AEC Tech News (#237)

8 Oct, 2008

It’s Been a Busy Year for AIA

The institute releases new IPD docs and bestows the '08 BIM Awards.

By Heather Livingston

Heather Livingston photo

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has been busy this year promoting both building information modeling (BIM) and integrated project delivery (IPD). In this newsletter I'll look at what they've been up to via the anticipated release of six new AIA Contract Documents, plus the 2008 BIM Awards, hosted by the AIA Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community.

At the May AIA National Convention and Design Expo in Boston, the institute launched four integrated project delivery documents, the first of their kind from that organization. Last week, AIA announced the October 17, 2008, release of six new AIA Contract Documents. Referred to as the 3.5 Release, the new contracts include a BIM exhibit, two IPD agreements, two design-build agreements, and a scope of services document.

"We understand that the design and construction industry is evolving, and we are pleased to lead the way by introducing new documents that provide a road map for navigating BIM and IPD," said Suzanne Harness, managing director and counsel, AIA Contract Documents. Harness praises the documents as "easy to use, [reflecting] current industry practices, and fairly [balancing] all parties' interests."

New BIM Document
The AIA calls the new E202-2008 the "first of its kind in the industry." Written by industry practitioners as a practical tool for managing the use of BIM across an entire project, the E202 sets the requirements and authorized uses for BIM content and identifies BIM authors at five progressive levels of development. It also establishes protocols for model ownership, conflict resolution, storage, viewing, and archiving. Although written primarily to support a project using IPD, the AIA notes that the E202 may also be used for traditional design-bid-build project delivery. 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


Cadalyst Labs Review: ArchiCAD 12

By Jerry Laiserin

Like fine wine and close friendships, some things just get better with age. Graphisoft's ArchiCAD, which has been around for 25 years, falls into that category for me. Back in the mid-1990s, it was one of the first software products I reviewed, and that first review was a revelation. ArchiCAD was far ahead of its competition at the time — almost anyone who wanted a PC- or Mac-based modeling, drafting, and visualization solution specific to architecture would have otherwise had to buy and integrate two, three, or more programs to accomplish all that ArchiCAD could provide by itself. The product has improved consistently ever since.

Down Memory Lane
Although ArchiCAD was a top contender for many U.S.-based architects in the mid-1990s, the product had a few limitations back then — limitations that for some prospective purchasers tipped the scales in favor of one or another competing product and kept ArchiCAD from becoming more dominant. For example, early versions of ArchiCAD lacked sophisticated means of sharing the work among project team members, a problem long since solved by ArchiCAD's TeamWork function — still, in my opinion, among the market's most robust and flexible solutions for project workload sharing. The ArchiCAD of yore lacked true reference-file capability, an oversight long since fixed by its HotLink capability, something that has been even further enhanced in ArchiCAD 12. Users of older versions had to access a separate, albeit bundled, program — PlotMaker — to generate printed output, an inconvenience long since solved by integrating PlotMaker's functions directly into ArchiCAD itself. These and other perceived shortcomings of the past were corrected well before the current release of ArchiCAD 12, thereby keeping the product more than competitive as a top contender for architectural design and documentation. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

Build Boston 2008
November 18-20, 2008
Boston, Massachusetts
This three-day event, sponsored by the Boston Society of Architects, is a regional tradeshow and convention for the design and construction community. More than 350 exhibits and 225 workshops will be featured. Read more »

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