10+1 free Apps to manage construction projects
Point cloud, GIS maps, online cost estimates, chat features: these are some of the top free apps for your construction project management requirements
This article is a brief overview of some of the new features available in usBIM, the integrated system of applications and tools to manage the digitization of buildings and infrastructures. We’ll also take a close look at the free apps available in the basic configuration of usBIM.10 allowing AEC professional to manage construction projects and find out how easy it is to collaborate in real time with your project team members, share and manage construction and infrastructure projects and also work online in complete freedom using any type of device and from anywhere.
First of all, how do you get your hands on usBIM.10? The steps are:
- go to the usBIM login page
- type in your MyACCA credentials (registration email and password)
- click “Login” to gain access.
If you haven’t signed up for your free MyACCA account, click here and follow the instructions.
The usBIM free applications
usBIM finally allows you to manage your projects in an efficient and intuitive manner and brings all the aspects of design, collaboration and coordination into one cloud-based environment.
usBIM.10 provides you with various free applications and 10 GB of cloud storage space available to use immediately. They include:
- usBIM.point cloud
- PriMus on-line
usBIM, in its basic configuration, can be upgraded and customized according to specific working requirements by simply adding other applications. Many others will be added during the upcoming months and will be available in the usBIM.store.
Let’s take a quick look at what are the applications available.
usBIM.browser is one of the most important applications in usBIM. It allows you to view and manage BIM models, documents and data with great efficiency and completely online from any device. Explore complex 3D models, generated with any other BIM authoring, and without installing any software on your device.
In detail, with usBIM.browser you can:
- immediately open and view all documents and models in different formats (IFC, EDF, EDL, RVT, RFA, DAE, OBJ, 3DS, SKP, DXF, DWG, PDF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, etc.)
- collaborate with other users connected simultaneously on the same project or the same document shared on platform
- explore 3D models online and analyze individual IFC object properties
- federate several IFC models in a single view, create tags, annotations, links and add geo-referencing data.
usBIM.pointcloud is an application that integrates digital surveying and BIM technologies.
Manage point clouds and texturized meshes directly from your browser and integrate them into your BIM processes for construction design, execution or maintenance.
With this functionality, harness the power of the cloud to view, federate and manage even the largest of files.
Point clouds can be shared with other team members via the cloud enabling viewing and use simultaneously. Forget about your PC performance limits and manage your 3D files as well as point clouds efficiently.
Another application in usBIM is usBIM.federation, which allows you to federate different models directly online. A federation can be carried out not only on models and components from the various fields of construction (architectural, structural, plant engineering), but also, for example, on large-scale infrastructure models too.
Federate your terrain model with viaducts, roads, rail networks and even with high levels of detail. Associate enourmous amounts of information (technical datasheets, photos, 360 panoramas) directy to the federation and enrich the whole model.
The greatest advantage is that in time, although the digital models can become rich in information and increasingly complex, the advanced data viewing and management tools always provide a fluid and high-performance workflow for all team members.
usBIM also allows you to interact with your team mates dynamically thanks to the usBIM.chat instant messaging service.
Take advantage of the chat feature and enhance communication and collaboration. Unlike other similar services, it allows you to transfer information without having to send files of any kind, thanks to the integrated usBIM system, which allows you to share files in the cloud by sending simple links.
For example, to illustrate a point cloud model to colleagues, simply share the link to the model on usBIM.
Other usBIM.chat advantages:
- time saving when uploading and sending files via the messaging service
- your colleague doesn’t need to download the file, saving you even more time
- no need to purchase or use any external software to view the model
- the shared model will not occupy space on your computer or on your colleague’s computer
- you can immediately use all the advanced features of usBIM.browser from the chatroom
- follow open issues in usBIM.browser from directly within teh chat session.
usBIM.meet is an advanced online meeting service that allows you to collaborate with your team through video calls and desktop screen sharing.
This application enables you to integrate various usBIM features such as chat, browser, clash, .BCF file management to address and resolve conflicts and project errors.
Share your files in usBIM in a few simple steps, avoiding the need to upload and download even large projects and documents. In fact, with the integrated usBIM system you can share the link to the file in your cloud and view it directly in your browser, saving time and increasing productivity.
usBIM.meet can also be very useful in construction site operations: interact with site operators and solve any kind of problem immediately by sharing solutions directly with the integrated usBIM system.
Another app from usBIM.10 that allows you to better manage imported models by locating them in a given context (even on a territorial scale) and to easily create, edit and share GIS files. This system allows you to integrate BIM and GIS technology directly in the cloud and therefore without installing any software.
With usBIM.gis you can:
- geolocalise BIM models thanks to the precise positioning of the digital models in their real spatial context
- view projects entirely by displaying data on a spatial scale and obtaining relevant information directly in the cloud
- use open formats and create new maps linked to BIM models by importing and exporting in the open GEOJSON format
- perform graphical analysis on spatial maps, using graphical tools for drawing custom maps and locating data and associated links
With usBIM.gis, create new documents directly from your cloud folder and access many other features. Use shapes, lines and markers to locate a series of buildings or elements to which you can associate documents and various types of information (e.g. photos, detail reports). You can then contextualise all models and documents directly on a gis map.
For more information on this application, please visit the dedicated usBIM.gis webpage.
usBIM.bcf is an application for managing files generated by clash detection software.
This software allows you to compare models from different disciplines and create reports with evidence of any collisions between the various elements (for example, a window overlapping a column).
Once the file is shared in usBIM you can easily collaborate with colleagues involved on that specific problem.
Therefore, with usBIM.bcf, you can import files in bcf format into the cloud and then:
- manage the bcf file and simplify collaboration solving critical project issues
- exchange information, messages, comments and links in a single environment without the need for emails, images or spreadsheets
- track revisions generated with clash detection software through a history of comments, notes and images
- you can review, identify and resolve critical issues in real time before construction execution.
The cloud archive organization, containing all the information useful to solve an issue, facilitates the above operations. Here you can find three types of files:
- markup – a file that contains textual information about the IFC file with the model, the author of the report, the entities involved and the comments needed to solve the issue
- viewpoint – they frame the problem directly on the digital model. They can be multiple and can be linked to the comments contained in the markup
- snapshot – images of the issue in question linked to the viewpoints identified in the digital model.
BIM project management implies needing to prepare many documents (minutes, reports, notes, checklists) and to share them with your collaborators, company, client and various stakeholders even when you are not in your office. It is therefore of paramount importance to choose the right software for construction planning.
usBIM.writer is a word processor that allows you to create, edit and update reports, minutes, notes and any ther document relating to your construction project.
Thanks to the integrated usBIM system, you can manage a text document and share it with your colleagues directly from the cloud. This allows you to seamlessly cooperate with all your team members (so as to work on a document that has been already reviewed and corrected).
Primarily you have a solution for BIM document management that allows you to:
- manage all BIM project documents in one place on the cloud, thereby improving the efficiency of the BIM management process and facilitating access to information any time and from any device
- perform intelligent control over documentation by defining access and visibility levels and assigning roles and permissions
- always have the latest version of a document available thanks to the automatic versioning system, avoiding the need to rename the file several times and keeping, at the same time, the history of all revisions.
usBIM.office is the usBIM.10 application that allows you to manage documents in Word, Excel, Power Point formats and produced by other Microsoft Office software. With this application you can open and view them directly from your browser and, if you have a Microsoft 365® subscription, you can also make changes or create new files directly online.
You can also synchronise your team’s different activities with collaborative working features and avoid working on outdated documents.
After uploading your Microsoft office software files to usBIM.office you can:
- view them directly online by clicking on the view button
- edit them if you have a Microsoft 365® licence
- see all changes in real time and archive each version
- interact and comment on each activity with the integrated chat.
The usBIM application for playing videos and multimedia content, directly from your browser without needing any additional software, codecs or plug-ins.
A high-performance web media player integrated in usBIM supporting HTML5 videos and modern streaming formats on both desktop and mobile devices.
With usBIM.media, simply upload media files to the usBIM cloud and play videos without any other software or plug-ins, directly from your browser.
PriMus on-line is the application for preparing your cost estimates directly in the cloud, taking advantage of the potential of the usBIM integrated system.
This means not only can you manage your files from any device or location, but also collaborate with your team on the same file at the same time and see all updates in real time.
See your team members working with you on the same file, and receive immediate notifications of any changes and updates. Communicate with your team via the integrated chat and jump to a specific point in the document with a single click.
With PriMus online you get a series of advantages:
- no need to install any software
- no device or operating system constraints
- possibility to operate from any location
- data is always available
- collaborative working
- full organisational freedom
- your work is always up-to-date because it is not linked to a specific folder but saved on cloud with immediate access at any time.
- maximum data security: data is never lost, even in the event of computer malfunction or failure
- opportunity to activate other advanced features from the store, try them for free for 30 days and then choose whether to subscribe
- 10 GB of free storage space that you can extend at any time according to your needs
For more information on PriMus on-line visit the product webpage here.
usBIM.calendar is the intelligent and fully integrated application in usBIM that allows you to create online calendars for all your tasks, projects and work commitments.
You can create an event, choose the date and set up notifications. You will receive a reminder directly on usBIM.chat and at your e-mail address.
You can also take advantage of the integration with usBIM.meet to organise videoconferences and with usBIM.gis to indicate location and address. With a simple link you can share the event with all the participants you want to invite.
usBIM.calendar is an online application so you can view and edit your calendars from your PC, phone or tablet, using a simple browser.
You can import your calendars into usBIM.calendar from other applications using the .ics format. By the same logic you can export them to other applications.
Finally, with usBIM.calendar you are always up to date on ACCA initiatives: webinars, training and support sessions, industry events, demos and presentations.