A review of LCADesign

Larsson , Nils & Trusty , Wayne (2004) A review of LCADesign. CRC for Construction Innovation, Brisbane.


Objective The review addresses two distinct sets of issues: 1. specific functionality, interface, and calculation problems that presumably can be fixed or improved; and 2. the more fundamental question of whether the system is close to being ready for ‘commercial prime time’ in the North American market. Findings Many of our comments relate to the first set of issues, especially sections B and C. Sections D and E deal with the second set. Overall, we feel that LCADesign represents a very impressive step forward in the ongoing quest to link CAD with LCA tools and, more importantly, to link the world of architectural practice and that of environmental research. From that perspective, it deserves continued financial support as a research project. However, if the decision is whether or not to continue the development program from a purely commercial perspective, we are less bullish. In terms of the North American market, there are no regulatory or other drivers to press design teams to use a tool of this nature. There is certainly interest in this area, but the tools must be very easy to use with little or no training. Understanding the results is as important in this regard as knowing how to apply the tool. Our comments are fairly negative when it comes to that aspect. Our opinion might change to some degree when the ‘fixes’ are made and the functionality improved. However, as discussed in more detail in the following sections, we feel that the multi-step process — CAD to IFC to LCADesign — could pose a serious problem in terms of market acceptance. The CAD to IFC part is impossible for us to judge with the information provided, and we can’t even begin to answer the question about the ease of using the software to import designs, but it appears cumbersome from what we do know. There does appear to be a developing North American market for 3D CAD, with a recent survey indicating that about 50% of the firms use some form of 3D modeling for about 75% of their projects. However, this does not mean that full 3D CAD is always being used. Our information suggests that AutoDesk accounts for about 75 to 80% of the 3D CAD market, and they are very cautious about any links that do not serve a latent demand. Finally, other system that link CAD to energy simulation are using XML data transfer protocols rather than IFC files, and it is our understanding that the market served by AutoDesk tends in that direction right now. This is a subject that is outside our area of expertise, so please take these comments as suggestions for more intensive market research rather than as definitive findings.

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ID Code: 26858
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Keywords: CRC for Construction Innovation, Program B : Sustainable Built Assets , Project 2001-006-B : Environmental Assessment Systems for Commercial Buildings
Copyright Owner: © 2004 CRC for Construction Innovation
Copyright Statement: The Participants of the CRC for Construction Innovation have delegated authority to the CEO of the CRC to give Participants permission to publish material created by the CRC for Construction Innovation. This delegation is contained in Clause 30 of the Agreement for the Establishment and Operation of the Cooperative Research Centre for Construction Innovation. The CEO of the CRC for Construction Innovation gives permission to the Queensland University of Technology to publish the papers/publications provided in the collection in QUT ePrints provided that the publications are published in full. Icon.Net Pty Ltd retains copyright to the publications. Any other usage is prohibited without the express permission of the CEO of the CRC. The CRC warrants that Icon.Net Pty Ltd holds copyright to all papers/reports/publications produced by the CRC for Construction Innovation.
Deposited On: 18 Aug 2009 02:28
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 13:57

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