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9 AEC app kits for a killer coordination workflow

April 12, 2021 5 min. read

There is a dizzying array of software and apps out there for AEC professionals. Don’t believe us? Just check out this BIM History map by Big Data Construction:

Figure 1.0: The History of BIM interactive map by Big Data Construction.

In this blog post we will break down 3 power-combo app kits curated for Architects, BIM Coordinators, and Project Managers. We will also feature 6 real-life app kits from the wider AEC community, including their favorite “wild card” apps.

NB: This post is inspired by the AEC-APPS website’s “featured app kits”, which is unfortunately no longer available. So, we’re bringing the app kit back, BIM Track style!

Check out this brief summary video 👇 or dive straight in.

What’s in your App Kit?

Here are three dream app kits that we have curated for Architects, BIM/VDC Coordinators, or Project Managers. Which one would you choose?

Architect

Authoring software

Revit and Archicad are the most widely used BIM software, but Architects also have options like Rhino, BricsCAD BIM and Vectorworks to choose from.

Visual Programming

If you’re into customization and automation, you can add a computational design tool like Dynamo, Param-o, or Grasshopper.

Rendering / VR tool

There are some fantastic rendering and VR platforms for immersive design review and client presentations that leave a lasting impression. Enscape and Vrex are our favorites, because they have BIM Track integrations 😉 but you can also check out our guide to VR platforms for a longer list.

Communication platform

You need a way to communicate design modifications and comments. (Please, not email.) Check out this blog on how BIM Track can help you manage communication and modifications during the design review process.

Fancy espresso machine

Ok, this one’s not an app. But good coffee surely contributes to good design, no?! ☕

BIM/VDC Coordinator

Clash detection

Navisworks and Solibri are probably the reigning champions of clash detection and model checking respectively. Check out our guide to see a wide range of alternatives.

IFC

this is a file format not an app, but if you’re federating models from a variety of different software platforms, you’ll need a format like IFC to allow smooth collaboration.

Point cloud software

Tools like Cintoo Cloud and ClearEdge3D Verity can help you tackle Scan-to-BIM comparison and as-built verification with ease.

Model sharing

You need a place to store and exchange all those design models. Options include BIM 360, Bentley ProjectWise, Google Drive, and more. Check out our interactive quiz to help you find the best option for you.

Issue Management

BIM Track is your best friend for managing issues, running coordination meetings, and creating easy issue reports. Check out our list of 50 tips for better BIM coordination meetings for more detail.

Spotify

you need an epic Spotify playlist to keep you calm while spinning around models all day! 👇

Project Manager

Issue-Tracking platform

This is essential for managing stakeholders and tracking design coordination progress to ensure construction starts on-time.
Find out more about how to measure project health with BIM Track.

Construction management platform

You need a time-effective way to manage everything in the construction phase - RFIs, action items, documentation, and ideally something you can use on-site. Procore is very widely used, but there are alternatives like Autodesk Build, Construtivo, and Aconex (now acquired by Oracle).

Project Information Management platform

You’ve heard of BIM, but have you heard of PIM? Newforma Project Center is a leading PIM management platform that centralizes emails, RFIs, drawings, submittals, and action items in one place.

Scheduling

When it comes to managing the construction schedule, Smartsheet is a strong choice, as well as Primavera P6 (now acquired by Oracle) and Microsoft Project. We’ve also heard good things from clients using Asana.

Analytics platform

When it comes to creating dashboards, the clear winner here is Power BI. 💪
You can also check out Tableau.

6 Featured app kits from the AEC community

Aaron MallerAaron Maller
Director of Parallax Team, Inc.

Wildcard App MrCoffee
"Mr Coffee Coffee warmer - because nobody likes cold coffee 😉"

jess-purcellJess Purcell
Design Technology Manager at Shepley Bulfinch.

Wildcard app
"For fast screenshots with easy editing tools. Greenshot has options to save directly to the desktop,export as different file types, or copy straight to the clipboard. I use this hundreds of times a day to document step by step processes, capture errors, and send instructions to folks.”

VickieHarrisVickie Harris
Firmwide BIM Leader at HKS, Inc.

ShiftAzure DevopsSharepointBIM 360MiroPowerBICTC Project SuiteAdobe IllustratorPinnacle SeriesClockifyOBS
Wildcard app
"It’s amazing how often you have to batch rename files, and yet it’s something I never thought I would use so often in my day to day work.”

John PiersonJohn Pierson
Design Technology Specialist at Parallax Team.

DynamoRevit
Wildcard app
“My wild card app would be the idea of generally sharing knowledge. Whether that be twitter, a personal blog, LinkedIn, or whatever, sharing is huge. The more generous you are, the bigger your whole world will become.”

Jisell Howe
Senior BPM Platform Integration Manager at ENGworks Global.

WorkflowyMindMeisterMilanoteOne Note
Wildcard app
"It doesn’t sound like it would be strange/unexpected, but actually I consider Asana to be that. As tasks get completed, every once in a while a flying unicorn or other mythical creature flies across the screen. I found that out as a pleasant surprise before I read about the feature later on. I love it!”

Reed Munro
Virtual Design & Construction Manager at Clark Builders.

RevitTeklaNavisworksVrexbimtrackprocore
Wildcard app  Arizona Sunshine
"So maybe in between the VR coordination I kill a lot of zombies in VR… Brraainns… 🧟‍♂️"

Thanks for reading our review of 9 killer AEC app kits. We would love to know what’s in your app kit - reach us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Carl Storms

Technical Solutions Lead at BIM Track

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