This week, Autodesk, Inc. announced the release of their newest cloud-based solution, Autodesk Informed Design. The release “connects design and manufacturing workflows to streamline the building design and construction process,” according to the company’s announcement of the news. Broadly speaking, Informed Design helps bring manufacturing principles to the AECO space, and allows architects to work with “customizable, pre-defined building products,” while manufacturers can “share their products with design stakeholders.”
That idea of bringing manufacturing principles to the building design industry is one that suits Autodesk well given their experience in both fields. In a briefing with the press regarding this release, Ryan McMahon, General Manager for Informed Design, told the media that the company “believes the future of the building design industry is industrialized,” and that “the only way the industry will change is by embracing repeatability and reuse.”
Informed Design is part of Autodesk’s Design and Make Platform environment, a series of cloud-connected software solutions that serves customers in industries such as AECO, manufacturing, and media and entertainment. The Design and Make Platform provides a single depository for data in a cloud-based environment to break down silos between stakeholders on a project, with Informed Design now joining that environment for users.
As of this week, Informed Design is available as a free add-in for Revit and Inventor. With Revit, architects and other design professionals can design with known-manufacturable building products, which Autodesk says will provide “improved design quality, increased workload capabilities, and a reduction of errors and rework.” They list the following capabilities for Informed Design for Revit:
Template discovery: Explore building product templates to seamlessly incorporate manufacturing-level detail into your design files.
Customization: Tailor building products to align with your building's requirements, enabling compliance with the manufacturers' specifications.
Certainty: Confirm design decisions are accurate and manufacturable to reduce project risk and prevent errors.
Meanwhile, Informed Design is also available as an add-in for Inventor, which is Autodesk’s CAD solution for mechanical design, simulation, visualization, and documentation. The add-in, according to Autodesk, provides a more streamlined design and manufacturing process, with capabilities including:
Seamless collaboration: Collaborate with designers by creating parametric models of your building products and confirm that only compliant versions are used.
Powerful Building Information Modeling (BIM) content creation: Define BIM content to confirm your building products meet project requirements and are compatible with other components and industry standards.
Streamlined product documentation: Simplify the generation of product documentation at scale and generate the necessary outputs for fabrication.
This new solution is aimed at solving two of the biggest problems facing all industries involved in the built environment: Scale and sustainability. Autodesk points towards a study that indicates that, in order to keep up with growing populations and urbanization, nearly 100,000 new affordable homes need to be built on a daily basis. Furthermore, they point out the issues around sustainability which has plagued the construction industry for years. By providing a solution for architects to have direct access to customizable and pre-defined products, designs can be produced more quickly and at scale, while carbon emissions and other sustainability concerns can be addressed earlier in the process.
"The way the AECO industry works today is not sustainable or scalable. For the industry to keep pace, it needs to build more, faster and more sustainably. The answer is industrialized construction," said McMahon in a statement. "Autodesk Informed Design connects design and make from day one and brings industrialized construction workflows to reality. Our solution is unique because it empowers architects to design with certainty and validate their plans in real-time, while product managers and engineers can share accurate manufacturing information with design teams. As a result, projects are completed quicker, with higher quality and generate less waste."
As noted, Autodesk was in a unique position to maximize this kind of offering, which works to solve a real problem in the built environment design workflow. By combining their expertise and offerings between manufacturing and building design, they can help “industrialize” the AEC industry and in turn work towards providing solutions for some of the industry’s biggest challenges, continuing one of the themes of last year’s Autodesk University around ushering in a new era.
“Autodesk believes industrialized construction is critical to changing the AEC industry,” McMahon told the media in his press briefing. “We’re excited that we have capabilities in our portfolio from the AEC side of our company and the manufacturing side of our company. In combination, they can help our customers really adopt these methods.”