AEC Tech News (#324)

17 Jan, 2013 By: Cadalyst Staff

Q&A with Rick Rundell: Technology, the Contractor, and the Future

Autodesk director says construction will become a more precise, more efficient endeavor based on "digital reality" rather than abstract geometry.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

At Autodesk University 2012, held in Las Vegas in late November, I spoke one-on-one with Rick Rundell, senior director of project delivery and collaboration at Autodesk. Rundell oversees product and business development for desktop and cloud applications for the construction market, but his background includes 12 years as a practicing architect — he has a master's degree in architecture from Harvard University — and two years as the director of product marketing at Revit Technology Corporation. Rundell moved to Autodesk in 2002 when it acquired Revit.

Rick Rundell, Autodesk
Rick Rundell, Autodesk

Rundell shared his perspective on all manner of topics, including building information modeling (BIM), cloud-based technologies, mobile computing, and construction — and even offered a glimpse into where we might be with this technology ten years from now. Read on for his take on things.

Cadalyst: I hear a lot about how, in AEC today, it's the general contractors who are really pushing to adopt BIM, and less so the architects. Is that what you see?

Rick Rundell: I think it is pretty well understood what the opportunity is there for architects to benefit from BIM, and they're gradually embracing that at whatever pace. I think the trajectory for the design part of the project is pretty well understood. We are still just scratching the surface on the construction side. ... A tipping point of BIM is just beyond design — in construction and operation. Just in the last couple of years, we're seeing so much awareness and interest and encouragement from the owner part of the industry and the people who commission buildings. [Beyond the U.S. General Services Administration, which now mandates BIM standards for its building projects], we've seen BIM standards being adopted in the U.K., we're seeing the Chinese government working within the standard by 2014, and we are seeing mandates in France. And I'm probably missing a few others.

Beyond the mandates, are you seeing private owners pushing for BIM too?

Yes. ... It's not an avalanche, but it is there and it's starting with owners who are very dependent on their built assets — hospitals, colleges and universities, people whose physical plant is essential to delivery of the mission. ... Often their method of doing this is to engage a construction advisor or construction manager early in the process, so that it helps shape the use of technology on the project in a way. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief.

IRIS Produces Full-Color 3D Models from Printer Paper

New 3D printer from MCor Technologies uses inexpensive, readily available material to produce models for AEC, manufacturing, and geospatial applications.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

The ability to produce 3D models can provide many benefits for companies that work with CAD and GIS data, whether they design business parks or baseball helmets. Investing in a 3D printer is not cheap, however, and the outlay doesn't end with the machine itself: Regardless of the type, every printer requires raw material, such as resin or metal, to build 3D models.

The cost of the machine can quickly be eclipsed by that of supplies. Conor MacCormack, cofounder and CEO of MCor Technologies, likened the scenario to buying a new razor, followed by a stream of expensive blades. "Lots of times," he recalled, "we would go to visit a university, for example, and they would have a 3D printer but have a cover over it, because they couldn't afford to use it."

MacCormack aims to mitigate this ongoing cost with 3D printers that use a different kind of raw material: printer paper. "It's a ubiquitous material that everybody can get their hands on," he said. In addition to being inexpensive, it's also nontoxic, stable, and produces recyclable models, he explained, unlike some other options on the market. According to MacCormack, high material costs prevent users from realizing "the real power of 3D printing": producing multiple models to explore what-if scenarios.

MCor's technology is best suited for prototyping and early design purposes, including product design, architecture, medical/dental, casting, and packaging applications. It's not intended for manufacturing finished products or creating full-strength parts that will be subjected to rigorous functional testing, although it can create living hinges that don't work-harden. Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


January 22 and 29, 2013
12 noon ET
This free, hour-long webinar from IES (Integrated Environmental Solutions) will present the IES TaP for LEED tool, a secure, online collaborative portal to enhance management of the LEED workflow. Read more »

BIM Camp
January 24, 2013
Washington, D.C.
At the BIM Camp event, architects and landscape architects can learn the skills they need to successfully implement BIM (building information modeling) workflows into their practices, better understand how IFC-based standards benefit design teams, create sustainable and high-performing designs, and collaborate through Open BIM. Read more »

RTC 2013 Australasia
May 16–18, 2013
Auckland, New Zealand
At the ninth Australasian Revit Technology Conference (RTC), attendees will be able to learn from some of the world's top instructors and industry experts, share ideas and insights with an international community, and explore the latest trends and technologies. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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