Autodesk Advances BIM Agenda with AEC Software Updates

14 Apr, 2017 By: Cadalyst Staff

Revit 2018 stresses multidiscipline building information modeling (BIM), sees more frequent releases under subscription licensing model.

This was a notable week for users of Autodesk AEC software products, as the company announced Revit 2018, AutoCAD Civil 3D 2018, and AutoCAD Plant 3D 2018, plus enhancements for InfraWorks.

Autodesk hails Revit 2018 as “the latest step in the continual evolution and development of Autodesk’s software for multidiscipline connected BIM [building information modeling].” Multidiscipline means that the software comprises tools for professionals as diverse as architects, MEP and structural engineers and detailers, and construction contractors. Connected refers to collaborative workflows that help project stakeholders share information with each other — between engineers and steel detailers, for example — and minimize rework, according to the Revit “roadmap.” (Autodesk released a public Revit development plan, or roadmap, for the first time last year.) 

As part of Autodesk’s move to a subscription-only model of software licensing, the company is transitioning to issuing multiple software releases per year, rather than a single annual (or less-frequent) release for most titles. Revit 2018, for example, includes features that were launched in the 2017.1 and 2017.2 releases. (Autodesk describes this as delivering “more frequent value”; some CAD managers may see the increased frequency in a less positive light, if their training and management burden grows as a result.)

Key new features and enhancements in Revit 2018 include:

  • The Dynamo Player (below), a utility that plays scripts created in the Dynamo graphical programming interface, which can automate tasks and extend Revit model behavior.

  • Global parameters, which help users embed design intent in models, now apply to radial and diameter dimensions and equality constraints.
  • With new coordination model linking (below), a Navisworks file can serve as an underlay in Revit.

  • When creating a schedule, users can select model groups or Revit links as categories. (This feature addresses a longtime user request, Autodesk reported.)
  • Revit now supports SAT and Rhino file import.

InfraWorks Improvements

Autodesk’s BIM agenda doesn’t end with Revit. “We continue to invest to extend the value of InfraWorks as the BIM for Infrastructure modeling platform for civil engineers and architects,” said Bobby del Rosario in a post on Autodesk’s BIM on the Rocks blog. InfraWorks — previously known as InfraWorks 360 — boasts improvements to its engineering design and preliminary project design capabilities, including the following:

  • Users can manage Inventor-based bridge components in the Style Palette, adding parametric content including decks, piers, and girders.
  • Manage material quantities. More aspects of materials for a selected road — such as road components, bridge materials, and drainage components — can now be quantified. Users can export the quantities to a CSV file for further review, reporting, or cost estimating, and can customize the quantities panel to display only particular categories.
  • Simplify large areas of tree imagery from realistic to stylized to speed performance.

  • Faster grading zone editing.
  • Annotation performance improvements. Annotations on certain assets feature improved readability, zoom responsiveness, and perspective change responsiveness.
  • InfraWorks users can directly access the Autocase for Sites solution, which provides data and analytics to automate the business case for stormwater projects in North America, free for one year.

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2018

Autodesk intends that InfraWorks and AutoCAD Civil 3D be used in tandem for infrastructure projects, with preliminary engineering design performed in the former and detailed design and construction documentation completed in the latter. That cross-application workflow is evident in the InfraWorks ribbon added to Civil 3D 2018, which enables users to launch InfraWorks and related commands.

Other new features in Civil 3D 2018 include:

  • Resolve corridor bowties. When corridor tangents intersect at a corner, or the corridor is created at a fixed width, the inner and outer corners are cleaned up automatically. Also, the Clear Corridor Bowties command can be used when the corridor is not created at a fixed width.

  • New drawing templates accommodate the ability to create plan/plan and profile/profile sheets. The plan production tools allow users to create plan(s)-only, profile(s)-only, and section sheets.
  • With new connected alignment capabilities, users can create a new dynamically linked alignment and profile that transitions between two intersecting alignments and their profiles. This feature can be used to create a curb return, an exit ramp, or a merging/diverging road, or can connect an existing road with a proposed road.

AutoCAD Plant 3D 2018

This release focuses on features that simplify the design process, including:

  • A new built-in cloud-based collaboration capability enables users to upload plant projects to a BIM 360 folder, then invite team members to work on it.
  • P&ID production improvements, including the ability to link a P&ID to piping specifications and check for correct component mapping. In addition, Paint P&ID enables users to change color representations according to property values.
  • Simplified workflows, including Piping Specs added to the project manager; users can now modify specs in their own workspace, then upload them to the project. User can also define srefs in a drawing directly from the project manager, without opening the drawing first.


Active subscribers to Revit, suites containing Revit, or the AEC Collection can access the new 2018 release via their Autodesk Account. InfraWorks subscribers can get the latest release by going to Users on an AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017 subscription license or maintenance plan can accept updates in the Autodesk Desktop App as they become available.

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