Working from home with OpenBuildings products

 Product(s):OpenBuildings Designer/Station Designer, AECOsim Building Designer
 Version(s):CONNECT Edition and V8i

In these challenging times when COVID-19 is imposing significant disruptions to day to day activities and affecting normal business flow of our much-valued users and employees, we at Bentley are mindfully committed to ensuring smooth transition of work from office to remote location or home. Our innovative software and services are all geared for working from home or remote locations and do not impose the need to be in an office set-up.

To ensure smooth transition of work and effectiveness of your daily workflows with Bentley software, we have assembled information that you can refer to while working remotely or from home. We are working hard to deliver high levels of customer service, and welcome feedback, questions, and ideas on how we can serve you better in a remote work environment.

Note: The on-demand webcast "Working From Home with OpenBuildings" is now available here.  Or you can copy and paste this link:

A number of other Working From Home product webinars can be found here.

Home Installation

You may decide to install the software on your home computer. If you do this, once signed in via the CONNECTION Client using your normal work email login, you will have the same licenses available as you do in the office. 

Machine Requirements

There are several options to work remotely. You may decide to install the software on your home computer. See these minimum machine requirements for OpenBuildings Designer and OpenBuildings Station Designer.

ProcessorIntel® or AMD® processor 1.0 GHz or greater. OpenBuildings Designer/Station Designer is not supported on a CPU that does not support SSE2.
Memory16 GB minimum, 32 GB recommended. More memory almost always improves performance, particularly when
working with larger models.
Hard Disk24 GB free disk space (which includes the 16 GB install footprint for a complete installation), 10-25 GB depending on additional installations such as Companion Features and Companion Products.
VideoSee the graphics card manufacturer for latest information on DirectX drivers. 512 MB of video RAM or higher
is recommended. If insufficient video RAM or no graphics card supported by DirectX can be found, MicroStation
attempts to use software emulation. For optimal performance, graphics display color depth should be set to
24-bit or higher. When using a color depth setting of 16-bit, some inconsistencies will be noted. For more information on recommended workstation profiles for OpenBuildings products, see MicroStation System Requirements and Hardware Recommendations.
Screen Resolution1024 x 768 or higher

Internet Connectivity

Internet Access

Internet access is required for downloading and installing the software. The OpenBuildings Designer and Station Designer installers are almost 13 GB and therefore we recommend adequate data and bandwidth. After downloading the small installer setup file, if you are facing problems running it for downloading the full software, you can download the full software installer directly from the link shared below in DOWNLOADING SOFTWARE section.

Internet Proxy Settings

OpenBuildings Designer and Station Designer will try to obtain your Internet Proxy Settings from Internet Explorer browser. If it is not feasible, you can fill the details manually as described in this MicroStation blog page.

Connecting to your Organization’s Network via VPN

Virtual Private Network enables organizations to provide secure connection to their network over Internet so their employees can connect remotely or from public places. Follow these instructions to connect to Windows VPN. If your organization uses a different VPN software, contact your IT Administrator to guide you with the steps.

OpenBuildings Product Features that require Internet Connectivity

The following features of OpenBuildings Designer and Station Designer may not work properly in the absence of Internet connectivity.

Virtualization and Virtual Machines

Important notice about use of Bentley applications in virtual environments - click here

Virtualization enables organizations to create virtual machines from a single physical machine and administer them to their employees on demand.

Bentley is exploring other virtualization providers like VMWare Horizon and Azure Virtual Desktop. If your organization uses any of these, please reach out to us with your questions and we’ll try our best to assist.

Virtual Machines

Virtual Machines are a great way to manage operating systems and work remotely with a running Remote Desktop Connection, login credentials and a valid IP Address. Installing virtualization software allows one or more virtual machines to share one physical computer. Your IT Administrator can create VMs with a readymade image of Windows operating system that includes OpenBuildings products and any other software needed. When such a VM is provisioned to you, you can directly launch OpenBuildings Designer or Station Designer and start working on your project.

You can create a new VM and install its operating system by following these simple steps.

You can export and import existing VMs in Windows Hyper-V Server by following these steps.

This Virtual Machines and Remote Desktop YouTube video may also prove useful.  

Remote Desktop Connection

Remotely Accessing Office Computer

If you work on a heavy-duty desktop machine that is difficult to carry or if your organization does not allow employees to move computers out of the office premises, Remote Desktop Connection offers a great way to log into that machine from your personal computer. You will require your computer name or IP address. Click here to follow the instructions in this page.

Sharing Configurations and Project Data 

When you’re working remotely, you are still part of a team and therefore sharing of project data is crucial. This is where the Configuration system shines. No matter where you are, you can be sure to be using the correct CAD standard with server-based Configurations. If your system has already been configured to use server-based resources virtualization and remote desktop access results in a similar experience to working in the office, there may be some graphic latency, but the system will be identical.

Attempting to connect to a configuration on office-based shares via VPN may be possible, depending on your IT systems, but is likely to be subject to significant latency, especially with many more VPN users than usual. Working with a local copy of the network configuration may be more appropriate.

Common Network Storage

One of the simplest and effective ways of work sharing is by storing the project data in a common network storage location and pointing every user’s configuration to that location by setting the OpenBuildings Designer or Station Designer _USTN_CONFIGURATION configuration variable. In addition, we recommend mapping a drive letter to organization’s network server path.

Storing your Project data on ProjectWise Share or OneDrive

Store your Project data on ProjectWise Share or Microsoft OneDrive that allows high level of control. Easily manage and transfer without the need for additional software.  

Collaborating on Projects with ProjectWise

The beauty of working with ProjectWise is that work sharing is built-in and the concept of being tied to a location is foreign. In a Client-Server architecture the client can be anywhere. By storing standards and work files on a server you can ensure proper access for anyone. By establishing a digital environment for all project information, you can give access to people regardless of location and device type. However, ensuring the correct access is the key to success. So, setting up ProjectWise Explorer locally is key.

The way to install ProjectWise Explorer can be found here.

Downloading Software

Accessing Product Documentation

Resolving Licensing Issues

How to get help 

Useful articles about working remotely  

Related Bentley LEARN content:

  1. Installation
  2. Basic Refresher
  3. QuickStart for Architects
  4. QuickStart for Structural Designers
  5. QuickStart for Mechanical Designers
  6. QuickStart for Electrical Designers

Other available resources: