Learning Series

August 26 2016 // 5:00 AM

Reviewing: America’s Building Records

Written by Alex Smith | @PAEVENalex

Reviewing: America’s Building Records

How many times have you started designing for an alteration project in an existing building, but no one anywhere has any drawings or information whatsoever? This leaves you to do more field work and make more assumptions than you’d like to be doing. What if there was a repository for all of this information so that it could be stored in a single place and accessed by many? Well that’s the goal of America’s Building Records (ABR), which is dubbed as “Your GEO-Targeted System to Manage Building Information.”

ABR aims to be your one-stop shop for building information storage and management, all based on the idea that a central location can simplify the storage, use, and sharing of building data for current and future projects. As the name would imply, the platform is only accessible for US based professionals currently.

I’ve had the opportunity to dive into the guts of the platform and test some of the file sharing capabilities. My first impression was how clean and simple the map is to navigate.  If you had to manage many properties, I can see how spatially organizing them would be an advantage. There are some features that I personally may not have a need for, like geotagged water flow testing, but it’s interesting to learn about and undoubtedly can be of use to others.

Currently, I’m looking forward to test driving the platform by starting off with the file sharing system. Sharing Revit files between my firm and outside consultants can present difficulties, as the files can easily balloon in size. Dropbox and WeTransfer are nice, but you don’t feel any security while sharing because anyone that gains access to the link has access to the download. That may be fine on most projects where the Client isn’t concerned about proprietary information, but when privacy is a concern, an Architect should be cognizant and respectful of the Client’s need for tighter control of project documents. What’s special about America’s Building Records is that in order to download a shared file, the recipient of the sharing invite must make a free account to access the download. Only that recipient’s email will be allowed to access this information, so you know your information is secure. Clients can feel confident that their projects are kept under wraps, for whatever reason they may have.

ABR also offers flexible pricing.  You can decide which price level is right for you out of the 4 available options. The basic service is free, and includes geo search, file sharing, and secure storage. That alone should convince you to at least take a peek inside. The premium plan is meant for an entire organization and can support up to 25 users, geo search, file sharing, secure 10TB of storage, file management, directory listing, and promotional space.

They also have a blog which discusses relevant industry topics that you may find useful. I recommend that you take a look and see if this platform can fill a hole in your firm’s workflow. Efficiency is key, so that you can do more with less work, and ABR is definitely a tool that’s going to increase my efficiency.

If you have some free time right now, follow the link to start modernize your building information management workflow:

Have you found a favorite post yet? Let me know in the comments below.

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