Laying the foundation for a file-free future and optimal data flow between collaborators


Stantec is a global design consultancy with over 26,000 employees, operating since 1954. The multi-discipline firm works in all aspects of the built environment, including buildings projects such as mixed-use developments, hospitals, and research facilities, and infrastructure projects such as water treatment plants and transportation for governments and multinational corporations. Stantec's Buildings Digital Practice team harnesses the power of data-rich, model-based workflows and develops digital solutions that improve their ability to solve challenges facing their clients, communities, and industries.

The Challenge: Data trapped in massive model files slows collaboration

Building information models (BIM) hold massive amounts of critical project data, but too often that data is trapped in the file. Designers share the entire file with collaborators who may only need a narrow view of the model—just one room or system, for instance. Precious time is lost in searching for and accessing precise data. Further, changes made by third-party collaborators are difficult to capture in the original design.

As a result, designers and engineers spend time on low-value tasks such as cleaning, prepping, and sharing files. Lost data and fragmented communication slow everyone down and hinder collaboration. Stantec needs a better way to share specific information across the project lifecycle.

The Experiment:  Harnessing the cloud to enable two-way data sharing between Revit and third-party tools

Stantec suspected that harnessing the power of the cloud would be a springboard to two-way, instantly updated communication on model data with their community of consultants and other collaborators.

They began by experimenting with the Autodesk Platform Services Data Exchange API. Using Autodesk Construction Cloud’s browser-based interface, Stantec chose a specific view of a particular Revit model—like a staircase or boiler room—and created a data bundle using the Data Exchange API. That data bundle lives in Autodesk Construction Cloud, where collaborators access it to use with their tools, apps, and platforms. And when the Revit model is updated, the same data bundle is updated in the original model. It’s a solution that reduces the time designers and engineers spend on low-value tasks such as cleaning up files. Communication and collaboration improves with real-time data flowing in two ways. Stantec has found a way to share the right data with the right person at the right time.

The Future: Stantec, encouraged by results, plans a permanent solution

Encouraged by the results of their experiment, Stantec plans to build permanent workflows with the Data Exchange API. Stantec sees endless potential. For example, a mechanical engineer working in Revit could extract from their model only the data of interest to an electrical engineer, who could review the equipment list and properties, adding or changing data to suit their needs. Their changes would automatically be updated in Stantec’s models. This opens the door to better designs and higher-quality construction with fewer mistakes and less waste. Materials could be ordered sooner and more accurately. And costs could be reduced throughout the project lifecycle.

Soon, the process will be even more straightforward. Autodesk is releasing a plug-in allowing users to create exchanges directly from a Revit model into the cloud. They'll also work with the new GraphQL APIs that enable users to control further the data they share.

“We’re starting to see Autodesk make progress in really eliminating the file. If I break out the crystal ball, I suspect the direction of this file-less future is coming. Autodesk acts as a platform for not only its products but also those of its competitors. Having them double down and say we want to work with everybody, we want to provide the ability to use the best tool for the job, it’s precisely what the industry needs.”

James Mazza, Solutions Architect for Stantec Buildings Digital Practice

APIs and Services

Data Exchange API
Data Exchange API
Autodesk Construction Cloud (ACC) APIs
Autodesk Construction Cloud (ACC) APIs

Autodesk Products


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