CAD Central

30 Nov, 2006 By: Sara Ferris

Paper Still Popular for AEC Document Sharing

Paper Still Popular for AEC Document Sharing

Collaboration is vital to AEC projects, according to 94% of participants in a recent survey who said they collaborate on project information. Of those, 92% collaborate at least once a week.

This past spring, Adobe Systems ( enlisted Harris Interactive to conduct a follow-up poll to a 2004 survey ( that examined document exchange practices in the AEC industry. One of the most interesting findings is that CAD files are reviewed in paper format more often now than in 2004, despite the improvements in digital markup tools such as Adobe's Acrobat and Autodesk's DWF Composer. Review of CAD files solely in electronic format dropped to 23% in 2006, down from 33% in 2004.

The popularity of paper makes more sense when you consider the survey's findings about document security. Concern about unauthorized document changes dropped from 67% in 2004 to 49% in 2006. Not so coincidentally, perhaps, the percentage of respondents taking security measures to protect information grew from 69% to 79%. For more details on the survey and its methodology, visit

To help companies safeguard information they distribute outside the company, Adobe has launched a Web-based service to provide document control and security for Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel documents. Through the end of 2006, Adobe will offer a 45-day free trial of Document Center with no limit on the number of documents that can be secured. Commercial release is planned for early 2007, with a six-month introductory subscription price of $19.99/month or $199/year. Pricing after the period has yet to be determined.

Autodesk, Green Building Council Promote Green Design

Autodesk and the Green Building Council plan several joint initiatives to encourage sustainable design, including development of a curriculum for architecture and engineering students. The two will investigate ways to integrate Autodesk technology with the council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System.

Autodesk honored BNIM Architects with its 2006 Green Building Leadership Award. BNIM Architects has used Revit Building to design more than 20 projects, including the 1.1 million-square-foot Internal Revenue Service Kansas City Campus, shown above.
Autodesk honored BNIM Architects with its 2006 Green Building Leadership Award. BNIM Architects has used Revit Building to design more than 20 projects, including the 1.1 million-square-foot Internal Revenue Service Kansas City Campus, shown above.

Each year, Autodesk attempts to chart architects' interest in sustainability via its 2006 Green Index Survey. The Green Index is designed to measure, on a scale of 0 to 100, architects' adoption of sustainable design techniques. The magic number for 2006 is 30, and that's expected to double by 2011. The top motivation for architects this year is client demand, cited by 77% of this year's respondents and up from 64% in last year's survey.

High-efficiency HVAC systems are the most common energy-saving technology in use today, with 64% of the study's respondents specifying their use on more than half of their projects in the past year. Five years ago, only 36% of architects used high-efficiency HVAC systems in their projects.

Trimble Spends on Construction Technology

To further its construction-market strategy, GPS vendor Trimble ( has been buying up software vendors, most recently Meridian Systems (, a privately held developer of project and building lifecycle management software. Trimble will also acquire XYZ Solutions (, a developer of real-time, interactive 3D intelligence software that manages the spatial aspects of a construction project. Meridian products add business and lifecycle management to Trimble's Connected Construction Site strategy, and XYZ contributes a 3D visualization component.

Trimble, best known for its GPS and survey products, offers a range of solutions for the construction market, including predesign construction planning software, design and data preparation, earthmoving grade control, site positioning, general and interior building and asset management.

In April, the company acquired Quantm International (, which develops route optimization software used for planning highways, railways, pipelines and canals. In May, it acquired BitWyse (, a developer of 2D and 3D applications that process laser scanning data for use in plant design.

Sara Ferris is Cadalyst's Editor-in-Chief.

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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