InfraWorks Model Builder & BIM 360

Kevin Breslin

Matt Miyamoto | Team Manager

Those using Autodesk InfraWorks are likely aware of the periodic updates and enhancements made to the application.  Since InfraWorks is not on an annual rollout schedule like other Autodesk products, changes and updates can be released any time of the year.

One of the more recent updates added a link to BIM 360 to InfraWorks to generate and store cloud-based models.  The Model Builder feature in InfraWorks is now also tied to BIM360, and no longer includes the option to create local copies of models.  Here’s a breakdown of what that means and how it might affect your InfraWorks workflow.

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  1. Model Builder is set to work with BIM 360 project folders by default

If your Autodesk account is part of any BIM 360 project, Model Builder will default to cloud based model generation.  At that point, there is no option to go back to locally downloaded models using the Model Builder feature.  Your account must also have full access to the BIM 360 project folder to create models.  Users who are set up to view or read-only will see the project folder but will not be able to select it for use.  If you’re set up with read-only access to all BIM 360 projects that you are part of, Model Builder will not work.

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  1. Read-Only BIM 360 project folders are not selectable, but still appear on the folders list

Because InfraWorks is still based on your Autodesk login, any BIM 360 project folders you have access to will appear on the folder list.  Read-Only folders appear to be available but are not selectable as locations to generate a model.  In the screenshot above, the “Test Project” is set up as Read-Only, and the other is full access.  There is no indication that one folder is Read-Only while the other is not.

  1. BIM 360 project models have a blue cloud icon when the appear in the model list

The new BIM 360 cloud model is on the left and includes a blue circle and cloud icon.  An older cloud model is on the right and can still be opened and accessed locally but needs to be upgraded to be synced online.

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  1. Models are saved to a local Cache file when opened

By default, online models are saved to a local cache file while the originals are saved in the cloud.  Cache files can be deleted while the cloud model remains, however models must be synced for changes to be saved to the cloud version.  Deleting a cache file without syncing changes will also delete any changes made to the model and re-downloading the cloud version will take you back to the original or latest synced version.

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  1. You can still create a local copy independent of the cloud

A local copy of the model can be created in situations where you will not have cloud access, or models that do not need to be synced.  To do this, open the model and use the Duplicate Model command from the Settings & Utilities menu in InfraWorks.  Duplicating the model will create a local copy for use that is independent of the original cloud model.

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  1. There is a way to download local models using Model Builder

If you are still looking for a way to get local models from Model Builder, there is a way to do it.  Removing all BIM 360 project associations from your Autodesk account get you back to local model downloads.  If you have been invited to BIM 360 projects by an outside source, they would need to remove you from those projects.  There are a few different sites to access BIM 360 projects from.  If you’re trying to find out where your account is set up, try these:

https://admin.b360.autodesk.com (New BIM 360 Platform)

https://docs.b360.autodesk.com (BIM 360 Docs)

https://ideateinc4.autodesk360.com (BIM 360 Team/Classic)

Once your account is removed, refreshing project folders will remove the BIM 360 folder section from Model Builder and a note will appear indicating that models will be local copies.

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If you’ve noticed some differences in Model Builder on your InfraWorks install lately, I hope this helps to clear things up.  Be sure to check back later for more from the IMAGINiT Civil Solutions Blog.

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