Hexagon Acquires iConstruct for Construction Management

The company catches up to the competition with cloud-based construction management.

Hexagon announced that it has acquired iConstruct, makers of BIM software that builds on Autodesk Navisworks.

Hexagon announced that it has acquired iConstruct, makers of BIM software that builds on Autodesk Navisworks.

iConstruct, as its name would imply, offers Internet (cloud)-based applications that combine many aspects of a
construction project, such as its design (CAD or BIM model), mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) and possibly, structural design and data, so that each project’s stakeholders—from architects, engineers, construction managers, contractors, consultants and all the way to facility managers and owners—can view or make use of the information they need.

Such a holistic view of the composite parts of a building structure or site may have you thinking of a unified data model, or a digital twin, as is becoming increasingly popular, but iConstruct is careful not to use that term.

What Does iConstruct Do?

According to its website, iConstruct has built BIM applications for construction management on top of Autodesk Navisworks, which is primarily a BIM visualization tool. With iConstruct, you can add to the BIM data with photos, PDFs, photos … any data related to the building or construction. Everyone involved with the project who is given access to iConstruct will then, presumably, be able to access the model and data, without having to license or learn the software the models and data were created with. A key selling point is the ability to read a large number of different CAD and file formats.

Having all the models and data under one roof, so to speak, allows for interdisciplinary collaboration (such as clash detection between piping and steel columns, for example) and facilitates planning and financial analysis, such as cost estimates and budgeting as well as forecast maintenance costs.

Into a Crowded Field

Ask a room full of architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) software vendors who has a digital twin and all of them will raise a hand. Indeed, the market for digital twins would seem to be this year’s gold rush. A Markets and Markets report estimates that the digital twin market will grow from $6.9 billion to $73.5 billion—an astounding 10x growth in only 5 years.

The competition to be the construction industry’s digital twin of choice is intense. It comes from hard-core construction management software, like Procore, Oracle (Primavera and Aconex) as well as CAD stalwarts like Bentley and Siemens, and Autodesk[i];  starry-eyed startups like Linarc, Toric, Cupix and Future Facilities; and hardware companies such as Faro[ii]. Leica Geosystems, another scanning hardware company, teamed up with Planon to make digital twins. Trimble, famous for its surveying equipment but growing as a software[iii] and content provider, offers much advice on digital twin use. AVEVA has a digital twin for process plants. Game engine vendor Epic Games insists that it is serious about AEC with digital twin content. Time does not permit a more complete list.…

About Hexagon

“Hexagon has long been focused on creating smart digital realities that put data to work in new ways. By blurring the lines between the digital and physical worlds, we can offer customers a complete line of sight to ever-changing situations,” says Hexagon president and CEO Ola Rollén in the company’s press release. “Not only does iConstruct add an easy-to-deploy solution for combining different design models into a single source but it also enables the reading, writing and exchange of information all the way through operations and maintenance, passing the value of the single 3D model from design and construction to facilities management.”

It is not known how much Hexagon paid for iConstruct, a company with “hundreds” of customers.

The Sweden-based Hexagon AB, a $4.4 billion company once known for measuring and scanning equipment, has through the years acquired enough companies to be known for AEC software (BricsCAD) and simulation (MSC Software, known for NASTRAN).

About iConstruct

Shawn Weir, CEO and cofounder of iConstruct.

Shawn Weir, CEO and cofounder of iConstruct.

iConstruct was founded in 2009 in Perth (on Australia’s other coast, opposite Sydney and Melbourne on the East). Its main product is iConstruct Pro.

iConstruct counts Hatch, a civil engineering firm with HQ in Mississauga, Ontario, as a customer.

[i] Autodesk has several applications that can be considered digital twin applications, such as Autodesk Construction Cloud and Navisworks. iConstruct’s use of Navisworks makes Hexagon and Autodesk partners and competitors at the same time.

[ii] Faro, Hexagon’s competition in scanning hardware, paid $34 million to acquire HoloBuilder.

[iii] Trimble added considerably to its claim as a CAD vendor after acquiring SketchUp.