How far are we from fully integrated design?

What is fully integrated design?

So BIM is all about collaboration, Level 2 ensures that project teams are all working from one cloud based common data environment so that information can be seen by any of the project team or project stakeholders at any given time! Each project team member will collaborate by sharing their own individual 3D BIM information in a pre selected format, generally not working from one single shared model.

BIM Level 3 envisions further progression of this concept, including project team members all working from one integrated model collaboratively and in real-time. The question is how far are we from that right now?

A360 is just one example of a cloud based workspace which enables its users to save and share files in one centralised location but also allows project team member to communicate, perform visualisations or simulations on multiple devices without the need for a high powered computer. Although A360 does have added functionality over the likes of Dropbox or Onedrive for a collaborative working platform it still doesn’t allow for true real-time integrated design.

It turns out that we are not as far away from real-time integrated design as you think!


A360 ‘Collaboration for Revit’

A360 Collaboration for Revit is a solution which allows project teams to work from one centralised model which provides access to all of the BIM and project data in one location. Multiple project members from different companies or locations can concurrently work on Building Information Models within the Revit software interface and hosted in the cloud.

Collaboration is made even easier with the synchronous Communicator chat tool that enables the project team to communicate in real-time with the Revit software interface. All project team members can communicate regardless of company or location. This tool also posts live project updates on an integrated activity feed detailing project changes and who made them. The allows for all project members to view changes in real time and allow the opportunity to comment and discuss these changes.

A360 Collaboration for Revit also leverages the existing functionality of A360, therefore individuals who are note designing and are simply looking to view, and discuss BIM information can be done by the A360 service. This can be useful for project stakeholders who have no design responsibility but require regular access to model data.

A360 Collaboration for Revit unlike other server options does not require any special hardware or it setup, and therefore can be used on any PC in any location and straight from the Revit interface.

When this product was release by Autodesk in 2014 it was restricted for use only in North America, although the product is now available in the UK!


So what does it cost?

A360 Collaboration for Revit is a cloud subscription package which can be purchased direct from the Autodesk Online Store. The subscription is priced per user and includes a subscription to A360 Team. There are 3 options for subscription, monthly, or annually from the Autodesk’s Online Store or Quarterly from an authorised reseller.

  • Monthly Subscriptions are priced at £80 per user, per month.
  • Annual Subscription costs work out at around £635 per user, per year
  • Quarterly licensed can be purchased for around £240 per user, per quarter. This may differ from reseller to reseller.

A subscription is needed for every individual who needs to collaborate with the design team. Those who simply wish to view model information can use the services made available withA360 which starts a £10 a month for unlimited projects and 10GB of space. More information on A360 can be found here – A360


System requirements

Collaboration for Revit will only operate with Autodesk Revit versions 2015 and later. This includes Revit Architecture, MEP and Structure 2015. Collaboration currently can not be used with Revit LT.

As always, the performance of the software depends on computing power of the machine being used and the size of the BIM model being worked on. Operations that require an operation with Collaboration for Revit will depend on the internet connection between the PC and the Collaboration service.

For more information about this product visit the Autodesk Website.

For more information on emerging technologies visit the Construct Digital website.

Published 18th April 2016 10:00