Hexagon strengthens its construction solutions portfolio for AEC market with Bricsys acquisition

Hexagon AB continues its aggressive expansion into new markets with the acquisition of Belgian CAD software developer Bricsys.

Founded in 2002, Bricsys introduced its flagship product BricsCAD as an AutoCAD competitor and that is still the company’s largest base of users.  However, the company has a talented team of developers and has added on new products and expanded the BricsCAD feature set with improved 3D modeling, mechanical, structural, and BIM features.

Hexagon says the addition of Bricsys will help the company build its portfolio of construction technology products. Lately, Bricsys has been adding on conceptual modeling and BIM workflows. The company is offering cloud connectivity and Bricsys CEO Eric de Keyser has said that the company plans to build out cloud services. De Keyser will continue on as CEO for Bricsys.

Hexagon has a significant position in plant and process architecture through its acquisition of Intergraph in 2010. The acquisition of Bricsys fills in the gaps with traditional CAD tools. Ola Rollén, Hexagon’s CEO, says Hexagon will be able to offer “an end-to-end platform—with conceptual design, CAD design, BIM software and collaboration tools, project and cost controls, in-field construction execution tools (work packages), and progress documentation (reality capture)—to connect, automate, and ultimately ‘autonomise’ the entire building and construction ecosystem through our HxGN SMART Build solution.”

What do we think?

Bricsys is one of the once-many products built on the Open Design Alliance standard. It is still a formidable group but there has been consolidation and the individual companies have gotten stronger. The ODA has become more powerful than ever, thanks to the work the membership is doing in product development. Their latest development is an API for Revit, which enables the member companies to develop BIM tools that work with Revit files and their own. BIM, building information management, is by its nature a multi-CAD process with major players Autodesk, Bentley, Hexagon, Nemetschek, having roles in large AEC projects. With the exception of Autodesk, all of these companies are active participants in the Open Design Alliance.

On another front, Hexagon’s PPM division is a leading software provider in the realm of process and power. Here’s an arcane bit of information known to most of the CAD community: Intergraph used to have an alliance with Bentley Microstation to provide the CAD layer for its PPM offering. That deal went by the roadside ages ago, but there continued to be quite a bit of Microstation penetration in the Intergraph user base. Gradually, of course, Hexagons PPM users have opted for range of tools, including those provided by the ODA like Bricsys, Corel, Dassault’s Draftsight, or Graebert’s Ares products and Autodesk’s AutoCAD.

Basic CAD tools are inexpensive and getting more so. Design customers buy systems. The majority of Bricsys’ customers were using CAD and primarily 2D CAD, but the Bricsys engineers were building a system. Hexagon has the scale to sell systems to major enterprise customers making this deal look like an opportunity for Bricsys engineers to realize their ambitions, and Hexagon to continue its fast paced climb.