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Monday, June 30, 2008

BIM Object Creation Services - Revit3D.com

Hi there.  If you're reading this post, you were probably searching Google for BIM object creation services.  I'm writing this post from the future, as it's April 8th, 2011.  Why?  Because people are searching Google and finding there way to a blog post I wrote in 2008.

My name is Gregory Arkin and I'm the Director of BIM Strategy for ACAI Associates, Inc. .  We're the largest BIM architecture and modeling architecture firm in Florida, having been in the AEC design and technology world for 25 years.  Myself, I'm a 3rd generation general contractor who has an insane passion for technology, efficiency, BIM, IPD, FM and all things relating to helping people use technology to make them more efficient, and then use technology to make their information more efficienct.

We provide design, enfineering, software and training for architects, engineers, contractors, subcontrators, owners, facility managers and manufacturers.  We have a division of our staff that creates BIM objects for manufacturers.  One of my favorite clients is Bradley Corporation. Here's a link to just one of the many families we've created for Bradley.  Here's a link to see a 3D model of that family.

Because of our experience with all aspects of the AEC industry, we're well suited to not just create your Revit families, but also help you define the paramaters necessary for all aspects of the design and construction timeline.  What an architect might find important in their families, may not be important to the facility manager who's been given a BIM deliverable to manage the finished building.

Please feel free to contact me, 305.992.4734.  That's my mobile phone number.  We're not a huge corporation, but a group of passionate people who provide benevolent guidance with BIM.  We're honest, fair and want to provide you with the right information. 

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.
Gregory Arkin
Director of BIM/VDC Strategy
ACAI Associates, Inc.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

What if....GPS and Revit

I was just having this thought that wouldn't it be cool if you had a Tablet PC with GPS built into it and your Revit model loaded on the screen. You could be on a jobsite and as your walking around the floorplan moves on the screen in conjunction with the GPS coordinates. I suppose we could tie it into Design Review and Navisworks as well.

Also, you could also have a little Revit Rumba type robot with GPS that could lay out dimensions on the floor. I'm just saying, why not take this 3D technology to the next level.

Crazy talk? Road work machinery already works with GPS and site data. This could be one of those you saw it here first moments. We could call it 6D. Read more...

Friday, June 27, 2008

The price of gas...don't worry, I'll tie it into Revit

There's a first part to this post which I'll have to dig up and post because I never really finished it. I'll try to find it tomorrow. Basically, it's a spreadsheet about how buying Revit, Subscription and training is cheaper now then driving to jobsites all week to fix problems, RFIs and Change Orders. I'll get to that later.

As I was driving down a street, along a 3 mile stretch, there are 6 gas stations. We're all searching for the cheapest station and it's amazing that two stations across from each other had the exact same pricing and 2 miles down the road, there's a crazy price drop.

A friend of mine owns a gas station and told me that midgrade gas is just a 50/50 mix of supreme and regular unleaded. So, if you do the math, midgrade should be priced midway between the two. Well, 5 of the 6 gas stations are screwing with you. 4.17 for unleaded, 4.39 for midgrade and 4.49 for supreme. 4.17 + 4.49 / 2 = 4.33. So, they're making an extra 6 cents/gallon on midgrade. At my old regular gas station, there were 10 cent differences between each level and this was back when gas was 1.79/gallon.

The station I ended up buying my gas at was 4.05 for regular, 4.17 for midgrade and 4.39 for supreme. $72 dollars later as I was driving home, a thought popped into my head.

Autocad (lowgrade) subscription is $450
Autocad Architecture (midgrade) is $595
Autocad/Revit Arch Suite (SUPREME) is $725

So, I was thinking...isn't Autocad Architecture half Autocad and half Revit. $450 + $725 = $1175/2 = $587.50. Autodesk is overcharging $7.50 for midgrade CAD.

Just a fuelish thought that I wanted to pass along. Nothing funny about the price of gas, but watch out for the gas stations that are overcharging you.

Thanks Geoff Matthews of Australia for the photo

<< [Back to Press Releases] Autodesk Presents Revit BIM Experience Award to Design West Engineering for Extensive Use of Revit MEP Software

Wow, proof that engineers are actually using Revit MEP. I always find it fascinating when architects tell me they're not moving to Revit because their engineers don't have it. Then I talk to engineers who say they're not moving to Revit MEP & Structure because their architects aren't telling them to switch. Arghhhhh!!!! If you've been paying attention, Revit is not a fad and is starting to displace 2D design. How do we know this. Look at all of the companies that Autodesk is acquiring and partnering with that are based around LEED and sustainable design. Did you know you can download free trials of Revit Structure and Revit MEP and use all of the included content in Revit Architecture? Did you know that if you're not ready to move to Revit, you can still use the trial indefinitely and practice with it until your firm is ready to make the switch?

News Release Issued: June 27, 2008 8:00 AM EDT

Autodesk Presents Revit BIM Experience Award to Design West Engineering for
Extensive Use of Revit MEP Software

Building Information Modeling Process Facilitates Collaboration on New
Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Theme Park

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., June 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Autodesk, Inc.
(NASDAQ: ADSK) today announced that Design West Engineering, a San
Bernardino, California-based mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP)
engineering consulting firm, has been selected to receive a Revit BIM
Experience Award. To date the firm has used Revit MEP software to complete
design and construction documentation for 12 projects, and has extensively
used Revit MEP models to collaborate with multi-discipline design and
construction teams. The Revit BIM Experience Award is presented to commercial
firms, educational institutions and individuals for innovation and excellence
in implementing the Autodesk Revit platform for BIM (which includes Revit
Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP software applications) on one or
more projects.

The Design West team used Revit MEP to model the building's MEP systems, and then used the model to communicate the location and requirements for the HVAC ducts with the architecture and structural engineering teams. This enabled the architects to ensure there were no interferences with the complex ductwork system. A German aquarium design expert also collaborated with the team by submitting AutoCAD drawings which were incorporated into the shared Revit model. The model was used to generate construction documentation, which reduced time delays associated with costly on-site building change orders and RFIs. The LEGOLAND theme artists were also able to leverage the Revit model to create a cohesive decorative scheme that incorporated the exposed ductwork elements.

...continue reading the article...

Forget 3D. 4D Rocks!!!!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

“Revit Kids” Present School of the Future - Cadalyst AEC

A bunch of 12 year olds can use Revit, why can't you?

"Revit is a cutting-edge program, so some older architects might be hesitant to embrace it," she noted. "But if they see these 12-year-old kids embracing it, it might make them rethink."

Hallie, Emily, Ally, and Alex will give the estimated 30,000 attendees at Greenbuild Expo (November 19-21) a glimpse of what the next generation of architects looks like. (and they're not going to be using AutoCAD)

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School students win student design competition.

Last month, middle school students Hallie Hallman (eighth grade), Emily Powers (eighth grade), Ally McCarthy (seventh grade), and Alex Kashtan (seventh grade) had breakfast on Capitol Hill and shook hands with Senator Joe Lieberman. Last week, they were in Centerbrook, Connecticut, speaking to the board members of the local American Institute of Architects (AIA) chapter. Then next fall, during the week before Thanksgiving, while the rest of their classmates are thinking about turkey and yams, they'll be packing their suitcases and double-checking the PowerPoint slides for their talk at the Greenbuild Expo in Boston, Massachusetts. Who knows — they might even get to meet Desmond Tutu, who's scheduled to give a keynote speech there.

After their Connecticut meeting with the AIA board, the rowdy foursome shared pizza for dinner. They also shared a newfound friendship and a vision of the future. What they imagine is a learning environment complemented by wind power, solar-thermal systems, hydrogutters (to be invented by Alex), and even a virtual reality room (inspired by the Holodeck in the Star Trek television series).

A jury comprising 18 architects, facility planners, and other AEC professionals agreed that the students' vision was a cut above the remaining nearly 1,500 entries received in the 2008 School of the Future student design competition. As part of their award, Hallie, Emily, Ally, and Alex spent five days in Washington, D.C., rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lieberman and taking a private tour of the National Building Museum, before racing off to a rooftop reception at the National Association of Realtors' headquarters.

Autodesk likes to refer to the foursome as "the Revit kids," after the company's building information modeling (BIM) software they used to design the school of the future.

Continue reading the article “Revit Kids” Present School of the Future - Cadalyst AEC

Hallie, Emily, Ally, and Alex from Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School in Connecticut envision a futuristic school powered by renewable energy. Their design, completed in Autodesk Revit Architecture, emerged as the winning entry at the School of the Future design competition.
Hallie, the designated Revit expert in the team, developed the floor plan and the 3D model of the school of the future from the bubble-drawing space plan generated in a brainstorming session.


Autodesk Enhances Sustainable Design Capabilities With Acquisitions of Ecotect and Green Building Studio Analysis Tools

Ferris, you've got to spend green to go green.

Autodesk Completes Acquisition of Assets of Square One Research and Green Building Studio

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., June 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As part of its on-going commitment to support the practice of sustainable design and green building in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries, Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) today announced two acquisitions to improve building performance analysis in the building information modeling (BIM) process. Autodesk announced that it has completed the acquisition of substantially all the assets related to the Ecotect software tools for conceptual building performance analysis from both Square One Research Ltd. and Dr. Andrew Marsh. Autodesk also announced that it has completed the acquisition of substantially all the assets of Green Building Studio, Inc., a provider of web-based whole building energy, water and carbon-emission analysis software. Terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed.

"Buildings are a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, so to combat climate change it is critical for the building industry to rapidly adopt sustainable design practices that will lead to buildings which are appreciably more efficient and eventually carbon neutral," said Jay Bhatt, senior vice president, Autodesk AEC solutions. "The addition of these tools to our technology portfolio will help make it easier for architects, engineers and designers to understand the impact of their design decisions on building performance earlier in the design process so they can optimize for reduced environmental impact."

The acquisitions of Ecotect and the Green Building Studio assets will support Autodesk's vision to deliver software that enables architects and engineers to design more sustainable projects. With improved building performance analysis capabilities, Autodesk will be uniquely positioned to offer a comprehensive suite of software solutions for sustainable design and analysis, enabling a BIM process that can facilitate cost-effective design and delivery of high-performing, resource-efficient buildings and infrastructure.

Square One Research, Ltd. and Dr. Andrew Marsh, creator of the Ecotect environmental design and analysis tools, are based in Isle of Man. The Ecotect tools can measure how fundamental criteria, such as solar, thermal, shading, lighting, and airflow, will affect building performance in the conceptual and detailed phases of design. Their capability to forecast building performance over time better equips architects and engineers to deliver more energy efficient and sustainable building designs.

"Square One Research and Autodesk share a commitment to using technology to make the design and construction of sustainable, high-performance buildings easier and more efficient," said Dr. Andrew J. Marsh, Co-Founder and Head of Research & Development, Square One Research. "We are pleased to join Autodesk and look forward to helping develop and deliver simple and effective building performance analysis to architects and engineers around the world."

The Autodesk Green Building Studio analysis tools, now available at http://www.autodesk.com/greenbuildingstudio, provide improved design insight through whole building energy, water and carbon-emission analysis, helping architects and designers to maximize building economic and environmental performance. The tools are compatible with Autodesk design software as well as software from other industry providers through the Green Building XML (gbXML) schema and can now be directly accessed from within the Revit platform for BIM with a new plug-in now available for download. Green Building Studio Inc. launched the Green Building Studio web service in 2004.

To read more about how Autodesk and its customers are addressing sustainable design, please visit http://www.autodesk.com/green.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I don't know who's to blame for this, but someone needs to do something and we need to do an email carpet bomb.

So, there's this great product from Logitech/3dconnexion called the Space Navigator. It's really cool and works with Autodesk Inventor.

Starting at $59, 3Dconnexion has made powerful 3D navigation accessible and affordable for architects, artists, students and anyone else who wants to enjoy the 3D experience.

Ideal for Google Earth version 4 and Google SketchUp, 3Dconnexion's SpaceNavigator™ works with more than 100 of today's most popular and powerful 3D applications.

Oh, did I mention one tiny problem. IT DOESN'T WORK WITH REVIT!!!!! When I visited their booth in Las Vegas at the Autodesk show, they blamed Autodesk. Autodesk says it's their fault. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE THE DRIVER THAT MAKES THIS WORK IN REVIT.

Here's my plan. Everyone please click on this link to send an email to Autodesk and 3dConnexion.

The subject line and body have already been created, so just click and send. I'm figuring if we can get a 1000 people today to send the same message, we can make things happen. Please forward this post to every Revit user you know. Let's move some mountains today!

Then there's this press release about VectorWorks. How can Autodesk be stood up by them. Shame to all that haven't made this happen. I'm sure Autodesk would rather work with 3dconnexion than have people buy VectorWorks.

San Jose, Calif. - June 10, 2008 3Dconnexion, a Logitech company, today announced that its complete line of 3D mice are now supported by the entire Nemetschek North America VectorWorks 2008 line of award-winning, precision-design software: Designer, Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Machine Design, Fundamentals, and RenderWorks. With 3Dconnexion's 3D mice, the VectorWorks community can easily control and maneuver 3D objects, 3D designs and 2D drafts, for a streamlined design process that optimizes workflow and increases productivity.

Unlike mice confined to motion on two flat planes, 3Dconnexion's 3D mice allow effortless movement and control within the VectorWorks 3D workspace. Gently lift, press and turn the 3D mouse controller cap to fly through 3D space while simultaneously zooming and rotating the view with fluid and highly intuitive control. An increase in pressure accelerates motion, while a decrease in pressure slows motion for precise micro-adjustments.

"Our support of 3Dconnexion's 3D mice was an easy choice - VectorWorks provides an extremely easy and flexible 3D design environment and 3Dconnexion's family of 3D mice delivers the most natural interface to navigate that 3D world," said Sean Flaherty, CEO of Nemetschek North America. "With 3Dconnexion's product line, our users can naturally and quickly navigate the virtual world they are designing."


How many of you became architects because of your first set of LEGOs?

I know this may be random, but I just found this on Gizmodo.com. I did create a post in February of 2007 comparing AutoCAD vs Revit to toothpicks versus LEGOs in describing 2d to 3d.

I'm sure many of you Revit users got your architectural inspiration as a child with a big box of LEGOs.
Take a trip down memory lane with this post. Click on the link below to see a video of the LEGO vault.
Now get back to work before your boss sees this.


I have to confess that life hasn't been very good lately. Work around the clock, not enough free time, trying to have kids and crashing badly... all while moving to a country I don't particularly like, away from my best friends and family. Maybe that's why visiting Lego's Memory Lane—the secret vault guarding almost every Lego set ever manufactured—touched me in a way I didn't expect. This wasn't amazement or simple awe. I was already astonished to no end by the tour of the Lego factory. No, this was something else, something bigger than the impressive view of the 4,720 Lego sets inside this lair. These weren't just simple boxes full of bricks. These were tickets to ride a time portal to emotions and simpler days long forgotten.


Monday, June 23, 2008

SolarDucts: Using Sunlight To Heat Air


Solar Duct Solar Air Heater and Cogeneration Unit
A solar energy is often used to heat water or generate electricity, but it can also be used to heat air. The SolarDuct is a new device that uses sunlight to heat air before it enter a ventilator. They are modular units that can be installed on buildings with flat roofs.

SolarDucts can also be used to remove heat from the back of traditional solar panels. The manufacturer, Conserval Engineering, based on the SolarDuct on their successful SolarWall product, which is being used by the US Army, Canadian Government, NASA, Ford, Federal Express, Wal-Mart and 3M.

Solar Wall Heating Air For Buildings

The SolarWall at the 3M plant in Perth, Ontario saves the company about $6000 per year in heating costs.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

spiraling stairs, I finally got it. - AUGI Forums

Here's a little tidbit on stairs for Revit. Special thanks to Matt Rumbelow of AEC Systems in Australia for finding this.
Since it's always 14 hours ahead, Matt sees this stuff before we do in the US.

spiraling stairs, I finally got it. - AUGI Forums: "Default spiraling stairs, I finally got it.
I guess you all are familiar with spiraling stairs needing more than one turn to get to the next level. The trick is to make more than one stair. So what I did is put one in place. get the height of the last tread start a new one align them. etc etc. troublesome, troublesome.
Just yesterday I found this out.
You start your one stair in sketch mode not just 360 degrees. stay in sketch mode and draw the second run on top of the first one, just like one would with a straight stairs with more than one run. Difference is the sketches can overlap. then just finish the sketch and voila, one undivided more than 360degrees spiraling staircase. easy.

I guess you all knew, but it just made me happy.

I think I will now go and try if I can overlap sketches of straight runs, who knows?



Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reed Construction Data Announces BIM Partnership Program

If you haven't seen Reed's SmartBIM Library Manager, you're going to flip. It's the Google Desktop search engine of managing your Revit content. No longer do you have to click component, Imperial Library and search through all of your folders to find the object you're looking for. SmartBIM Library Manager finds your content, sorts it and lets you compare objects. Once you find one of their 13,000 objects, you just drag it onto the Revit model and it's in there.
This is the missing link for Revit. Best of all, we're the exclusive dealer for Florida and we can sell it anywhere in the US that doesn't have a territory rep. Woo Hoo! Contact me for more info or a demonstration.

SmartBIM, a BIM Object Creation Service, Empowers Building Product Manufacturers

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Reed Construction Data (www.reedconstructiondata.com), a leading provider of construction information, today announced the SmartBIM Partnership Program, giving building product manufacturers the opportunity to have high-quality and brand-specific BIM objects modeled exclusively after their products, through SmartBIM Object Creation Services.

SmartBIM Objects are designed to simulate actual products and contain crucial product data and specifications that can be used within an Autodesk Revit model. In addition to creating objects, Reed Construction Data will provide its BIM content in a searchable environment on the web, as well as within the SmartBIM Library.

Our inaugural SmartBIM partners recognize the opportunity to be leaders in the evolving BIM design environment, said Richard Remington, vice president, product development, Reed Construction Data. Through the SmartBIM Partnership Program, building product manufacturers have the opportunity to showcase their products within a building during the design phase. The SmartBIM object-creation program provides BPMs with highly parametric BIM objects that accurately represent the real world characteristics and specifications of their product lines.

The Inaugural SmartBIM Partners include five leading manufacturers: Kolbe windows and doors, energy efficient windows and doors for green building, impact resistance, accessible design and/or historic renovation; Karona, Inc., a custom architectural wood door manufacturer; Da-Lite, the most comprehensive line of projection screens in the world; Hager, a leading manufacturer of commercial hardware products; and Draper, a leading manufacturer of window shades, projection screens, video projector lifts, and gymnasium equipment.

Kolbe windows and doors is pleased to partner with BIM solutions provider, Reed Construction Data, said Cindy Bremer, director of marketing, Kolbe windows and doors. Through the use of BIM high-quality, custom objects, we'll be able to clearly illustrate the advantages that our products have to offer as early as the design phase.

For more information on Reed Construction Data's SmartBIM solutions, visit www.reedconstructiondata.com/bim or call Gregory Arkin @ 305.992.4734

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

and another Revit milestone - CADDigest.com linking

Wow. One of my blog postings made it to the front page of CADDigest.com. This is so cool.

Of course, all of the credit goes to my Revit gurus Joe Vivirito and Mark Rothman. Not that I'd ever brag about them, but Autodesk ranks them the number one and two Autodesk trainers in the state of Florida.

This makes blogging all the more worthwhile. Now, if i can only get Google to get my site ranked number 1 for the search term "Revit", I'd be thrilled.

Thank you CAD Digest for the links. They're always appreciated. Read more...

Revit Milestone of the Day

One of the many important things about having a blog is actually having an audience. One indicator of knowing that people are reading your blog is the feedburner.com subscription service. Today I hit the milestone of 500 subscribers. Thank you Laura Wood of Nacht & Lewis Architects in Sacramento California. Laura, if you're reading this, you've won a free pass to our Revit class of Creating Custom Content and you can take it live over the web so you don't have to travel all the way to Florida. The rest of you can email me and sign up for it. It's $395 for the one day class. Our next class is July 11th.

For another milestone, although this one's been happening a little more frequently, I received two phone calls yesterday. In the first call, the customer specifically asked to purchase Revit for his firm. My immediate response was "are you sure I can't talk you into buying AutoCAD LT?" You see, I've spent the last three years getting phone calls for AutoCAD and LT and started talking to them about Revit. Rabbit? What's Rabbit....It's one of the primary reasons I started this blog in the first place. I was just plained tired of telling the whole Revit story over and over and over and over again. Thankfully, now, people are calling up and asking for Revit. Now, that's a milestone.

As you can see from the two photos, these are the people that have visited my blog today. The first picture is the world, and the second, little of US of A(utoCAD). USSR? U Should Switch to Revit? I think it's safe to say that Revit has definitely hit it's prime, although not in Russia.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot....the second phone call. Yes, he did call and ask for Revit. Then we had the wonderful conversation about subscription. "I have to pay $725/year?" Yes, I explained, more productivity, automated schedules, renderings, and all of the rest of the benefits for $1.99/day. Still not convinced, I told him to go to www.revitarchitecture2010.com, download the software and run through the Getting Started Guide at www.revit3d.com/guide so he could see for himself what Revit could do for him. Well, we can't win them all.

Thank you to my faithful readers and you random visitors finding your way here from various searches.
My gift to all of you today is to leave you with a rumor I heard today that Revit 64 bit will be coming in September. I have no official word. I'm not a beta tester. I'm just saying, someone mentioned that they heard something from a guy who knows someone who's cousin....oh never mind....I just think we're getting real close to super speedy software.

So, to everyone who's not a subscriber to my blog, please sign up for an email subscription. Not only do you get automatic updates, but I'm thinking of doing something really special form my 1,000th subscriber.

Diary of a Revit User: Hitting a Nerve - June 2008 - AUGI

Great article! I was just having this conversation with a principal yesterday. I was telling him how Revit would help him make more money. He was telling me he doesn't have the cash flow right now for the software or training. I'll be so happy when the construction recession is over in Florida!


It is June 8, 2008, and I am sitting in the dentist's chair waiting for my dentist to begin his exploration of my existing dental work. No matter how much I take care of my teeth and gums, no matter how hard I try to stay away from sugary sweets, there could not have been a way to foresee the damage that was done last night by biting into an unpopped popcorn kernel. Perhaps it was the manner in which I consumed the popcorn last night that prevented me from knowing what was actually in my mouth.

Maybe my wife has a point when she says that she is afraid of putting her hand in the popcorn bowl for fear that I might devour it while I chow down in rapid motion. Maybe in some cases the hand being faster than the eye can cause some serious damage. Now, as my gums begin to feel somewhat numb, my Dentist begins ramping up his drill and starts drilling for oil. As he moves around my gum line with the precision of a dart player, I prepare to face the wrath of my stupidity.

As soon as the drill presses into my damaged tooth I become consumed with a very uneasy feeling. In order to combat my fear, I begin to strangle the handles of the dental chair with such force that I believe my hands' imprints will be there for some time. And then it happened. As if someone forced me to bite down on a cold piece of tinfoil, the Dentist's drill hit a nerve, causing my hands and feet to shoot into the air and knock over the tray holding the dental equipment.

But did the dentist stop drilling? Did he sense my pain? As if this was a common occurrence within his office, he continued to work his drill and leave me to the shots of pain hammering the inside of my mouth. And with every thrust of pain, I begin to fade, heading toward what appears to be a state of unconsciousness. And I slip into a Revit moment�

It is May 2, 2008, and I am standing in front of a conference room containing 120 architects who had signed up to attend my session entitled "Building Information Modeling: How It Is Changing the Architectural Way of Doing Business." Architects are an interesting group of individuals and if you haven't had the privilege of being in the company of four or more architects, you really should find some and simply hang with them. They live in a world where being beaten down in fee for service is not only a common way of life, it is an accepted behavior. Despite having the power to change it, architects never seem to do so.

When a client demands that their fee be reduced, instead of standing firm in their position, architects seem to buckle under the pressure associated with "losing the client," therefore setting precedence in how the client/architect future relationship will be established. What boggles my mind is that architects in Ontario have in their favour "The Architect�s Act," which is legislation that that enforces the use of an architect for specific building uses and sizes where, without the use of an architect, these buildings could not be designed or built.

Instead of our profession standing firm as a unified group and having the power to promote a "take it or leave kind of attitude" when it comes to negotiating fees for service, architects cower to the fear of losing the job to another architect�one who would be more than happy to backstab his professional colleague by doing the job for less. And these, dear readers, are the attendees of my BIM session.

With their beaten�down morale, they have come to hear about what is behind "all of the buzz" on the street regarding BIM. Being relatively new to the Canadian architectural profession, BIM is slowly increasing in popularity. Out of the total 180 people in attendance during my two sessions, only five people belonged to companies that are attempting to use BIM. Out of these five companies, according to the information gathered during my session, none were using BIM all the way through the construction documentation stage. It appeared that BIM was being used only during the up�front portion of a project in order to show the client "pretty pictures."

So as I presented my session, it quickly became evident to me who my audience was. Not only were they part of a profession that appears to be beaten down by their clients and, more sadly, by their own peers, they were also a group of professionals who were about to be exposed to a new methodology. And depending on their corporate financial position, it is a methodology that they might not be able to implement due to the initial costs in doing so.

My seminar touched upon these five topics, in general.

  1. Understanding BIM: What Is It Really?
  2. Understanding How To Leverage BIM To Gain Market Share
  3. Understanding BIM Collaboration Between The Total Project Team: Structural / Mechanical / Electrical
  4. BIM in 4D � Timing and The Construction Process Shown in Phases Within The Document Set
  5. BIM in 5D - Scheduling and Costing Within BIM

As I made my way through topic one, the questions I received through the session suggested that BIM and 3D were strongly tied together. My attendees understanding of BIM was based on the notion that BIM's main value to our profession was that it was able to provide beautiful renderings in 3D view that can be shown to a client. Should the client like what was presented, the architect could then export the work out of BIM to legacy software where the project could be further developed.

Unfortunately, like the dentist hitting my nerve, I also touched on a few sensitive areas when I indicated that a project should not be taken out of BIM but instead, information should be brought into BIM. I would never have known that this one statement would unintentionally expose one's level of knowledge of BIM by trying to provide my experience in implementing the BIM process. The simple fact remains: the power of BIM lies in its ability to tie everything together via the information model. By taking the model and exporting its data out of its environment, the tie�in is lost. Regardless of whether the need for manual drafting exists, the process change of having staff develop line drawing details can be done using legacy 2D software and then imported into the Revit project file through the use of Drafting Views. This would then, in its minimalist level, allow for the Drafting Views to be associated with Section Views and Call Out Views. Exporting information developed within any BIM environment is a real "no no."

Like my Dentist, I begin drilling through each topic to explore the opportunities that BIM offers. And like my experience in the Dentist's chair, I too begin to drill too close to people's comfort zones. This never became more evident than when I approached the second and third topics focusing on leveraging BIM to gain market share and tying the total project team together. Throughout this discussion, the few questions that I fielded once again showed me the skepticism my audience felt toward how BIM should be implemented.

Instead of viewing BIM as a process of maturation, BIM is being viewed as a single� source task. Instead of looking at BIM as a way to begin a project and maturing the project throughout the cycle of Design Development, Construction Documentation, Procurement and through the Life Cycle of the building itself, those who were using BIM were using it only during the initial design stages.

By showing the audience the power of BIM's representational images for the use of marketing a company's work, I also showed how these images were not an isolated instance, but a real live representation of a model that can be manipulated, changed, and matured throughout the project schedule. In doing so, the point that I was attempting to make was that BIM should be viewed as an on�going process which enables a project to maintain its integrity.

All changes made while in BIM can be viewed throughout the entire model and should be viewed as such. BIM is the only process that enables all changes to be viewed throughout all individual views as they are only snapshots of individual areas of the building model as a whole. The views and images capable of being developed to show the client, therefore, begins to move away from the mere representational aspect of images and closer to showing a client what is actually being built.

To take it to the next level, what is being shown to the client in terms of building representation, or actualization, can therefore include all of the building systems associated with the building science aspect of a project. Items such as structural systems and mechanical systems not only can be shown in presentation format, but can also be understood to be coordinated with each other to ensure that their existence in a project is void of collision issues and interference concerns.

BIM, therefore, should be viewed as a total project solution. From conceptual design through to the end of procurement, BIM can be used not only to show the fluffy images that are needed to successfully win projects or gain approval of new design concepts, but it also is critical to ensuring that the building design matures properly and in coordination with the sums of the individual parts to complete the project as a whole. BIM promotes project team unity and can be used, frankly, for a very forward�thinking and progressive architect to platform into the idea of providing a full in�house service of architecture and engineering.

Developing all of a building's aspects in BIM is critical to the accuracy of a building's maturation process. Why not then provide a higher level of assurance by developing the engineering of the building under the very watchful and coordinated eye of the architect? Hmmm� food for thought.

As I move forward into the fourth and fifth items on my agenda (which I will cover in a separate article) it becomes ever so clear that those in attendance are becoming more and more uncomfortable with what is being presented to them. What at first was expected to be a session on "software" quickly turned into a deeper session on process change. BIM is synonymous with process change. To use BIM to its fullest advantage means that an architect would have to subscribe to changing the way they have carried out their business over the past 25 years.

BIM is more than simply subscribing to a software seat license. BIM causes all sorts of havoc in the workplace, starting with the cost of the software itself, to the cost of upgrading computer hardware to meet the minimal requirements to use the software, to the cost of training and the cost of loss of productive staff time during training.

Migrating to BIM is not an easy thing to do. Implementing BIM, once the migration has been committed to, is also not easy. So it is fair to say then, on behalf of those in attendance in my session, that the idea of going to BIM is as painful as sitting in the dentist's chair while he prods and pokes and drills in my mouth. The mere thought of being told by someone holding a seminar on BIM that BIM is the way of the future and that those who do not migrate to BIM�sooner rather than later�run the risk of being left behind in the dust and perhaps losing a client who comes knocking on their door to develop projects using BIM.

As a matter of fact, and in response to my reflection of architects being beaten down in their fees, BIM actually provides a tool that promotes a higher fee. Think about it. If we as a profession can provide our clientele with a process that would decrease a project schedule, decrease the cost of construction due to coordination clarity, and provide our client with information presented in a format never before achievable, how much would one be willing to pay for that level of service? My guess would be quite a bit once the client experiences BIM's value. Now if only we can somehow address the undercutting going on in our own back yard, perhaps the architects world over can gain back the level of respectability they deserve.

And with that, my dentist successfully hits yet another nerve and I jumped not only out of my seat (again), but also out of my Revit moment.

(Discuss this Article! in the HotNews Discussion Forums.)

Submitted by Paul F. Loreto, President of Loreto Design Consulting, an Autodesk Authorized Contractor Revit Consulting Company and Director of Paul F. Loreto Architect, Inc, a seven�person, full�service architectural firm in London, Ontario, Canada. Paul has been an Autodesk Authorized Contractor since 2002 and has provided 40 Autodesk Revit training, implementation, and mentoring sessions throughout North America independently and on behalf of Autodesk Inc. Paul taught Revit classes at Autodesk University in 2003, 2004, and 2006 and is currently providing Revit consultation through his company, Loreto Design Consultants. You can contact him at pfloreto@pflainc.com and visit his website at www.pflainc.com


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Ray of Sunshine - mental ray Standalone 3.6 Service Pack 1 for Autodesk 3ds Max 2009 and Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2009 – Available for Download

Autodesk is releasing mental ray® Standalone 3.6 Service Pack 1 software for Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2009 and Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design 2009 software which is available to all 3ds Max 2009 and 3ds Max Design 2009 customers, free of charge. Customers using mental ray Standalone are strongly encouraged to download this latest mental ray Standalone 3.6 Service Pack 1 to allow for the best possible user experience.

ProMaterials™ technology, a 3ds Max 2009 and 3ds Max Design 2009 library of easy-to-use, physically-based materials and professional images for mental ray software, is now supported by mental ray Standalone Service Pack 1. The ProMaterials give you fast access to such commonly used building and design materials as professional wall paint, with glossy or matte finishes, solid glass, and concrete. Now 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design customers who use ProMaterials mental ray shaders can render their exported scenes using mental ray Standalone.

Download the mental ray Standalone 3.6 Service Pack 1 for 3ds Max 2009 Now

Download the mental ray Standalone 3.6 Service Pack 1 for 3ds Max Design 2009 Now Read more...

Monday, June 16, 2008

BIM & BEAM: Webcast Series Featuring Revit Structure

From: BIM & BEAM: Webcast Series Featuring Revit Structure:

Register to attend our webcasts featuring Revit Structure 2009!

Leveraging AutoCAD Data with Revit Structure 2009

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Time: 10:00 – 11:00am PDT

Revit Structure provides industry-leading DWG compatibility for data import and export. It supports the process most engineering firms use with their clients by producing consistent and layered DWG files using user-defined layering standards; nothing in an exported DWG file ends up on the wrong layer. This level of accuracy eases client interactions and expedites the design and construction process.

Join Autodesk Marketing Manager Scott Hammond for this live, one-hour webcast as he demonstrates how to leverage AutoCAD data using Revit Structure 2009.



From http://revitmep.blogspot.com/2008/06/york-hvac-equipment-now-available-on.html

Joel Londenberg with Design West Engineering shared this information at AUGI.

We are pleased to announce that all the York rooftop package units from 3 to 5
tons are now in the Revit families and ready to be downloaded in your software.
This tool will save you and your company hours of CAD work. The rooftop units
have been completed with accessories, real time dimensions, voltage, capacities,
etc. The 6.5 to 12.5 tons are in design and should be ready to be downloaded
anytime now!

Please let us know if you have any problems installing this package.

Revit Files Gas Elec ZH0078-150
Revit Files Gas Elec ZJ036-060
Revit Files Heat Pump XP0078-150
Revit Files Heat Pump XP036-060

Posted by Scott Brisk at 6/15/2008 08:16:00 AM
Labels: Content"

Revit Tip - Aligning floor plans and details on sheets

OK, you've been so patient with all of my sustainability posts, I've decided to release a real live blog post for all of the Revit programs that can really help you out.

Here's a great tip from our Revit guru Joe "REVitaly" Vivirito.

When dragging and dropping floor plans onto your construction documents in Revit, the questions always comes up, "How do I align the floor plans on each sheet so that the building lines up on every sheet?"


<- click on the picture to download the template.

Take a look at the Title Block I created that includes a grid that you can use to move your view, not your building, to the same grid point on every sheet. The lines are invisible and will not plot. Read more...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Be a really good dad.
Use Revit so you can
get your work done faster
and then you can spend
more time with your children.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Future of the Environment | Popular Science

To my readers: I know my blog is supposed to be about Revit and I don't search out these articles about sustainability, yet they manage to find their way to me in one form or another. I imagine some of you may be annoyed by these particular postings and I'm sure others are fascinated with all of this. I guess if you're going to use Revit, eventually you're going to take advantage of the IES calculations, GreenBuildingStudio.com, LEED, USGBC and just try to make your buildings a little or lot more energy efficient. Four dollars a gallon for gas and my fourth month old son have made me a little more conscious of our energy consumption. Can one person make a difference? I think so. If you agree, then it just grows exponentially.

The Future of the Environment | Popular Science:

The Future of the Environment

A blueprint for the eco-tropolis of the future with fresh air, pristine water and cheap energy. Plus, 48 audacious ideas to save the planet
The Green Megalopolis: An eco-savvy blueprint for tomorrow's megacity Photo by Kevin Hand
In our annual Future of the Environment issue, we take a look at the monumental problems facing our world as we continue into the 21st century, as well as solutions ranging from the audacious to the everyday to, quite literally, save the planet. This year we turn much of our focus toward a bold blueprint for the city of the future. Check out our interactive tour of a future green megalopolis, the 10 most audacious engineering solutions for saving the planet, as well as the most problematic cities, industries, and projects looming on the horizon.

The Good News

A Green Megalopolis: The Plan

What does the eco-conscious megacity of tomorrow look like? Launch our interactive tour to find ou

10 Audacious Ideas to Save the Planet

Making a dent in the climate crisis is going to take more than solar panels and recycled toilet paper. Scientists are finding ever more creative ways (pig pee! DIY tornadoes!) to clean up the Earth

Green DIY Guide

It's not too late to reverse the damage. See some bold steps any DIYer can take

Charging Ahead

A smart power strip delivers just the right amount of juice

Riding Clean

Powered by environmentally conscious energy sources, these DIY vehicles put traditional gas guzzlers to shame

Google Earth Environment Guide

Crunching massive, geographical data visualizations used to require expensive mapping software and powerful computers. Now, Google Earth is becoming the go-to application for scientists who need a cheap way to animate huge sets of 3-D data right on their home desktop.

And the Bad News

Ten Problem Cities

Arsenic-laced drinking water, lead-contaminated soils and choking air pollution are sadly just the start in some of the world's dirtiest places

Five Ways You’re Killing the Planet

The everyday actions that are wrecking the environment, and how you can quit.

The Five Dirtiest Industries

See how construction, Hollywood and even your town council are screwing things up

Five Looming Eco-Disasters

Five upcoming projects with potentially devastating environmental consequences

The Vertical Farm Project - Agriculture for the 21st Century and Beyond | www.verticalfarm.com

Vertical Farm Website

"The Living Skyscraper: Farming the Urban Skyline" by Blake Kurasek
Graduate School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Problem

By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth's population will reside in urban centers. Applying the most conservative estimates to current demographic trends, the human population will increase by about 3 billion people during the interim. An estimated 109 hectares of new land (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use (sources: FAO and NASA). Historically, some 15% of that has been laid waste by poor management practices. What can be done to avoid this impending disaster?

A Potential Solution: Farm Vertically

The concept of indoor farming is not new, since hothouse production of tomatoes, a wide variety of herbs, and other produce has been in vogue for some time. What is new is the urgent need to scale up this technology to accommodate another 3 billion people. An entirely new approach to indoor farming must be invented, employing cutting edge technologies. The Vertical Farm must be efficient (cheap to construct and safe to operate). Vertical farms, many stories high, will be situated in the heart of the world's urban centers. If successfully implemented, they offer the promise of urban renewal, sustainable production of a safe and varied food supply (year-round crop production), and the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been sacrificed for horizontal farming.

...continue reading and make a difference...Vertical Farm Website


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Computing | From blueprint to database | Economist.com

One of my clients told me to find this article in this month's Economist magazine. More good stuff about BIM

Jun 5th 2008
From The Economist print edition

Computing: Aircraft and cars are designed using elaborate digital models. Now the same idea is being applied to buildings

THE advent of powerful computers has enabled architects to produce stunning images of new buildings and other structures. No proposal for a big project is complete without a photorealistic rendering of how the final design will look, or even a virtual walk-through. Perhaps surprisingly, however, those fancy graphics tend to be used only for conceptual purposes and play no role in the detailed design and construction of the finished structure. For the most part, this is still carried out with old-fashioned two-dimensional elevation and plan drawings, created by hand or using computer-aided design (CAD) software. “It’s still a 2-D profession,” says Shane Burger, an associate architect at Grimshaw, the firm that designed the Eden Project, a domed botanical garden in Cornwall, at the south-western tip of England.

Continue Reading the Article...http://www.economist.com/search/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=11482536


Autodesk University 2008 Classes have been selected

The Autodesk University team has started sending out acceptance letters from the class proposals in April.
Last year the Revit classes sold out quickly, so get approval now from your company to attend.

Our favorite partner, Broutek.com has been selected to teach the following class for Revit MEP. For those of you looking for MEP family content, you'll want to make sure you sign up early for these classes.

Extreme Revit MEP Families: Piping, Part I

90-Minute Lab

Track:MEP Design and Engineering

Power User

Extreme Revit MEP Families: Electrical

90-Minute Class

Track:MEP Design and Engineering

Power User

Extreme Revit Families: Manufacturers, get ready to publish

90-Minute Class

Track:MEP Design and Engineering

All Levels

Extreme Revit MEP Families: Piping, Part II

90-Minute Lab

Track:MEP Design and Engineering

Power User

Here's more about signing up and website links:

An Amazing Experience!

Each year, more people than ever discover that an annual trip to the AU conference is a great way to keep their skills up to date, renew business contacts, and make new friends with like-minded professionals from around the world. Plan now to be part of this once-a-year opportunity at AU 2008 in Las Vegas.

AU 2007 Content
Access class handouts and screencasts of technical sessions presented at AU 2007.
Save The Dates:
16th Annual Autodesk University

December 2–5, 2008
The Venetian Resort Hotel

Las Vegas, U.S.A.

Registration opens August 15, 2008.

Registration Fees

AU 4-Day, All-Inclusive Pass

Conference and 4 Nights Accommodations (12/1 - 12/4)

Register between August 8 – October 10: US$1,845
Register between October 11 – Onsite: US$2,345

AU 4-Day, Conference-Only Pass

Conference Only – No Accommodations

Register between August 8 – October 10: US$1,645
Register between October 11 – Onsite: US$2,145


I can't believe my eyes

Do you see what I see in this picture taken in Newcastle Australia? Other than the obvious that Australians can't maneuver ships?

Yeah, that's right, they're using solar panels on the roof of the building at the bottom of the picture.

You can read the story about the ship grounding here and you can read about Autodesk solutions for Green Building here (www.autodesk.com/green).

Speaking of Australia, I'd like to congratulate Matt Rumbelow of AEC Systems for becoming the newest Broutek dealer for Australia, New Zealand and China. They're the only authorized Broutek dealer in all of those countries.
At Broutek, we're not content until you have all of your content.

Here's a link to AEC's newsletter. There's some good stuff in there.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Revit MEP, Structure and Architecture ALL had updates today - and a few words about the communication center failure to do it's job

Goto the links to download the latest version of each product - They will always link you to the latest build.

Web Update Enhancement List (pdf)

Web Update Enhancement List (pdf)

See last post, it's all there for all products.

Does anyone know why the communication center doesn't tell you this? Why isn't Autodesk automatically notifying customers of new updates? I guess the communication center is just there to monitor if you have a legitimate license installed. Big Brother is watching....

If anyone at Autodesk is reading this, please fix this problem. 300,000 Revit users are not happy.
And a special note to Rob at Eckles Design, aren't you glad you didn't have to do a deployment two days in a row? Rob is looking for Starbucks coffee mugs from different cities around the world. If you'd like to help participate in his quest, please email me and I'll forward it to him. You're welcome Rob!

Enough about Rob. I actually clicked on the communication center icon at the bottom right of Revit Architecture. You have to select your location and then preferences. I then refreshed the content to get the latest information and guess what??? Still nothing about the latest build as you can see in the photo above. Hello, McFly!!!!! Fix this please. Read more...

Revit MEP New Release - Web Update 1 build (20080602_1900)

I hope I'm the first to post this one...

Revit MEP 2009—English

Also available at www.revitmep2009.com


This download is the most recent build for Revit® MEP 2009 software as part of the AutoCAD® Revit® MEP Suite 2009 software product.

It is available to registered users of Revit MEP 2009, and is subject to the terms and conditions of the end-user license agreement that appears during installation.

For a list of improvements, please download the Revit® MEP 2009 Web Update Enhancement List:

Web Update Enhancement List (pdf - 112Kb)
Note: Build Number can be found in the Web Update Enhancement List

Before You Download

Before downloading and installing:

Read this first (pdf - 125Kb)
This guide explains how to obtain proper licensing for your Revit® MEP software product.

Get Started

Read all instructions above then click one of the following links to download.

Revit MEP 2009 (exe - 711 Mb)


  • Downloads are applicable only to licenses under subscription, worldwide.
  • Files saved in new releases of this product are not compatible with previous releases. However, files saved in the same release are compatible across different build numbers.
  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 6 or higher is required.
  • For problems downloading or installing Revit MEP 2009 and for general information or questions, contact Autodesk Product Support (Autodesk Subscription login required).

Related Information

Web Update Enhancement List - Revit MEP 2009
Improvements made in Web Update 1 build (20080602_1900):
MEP/Platform Enhancements
+ Improves performance when modifying customer visibility settings for linked files, when many volumes
exist that are bound by the linked file.
+ Improves stability when exporting complex views to AutoCAD DWG format, when the hidden lines in
those views have a large gap width.
+ United Kingdom content is now included in the English installer.
+ Improves stability when editing a family in the System Editor.
+ Improves stability when upgrading previous release files that contain certain schedule configurations.
+ IES light fixture information exported to the IES now contains correct direction
+ Improves performance when opening views with multiple unconnected systems.
+ 1 and 2 pole panels can now be assigned to 3 Phase Distribution Systems.
+ Wires in a view no longer impact the display of color fills.
+ Wires are no longer trimmed according to the extents of the light source geometry.
+ Light fixture preview images do not include the light source geometry.
+ Improves the plotting consistency of certain components that are placed over hatched elements in
coordination and architectural discipline views.
+ Improves consistency of panel schedule column sizes when panel name is changed.
+ Duct and pipe accessories can now change types without disconnecting from duct and pipe segments.
+ Rooms will now export Revit internal parameters for IFC.
+ When rendering, the progress bar reports correct percent complete.
+ “Intensity” on Decal Types dialog was changed to “Brightness” to match Help documentation.
+ Spot elevation with Display Elevation = Top & Bottom Elevation will now report the correct bottom
elevation for sloped elements.
+ In plan view with medium or fine detail level, spot elevations now report the correct top or bottom
elevation of a beam that is joined to a column.
+ Improves stability when changing the visibility of a link in a view template.
+ “Downlight – Spot” light family no longer has duplicate Tilt Angle parameter.
+ Lights that were in a light group that was deleted are no longer controlled by the deleted light group;
instead they are controlled by the Ungrouped Lights status.
+ Improves the ability to enter custom DPI value in the Render dialog.
+ Improves stability when exporting to CAD formats.
+ Improves stability when closing SteeringWheels.
+ Improves stability when adding elements to a group.
+ Families that contain arrayed voids will now function properly in the project.
+ Improves stability for users with non-English operating systems when using the Open/Save dialog.
+ Notes created in Revit for a DWF markup object will now propagate to the DWF after selecting publish.
+ Enabling daylight portals will now affect the rendered appearance.
+ Spotting on interior renderings with many internal light sources no longer occurs.
+ Improves appearance of decals using cut-outs.
+ Corrects “Unable to Start” error when starting the application.
+ Model lines now remain in the correct design option when split.
+ For sweeps on an arc wall, you now have the option to change sweep returns. Revit
+ Improves the fidelity of printing and exporting of hidden lines shown in structural and MEP views.
API Enhancements
+ Parameter binding performance has been improved. [API]
+ The JoinType method has been implemented for the LocationCurve of structural members [API]
+ Mullion LocationCurves are now accessible through the API. [API]
+ External programs may now suppress VSTA startup warning messages. [API]
+ The built-in parameter MATERIAL_PARAM_TRANSPARENCY now returns the correct set value. [API]

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