A Case for Connected Navisworks: Why It's Crucial for Construction Projects

There are several challenges facing VDC departments today that would not have ranked as top areas of concern 10 years ago. If you’re managing projects in any capacity right now, you know these areas well. Though the issues are well-defined, the path forward is an evolving debate.  

In VDC departments across the globe, leadership teams are breaking the BIM Manager mold and thinking about how the right mix of people, process, and technology could propel productivity well beyond where it’s been. Today, I’d like to make the case that we need to meet people where they are and to make technology as simple as it can be, while still executing the level of precision required for the industry. 

Learn from Miron Construction’s forward-looking VDC experts, Blake Titus and Jay Mathes, on how they’ve applied the right mix of digital solutions and processes to better enable their subcontractors and project partners during our webinar How Cloud Collaboration Increased Productivity for Miron Construction on June 6, 9:30AM PT / 12:30PM ET.

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Labor hurdles 

It’s no secret the industry faces a diminishing labor force and a lack of BIM expertise. In fact, a Construction Manager report cited that 64% of construction professionals believe a lack of digital skills is a barrier for BIM adoption in their organization—simplicity then becomes the critical task for contractors working to increase productivity with fewer people. As Matt Allread, Education Manager at Gaylor, Electric, Inc. puts it, "We have a workforce that will have to be multi-disciplinary in their skillset. Just like athletes and entertainers must have multiple areas of skill and talent, so must the successful tradespersons of the future." To achieve this level of cross-training, tools need to be intuitive, connected, and geared towards the work being done that day.  

Rising owner requirements 

Owner expectations around project delivery, data retention, and quality are evolving. Today, industry data shows that 58% of owners said they've used or plan to use design-build, moving away from traditional design-bid-build. They also want better visibility over capital projects. As such, contractors must find innovative ways to communicate and share relevant information with owners and design firms—keeping everyone on the same page.  

Waleed Zafar, Mission Critical Director at XYZ Reality, says this will be essential in 2023 and beyond. "We'll see owners put more investment upfront into what will get them a better-quality project delivery.” 

So strong up-front communication and an accessible data thread throughout the life of the project become necessary to deliver better quality. 

Improve quality with clash detection for all

Quality is a multi-team effort, requiring smart processes to stay on top of early-stage QA efforts.  

One rising solution is seriously simple clash and coordination tools that all stakeholders can learn on-the-fly. We call this automatic clash detection, as it automates clash set up to empower more people to identify and resolve their own issues directly in the tools they’re most likely to use. This has become a game-changing component for contractors looking to reduce design and coordination timelines.  

"With Autodesk BIM Collaborate, we've seen the design teams take on more ownership," explains Lee Ramsey, BIM Director at Morgan Sindall.  

"Each member automatically clash detects the work before issues [are assigned]. It's a bit like spell check. We've seen the time to review information reduced. For example, we've seen a 20% reduction in our preconstruction phase."  

This project team and others like them access clash data directly in Revit through the Revit Issues Add-In, so architects and specialty contractors can contribute to better quality without ever leaving the authoring tool.   

Want to encourage your team to unlock the power of BIM? Discover how you can make BIM an "every team" tool here. 

A massive shift toward cloud-based solutions 

As the construction industry has rapidly evolved over the last few years, one thing is clear: staying on top of today's challenges requires cloud-based solutions.  

Accessing the information you need, when and where you need it, is more important than ever.  Project data re-used from one project to the next helps companies not only protect their margins but find new efficiencies at-scale. Cloud tools like Autodesk Docs and Bridge make this possible by unlocking data to be more retrievable, controlled, and insightful.  

Few can deny the advantages of going cloud-based. However, moving all work to the cloud also comes with challenges. While it is the clear direction for the industry, it needs to work in tandem with existing desktop solutions that work exceptionally well.  

Web applications and cloud-based file management need to work alongside powerful desktop tools, giving the experts the best of both worlds—immediate access to files and web-based collaboration with custom workflows built on local machines. 

A perfect pair: Navisworks + Autodesk Construction Cloud  

This brings me to Navisworks. Autodesk has been fortunate to work with devoted Navisworks pros for over 15 years. And those same people have been at the center of our cloud-based development. It’s from the guidance given by these folks that we've been working to create powerful connections between Navisworks and Autodesk Construction Cloud over the past six months. Here’s a little taste of what we’ve been up to.  

With the Navisworks Coordination Issue Add-In, BIM Managers can track issue status, responsibility, and resolution in an ecosystem that spans multiple products. In addition, files saved in the cloud can be worked on simultaneously with other users directly in Navisworks.  

Now, VDC teams can choose where to do clash detection for a given project or phase. Autodesk BIM Collaborate allows coordination spaces to toggle off clash—providing fast access to complex files in Navisworks while tapping into workflows like Issue Management and Model Aggregation on the web.  

In addition, BIM Managers in Autodesk BIM Collaborate can create custom views by selecting individual objects, disciplines, categories, or types from multiple models. With this level of control, VDC departments deliver only the most critical construction information to stakeholders in the field and across other companies.  

Moreover, stakeholders can access custom views and Issues on their mobile devices. 

Clashes in either Autodesk BIM Collaborate or Navisworks can be grouped, but Navisworks in particular, can create batch issues from those clashes. Essentially, these groups act as templates for a series of clashes that share common attributes so you can address multiple errors at once.  

All of this and more can be accomplished in an all-Autodesk environment, meaning you and your team benefit from a dynamic construction management platform. As a result, everyone—from design to the field—draws from the same centralized source of truth. 

A Case for Connected Navisworks 

"In the next decade, I see the construction industry advancing by getting smart about bringing the best technologies together in a single platform resulting in a shorter construction duration," says Breawn Felix, Regional Support Services Manager at Swinerton Builders.  

Our work over the last six months and onward has been aimed at this future—connecting the best of Navisworks, Revit, and Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro together in Autodesk Construction Cloud. Delivering high-quality projects requires the full project team, from the Architects and MEP shop to the BIM Managers and Project Engineers—working together to refine designs and catch issues before they hit the site.   

In addition, BIM experts need the right tool to make models construction ready. Tools like Navisworks empower teams to efficiently stay on top of detailed work. Paired with simple and smart cloud solutions, a connected Navisworks strategy can transform a VDC department to adapt to rapidly changing environments while creating high-quality construction projects that exceed client expectations. 

Ready to learn more? Attend our upcoming webinar with Miron Construction and discover how we're elevating construction communication and collaboration with Autodesk BIM Collaborate.

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Kyle Seyler

Kyle Seyler is the Senior Product Marketing Manager at Autodesk Construction Cloud. A seasoned product marketing leader with over a decade of experience in go-to-market strategy, Kyle harnesses the power of marketing to connect with diverse industries, from adventure travel and winemaking to manufacturing and construction. During his 5-year tenure at Autodesk, he has developed programs that equip educators with engaging curricula for the future of manufacturing. He currently leads a team of product marketing professionals committed to addressing the construction industry's challenges through intelligent yet simple technology.