AEC Tech News (#224)

26 Mar, 2008 By: Kenneth Wong

DataCAD Gets Smartp>

Parametric entities are the star of the latest release.

By Kenneth Wong

Kenneth Wong photo

Michael Smith, a founding principal of Signature Architects believes it's time for a new chapter for DataCAD. The latest release of the software, developed and marketed by DataCAD LLC, is marked by the introduction of what the creators call "smart entities." As the author of a couple of books on DataCAD, it's fitting that Smith writes the new chapter — and updates the existing ones. The result is DataCAD 12 Project Book, published by Technology Education Concepts, an academic CAD software distributor.

Among the most requested enhancements are "Virtual Building-related tools," said Mark Madura, DataCAD LLC's president and CEO, when announcing the release of DataCAD v12. "These smart entities [intelligent wall, door, and window objects] offer many of the advantages of BIM without having to set up extensive project controls or endure a steep learning curve that would impact an entire design team."

In other words, think of DataCAD v12 as a gentle introduction to BIM.

Going Parametric
Michael Smith's workflow has significantly improved now that he can count on the walls to adjust their dimensions on their own when he needs to resize the doors and windows. Such automations are not new to Autodesk Revit users or Graphisoft ArchiCAD users, but to Smith and other loyal DataCAD users, they represent "the biggest addition" to Version 12. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Heather Livingston is a Vermont-based freelance writer specializing in design, sustainability, and architectural technology. She can be reached at

AEC Insight Column:
Builders' Information Modeling

By Jerry Laiserin

Recently, a small but growing percentage of architects and engineers have embraced building information modeling (BIM). However, opportunities for process improvement through BIM automation extend downstream into construction, where construction managers, general contractors, and trade subcontractors all can derive even greater benefits on both projectwide and firm-specific bases.

Architects and engineers focus on buildings as products — physical objects to be brought into being by others. Constructors focus on building as process — sequences of activities to assemble the physical objects/products envisioned by designers. This difference between building as product versus building as process (noun versus verb) represents differing emphases on space versus time. It also reflects the differing business models and risk-to-reward profiles of architects and engineers versus constructors. Therefore, builders' information modeling differs enough from the rest of BIM to deserve separate analysis. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

Synergis Field to Finish Civil 3D Workshop
April 8, 2008
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
In this workshop, Synergis and Autodesk technical experts Jerry Bartels and David Blanchette will demonstrate Civil 3D's new survey functionality. Read more »

12th Annual Portland CANstruction Competition
April 22-27, 2008
Portland, Oregon
Competing teams showcase their talents by designing giant sculptures made entirely of canned foods. At the close of the exhibitions, all of the food used in the structures is donated to the Oregon Food Bank. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on