New release of Tekla BIMsight

I was informed by people from Tekla (they did a Webinar preview on 16th of June) that the new version of Tekla BIMsight 1.2 will be released on June 21st. Here is a sneak peek. More info on http://www.teklabimsight.com soon.

BIMsight is a standalone and free application (windows-only) to load, compare and view BIM models. It is  focused on IFC documents, but can load DWG and DGN (from AutoCAD-compatible and MicroStation compatible) applications as well.

The highlights of the original release still stand (I discussed it earlier in this blog : Tekla Bimsight), but the new version adds some nice features:

  • red lining in 3D = making annotations to the model, to give feedback to the model owner;
  • re-locating the model, which I read as being able to position different models (from different files/programs) to be properly aligned;
  • improved management, through grouping and linking (multi-files?)
So far, my biggest gripe is that it is Windows-only, but I intend to use it for a project in which we will have students collaborate using BIM models (together with BIMserver.org for IFC sharing). I was trying to install it in a virtual windows, but I completely trashed this system and had to start all over again.

The software avoids the Desktop-style interface (no Ribbon, less dialogs, tabbed, web-like GUI). Not sure if that suits the target audience, though (architects, engineers, many of them familiar with Windows-based CAD software).

Tekla BIMsight 1.2 Screenshot (with included demo-model)
Performance inside a Virtual machine was not too well, but don't think I can blame Tekla for that. After all, loading several large IFC models simultaneously is not that trivial. While I like the fact you get a fair sight on what is in the model, the biggest problem I see is that you have to know quite well what you are doing to generate IFC's in a particular structure. Having large lists of "WallStandardCase" (all named identically) does not help you that much if you want to look for a particular one. This is something I also noticed in the BIMserver ModelBrowser.

Not sure if the original model or the IFC export or the IFC import is to blame here. But whenever models get large (and don't all architectural/building models have this tendency), there are countless objects with the same name and it becomes hard to keep track of which object is where. Luckily, you have a fully interactive 3D window here, which is a huge benefit.

The biggest comparable software I see, is Solibri Model Viewer, the free Java-based and cross-platform viewer for (single) IFC files. I assume Autodesk NavisWorks is another candidate, although I have never tried it.