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Construction technology just keeps getting better with acquisitions that will result in broader product application, apps for wall assemblies and heavy equipment testing, and video and graphics on some cool construction projects.

Acquisitions and Partnerships

Newforma Acquires SmartUse 
SmartUse TableNewforma, a project information management (PIM) software company transforming building and infrastructure project delivery, acquired SmartUse, a Montreal developer of a touch-friendly mobile platform for construction project collaboration. Contractors and owners can now review plans on office computers or on tablets on the jobsite. The product will be sold under the SmartUse name and marketed and supported by Newforma internationally. The SmartUse app operates on most devices, including a 55-inch workstation. Smart Use can be downloaded as a free viewer for unlimited users or as a fully functional 30-day free trial.

Nemetschek Acquires Bluebeam Software
Munich, Germany software provider Nemetschek® AG announced the acquisition of Bluebeam® Software, Inc., a developer of PDF-based collaboration solutions for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry. With its 11 brands, including Vectorworks® and Graphisoft®, the Nemetschek Group now serves more than 1.2 million users in 142 countries from more than 40 locations worldwide. Both firms focus on enabling project teams to build better by digitizing project information. Bluebeam will continue operating with its current management team and as an independent brand company.

Applied Software and GeoShack form Strategic Alliance
GeoShack North America and Applied Software announced a strategic alliance to supply and support BIM, field-based construction management solutions and layout hardware/software solutions to the construction industry. Applied Software is a premier Platinum and BIM360 Advisor Partner of Autodesk© software specializing in construction software and services for building, civil infrastructure, architecture, process and power, and product design and manufacturing. GeoShack is North America’s largest Topcon dealer offering a wide selection of construction lasers, total stations, robotic instruments, GPS survey systems, optical instruments, and 2-D and 3-D machine control systems for a multitude of applications.

Technology and Software

Asta Powerproject Upgrade With 4-D
Asta Powerproject will release Asta Powerproject BIM in early 2015, which will include 4-D planning with BIM and mobile site progress reporting. Users can see where the build should be at various stages of the timeline and even adjust the timeline by clicking on an element in the BIM model to bring up its corresponding schedule. The Site Progress Mobile app allows construction project managers to update the project schedule via their mobile phone or tablet on the jobsite, record progress and make schedule updates, take photographs and associate them with tasks or build stages, and avoid the need to re-key progress updates when they return to the office.

MiterJoint Inventory Management Free Trial
MiterJoint is a cloud procurement and inventory management platform that brings contractors, suppliers and field workers together in one online place for real-time collaboration. For contractors, MiterJoint eliminates the reliance on faxes and spreadsheets and provides a simple way to instantly connect with suppliers and get the best prices. It handles requests for quotes, purchase orders, deliveries, field orders, submittals and more. It maintains project analytics, shop inventory, pricing history, product pics, and tracks tools and equipment. For suppliers, MiterJoint makes it easy to be found online and provides a state-of-the-art platform to send quotes and schedule deliveries. Key features include instant sign-up, PDF generation, real-time news feeds, compatibility with any device or operating system, messaging platform and secure backup. The platform is free to suppliers. Contractors can sign up for a free 30-day trial.

Autodesk to be subscription-based Only
Autodesk is transitioning to a new subscription-based model and discontinuing the sale of perpetual software licenses in the next 12 to 24 months. The move comes one year after Autodesk announced that owners of perpetual licenses of previous versions of Autodesk software could no longer purchase upgrades. The move is in line with Adobe’s decision last year to switch to a subscription-based only model.


NFPA 285 walls a snap with new app
Specifying wall assemblies that pass the NFPA 285 burn test is a snap thanks to a new app released by Carlisle Coatings and Waterproofing (CCW). The R2+ NFPA 285 Build-A-Wall App was developed to help design professionals choose from more than 700 wall assemblies that exceed the highest energy-efficiency requirements and comply with building code fire safety provisions. The app is free and available for mobile and desktop devices.

SmartReality Combines 2-D and 3-D
JBKnowledge’s latest product, SmartReality, is an augmented reality mobile app developed for builders that combines 2-D plans and 3-D project models for an enhanced, mobile visualization of construction projects. The application was recently integrated with Epson Moverio smart glasses. Utilizing the full Android operating system on the Epson smart glasses, SmartReality allows construction professionals to simply look at 2-D paper construction plans through the smart glasses and view 3-D interactive BIM files of the structure, offering an unobstructed, real-world perspective of projects for planning, design and construction management.

Revolutionary Heavy Equipment Testing
Modustri Photo ProductsModustri simplifies heavy construction equipment testing with the introduction of an iOS iPad application designed to innovate the ultrasonic data acquisition and management process in the non-destructive testing field for monitoring and documenting inspections. The free app improves efficiency, accuracy and reporting throughout a broad spectrum of essential inspection processes. The Modustri SS app works seamlessly with the company’s ultrasonic thickness Wear Measurement Device (WMD™). This hardware and software marriage is designed to revolutionize non-destructive testing and preventative maintenance inspection services.

Cool Stuff – Links & Video

Concrete Segments Create Underwater Tunnel
Learn how the joint venture of Skanska, Kiewit and Weeks Marine (SKW) are submersing 16,000-ton concrete segments to create the Elizabeth River Tunnels, a public-private partnership project in Virginia. The first of 11 roadway tunnel elements is being submersed into a trench carved in the river bottom as part of a new two-lane tube parallel to the existing Midtown Tunnel in the Hampton Roads region. In June, SKW floated six of the hollow concrete elements 220 miles from where they were cast near Baltimore to the project site in Portsmouth and Norfolk. Most of the complex activities take place unseen beneath the Elizabeth River’s waters. Besides SKW, other key members of the Elizabeth River Tunnels team are the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Elizabeth River Crossings operating company and designer Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Rapid Replacement of Barton Corner Bridge
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) partnered with EarthCam to document the $6.4 million rapid replacement of Barton Corner Bridge. The construction project was completed in 11 days in August 2014. RIDOT accelerated the construction process, saving money and eliminating traffic congestion. The project is captured in a time-lapse video.

$335 Million Seawall in New York
After Hurricane Sandy revealed New York City’s vulnerabilities to severe climate conditions and rising waters, a Danish firm’s solution is to build a $335 million seawall to keep the Big Apple high and dry. Henk Ovink, former director general of water planning in the Netherlands, a country that’s been dealing with flooding and water management on a huge scale for centuries, brought his knowledge stateside and joined the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) initiative to rebuild and reinforce the New Jersey and New York coastline. HUD’s Rebuild by Design contest, in which architects, designers, scientists, engineers and recovery specialists submitted proposals for a smarter and more resilient infrastructure along the region’s waterfront, resulted in 148 entries. Six winners were announced, among them Bjarke Ingels Group’s Big U. The Big U is not simply a big wall — at nearly 10 miles long, the system will wrap around the southern half of Manhattan and mix different kinds of spaces, from parks to community areas, with infrastructure designed to fight flooding.

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