after it has been created, project teams can work with an added sense of confidence that issue location information is accurate. Whether the edit is made to be more precise in the placement of the pin or is changed while reviewing an initial issue placement during resolution or inspections – the initial placement of an issue pin is no longer permanent.
4. Harness Data Insights with Risk Prediction and Executive Dashboards
Leveraging all of your project data can be overwhelming, but with these recent releases we make evaluating project performance a little more manageable. In addition to the design and quality risk factor cards, Construction IQ now powers a new Safety Risk Factor Card. This card enables project leaders to get instant visibility into high risk areas of their project and take immediate action to resolve potential safety incidents.
Another critical aspect when evaluating data is looking at not only performance on a project level but also at a cross project level. Within the account level Insight module, Executives can view dashboards that show company-wide analytics like a list of projects sorted by risk level, number of outstanding approval reviews by project, and each projects safety checklists activity. With the new addition of the Card Library to these dashboard views, users can now customize executive views in the at an account level and individualize their own dashboard layouts. This also means that executives can now also add any partner cards to their dashboard views allowing for a more wholistic view of account level analytics.
Also within the account level Insight module is the Data Connector preview feature which was released this past March. The Data Connector preview allows users to download all of their project data in a single click for use in other BI tools, and with this most recent update, the download now includes RFI data. We also released a new Power BI template for field data that can be used in conjunction with the previously available admin template.
Lastly, as far as BIM 360 reporting capabilities, the Daily Logs Report now includes a ‘Created By’ field and you can also filter and sort the Daily Log Report by that new ‘Created By’ field.
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