What is BIM 360?
BIM 360 is a cloud-based platform that's created by Autodesk, which is the makers of AutoCAD and Revit, which connects different parts of building design online in a cloud-based platform.
So basically, they use a lot of fancy terms to say that instead of holding or hosting a project or really any set of documents on a company server or on an individual computer - instead BIM 360 host those resources on the cloud and people are able to sync their work and save their work, and really collaborate on the cloud.
Now really other than the functional aspect of using BIM 360 in order to design a project, that's really the extent of what a sprinkler designer, a fire alarm designer, or even a mechanical or electrical designer - That's the extent of what we really need to know about BIM 360.
We need to know how to sync the projects, we need to know how the projects are saved onto the cloud, maybe if we're in charge of setting up projects on BIM 360, then we need to know that process on how that's done. But other than that, what we need to know about BIM 360? That's the extent of what we need to know.
Now I'm going to go and elaborate a little bit more on this video.
BIM 360 name includes a number of different offerings which changes all the time. As of this date of the published video here, the BIM 360 name has a lot of different, we call it offerings that are under the BIM 360 umbrella and that includes BIM 360 Docs, BIM 360 build, design, coordinate, layout, plan, Ops. These all have different features and are built for different purposes that build up what Autodesk called their whole BIM 360 suite.
But basically the synopsis is - this is a cloud hosting platform by Autodesk that has a lot of features that gives us the ability to sync and host and share project files all on the cloud.
Under the BIM 360 umbrella, we have BIM 360 design collaboration or sometimes called BIM 360 design. This one specifically is where we share and manage Revit models on the cloud.
So, under different umbrellas like BIM 360 coordinate, we can run model clash detection all on the cloud and track those model clashes. If we have a very large or very involved or very highly intensive coordination project, that's where we could be spending a lot of time working through clashes and coordinating things before they ever make it out to the field. That would be BIM 360 coordinate.
Then we also have BIM 360 docs which manages models and documents aside from just the Revit model.
Now, if we're involved in the design portions of Revit and BIM 360, then the docs, the design and the coordinate and those features of BIM 360, well those would be relevant to us.
BIM 360 also has a lot of coordination and construction features that are related to timing, schedule, procurement - those kinds of things.
BIM 360 is an additional subscription beyond just having Revit, so just because you have a license to Revit doesn’t necessarily mean that you have BIM 360 also. If you’re using cloud-based features or your clients are using cloud-based features and they want you on BIM 360, just know that it is an additional subscription. At the time of this publishing, it's somewhere around the ballpark of $900 to $1000 US per user per year, so it's really not an inexpensive add-on.
WHAT DOES BIM360 DO?
So, what does BIM 360 do?
Well, it allows you to save models onto cloud. You can access the Revit models in much the same way that you would see them on your local computer, except they're actually saved in the cloud and you're syncing to the cloud. So instead of hosting the model on your company server or on your local computer and wrapping up and exporting models and emailing them or sending links to them or sending them back and forth between an architect and a consultant or a sprinkler contractor and a general contractor – instead of all of that, and doing that process, and sending them out and importing them, and cleaning them and all of that - instead it’s all just live in the cloud.
When you sync to the cloud, you’re syncing to your central model that’s in the cloud that your client is also seeing live every time that they sync. So, you're getting the latest information, the real time information from those other parties.
DOWNSIDES TO LIVE MODELS
Now that could be an advantage or disadvantage depending on how you look at it.
It's an advantage in that you're on the phone with your client and they're talking about a change that they've made. Well, they can sync from their office and as soon as that hits, you can sync from your standpoint and you now have that information, you don't need to download a model or send it or anything like that, so that's a real benefit.
The downside is those models can change on the cloud and you as the consultant, you don't necessarily have control over those changes. So, I've had a project where I was on the phone and architect was asking why is your stand pipe located outside of an interior exit stairway, you know my answer was, I don't know why it's out of the stairway. Where are we talking about?
We looked we looked over at the stair and clearly the stand pipe was a couple feet outside of the stairwell. Well, what had happened is the stairwell actually moved. It was physically moved in the architectural model, but because it was live and on the cloud, I wasn't aware of that change and it wasn't until the architect brought it up that I noticed that my pipe was now out.
Had it been a traditional project that wasn't on the cloud, we would have gotten the imported architectural model. I could have looked for changes, I could have looked for differences between those two models and then addressed it and been obvious, but because those models were live on the cloud, I wasn't constantly evaluating if there were any changes to the project, so it wasn't until I was made aware that there was a change that I noticed the change.
Some consultants don't like the fact that they can't control what's coming in and when those changes happen and are incorporated in their model instead that live ability is somewhat of a detriment.
ACCESSING BIM360 PROJECTS
Now in future segments, we'll talk about how to set up a BIM360 project if you're in charge of doing that setup. But if somebody is setting up the model for you and you're only getting access, all they have to do is log in to BIM 360 online.
They add you as a user to the project and from there, the project should appear in your directory on the left-hand side of your Revit browser just like it would for other projects.
If you're interested in learning more about BIM 360 and those features – Autodesk has some content that explains this fairly well. We've got a link to a short Autodesk informational video about BIM360 below, if you're looking to learn more information about some of their features.
In our next segment, we're going to talk about paid add-ons that exist for Revit.
I’m Joe Meyer, this is MeyerFire University .
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