It's spring 2019, which means it's been already 4 years since the release of the first Russian BIM system Renga Architecture, and we at Renga Software are having a little celebration. Constantly creating and developing robust building information modeling solutions we provide strong support for BIM technology adoption and implementation by Russian AEC industry. Hasn't been that long since the very first release of our architectural application, but we can tell you, we hadn't been sitting around doing nothing: 3 efficient software solutions to benefit architects (Renga Architecture), designers (Renga Structure) and MEP engineers (Renga MEP), 17 system upgrades and impressive list of nearly 300 features aimed to help users generate consistent, coordinated, and complete model-based building designs and documentation.
In this article we shall glance at Renga user experience and explore software development and all the enhancements over the past year.
Onwards and upwards
4 years ago only foreign-produced BIM apps were available on the Russian software market. Lots of AEC firms couldn't afford purchasing such software due to its high price. Renga Architecture released in March 31, 2015 has become some sort of a game-changer: Russian AEC companies could now use domestically developed alternative. From that day on, we at Renga Software were aiming for BIM to be massively distributed in our country so users could get more software choices.
For development to take place in a significant way, we constantly capture user feedback and requests, working on features and functionality to help our users design more productively. We try to make BIM available for everyone and improve user experience with this software by delivering cutting-edge, advanced tools and automating routine tasks so designers can focus on modeling.
First three years our team step by step pursued the road towards achieving the goals, focused on creating and developing powerful tools. Our specialists spent a good deal of time going into the issues of AEC software design, researching current requirements of the construction industry, bringing to life advanced ideas.
Celebrating our fourth anniversary, we'd like to share with you our most significant developments.
Read more about it below.
First things first. Probably the most exciting moment was Renga MEP release, the solution for mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering. Now Renga is a complex 3D modeling system for AEC design workflow. Three apps of this system, Renga Architecture, Renga Structure and Renga MEP enable architects, designers and MEP engineers to carry out their performance-intensive tasks. Development team implemented two essential features without which no MEP system design can be provided: laying of roots and automatic equipment connection using the unique Automatic routing tool.
Figure 1. Water and wastewater mains
So far Renga development team implemented user-requested feature for creating drawings of water and wastewater mains. Throughout the course of the year we plan to deliver tools for the remaining MEP systems (heating system, ventilation, electricity supply system). Follow our news.
Another highlight of the year was the implementation of profile editor for columns and beams in all three Renga BIM systems. This new tool helps users generate consistent, coordinated, and complete profiles of objects of any complexity and configuration. Profile editor serves architects' interests when designing elements like blind area, facade cornice, baseboard, column cap etc. Designers will find it extremely handy in modeling structural elements of compound sections. Using parameterization tools, users can create configuration of column and beam sections, set required parameters and place constraints to degree of freedom of contour.
Figure 2. Profile editor
Moving on. Another option to create building information model is to work with 2d drawings. Renga development team implemented game-changing mechanism that displays plan view allowing to control:
1) view depth level (user can select the lower level of the displayed view);
2) offset plane (user can select the elevation of the current level where you place a cut plane);
3) offset view depth (user can fine-tune your setup by offsetting view depth level relative to selected level).
This feature will significantly extend user's design development capabilities for objects layout.
Figure 3. Display properties in plan view
Another new feature successfully implemented in Renga Architecture and Renga Structure is an Assembly tool - a multi-unit 3D model of an object. Architects greatly benefit from this tool when designing ribbon windows, structural modules, stair flights with landings and railings, etc. Assembly is an incredible time-saver for structural engineers that simplifies and streamlines structural concept designing of any complexity. This tool decreases time spent on tasks like metal frames designing by generating parts suitable for transportation and assembly drawings. Plus, you can use Assembly tool when performing bar reinforcement of connections and complex elements like stairs and cable trays. This is an obvious time-saver and productivity booster that helps you do a better job in creating the content that captures design intent.
Figure 4. Metal trusses suitable for shipment, created with Assembly tool
During the year Renga development team has been persistently working on steel structures. This work has led to 3D snaps implementation. Before, designer used to create 3D models with object snaps belonging to work plane. From now on modeling is not aligned to the plane. 3D tracking provides easy and fast workflow when creating objects in the X, Y and Z plane, snapping to the other objects vertexes and edges at any given point. This new development significantly simplifies the process of building complex 3D objects and speeds up designer's work. Using 3D snaps you can easily create composite steel structures including trusses, space frame structures, and rafter systems; perform good detailing of joints and many other functions.
Figure 5. Creating diagonal web member using Beam tool in cylindrical mode
One of the most anticipated and user-requested functionality is a feature for rebar schedules automatic generation in Renga Structure. Let us recall that previously designers had to export all the data to CSV format and manually adjust the schedules using Table tool. New functionality significantly deepens workflows with Renga project delivery and provides automatic scheduling of reinforcement units and elements of columns, beams, foundation, floors, ramps and stairs, schedules of built-in items, group schedules of structural objects etc. All these schedules are generated in Renga as per GOST Standard 21.1101-2013, no export needed. These features new in Renga Structure will help you decrease time spent on quantification and will contribute to your producing high-quality work. On top of this, all reinforcement schedules are associative to 3D model, which means any adjustment to the model automatically updates schedules.
Figure 6. Schedule of column reinforcement details
But! More enhancements to table view display have been made. Very recently, we've implemented new Legend tool. Unlike the schedules that extract information from the properties of all the elements in a project, legends provide a graphic listing of only those elements and symbols specified by the user. Legends are created by placing legend components into a special legend view and a legend view can be placed on more than one sheet in the project. User can easily edit legends and copy them from one project to another by copying legends to the clipboard.
Figure 7. Legend of a truss suitable for shipment
Let's move to new functionality for polygonal objects editing. It was one of the most user-requested feature and we always capture our users' feedback. Now Renga functionality allows to edit already existing floors, openings, roofs, rooms, hatching and profiles by adding to the contour new and removing already existing vertexes, converting segments from line to arc and moving the entire segment. This new enhancement vastly improves the workflow for polygonal objects and helps users do a better job creating the content that captures design intent.
Figure 8. Converting a straight-line roof edge to an arc roof edge
It is important to make a reference to another feature aimed at enhancing the modeling productivity: Room tool has become associative and can now find boundaries in plan. To enable automatic room creation, architect only needs to activate Automatically by point mode, click on the wall-bounded space (the space can be also bounded by columns, wall foundation or isolated foundation or by any other manually created rooms). At this, rooms become associative to surrounding structures (floor, walls and ceiling), after which software determines their area. This feature aimed at speeding up room finish schedule generation, considerably enhances modeling process for an architect. As user makes changes to the configuration in plan, it automatically recalculates areas.
Figure 9. Room created automatically
We are happy to announce the release of software solutions suite for consistent, coordinated, and complete 3D modeling and model-based estimating called 1C: Renga BIM and Cost Estimate. The suit includes Renga Architecture and Renga Structure BIM systems and 1С: Enterprise 8. And provides cost-engineers with the important ability to assign all Renga objects with unit prices and generate cost estimates in a matter of minutes. All the required data user obtains directly from building information model. Estimators can now participate in designing process in the early phases of the project. This feature delivers a full-blown and reliable estimate from a 3D model, and considerably speeds up obtaining of estimated construction cost. Renga 3D building information model can be used at all stages of the construction object life cycle, including building stage, providing more comprehensive and integrated design workflows. This is possible due to integration of Renga BIM system and the latest configuration of 1C:ERP Construction Enterprise Management. 1C: Project management and Renga integration provides an efficient tool for project rendering. This tool allows user to view what the future building object looks like at any stage of construction, analyze and edit construction work schedule, capacity utilization and bill of quantities, review results of the object modeling, perform clash detection and avoid missing the construction deadline.
Figure 10. Use the information model at any stage of building life cycle
It was an overview of some of the new features implemented over the past four years. Apart from that, we were constantly improving our basic features (tools like Tag, Schedule, Automatic reinforcement, Object styles etc), enhancing integration to other BIM software via IFC format, adding functionality for DWG/DXF drawings import and many others. Delivering new functionalities with each release, we at the same time constantly increase software performance. One of the Renga highlights: software doesn't require powerful computer, users can work with large, complex and highly detailed 3D models using an average PC.
Use our robust software tools and gain efficiency when designing BIM models. Renga is developed to improve your experience with BIM technology and help you generate consistent, coordinated, and complete model-based building designs and documentation.
Sharing our users' achievements
Building information modeling creates efficiency and users will get several benefits: BIM brings in more customers and increases customer base, improves productivity and makes it possible for the whole team to participate for better project delivery, greatly reduces computational headaches and decreases time spent on rote tasks. Renga Software team develops advanced tools for architectural design, MEP and structural design, detailing, and engineering, enabling construction professionals to progress and keep up to date. Our users also comment on efficiency, performance, and stability that speed up their content creation process and take them at a whole new level of 3D modeling.
We're already seeing some favorable results. This year Renga BIM system has been actively implemented and used by both small-sized and large AEC companies. Using Renga software products, experts managed to unlock their creativity and now openly share their positive feedback and spectacular results. We are pleased to tell about some of them.
First of all, we constantly encounter certain concerns that implementing BIM technology is a complex process that would lead to major organizational and personnel changes, long retraining of specialists who were accustomed to work with 2D, and it's better to remain in 2D environment for the sake of comfort and budget. Meanwhile, Reconstruction-2000K, established in 2008 in Tyumen as a small business enterprise specializing in civil and structural design, decided to take a chance on Renga. Learning more about Russian-made BIM system developed by Renga Software Company, design specialists of Reconstruction-2000K were impressed by minimalistic and intuitive interface of the product and robust BIM tool set. Using Renga BIM solution, company architects and designers created 3D models of multi-storey apartment building and waterfront café. Facing no learning and modeling difficulties, design team completed all project tasks.
Figure 11. Renga 3D models of multi-storey apartment building and waterfront café
Cost of building information modeling technology is one of the main obstacles to the successful BIM implementation. Expensive foreign-produced BIM software is only available to large companies and market leaders. ISAEV ARCHITECTS, small architectural studio based in Yekaterinburg, has managed to overcome this financial barrier by implementing budget friendly Russian-made BIM system Renga. Domestically developed alternative allowed studio team to deliver a pilot project. Specialists created 3D model of three-storey residential building which would soon be constructed in the Sverdlovsk Region, elaborated both interior and exterior, and developed some complex architectural and construction concepts. And on top of that, software has significantly increased labor efficiency, saved time spent on rote tasks like creating schedules and drawings, and helped to finish work on time.
Figure 12. Information model of timber frame three-storey residential building
Even if you are new to BIM, there's no reason why you shouldn't gain efficiency and enhance your competitive advantages over other construction players. This has been proved by ArchStroyCom, architecture firm based in Samara that lately has been quite frequently facing clients' requests to provide them with information building 3D models. Acknowledging all the benefits of BIM technology implementation, company top management decided to purchase and use Renga tools in order to enhance the modeling productivity and generate consistent, coordinated, and complete model-based building designs and documentation. To date, ArchStroyCom specialists managed to design 3D model of business and retail center with shops and cafés.
Figure 13. Business and retail center 3D model
With every new project construction companies strive to minimize the potential for human error, reduce the time it takes to approve design, and build strong and valuable relationships with clients, but not everyone finds success. Meanwhile, Belzhilproekt, republican unitary enterprise based in Minsk, decided to switch to building information modeling and delivered a pilot project - Hospital administration building 3D model. Renga Software solutions have helped to complete all company’s Architecture and Design departments tasks. Easy-to-use, intuitive software with Russian interface allows to learn and master BIM technology without effort. The most important thing – Renga helped successfully implement pilot project and demoed it to the client in a very short time. 3d modeling had revealed some minor faults of the project before the reconstruction has started.
Figure 14. Military Hospital administration building 3D model
We also got an interesting feedback from the top Russian glass industry leader Saratovstroysteklo Company. Apart from designing models of production facilities using BIM technology, company has decided to use these models in training for new employees. This is how multipurpose and productive BIM technology can be.
Figure 15. Workshop view from +10,000 height point
Our users' positive experience is changing views of the AEC industry. Together we are getting closer to turning BIM technology into accessible and every-day tool for companies of all sizes.
A few words about BIM
Using Russian-made software turns BIM implementation into easy, budget friendly and labor saving process. We sure will continue to see BIM getting traction, gaining momentum, moving towards high-quality designing. To make this journey toward excellence smooth and easy, we regularly upload comprehensive video tutorials, guidance materials and articles. Our product management team, who have got years of working experience in construction industry, regularly holding webinars and workshops.
Big plans for next year: new releases of our software with new tools, features and functionality for architects and designers; release of Renga MEP for mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering is scheduled for autumn 2018; implementation of Renga-Server and worksharing.
Join us now and create your first BIM project in Renga!
By Ekaterina Vasilieva, Renga Software product manager