Advancing Capabilities for Steel Detailing and Design in BIM

David Smolker David Smolker March 29, 2023

5 min read

Autodesk is connecting structural steel to BIM. Since the inception of BIM in the early 2000s, we have worked to bring the benefits of BIM to our users throughout the structures industry and sub-industries.

One recent example being our investment in the concrete detailing space.  About a half-dozen years ago, we made substantial strides in developing concrete detailing capabilities in Revit.  Many customers since have shared their success stories after evolving their workflows to include BIM, as shared in this blog post from 2021.  One such customer is Matteo Scussel of MTC Studio di Ingegneria, who shared:

“[…] errors are reduced to a minimum and the speed of creating the bar bending schedules and making any correction of errors is very fast.  I can tell you with certainty that when designing a complex building, with Revit, the time is halved and therefore the production is doubled.”

Matteo Scussel, MTC Studio di Ingegneria

In 2014, we invested more deliberately in the steel fabrication industry. We acquired Advance Steel with the vision to connect design and construction through fabrication.  This gave AutoCAD users a pathway to BIM and provided detailers the tools to execute on projects and grow competitively within a changing project delivery landscape.

The growing importance of BIM is not limited to only adoption by designers and contractors. It also requires engagement from the trades.  The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), reporting on the construction costs of structural steel buildings in this article, shares that 46% of a typical structural steel package is attributed to fabrication alone and goes on to share that “[BIM] can reduce the cost of a steel package by 10% to 20%.” (AISC)  Detailers and fabricators are critical stakeholders in maximizing the full potential of a structural steel BIM workflow.

In the past few years several new feature capabilities were added to Revit, empowering engineers to integrate and blend their design intent criteria and fabrication specifications into the BIM model.  Looking at our BIM-based workflows today, hundreds of steel connections and details can be automatically designed and modeled in Revit using industry standards, then sent to Advance Steel for fabrication output.  Available steel capabilities include:

We aspire to complete our original vision to provide a BIM-connected set of solutions across the entire steel lifecycle.  We envision a three prong approach:

Maximizing benefits for Revit and Advance Steel customers requires capabilities that are both BIM and cloud data connected: supporting collaboration, worksharing, and project delivery optimization. Once in place, steel professionals can benefit from faster design and delivery that respects existing contract types and project delivery methods.  Sharing trusted design information will be increasingly accepted as data exchange becomes ubiquitous.  

With the expected user benefits and outcomes in mind, our investment areas for BIM-centric structural steel will include:

The Future of Autodesk Advance Steel

As we strive to bring these BIM-connected workflows and added value to our customers, we are shifting efforts to advancing and accelerating our steel capabilities in our BIM, data and collaboration platforms.  This means pivoting away from developing new features in Advance Steel and placing it on maintenance mode. 

What does not change: our commitment to the steel industry and our realization of the important part Advance Steel plays in the workflows of our customers.  Advance Steel is part of the AEC Collection and remains available.  Autodesk is committed to maintaining Advance Steel’s existing features and quality, as well as providing support for our partners, 3rd parties and user communities who continue to add value to Advance Steel.

Activating the Partner Ecosystem

A key part of our strategy for structural steel has been to partner with renowned solutions and added value providers. These partners enrich our products and platforms with features that address local standard requirements, process automation and advanced productivity requirements.

With Autodesk shifting its focus and efforts to Revit, Cloud Platforms and BIM-centric workflows, our customers can continue to rely on Autodesk Partners’ subject matter expertise, and support and feature functionalities (that are added to Advance Steel through dedicated add-ons).

Autodesk recommends Advance Steel users can find enhanced value through:

Moreover, as the AEC industry adopts BIM, these partners will help customers smoothly transition workflows from CAD to BIM as their workflows evolve in the future.

What’s Next?

We are going to continue to be transparent about our BIM-centric structural steel roadmap going forward. For everything we have released and for what we plan to do next, we would like to encourage you – as the user community – to stay informed through the Autodesk AEC Public Roadmaps  web pages. 

We also encourage you to visit our new customer value hub for a deeper dive into our continued commitment to our core AEC products, as well as enhanced transparency around our timelines, vision, and value we strive to deliver to our customers.  

Works Cited

AISC. Construction Costs. n.d. <>.

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We may make statements regarding planned or future development efforts for our existing or new products and services. These statements are not intended to be a promise or guarantee of future delivery of products, services or features but merely reflect our current plans, which may change. Purchasing decisions should not be made based upon reliance on these statements. Autodesk assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist or change after the date on which they were made.

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