Annual AEC Tech Symposium and Hackathon 2017

Affiliated Engineers' Custom Development attended the 2017 AEC Tech Symposium and Hackathon to learn new skills and collaborate with others in the industry.

Affiliated Engineers Custom Development attended the 2017 AEC Tech Symposium and Hackathon to learn new skills and collaborate with others in the industry. The event is held annually by Thornton Tomasetti CORE Studio, and includes workshops, symposiums related to technology, and a 30-hour hackathon. The hackathon is organized for programmers, web developers, and AEC experts to collaborate, share, and develop new ideas and processes for the AEC industry. Individuals walk away from the hackathon with a very quick prototype for a concept.

Affiliated Engineers Custom Development hoped to pursue the concept of generative design in MEP design. The team was lucky to work with talented individuals and produced a functioning tool that received first place among the sixteen teams in the competition.

The Team – Duct People

Affiliated Engineers Custom Development led the team Duct People, which included the following individuals:

  • James McNeill [Affiliated Engineers Custom Development]
  • Arif Hanif [Affiliated Engineers Custom Development]
  • Matt Mason [Imaginit]
  • Nathaniel MacDonald [CRB]


Prior to attending the hackathon Affiliated Engineers Custom Development collected stories from Affiliated Engineers employees about how they might use generative design in their work. These stories led to the following concept for a tool that could automatically generate duct layout options to allow for more design exploration, provide design insight based on common metrics, allow for visualization and feedback of designs, and to generate a final design layout. This tool was pitched to the hackathon attendees, and created by the team to accomplish our goals.


Our tool uses the Revit space airflows and places VAV boxes at the door of each space. The tool then uses a path drawn from a shaft location through the corridor spaces to determine possible duct main routing. A user can visualize and compare metrics (e.g. cost, static pressure drop) for each option before selecting one. A Revit duct system is then created for the selected option with all necessary duct elements and connectors.


It’s like Google Maps for your duct systems.

How to Find the Tool:
Information about the tool created in the hackathon can be found at the Github or Devpost sites.

How Tool Works:
The following slides give an idea of how the tool works. Reach out to Affiliated Engineers Custom Development if you want to learn more.






About the Author: James McNeill

Mr. McNeill joined Affiliated Engineers after spending several years in the academic environment where he taught, conducted research, and was actively engaged in practical applications of sustainable systems. His experience in healthcare and lab design are complemented by his broad understanding of sustainability, building system innovation, leading analytical tools, and complex modeling programs. Through his vast experience and academic endeavors, James brings the breadth and depth of experience to enhance the earliest phases of project analysis and recommendations through to the full scope of implementation.

Contact James McNeill

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