Once CORE Studio created the TTX framework, which stores every single instance of a model created in Revit, Grasshopper, Tekla, Ram Structural Systems, ETABS, or SAP 2000, the team began to broaden the program’s range of capabilities. Now, in addition to two-way coordination, TTX allows engineers to look back at projects to see in a clear, visual, color-coded presentation of how the project evolved over time. With each update, TTX assigns a time stamp that indicates when the change was made, who made it, and what software they used to make it. This functionality allows engineers to visually compare different versions of a model at a high level of detail. Filters in the software allow engineers to compare specific parts of a model at a granular level, all the way down to changes in materials and structural member dimensions. These visualization tools allow for much greater transparency at all stages of the building design process, and hence improve the flow of information between parties involved in the process, both firm-internal and external.
This detailed information enables our engineers and modelers to clearly understand which changes were made to the model by others. In addition, through the use of filters, one can chose to only view certain types of changes. If, for example, a member of the team is not interested in geometric changes between two instances of a model, and instead only wants to see the particular slabs where the concrete strength was modified (say between the ETABS and the Revit models), they could select to only view changes done to material assignments of slabs. This view of BIM element differences facilitates judgment calls based on these comparisons. And if it is determined that a version of a model produced two months in the past is the best possible design, the team can go back to that iteration without losing time redrawing it.
Additionally, the visualization of this information helps to inform our clients. We provide structural 3D models as part of our deliverables on an increasing number of projects. We developed a technique to store custom views that highlight changes in order to show our clients and external collaborators what changes took place since the last time we submitted a model.
Here at CORE studio we are continuing to develop TTX. We rolled out the software across Thornton Tomasetti offices in April 2013 and have been examining how our engineering teams are using the platform. We will follow up with a blog post about the importance of usage analytics soon.