Build the Future ALLPLAN Summit 2024

Last week, Nemetschek’s leading AEC technology brand, ALLPLAN, held a virtual event to provide an overview of its growing technology stack, which now includes the structural engineering solutions, SCIA Engineer and FRILO, in addition to its flagship BIM application, Allplan, the steel detailing and fabrication solution, SDS2, and the collaboration platform, Bimplus. (See the recent article, “Nemetschek Brands ALLPLAN, SCIA, and FRILO Join Forces.”)

In addition to showcasing its products and their latest capabilities, the two-day event also included several examples of customer projects from around the world that have been implemented with ALLPLAN’s solutions (Figure 1). This article captures some of the highlights from the event, along with an overview of Nemetschek’s new dTwin solution for digital twins that was also presented.

Product Capabilities

While the capabilities of Allplan for architectural design, infrastructure design, engineering, prefabrication, and construction planning have been described in detail in my recent review of Allplan 2024, there were several additional features and updates highlighted at the event that I hadn’t had a chance to see earlier.

These include a GIS Connector that allows direct import of GIS data in Allplan (Figure 2), the ability to easily import point cloud data captured with laser scanners into Allplan without affecting the performance of the application (Figure 3), interactive and flexible façade modeling capabilities (Figure 4), and improved support for sustainable design with the ability to automatically transfer the model information and quantities of a project to One Click LCA, the leading cloud-based solution for life-cycle assessment.

For visualization, Allplan has a vast universe of rendering applications it integrates with, including Redshift from Maxon, which is another Nemetschek band; external engines such as Cinema 4D; as well as interactive visualization tools such as Lumion and Twinmotion. For many of these, there is direct synchronization of the Allplan model with the visualization solution for a more seamless workflow. Some of the renderings of Allplan projects created with these applications are shown in Figure 5. Additional capabilities for enhanced visualization include support for content libraries such as the SketchUp 3D Warehouse as well as support for custom surface textures for rendering.

Allplan is also keeping up with the latest technology trends by connecting with the new web-based AI-driven visualization tools (Figure 6), and it is planning to introduce a cloud-based AI visualization service in collaboration with other Nemetschek brands later this year.

The visualization capabilities of Allplan are also useful for other disciplinary designs such as structural engineering, as shown in Figure 7.

Additional capabilities of the ALLPLAN product family that were demonstrated at the Build the Future event include the ability to automatically design steel connections in Allplan using the SDS2 engine (Figure 8); the ability to quickly color-code a model to display and manage element information (Figure 9); model checking and issue management using integrations with Solibri and BIMcollab respectively (Figure 10); and the ability to measure and calculate quantities of model elements in the Bimplus platform, which is especially useful for construction site planning (Figure 11).

Customer Implementations

Canam was one of the ALLPLAN customers who presented its work at the event. The company, which is one of the largest structural steel, steel joist and deck fabricators in North America, was established in 1961. It has 11 plants and 3,500 employees worldwide, and it currently builds around 8000 projects a year in Canada and the US. In addition to manufacturing steel products, it also provides a variety of construction services for buildings and bridges, and one of the main applications it uses is SDS2. It described the use of SDS2 for steel detailing in three high-rise projects, shown in Figure 12: the Deloitte Summit Tower in downtown Vancouver, a project with extremely challenging geometry that only had six columns which could go all the way up; the CIBC Square II Tower in downtown Toronto, which was built above the Toronto train tracks that had to continue being in operation throughout the construction; and a 18 story tower in Portland, Maine, the main challenge for which came from the differences in the shape of the columns supporting the main beams.

Another dedicated customer presentation was from ACS-Partner AG, a private, independent civil engineering company based in Zurich, Switzerland, which demonstrated how it was using ALLPLAN solutions for its work on the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) "Ue Grenzacherstrasse Muttenz" infrastructure project, which it is working on in collaboration with other project partners. This project is located close to Basel in northern Switzerland and involves replacing an existing bridge, which was originally built in the 1920s and is now structurally deficient, with two new bridge structures that have an embankment in between. In addition to the engineering design of the bridge, ACS had to optimize the construction process to enable better traffic operations. In addition to using Allplan for the detailed BIM modeling of the structure and the reinforcement, ACS also used it for creating terrain models, earthwork models, and construction planning on site (Figure 13). In addition, it used Bimplus as the CDE (common data environment) for the project, facilitating collaboration across the project teams that were distributed across multiple firms.

An example of the enormous potential of ALLPLAN solutions for large-scale infrastructure projects came from Moldovia (also known as Moldova), a small country in Eastern Europe that shares borders with Romania and Ukraine. The country is embarking on an ambitious mission to transition towards safer and more efficient, sustainable, and technologically advanced infrastructure development, for which it is making extensive use of ALLPLAN’s solutions for infrastructure design. In addition to developing detailed BIM models that are being used for rendering and animation (Figure 14), the models will also be used to create digital twins that can be used for operations and monitoring of the transportation network. Being a small country with just 6000 km in total of national roads, the country has the agility to pivot to a pioneering integration of BIM into the development of its roads and bridges.

Nemetschek’s dTwin Solution

At the event, we also had the opportunity to learn more about Nemetschek’s new dTwin solution for creating digital twins. In AEC, digital twins go beyond static BIM models to create live “always-in-sync” digital models of buildings and infrastructure that can be used for operations and maintenance. As the parent company of ALLPLAN and its many sister companies including Graphisoft, Vectorworks, Solibri, Bluebeam, and dRofus, it makes sense that Nemetschek is taking on the development of this technology that can potentially draw on all the technologies that its individual brands have developed.

To test the solution, Nemetschek used it to create a full digital twin of its own headquarters in Munich (Figure 15). The process involved capturing a full point cloud representation of the 40,000 square meters building, creating a complete BIM model from the point clouds, and reusing some of the old BIM models that existed for the building. Additionally, photos were taken from every angle and photogrammetry was used to add to the full digital representation of the building. Old 2D drawings that existed were also linked, and the model was integrated with GIS data of the location in Munich where it was situated.

The real-time operational data of the building is captured by IoT sensors linked to the model, as shown in Figure 16. It is what makes the digital representation live, allowing all the different parts to come together to create the digital twin. The operational data also includes aspects such as occupancy details, workflow orders, process orders, etc., that are happening in the building every single day, which need to be tracked in order to operate and maintain the building in the best possible way. The platform provides a large number of dashboards for capturing different operational insights for the building (Figure 17), based on which the different building controls can be adjusted to improve its performance, comfort levels, efficiency, safety, and so on.

A key aspect of the dTwin platform is that it is not only fusing together multiple and diverse data sources, but that these data sources can come from a vast network of partners and third-party developers and are not limited to Nemetschek brands. Thus, the platform can bring together reality captures, photos, CAD drawings, BIM models, GIS data, IoT sensors, building controls, and so on, from any application or provider, which can be connected to the platform via open API interfaces.


In addition to the highlights captured in this article, there were many more details shared about the different solutions in ALLPLAN’s product family at the two-day Build the Future event, which can be seen in its entirety here. I was impressed by both the breadth and depth of the solutions, addressing all aspects of building and infrastructure design, engineering, prefabrication, and construction. And, as always, I appreciated the opportunity to “armchair-travel” to different parts of the world and see the building and infrastructure projects that are being built with ALLPLAN’s solutions.

I was also fascinated to learn more about the new dTwin solution and see a demo of it in action on a real project. It looks more advanced than any other digital twin solution that I have seen so far, and the fact that it is open to third-party solutions and services — making it encompass, in theory, all AEC technology providers — greatly increases its chances of being successful in making digital twins in the AEC industry a reality.

About the Author

Lachmi Khemlani is founder and editor of AECbytes. She has a Ph.D. in Architecture from UC Berkeley, specializing in intelligent building modeling, and consults and writes on AEC technology. She can be reached at


Have comments or feedback on this article? Visit its AECbytes blog posting to share them with other readers or see what others have to say.

AECbytes content should not be reproduced on any other website, blog, print publication, or newsletter without permission.

Related Articles

Nemetschek Brands ALLPLAN, SCIA, and FRILO Join Forces

Eduardo Lazzarotto, Chief Product & Strategy Officer of ALLPLAN, provides a better understanding of the recently announced merger of Nemetschek’s leading brands, ALLPLAN, SCIA and FRILO for the AEC technology industry.

Allplan 2024

The new version of Allplan is chock-full of new features and updates, making it one of the most comprehensive BIM applications for the entire spectrum of AEC including architecture, engineering, infrastructure, detailing, prefabrication and precast, and construction planning.

ALLPLAN Infrastructure Conference 2023

This article provides an overview of some of the projects that were presented at ALLPLAN’s recent digital conference by AEC firms all over the world including Ardanuy Ingeniería, Xingtai Transportation Construction Group, Quadrante, and Michael Baker International.

Engineering Excellence: The Shusha Bridge

This article shows how the global design and engineering firm, Yüksel Proje, harnessed the power of parametric modeling, streamlined workflow processes, and advanced visualization techniques with Allplan Bridge to create the Shusha Bridge in Azerbaijan.