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Nemetschek Vectorworks introduces new BCF Importer and other BIM Interoperability Enhancements

Nemetschek Vectorworks Service Pack 3 adds two big new BIM interoperability standards plus key improvements to the rest of the software.

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Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc., has added the industry’s newest BIM open standard, BCF (stands for BIM collaboration format) to its arsenal in Vectorworks Architect. Developed by buildingSMART International, BCF is rapidly getting embraced by software vendors and users throughout the industry. In addition, the company also announced Simplified Geometry Model View Definition (MVD). These two new features are part of Service Pack 3, which also includes other improvements.

BCF Importer

The new BCF Importer allows users to read BCF files within Vectorworks 2015, files sent from collaborators using different BIM software tools are opened up in Vectorworks itself and users can view the issues within the BIM model. The BCF format packages commentary data along with geometry view location data so that users on different BIM platforms can quickly resolve issues by drilling down to the particular place in the BIM model where the issue or issues exist.

You can watch how the BCF technology works by checking out this video by Nemetschek Vectorworks below.

Simplified Geometry MVD

The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) schema is evolving to accommodate many different user configurations and levels of detail. To meet the expanding needs of users, Vectorworks software now offers an additional IFC export option for defining the model view. The Simplified Geometry MVD allows Vectorworks users to export IFC files optimized for other software programs that can only import a limited set of simple geometry types.

Additionally, a new option called “Export Walls/Slabs by components” has been added to the Export IFC Project dialog box. This option optimizes the export of IFC files for use by estimating software such as BIM2COST. These improvements increase interoperability between BIM software applications, as well as enhance communication among design disciplines.

01 - Vectorworks 2015 Service Pack 3 now supports the BCF file format via the new BCF Importer.

01 – Vectorworks 2015 Service Pack 3 now supports the BCF file format via the new BCF Importer.

“As the adoption of Open BIM workflows continues to increase among our users, we continue to develop new functionality to enable architects to collaborate in a flexible way and communicate using their Vectorworks building information model,” said Jeremy Powell, director of global product marketing at Nemetschek Vectorworks. “The Simplified Geometry MVD and BCF Importer allow for more flexibility and interoperability between Vectorworks software and other programs.”

Beyond the BIM focused improvements listed above, Service Pack 3 also includes:

  • Improved performance on high resolution monitors such as the 5k Retina iMac
  • Improved default data supplied when exporting IFC
  • Improved support when exporting PDF/A-1b files with the Publish command

Service Pack 3 is available for all licenses as a downloadable updater. To install it, click here or access the “About Vectorworks” dialog box from the “Vectorworks” menu (Mac users) or select “Check for Updates” from the “Help” menu (Windows users).

To learn more about buildingSMART’s BCF format visit here. To learn more about Vectorworks Architect 2015, visit here.

Architosh Analysis

This is an excellent new BIM feature set worthy of a major product release cycle update rather than a service pack. Clearly, Nemetschek Vectorworks has no shortage of big features coming up in their 2016 release in the fall, but this is speculative at best. If there was urgency to add this feature now it may only be because most other BIM rivals already feature it. The new BCF Importer will let Vectorworks-based architects respond to issues—from contractors in particular, but also engineers, using their favorite BIM tools and Autodesk Navisworks in particular in the US market and Solibri in the global market—directly within Vectorworks. The improvements to the BIM interoperability and features in this service pack already adds greatly to a very BIM-centered release in version 2015 in general.

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