AEC Tech News #161

15 Feb, 2006 By: Michael Dakan

Cadalyst AEC Tech News

ADS: Specs Inside Your CAD

Also, a correction and apology for Adobe errors in the previous issue

Before I get to the focus of this week's edition, I owe an apology to AEC Tech News readers who had difficulties finding the Adobe Acrobat 7.1 upgrade that I reported last time. In the process of assembling information from several sources about several product updates late last month, I came to the wrong conclusion about Acrobat. In actuality, no Acrobat 7.1 has been introduced.

I also reported the impending release of an Adobe Reader upgrade to support the new Adobe Acrobat 3D, but that was in error also. Any information about the features it may or may not contain is premature at best, and at worst may be erroneous. I deeply regret the misinformation, and I apologize to Adobe and to my readers for any inconvenience it might have caused.

What is available is the Adobe LiveCycle Designer 7.1 upgrade for creating interactive PDF forms ($29 upgrade for licensed users of Adobe Acrobat Professional 7.0 or $349 separately).

ADS: Online Project Database
and Specification Production
Architectural Data Systems has several tools available that allow you to produce architectural specifications as you work in your CAD or BIM (building information modeling) program. ADS integrates product data sheets from manufacturers and links product selection data with standard specifications in the ADS database. You can use the specification database that comes with ADS, use your own specification sections or use the MASTERSPEC Short Form system from ARCOM.

ADS-Online is the basic product data and specification system, and ADS-MASTERSPEC is the version that supports MASTERSPEC. Both are stand-alone specification programs. Or you can use the ADS-CAD interface to run these programs inside AutoCAD, or ADS-ADT to use them within Autodesk Architectural Desktop. The company reports it is working on additional products that will support other CAD programs.

ADS is more than just a spec-writing tool, however. It integrates all project information in a database so projects can be easily reviewed and coordinated. You can attach notes and questions to items in the database to track and monitor project details. ADS builds the specification database starting with just a note about an item and completes the specifications documentation as you work and as project information is updated.

Manufacturers' catalogs of construction materials are included in ADS, as well as data sheets, and you can search and select products and materials from ADS or your CAD program. ADS also builds schedules as you work, and the CAD interface will place and update schedules as project information is developed. A notes database helps standardize on annotation, and the CAD interface allows you to place notes on drawings and automatically coordinate them with the specifications and maintain them in the project database.

The ADS modules are available by subscription. The basic ADS-Online program or ADS MASTERSPEC are available for $299 per year for the first seat, with substantial discounts for five seats or more in the same company. The CAD interfaces cost an additional $100 per year per seat. Purchase of ADS-MASTERSPEC requires that you be a licensed MASTERSPEC customer.

Watch for a First Look Review of the ADS products in a future edition of Cadalyst magazine.