Nemetschek Companies Release Vectorworks 2020 and Allplan Bridge 2020
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on September 12, 2019 |

Vectorworks and ALLPLAN, both subsidiaries of Nemetschek Group, introduced the latest versions of major software platforms, Vectorworks 2020 and Allplan Bridge 2020, each of which have some significant and interesting updates.

Vectorworks 2020

Vectorworks has announced the release of its various software packages, including Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Designer, Fundamentals, Vision and Braceworks. Vectorworks CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar explained the vision behind the latest release: “Data and usability are the cornerstones of this year’s product line enhancements. When we looked at the future of the industry and what our customers’ needs were, we kept coming back to data, particularly data-driven insights.Vectorworks2020 is centered around providing our customers with intuitive ways to use the powerful tools of our products, while also offering more practical ways to incorporate the use of data for an improved and insightful design workflow.”

Data Visualization on the design layer makes it possible to quickly edit object features to address issues. (Image courtesy of Vectorworks.)
Data Visualization on the design layer makes it possible to quickly edit object features to address issues. (Image courtesy of Vectorworks.)

Vectorworks 2020 sees the expansion of the platform’s Data Visualization feature onto the design layer, which makes it possible to modify features of an object with data parameters. This enables error checking, work validation and quality control. For example, a user might see doors turn red if they lack fire protection. That way, they can quickly catch errors and edit an object’s parameters live to resolve those issues immediately.


Brendan Gray, principal designer and president of Gray Matter Visual, described how this feature enhancement benefits his work, saying, “With Data Visualization now available on design layers, we’re able to keep our attribute assignments consistent between projects, allowing us to quickly and consistently draw attention to relevant design elements.”

BIM improvements include enhanced Open BIM capabilities and improved file performance. Workflow efficiency is said to be improved through the ability to edit fields in a list browser—for instance, in the Organization dialog or Navigation palette.

File performance and the responsiveness of large and complex models have also been boosted, according to the company, through updates to the Vectorworks Graphics Module. To achieve this, covered objects are hidden, meshes are automatically reduced, and the level of detail on native objects has been simplified. In turn, file navigation, view changes and tool operations are sped up, models are more responsive, and bigger projects are easier to handle.

History-based modeling introduces the ability to edit an object by returning to previous design states. For those familiar with Photoshop, this is similar to the History function in that application. Rather than having to start from scratch with an object, a user can simply go back one step or many steps to begin modifying the design once again.


Previously, Vectorworks relied on Mercator mapping (which all map geeks can tell you is flawed in terms of the sizes of various land areas). A new Geographic Information System toolset, which is integrated with Esri’s ArcGIS Online services, has been added to provide accurate geolocation of a project. Once a BIM project has been located, street map, satellite data or other images can then be included in the design via ArcGIS and Web Map Service (WMS) servers. A paid ArcGIS plan provides access to additional maps and other images within Vectorworks, as well.

Other improvements include:

  • A new Data Manager tool for modifying object data in an interface that’s meant to be simple and easy to use.
  • Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) referencing for managing IFC data without the need to reimport IFC models.
  • Updates to the Data Tag tool, such as tag scaling, new tag fields, direct editing of tags, and a worksheet function.
  • Viewport improvements, including controlling the level of detail for building elements and adjusting the cut plane on specific objects.
  • A widget groups function in the Object Info palette makes it possible to collapse or expand groups, bypassing the need for endless scrolling.
  • Walk-through paths and camera movements can be modified to create animations more easily.
  • Vectorworks can now export .RVT and .RFA files for Revit.

To learn more, visit the Vectorworks2020 website.

Allplan Bridge 2020

On the other side of the Nemetschek Group’s collection of subsidiaries, ALLPLAN introduced Allplan Bridge 2020, which is meant to be the first integrated 4D BIM tool for bridges.

The static model of a bridge is generated from the geometric model so that an engineer can control which parts are load bearing and which are only loads. (Image courtesy of ALLPLAN Infrastructure.)
The static model of a bridge is generated from the geometric model so that an engineer can control which parts are load bearing and which are only loads. (Image courtesy of ALLPLAN Infrastructure.)

Allplan Bridge 2020 offers the ability to automatically derive an analytical model from a physical model. This means that, when a model is modified, so too are all of the associated bridge elements, including the analytical model. The result, according to the company, is faster and more accurate bridge design. The engineer can maintain complete control, denoting structural parts and those that add to a bridge’s load.


The latest release also features 4D BIM, which can analyze a construction schedule and automatically perform calculation definitions, such as element activations, calculation actions and load cases. Moreover, input data for calculating nonlinear time effects like creep, shrinkage and relaxation are also included. 

Static calculations are now possible in Allplan Bridge, with additional loads automatically considered. Time-dependent effects are automatically incorporated based on construction progress. (Image courtesy of ALLPLAN Infrastructure.)
Static calculations are now possible in Allplan Bridge, with additional loads automatically considered. Time-dependent effects are automatically incorporated based on construction progress. (Image courtesy of ALLPLAN Infrastructure.)

Other improvements include:

  • The position and weight of dead loads, such as sidewalks and road pavement, can automatically be taken from the geometric model.
  • Superposition in the software allows the selection of multiple stress components in stress points defined by the user before a stress leading superposition is applied. Results can be stored for elements, as well.
  • Global static analysis is performed for all calculation actions in the construction sequence and considers cross-section variation. Nonlinear calculation of time-dependent effects is also performed.

“Allplan Bridge 2020 is the world’s first fully integrated solution that uses a common parametric model for both structural analysis and detailing,” Vanja Samec, managing director of ALLPLAN Infrastructure, explained. “The minimal time required for changes or variant comparisons greatly speeds up bridge design processes, and iterative improvements can be used to develop an optimal design. We have applied all our experience in bridge engineering and the latest IT technology to ensure that engineers are not restricted in their freedom and creativity despite the high degree of automation.”


To learn more, visit the product website.

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