Bentley’s ISM Aims to Build Better Structural Engineering Projects

26 Jan, 2010

Integrated Structural Modeling workflows supported by new, free software tools will maximize interoperability of structural information among different specialized applications, CAD and BIM platforms, and design review environments, the company reports.

Bentley Systems today launched the new Integrated Structural Modeling (ISM) methodology for creators and consumers of structural project information. With ISM and new, free software downloads from Bentley, structural engineers now can fully participate in multidisciplinary, integrated project workflows. This means they also can take advantage of innovative building information modeling (BIM) best practices to reap significant business benefits for their projects and organizations, according to Bentley. ISM workflows support design review of various structural assets, such as buildings, bridges, towers, and industrial structures, by aggregating information-rich content in proprietary and interoperable formats from multiple data sources. ISM is designed to support better building and structure designs of all types.


The new software downloads, consisting of Structural Synchronizer V8i and Structural Dashboard V8i, let structural engineers immediately employ ISM in their integrated projects. Both can be downloaded for no charge at

 Structural Synchronizer provides:

  • a shared repository of common structural model data;
  • the ability to track revisions and compare differences between versions;
  • enhanced coordination through the synchronization of data across products;
  • review facilitated by a structural model and drawing viewer with data interrogation capabilities;
  • integrated applications and data for structural modeling, structural analysis and design, structural documentation and drafting, structural detailing and fabrication, plus industry-neutral formats; and
  • an open API enabling third-party vendors to integrate with the ISM workflow.

Structural Dashboard enables structural engineering professionals to:

  • manage workflows for common project types;
  • launch all structural applications from a unified interface;
  • create customized workflows specific to individual projects;
  • receive structural news from customizable RSS feeds;
  • join a structural online community and access blogs, wikis, and forums;
  • download product upgrades from the Bentley SELECTserver; and
  • manage project files and links within project workflows.

Up to now, a lack of interoperability among software applications has kept most engineers from sharing the maximum business value that can be derived from integrated projects and the BIM best practices required for their successful completion, Bentley reports. According to McGraw-Hill Construction’s SmartMarket Report 2009, The Business Value of BIM, almost 50% of the AEC industry is now using BIM, and the vast majority of these users, including architects, contractors, and owners, are experiencing real business benefits directly attributable to BIM. However, the study also points out that less than half of the engineers employing BIM experience a positive return on their investment (ROI), with one-third saying they are seeing a negative ROI. When asked for the top factors that would increase an engineering firm’s ability to see business benefits from BIM, 83% of the engineers surveyed ranked improved interoperability among software as highly important.

Through its new ISM, Bentley aims to bring structural engineers integrated-project benefits. Facilitated by Bentley’s new i-model container for open infrastructure information exchange and Structural Synchronizer V8i and Structural Dashboard V8apps, ISM maximizes the interoperability of structural information among different specialized applications, CAD and BIM platforms, and design review environments. The resulting integrated structural information workflows empower structural engineers to add value to, and now get value from, integrated projects.

Santanu Das, Bentley vice-president, Integrated Engineering Group, said, “Integrating the structural project workflow -- including modeling, analysis, design, documentation, and detailing -- through ISM enables structural engineers, detailers, and fabricators to dramatically improve project efficiency and safety, reduce errors, and enhance quality control. Moreover, it enables engineers to investigate more design iterations and what-if scenarios, and brings downstream processes, such as fabrication, into consideration much earlier.

“Although those using Bentley’s intraoperable structural products and dynamic collaboration software will gain the most advantages from ISM, every structural engineer and every project employing this new methodology will realize significant benefits. We’ve done this to ensure better-performing, more successful projects, and, thereby, help sustain the structural engineering professions.”

Das continued, “The breadth and depth of Bentley software, combined with its industry-leading intraoperability, enable our users to analyze, design, document, and deliver structures in an integrated project workflow that maximizes the application intelligence at each step. But with the new ISM apps, project teams ultimately will be able to deploy a wide array of applications from multiple vendors and maintain interoperability throughout the structural project lifecycle. I think all structural engineers should download and start benefiting from our no-cost Structural Synchronizer V8i and Structural Dashboard V8i apps today.”

ISM-enabled structural tools currently include Bentley’s Structural Modeler (formerly known as Bentley Structural), RAM Concept, and RAM Elements, as well as Autodesk Revit. For additional information about ISM and these products, and to download Structural Synchronizer and Structural Dashboard, visit

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition