Martyn Day had a chance to see the new features and updates in action. In an industry that has traditionally been very slow to adopt 3D technology, the adoption of modelling over drafting is now reaching critical mass. Now more and more architectural firms are piloting BIM in research projects and evaluating the alternatives. There are even a number of large practices now going through company-wide implementation. The real-rime rendering of shadows in OpenGL is useful for sun studies, as well as giving the modelling environment an added touch of realism. While Autodesk's Revit is easily the best known BIM tool and Bentley's MicroStation suite has an established fan base in London practices, there is growing interest in ArchiCAD, which is the most mature and flexible architectural modelling product on the market. Release 13 of ArchiCAD was newsworthy for the right reasons. In a groundbreaking update, Graphisoft concentrated on the one big issue that BIM had neglected to tackle: In a rush to flesh out the intelligent components and modelling capabilities of this new generation of tools, the fact that multiple people and teams needed access to a single model, without having to resort to cutting up the model, was easily overlooked. ArchiCAD 13 contains the best teamwork solution I have seen, in both ease of use and capability, and a year on, it is still well ahead of the game. This development work is heavily based on Industry Foundation Classes IFCs , which are the best hope of actually exporting and importing the complex data sets that BIM modelling tools output.
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