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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Banking and BIM

I have a question for you.  If the banks were to suddenly open their checkbooks again and start lending tomorrow so developers could begin the construction process, how would you feel if the banks would only lend money if the A/E team was required to use BIM?  What if they required IPD as well?

Would you be willing to make that investment for the sake of a better design and construction process and workflow?   What if the future of your firm thus depended on you buying and learning Revit?  Is that what it would take to move the line?

What if they required LEED as well?  It was just something that popped into my head during a conversation with a developer.

Should the banks be willing to lend money only for projects using BIM and IPD so they could be guaranteed that there would be fewer change orders and a much higher probability of jobs finishing on time and budget?

Can anyone tell me what percent of the jobs they've designed finished on time and budget?  What's your typical budget overage?

Welcome to the new game of Designing for Dollars. Read more...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Navisworks Render Image Inaccurate - Beyond the Paper


Some customers experience "rips", "tears" or another anomaly in the model when using the Render or Export Rendered Image functionality.

It should also be noted that the problem does not go away, once it has started. Even if the file is closed and renewed attempts are made.

This may be due to missing geometry when rendering large models, particularly models with a very large ground plane or large 3D space. This is a known issue and related to the rendering engine used in Navisworks.

Here's the one workaround that seems to have resolved the majority of cases. Improve your Render performance by hiding geometry (CTRL-H) that is unused in your view or unrelated.

Please send us any feedback, comments or suggestions you may have.

Thank you.

Navisworks Render Image Inaccurate - Beyond the Paper


Inside the Factory: Shape Editing


In the previous post I talked about the roof cutoff properties. The same mansard roof from that example can be made using the shape editing tools and are available when you select a flat roof (must be flat). These tools were introduced more recently (Pleistocene) and represented an initial foray into some new manipulation tools. It doesn't enable super sexy curvy like the 2010 concept modeling tools can but something great for roofs and floors with drains. Using these one can also create most roof shapes including some interesting saddle shapes.

Below are the basic steps for the Mansard:


Click the image below for a video of the complete process:


BTW These 1st generation tools can also model 1st generation stealth aircraft like the F117.


Now that the 2010 conceptual modeling tools are out I need to try modeling the second generation F22 before Zach over at Buildz beats me too it.

_erikInside the Factory: Shape Editing


Friday, February 26, 2010

Issues with Revit Structure Files Created Without a Template - The Revit Clinic


I wanted to talk about an issue I've seen customers report that exhibits itself in a few different scenarios. You may have come across one (or all) of the following issues when working in your Revit Structure file:

  • Your Column Location Mark parameters are empty

    No Template 02

  • No Columns display in the Graphical Column Schedule

    No Template 03

  • Wall Foundations do not display an Analytical Model

    No Template 04

These issues will occur if your project was created from scratch without a template:

No Template 01

So either the project you are working in was created this way, or the template you used to create your project was originally created this way.

To bring the missing components into the model, you will need to transfer the elements to a file that was created based off of a template. The easiest way to achieve this will be to do the following:

  1. Open a new file (making sure that it is based off of a Revit Structure template).
  2. Link your project into the new file.
  3. Select the link, and choose to Bind it.
  4. Select the group element created from the Bind, and Ungroup it.

Issues with Revit Structure Files Created Without a Template - The Revit Clinic


Doors in Schedule Not Listing From Room or To Room Fields - The Revit Clinic

Did I ever tell you the reason I fell in love with Revit 5 years ago was because I saw the automatic door scheduling feature. Ask any contractor if they've ever seen a door schedule that matches the number of doors on the plans and it's been 'no' every time. I'm so beyond discussing features of Revit as a reason to move to it, but how can you sit there counting doors, windows and other items and manually put them on a CAD drawing? I just don't get it.

It's all about quantities, cost and bringing that building in on budget. Find me another solution that does it as easily as Revit and I'll stop harping on BIM outshining CAD.

Repost: http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/02/doors-in-schedule-not-listing-from-room-or-to-room-fields.htm

If you come across doors in a schedule not listing the From Room or To Room fields there are a few steps we can work through:

1. First check the room Instance Properties > Limit Offset for rooms not correctly displaying fields in the schedule. You will need the rooms set to at least a few inches above half the height of the door to be detected. For example, if you have a 10’-0” door ensure the room Limit Offset is at least 5’-2” or else the field will be blank in the schedule.

2. If that does not resolve the issue ensure the room is in a properly enclosed region. Rooms that are not enclosed will not properly show these fields in the door schedule.


3. If this does not resolve the issue try cutting & pasting the room to the same place. To avoid the room numbers shifting when pasting you can place the room in a group first using the approach in the post below:

Prevent Room Numbers From Changing When Cut & Pasted

Original: Doors in Schedule Not Listing From Room or To Room Fields - The Revit Clinic


Digital Vision Automation Blog: Reinvent to Remain Relevant [BIM/IPD]

After standing for 3 hours last night at the AIA Palm Beach annual convention in front of our BIM booth, the article below seems even more pertinent. It's 10 years old and still there is the resistance to Revit and BIM. The war is over. It's just a matter of time until.....

Repost: http://www.digitalvis.com/allroads/blog_entries/reinvent-to-remain-relevant

As a 3D technology provider to the AEC industry for the past 22 years, I have been in a unique position to observe architect’s complaints and fears about their own profession being marginalized, especially now that contractors and owners are positioned to benefit from utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD). Architects often wonder: “Why should I go along for the ride?”

The architectural profession in the US is at a crossroad. Architects could and should be leading the BIM revolution, but hesitate because of their fears, marginalizing themselves, net result, even more. Architects need to “go along for this ride” because nothing less than the future of the profession is at stake!

As my very enlightened architect client/colleague Kimon Onuma, FAIA (of BIMStorm fame) says: It’s time to “Evolve or Dissolve.” And, Tom Mayne FAIA of Morphosis (Pritzker Prize Winner) says: “Change or Perish.”

I personally believe that architects will win ONLY if they establish more of the leadership necessary to pilot the entire AECO industry through the immense changes BIM and IPD are stimulating!

This means taking on more risk and letting go of fear.

The big opportunity I see is to take the lead on more design-build and IPD projects, where collaboration is king and someone has to lead and orchestrate The Team. What AEC profession is traditionally best known to orchestrate this type of collaboration? Answer: the architect. More and more, I am seeing that BIM and IPD are about leadership more-so than software or technology. BIM and IPD are PROCESSES, not software. New processes need to be led.

I observe that one of the main reasons architects hold back in leading this change is that their piece of the AECO pie is relatively small (in terms of money to be saved) compared to the contractor or the owner which, as I understand, is a disincentive to lead or change. Currently, owners and contractors are the driving force behind BIM.

Another way to say what Onuma and Mayne have so aptly said above is “Reinvent to Remain Relevant.” The future of a whole noble profession is as stake here. Therefore, lead on and reinvent your future. And don’t forget to enjoy the ride!

One last thought…when I was a kid, my neighborhood friends and I used to play a lot of the conquer-the-world board game “Risk.” We would say to each other “He who hesitates, fails.” We coming-of-age-kids somehow figured this out as we played the role of make-believe generals. The time for hesitation’s through!

Digital Vision Automation Blog: Reinvent to Remain Relevant


Revit: Inside the Factory: Dept. of Obscure: Cutoff properties

From: http://insidethefactory.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/02/dept-of-obscure-cutoff-properties.html

In the next two posts I'll cover two parameters and a feature both of which can solve the same problem in different ways. This post is on the "Cutoff Level" and "Cutoff Offset" properties we find in Roofs.

In the strata of Revit features the Cutoff properties were introduced somewhere in the cretaceous. Like a vestigial tail you might have wondered what purpose it serves. You may have even set some values and not seen any visible change or got an error "Cutoff Level cannot be below bottom of roof". Scary.


Essentially what these properties do is cut back or trim (perhaps better terms) a footprint roof.

Below is a progression where a roof is created, the Cutoff properties set, and then a third roof added to create a Mansard shape.

Voila! There are other ways to do this that may or not be less steps but perhaps easier to understand. I'll cover that in the next post. BTW if you are developing an in-house test to plumb the Revit knowledge of your hiring candidates this could be a devious inclusion.


Inside the Factory: Dept. of Obscure: Cutoff properties


Troubleshooting Worksharing Monitor Process but no Dialog - The Revit Clinic

Repost: http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/02/troubleshooting-worksharing-monitor-process-but-no-dialog.html


If after when launching the Worksharing Monitor extension for Revit products the dialog does not open, check the Windows Task Manager. Look for the WorksharingMonitor.exe process to see if the Worksharing Monitor is running.

If the process is active but the dialog is nowhere to be found move onto the troubleshooting process below:

1. Restart the workstation, launch the Worksharing Monitor. If the results are the same move onto the next step:

2. For Windows Vista or Windows 7 users right-click on the Worksharing Monitor shortcut > Run as Administrator. If the results are the same move onto the next step:

3. If there is Antivirus or Firewall software running temporarily disable it to test if the Worksharing Monitor is being blocked. If this proves to be the case see if an exception can be added to not block the WorksharingMonitor.exe application. If this is not the case move onto the next step:

4. Open the Windows Task Manager. Look for Windows processes called rundll.exe or rundll32.exe. There are typically several of these running. They are Windows processes for running DLLs and placing the libraries into memory and should not be modified or ended.

Before launching the Worksharing Monitor make sure the Windows Task Manager is open. Make a note of the number of rundll.exe or rundll32.exe processes running. Launch the Worksharing Monitor. The number of these processes should not change with the exception of the WorksharingMonitor.exe process now on the list.

If you get to this point and the Worksharing Monitor still does not launch as expected I would recommend a clean uninstall \ reinstall of the monitor using the following approach:

1. Uninstall the Worksharing Monitor from the Windows Control Panel.

2. Open the Windows Registry Editor, locate the following folder for the 2010 version:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Autodesk\Revit\Worksharing Monitor for Autodesk Revit 2010

Delete this folder.

3. Next, also in the Registry Editor locate the following folder for the 2010 version:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\Revit\Worksharing Monitor for Autodesk Revit 2010

Delete this folder.

4. Delete the following Windows folder:

32-bit OS: C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Worksharing Monitor for Autodesk Revit 2010

64-Bit OS: C:\Program Files (x86)\Autodesk\Worksharing Monitor for Autodesk Revit 2010

5. Restart the workstation.

6. Next we’ll reinstall the Worksharing Monitor using the following process:

  • Ensure a full administrator account installs the Worksharing Monitor.
  • When the installation is complete, have the administrator account launch Revit.
  • Then have the administrator account launch the Worksharing Monitor while Revit is still open.

Troubleshooting Worksharing Monitor Process but no Dialog - The Revit Clinic


Thursday, February 25, 2010

BIM Humor: Brainy Crows Finally Stumped by Intelligence Test | Wired Science | Wired.com

This has nothing to do with BIM or architecture, but it had the word visualization in it, so I thought I have some fun with the 2D readers.

My favorite line in the article: some researchers thought they didn’t just learn through rote trial and error, but envisioned problems in their head.

No architects were harmed in the writing of this blog post.

Repost: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/02/crow-intelligence
By Brandon Keim

Maybe they’re not as smart as we thought: The New Caledonian crow, having passed so many other tests of animal cognition, has finally flunked an exam.
New Caledonian crows are valedictorians among corvids, a family of birds that includes ravens, jays and magpies. They’ve wowed scientists with their cognitive powers, even using wire as a food-fetching tool.
On one classic cognition test — retrieving a piece of food tied to a string — corvids perform so well that some researchers thought they didn’t just learn through rote trial and error, but envisioned problems in their head.
crowtest1In a study published Feb. 22 in Public Library of Science ONE, researchers added a twist: They ran the string through a hole in a plywood platform. Crows could only see the food when directly above the hole. When they pulled back on the string, they’d lose sight of it. If they really did have a mental image of the task, it wouldn’t be a problem.
Twelve crows took the test: four who’d practiced on the old food-on-a-string setup, four who’d never seen it, and four who’d never seen it but could watch their reflection in a mirror.
Crows from the first group succeeded, but only after many attempts. Only one of the second group passed, also with difficulty. Two crows from the third group passed. It wasn’t the ace performance usually seen in crows.
“These results are not consistent with the hypothesis that the crows built a mental scenario,” wrote the researchers. “Our results raise the possibility that spontaneous string pulling in New Caledonian crows may not be based on insight but on operant conditioning mediated by a perceptual-motor feedback cycle.”
In other words, the crows relied on a simple trial-and-error approach. But the researchers did acknowledge that their sample size was limited, and that depth perception could be skewed in a confusing way by the experimental setup.
If nothing else, the crows did far better than finches. And even if they’re not good with spatial relationships, they’re certainly fast learners.
Images: 1) New Caledonian Crows on the old experimental setup at left, and on the new apparatus at right. Credit: University of Auckland. 2) Schematic of the new test design. Credit: University of Auckland.

Read More Brainy Crows Finally Stumped by Intelligence Test | Wired Science | Wired.com


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

UI Tips - The Revit Clinic

Repost: http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/02/ui-tips.html

I ran across a couple of User Interface tips that I wanted to make sure I passed along.

Missing Dialogs: Sometimes you might run into a situation where you attempt to open a dialog box, but it does not display and the only way to get back to the Application is to press the ESC key. There is a quick way to get the dialog box back.

  1. Open the "missing" dialog
  2. Press Alt+Spacebar-M... (hint: Press Alt and Spacebar together, then press M)
  3. You now have a Move cursor on the dialog box (wherever it may be)
  4. Press a Arrow key on your keyboard. This will lock your mouse to the missing dialog box
  5. Drag your mouse around until the dialog shows up on your screen and click to place it

Mis-ordered Ribbon Tabs: Sometimes you might see Ribbon Tabs out of order. The cause might not be clear regarding why it happened. To fix it you can follow a simply process (you actually might consider this a feature of Revit)

Screen shot 2010-02-24 at 9.58.59 AM

  1. Press the Control Key while you click and hold the left mouse button on the mis-ordered tab
  2. Drag the tab to the correct location on the ribbon
  3. Let go of the Left mouse button once the tab is in the right place
  4. You can actually do this with any tabs and this is probably the reason the tab was moved in the first place (accidentally of course)
Source:UI Tips - The Revit Clinic


5 Curtain Wall Tips - The Revit Clinic

Repost: http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/02/5-curtain-wall-tips.html

Included below are 5 tips to keep in mind when working with curtain walls…

1. Curtain Grid Type Association

Highlighting a curtain grid and selecting Unpin will automatically change the Type Association setting to Independent. You can save a few clicks using the Unpin tool instead.


2. Curtain Walls in Legend Views

Curtain walls do not display in Legend views. While you can drag them onto a Legend view, they will be invisible. This is because the majority of the curtain wall components [such as mullions, panels and construction settings] are driven by Type Properties which are not accessible for this object type in legend views.


3. Curtain Grid Lines Constrained to Project Grid Lines

By default you cannot align & constrain a curtain wall grid line to a project grid line. However once the curtain wall grid line is set independent under the type properties or by unpinning it, you can use the align & constrain padlock to associate a project gridline to a curtain grid:

Video Example

4. Curtain Wall Doors & Door Schedule Level

Typically when a curtain wall door is added to the curtain wall, it appears in the door schedule with the same base constraint as the curtain wall.

Curtain wall doors are not typical doors and the placement does not always correspond to a project level. The most consistent method to reset the associated level is outlined in the video below. It involves temporarily changing the entire curtain wall base constraint and then placing a nested curtain wall in an infill to host the door. When complete the curtain wall base constraint can be reset:

Video Example

5. Corner Mullion – Butt Glazing

You can replicate a butt glazing condition using a glass mullion or similar at the corner. Steve Stafford had an excellent video example of this workflow on the Revit OpEd blog. I’ve included the original post and video here.

5 Curtain Wall Tips - The Revit Clinic


Revit Best Practices & Support - You want to know how to export your Revit model for a Quantity Takeoff import.

Published date: 2010-Feb-23
ID: TS14599393
Applies to:
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture 2011
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture 2010
Revit® Architecture 2009
Autodesk® Revit® MEP 2011
Autodesk® Revit® MEP 2010
Revit® MEP 2009
Autodesk® Revit® Structure 2011
Autodesk® Revit® Structure 2010
Revit® Structure 2009


You want to ensure a proper DWF export from Revit to allow property information to import correctly into QTO.


In order for QTO calculations to function properly, the source DWF file must contain specific properties. To include these properties in your export:
  1. Open your model in Revit.
  2. Click the Revit Button > Export > DWF and the DWF Export Settings window will display.
  3. In the Export: drop-down field, select "In Session view/Sheet Set".
  4. In the Show in List: drop-down field, select the appropriate sort option to view your project sheets.
  5. Check the boxes of the sheets to include.
  6. Access the DWF Properties tab.
  7. Ensure the “Element properties” box is checked.
  8. Ensure the “Rooms and Areas in a separate boundary layer” box is checked.
  9. Click “Export”.
  10. Select a path and enter a filename.
  11. Click the Files of type drop-down arrow and select DWF.
  12. Click “Export”.

Autodesk - Autodesk Revit Support - You want to know how to export your Revit model for a Quantity Takeoff import.


Interview with Phil Bernstein / IPD/ BIM

Another great interview with Phil Bernstein, the IPD guru from Autodesk. Phil's a brilliant speaker so take a few minutes to watch.

Direct video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xRqbmVcxTg&feature=player_embedded

View additional interviews on the AU YouTube Channel.

AU Beat | The Voice of AU


ENERGY STAR Leaders Program Proves Successful : Green Building Law Update

Don't you love that the lawyers are involved in BIM and LEED. Just make sure you're properly trained in all of this newfangled BIM technology so you can keep the lawyers off your back. There's no cutting corners with BIM.

Repost: http://www.greenbuildinglawupdate.com/2010/02/articles/codes-and-regulations/energy-star-leaders-program-proves-successful/

What would you tell the federal government about green building law if you had the opportunity?

This past weekend, I contemplated this question as I prepared for a presentation that two colleagues - Catherine Kunz and Stephen McBrady - and I will be giving to the National Research Council and 15 federal agencies that will be in attendance. While preparing for the presentation, I came across new information and resources that I will share with you over the coming weeks.

While my presentations often focus on legal pitfalls facing the green building industry, I like to start each presentation on a positive note, by pointing out the benefits of the green building industry. For the presentation to the National Research Council, I will begin with this headline:

What is the ENERGY STAR Leaders Program and why has it worked?

"Owning a building that achieves top energy performance is a sign of good management, but owning a portfolio of buildings that achieves continuous improvement in energy performance demonstrates superior management and environmental leadership. Those ENERGY STAR partners who demonstrate continuous improvement organization-wide, not just in individual buildings, qualify for recognition as ENERGY STAR Leaders. . . .

An ENERGY STAR Leaders designation helps you leverage your management success, as organizations with strong energy management often outperform their competitors by as much as 10%. Associations, financial analysts, and other stakeholders can use the Leaders designation as an objective way to distinguish leading organizations from their peers. In addition, with more than 68% of U.S. households recognizing ENERGY STAR as the national symbol for protecting the environment through energy efficiency, ENERGY STAR Leaders can promote their energy efficiency improvements to customers and clients."

While I have concerns about other federal green building programs and regulations, the ENERGY STAR Leaders program is successfully promoting energy efficiency in the nation's building stock.

What other governmental green building programs would you deem a success?

ENERGY STAR Leaders Program Proves Successful : Green Building Law Update


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

BIM Support Survey - Jason Grant Blog - Adaptive Practice by Jason Grant

Please take two minutes and fill out the survey.

Ever wonder how other firms are supporting BIM in their offices? It is the unknown abyss. I have put together a survey that should take the mystery out of this question. Please take the survey by clicking on the image, selecting the BIM Support Survey on the link bar to the left or using the following link http://jasongrant.squarespace.com/bim-support-survey/

Please repost, retweet and just share by word of mouth so that we can get as many responses as possible. Once there are a significant number of responses, I will compile and share the information with everyone.

BIM Support Survey - Jason Grant Blog - Adaptive Practice by Jason Grant


BIM Troublemaker: Thick and Juicy Fun with Curtain Panels

Oh man. BIM Troublemaker is at it again. Extreme BIM. Great jobt BT. Keep 'em coming.

Repost: http://bimtroublemaker.blogspot.com/2010/02/thick-and-juicy-fun-with-curtain-panels.html

I really like the curtain panels in Revit. They're fun. While playing with the templates, I realized that I could add thickness.

That's great! So following the precedent set by Carl's Jr, I figured that 'Thicker is Better'...And here we go....Start with a sexy, curvy form like this:
Apply the pattern surface, in the properties panel I adjust the thickness to 20m...Nothing succeeds like excess.
Nice! Now lets add a twist...

and playing around a bit with the number of panels and their twist angles, it gets real thick and juicy....somebody get me a napkin...

BIM Troublemaker: Thick and Juicy Fun with Curtain Panels


Revit: Point colour in Revit 2010

David's very light on the blog posts lately, but this is a good one. I'm thinking of finding a way to compile all of the tips from my blog and others so we can create a best practices guideline. I don't know how a Revit newbie can absorb all of this and speed up the learning curve. Oh well, once a laggard, always a laggard.

Repost: http://autodesk-revit.blogspot.com/2010/02/point-colour-in-revit-2010.html

When working with Points in a conceptual mass sometimes it can be a bit of challenge seeing your points using the default out of the box settings. The default colour is a rather nice purple colour, which is unfortunately the same colour defined for Reference Lines and Planes.On complex assemblies all these points and reference lines can get rather confusing.


So if you are struggling with the the fact that both Reference Lines and Points are the same colour, it is possible to change the colour. To do this, do to Manager tab, then Settings, then Object Styles. This will open the Object Styles for the current conceptual mass family you are working on.


Next click on the Annotation Objects tab. Here you will find listed Reference Lines, Reference Planes and Reference Points line type and colour settings. You can then adjust the colours to meet your needs. To change the colour of Reference Points, just select the Line Colour from the Object Styles window. In the example below you can see that I have changed the point colour from purple to red.


In this example I have altered the planes and points.


Revit: Point colour in Revit 2010


Local File Username Change Loop - The Revit Clinic

As a side note to the post below, check out RevitOped -Worksets Tip - Add the Extension - add the telephone extension to a person's Workset username.


Here’s a good scenario to avoid should you change your Revit username. As a best practice always create a new local file versus continuing to work in the existing local or you will run into the following scenario:

1. You have a local file, created and last saved with User1.

2. The user then opens Options > Username, and changes the username to User2 while still in the original local file.

3. They continue to work in the local file making a number of changes or adding new content.

4. When they attempt to save they receive the following error message:


5. Opening Collaborate > Worksets dialog brings up the next message:


6. Then in attempting to set your username back to User1, you navigate to Options > Username, and change the username back to User1.

7. Because changes were made to the project since the last save with a different username you will be unable to save. You will receive the following message instead:


You can’t save because modifications were done with a different username and you can’t change your username because modifications were done with a different username that haven't been saved.

As a best practice you should not find yourself in this scenario but if you do there are a few options:

1. If no one else has worked in the central file since this happened, you could potentially save this local file as the new central file. R > Save As > Project > Options > check Make this a Central File after save, and resave the local as a new central file. Afterward new local files can be created to include the latest changes.

2. If the work was contained to a specific view or area, you may be able to cut the modified geometry to the clipboard [use CTRL + X]. Next use Undo all the way back to the last save. Options > Username, and set it back to User1. Synchronize with Central. Then Modify > Paste Aligned > Same Place. This will put the geometry changes you cut back into the project under the current username and you can synchronize with central again.

3. Discard the changes to the file and create a new local file with the correct username.

source: Local File Username Change Loop - The Revit Clinic


Monday, February 22, 2010

Revit Architecture Support - Importing large Revit models into Ecotect Analysis

Published date: 2010-Feb-22

ID: TS14593335

Applies to:
Autodesk® Ecotect® Analysis 2010
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture 2010
Revit® Architecture 2009
Autodesk® Revit® MEP 2010
Revit® MEP 2009


You have a large Revit model that you wish to import into Ecotect Analysis and would like to know how to simplify the .dxf file and the gbXML file.


Using the Visibility / Graphic Overrides menu in Revit you can make invisible / turn off elements that are unnecessary in Ecotect Analysis. This will reduce the complexity and size of your .dxf export and make the model easier to manipulate in Ecotect Analysis.

It is recommended that you simplify your Revit model for all analyses that use .gbxml export.

Keep in mind that Ecotect Analysis is a design tool that is meant to be used in the schematic phase of a project when feedback from the tool will enable the designer to make decisions about orientation, floor plate depth, massing, etc. During this phase, the BIM model is expected to be really simple, almost like a massing model but with some internal partitions that denote zones for air-conditioning or daylighting. By the time the project is in Design Development, the BIM model has a lot of extra information that is not needed for sustainable design analyses and makes analyses unnecessarily complicated. The additional information in the model does not add to the accuracy of the analysis.

Autodesk - Autodesk Revit Architecture Services & Support - Importing large Revit models into Ecotect Analysis


The Power of the Retrofit: Part 2 - Blog - Build2Sustain


A little over a week ago, we highlighted Caterpillar as an example of what can be achieved with an intelligent retrofit. The project earned LEED certification and the energy savings were well publicized. But we weren't satisfied. We know that the most important part of any business case is ROI and payback. With that in mind, we reached out to Tom Gerike, Engineering Project Team Leader at Caterpillar to learn more.

1) Reports indicate your retrofit achieved an energy consumption reduction of more than 40% resulting in $800k worth of savings. We're always making the business case for sustainable retrofit and renovation; can you give us a sense of the ROI and payback period associated with the retrofit?

We spent approximately $3,000,000 to get this $800,000 in savings for a payback of 3.75 years.

2) Were there primary building systems you knew you could target when planning the retrofit or did you evaluate everything? What was the design process like?

Primary building systems that were evaluated were the air handlers and air distribution, the chiller plant, and the lighting. The design process was based on seeing what current equipment was not performing as it should have been and then looking for further improvement opportunities. A walk-through audit was performed after maintenance improvements were made to determine what kind of engineering changes were needed for the systems.

3) As a result of your design process, what primary building systems were retrofitted? Were core systems retrofitted (HVAC, Lighting, Windows), was this largely a control-based retrofit, or both?

The major areas of work for this project were to convert the building from a constant volume system into a variable air volume system, controls upgrades to convert pneumatic controllers at terminal devices to direct digital controllers, control upgrades to the chiller plant, and the installation of an automated lighting system to schedule the lights on and off.

4) You achieved LEED Gold-EBOM certification for this project. Was LEED certification a primary goal of the project? How did that impact the way you approached the project?

Yes, LEED certification was a primary goal. It impacted the approach of the project in the following way. To get LEED, you need a minimum score on the Energy Star of 69. We were well below that value, so the energy improvements became a major focus of the project in order to reach that minimum score. Also, the savings from the energy improvements went to offset the costs of additional changes need to achieve LEED.

5) How long did the project take from internal proposal to completion?

We worked 2 years on this project.

6) Given the success of this project, are there future Caterpillar sites slated for similar retrofits?

Yes, we are always looking to make energy efficiency improvements that are in line with our enterprise sustainability goals.

The Power of the Retrofit: Part 2 - Blog - Build2Sustain


Revit to Navisworks and Convert Element Properties - The Revit Clinic

So, how many of you on the architecture side of Revit own a copy of Navisworks Manage? You're all requiring your consultants to use Revit MEP right? Anyway, start paying attention to Navisworks. It's a lot cheaper than years of processing RFIs from the GC.

Repost: http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/02/revit-to-navisworks-and-convert-element-properties.html

There is an option under Add-Ins > External Tools > Navisworks 2010 > Navisworks settings > File Readers > Revit > Convert element properties.

By default this would be un-checked:


Basic Revit properties will be included in the Navisworks file regardless of this setting. Checking this box will do 2 things during the export process:

1. Additional properties will be included with the resulting Navisworks file. These include properties for Navisworks related to the element properties, object orientation, material information, associated level, worksharing information, family specifications, cuttability and Revit object category.

2. Depending on the size and number of objects in your project, the export time can dramatically increase as additional properties will be translated. For example a 100 MB file with this unchecked may take a few minutes. Check the box and the export time may jump to 20 minutes. This is something to keep in mind if you don’t need the additional information in Navisworks.

For example, the following property control tabs will be available in Navisworks through the following export options. Let’s use a generic 8” wall as an example:

Convert element properties un-checked:

Item, Element, Base Constraint, Phase Created, Revit Type & Element ID will be included in Navisworks.


Convert element properties checked:

Item, Element ID, Element, Base Constraint, Phase Created, Revit Type, Element Properties, Orientation, Wall Type, Materials, SimilarObjectTypes, ObjectType, PhaseCreated, Level, Document, ParametersMap, Parameters & Category will be included in Navisworks.


In addition for component families, there should be a Family tab in NavisWorks. This lists some of the family specific category and cuttable information in Navisworks when Convert element properties is checked.

If your objects have shared or project parameters attached:

Convert element properties un-checked:

Shared or Project parameter information is included and located under the Properties > Element tab in Navisworks.

Convert element properties checked:

Shared or Project parameter information is included and located under the Properties > Element tab in Navisworks.
Revit to Navisworks and Convert Element Properties - The Revit Clinic


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Seth's Blog: Moving the line (the power of a zealot) to BIM

I'm going to try not to repost Seth Godin's entire post here, so I'll include just a few snippets. When I see a blog post titled "Moving the line", I can only think of it in terms of CAD vs BIM.

The post starts with

Extremists move the middle.
Do you think I'm an extremist? Am I too passionate about my love of BIM? Steve Stafford just wrote a post yesterday about the number of Revit blogs. We're up to 77 and growing every day.

Why do we defend things so much? Sports, politics, religion, software, technology, cellphones, music, food. CAD Standards?
Most of us draw a line somewhere between the extremes. That means we're already compromising, we just argue about how much.
Yesterday, we had a company come in for some very specialized 3ds Max training. The company sells a product. They end up paying up to $100,000 for design of the container for this line of product. They decided to have their internal graphic artist learn 3ds Max so they wouldn't have to outsource it. One of our techs happens to already design products in the same field. He walked into my office in a tizzy. Apparently, the guy wants to buy a Mac, which doesn't run 3ds Max, unless you load bootcamp and Windows 7. He was mad that the guy wouldn't comprise. Two other of my techs who are diehard PC fanatics were upset about it too. I walked into the training room to introduce myself, see how things were going and nonchalantly ask him if he was going to buy a new computer for 3ds Max. He said he was going to get a specific Mac. I asked him what else he does in his job and what software he and his company uses. Apparently, they're mostly Mac based, he will only use 3ds Max for 10% of his job, and everything else with Mac graphic design software. I told him that getting a Mac and using bootcamp would then be the perfect solution for him. Did I compromise? No. Would I ever use a Mac? No. Do I love my iTouch. Yes. All three techs looked puzzled, but none of them actually asked what he did for the rest of his job and what would be the best computer for him. We did discuss him buying 5 new PCs with all the money they'd be saving to create a rendering farm, but that's a whole other story.
Not just stick with our ad hoc line, but argue about it, defend it and get angry about it.

It's interesting to note that an enormous amount of apparently principled argument goes on about relatively tiny movements in where the line is being drawn.
I know we're way beyond tiny movements with BIM, but there are still millions of people arguing about that reality

And so it's left to the zealots. The people at either end have little hope of moving the masses all the way to their end of the argument. Instead, what they do is make it feel safer to change the boundaries, safer to recalibrate the compromise. Over time, as the edges feel more palatable, the masses are more likely to be willing to edge their way closer to one edge or another. Successful zealots don't argue to win. They argue to move the goalposts and to make it appear sane to do so.
Zealots?  Hmm.  All I know is that as more contractors and subs adopt BIM, our sales and technical staff are busy every day helping them and winning more business.  Given the choice of a contractor willingly buying Revit and paying for training, I think you'll find fewer zealots trying to argue with architects about the benefits of BIM.  Again, it goes back to resources and efficiency.  The CAD goalpost hasn't really moved in 28 years.  It's all about change (and the reduction of Change Orders). 

I'm truly fasscinated with the psychology of technology, the fear of change and the resistance to anything that deviates from status quo.  I will continue to passionately express my feelings about what I love.  It occurred to me the other day when someone complained to me about what I say about CAD here. It's very simple.  This isn't an AutoCAD blog.  It's a Revit, BIM, LEED and IPD blog.  I'm sure there are other blogs for 'the others' to read that they might find more agreeable to their opinion of where the line is. Of course that line is buried on a layer, with a line color and thickness and has absolutely nothing to do with Design, Construction and Facility Managment.


Original: Seth's Blog: Moving the line (the power of a zealot)


A little BIM tidbit for multiple computer & monitor users

Hi. Welcome to my desk. I took this picture the other day. I will admit that the laptop on the far left was only there for a very short time while I was configuring something. Otherwise, I do have two computers with a total of four monitors.

I'm sure some of you have more than one computer, and even if you have just one monitor each, you have to deal with multiple keyboards and mice, unless you're using a KVM switch, which doesn't really let you move back and forth between computers as gracefully as you'd like.

Today, I found a great little solution to the problem. It's a little piece of software called Input Director. You can download it at http://www.inputdirector.com/downloads.html.

It's so cool because the mouse moves through each monitor as if they were all part of the same computer. Whatever monitor the cursor is on, the keyboard will work for that computer.

So, if you're a multitasker like me, you can become even more efficient in your computing environment.

In the screenshoot above the slave "jane" is positioned between bob and the Master system but has its Skip flag checked. When moving the cursor between the Master System and the remaining slave, Input Director will treat the "jane" system as if it doesn't exist. A slave's skip flag setting is temporary and not remembered between restarting Input Director or rebooting the Windows system.

BIM bumps - Seth's Blog: more, More, MORE!

I swear that every day, Seth Godin's blog can be used here in relation to the Autodesk ecosystem. I read today's and almost didn't see the connection until I glanced at it a second time. Being an Autodesk reseller isn't always so special. Autodesk has over 80 products and it's a challenge to know what each do and how they relate to your job. Then there's the various pricing options to deal with. A new seat of Civil 3D has 22 unique line items. Of course, why should Autodesk bother with that many pricing options because, of course, you want the software for free. Then we hear the whole "we're buying Archicad" story and the "we should file a class action lawsuit against Autodesk" story. There's the forever famous "for that price, training should be included for free" story. The "but we just upgraded four years ago" lament really brings tears to our eyes.

My favorite is "we only do 2D, we don't do 3D". My response is, "what do you design, parking lots?". While we've been trying to get you to invest in Revit for the past 8 years, you've shunned us, ignored us, resisted us, mocked us and keep telling us you won't give Autodesk money for their software. Let's not even talk about subscription.

So, what do you think is going to happen when you get a job where your client requires Revit? As our Revit sales increase every year, there's going to be a backlog for training. We've developed an extensive list of best practices, lessons learned and implementation guidelines. Of course, you can try to figure it all out on your own, but remember, your client is expecting their project to get finished sooner than later.

Of course, we never want to lose a customer, but we need to position our resources where they have the most benefit. Top of the list are the contractors and subs who don't mind paying for software or training. Read the post below. Hopefully you see yourself as one of the great customers who loves investing in technology, training and subscription. Typically, Revit customers are the best Autodesk clients since they've gotten such benefits from the technology.

Autodesk simplified pricing starts 3/16/10. If your subscription has expired over 365 days ago or you have an older version, expect a bit of sticker shock (plus subscription). If cash flow is an issue, we can get you financing deals. If you had a copy of Revit 2008, it would cost $2375 to upgrade and get it on subscription. If you qualified for financing, a 3 year finance package would cost about $75 per month for 36 months. That's 43 cents an hour.

Moral of the story? Use your resources wisely. Be nice to your reseller, especially if it's me because we do want to help you, especially if you appreciate BIM. Oh yeah, stop trying to get us to compete against each other to get you the lowest price. If we don't make any money, we can't afford to hire techs to support Revit and other products. Then we can't help you when you have problems. Pick a reseller based on their expertise, technical services, quality of training and only pick a reseller with a kick as Revit blog. I'll be waiting for your call.

Repost: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/02/more-more-more.html

Some consumers are short-sighted, greedy and selfish.

Extend yourself a little and they'll want a lot.

Offer a free drink in the restaurant one night and they're angry that it's not there the next.

The nuts in first class weren't warm!

The challenge of winning more than your fair share of the market is that the best available strategy--providing remarkable service and an honest human connection--will be abused by a few people you work with.

You have three choices: put up with the whiners, write off everyone, or, deliberately exclude the ungrateful curs.

Firing the customers you can't possibly please gives you the bandwidth and resources to coddle the ones that truly deserve your attention and repay you with referrals, applause and loyalty.

Posted by Seth Godin

Original: Seth's Blog: more, More, MORE!


Friday, February 19, 2010

What is the 12 week Process? - Blog - Build2Sustain

I don't know how many of you are paying attention to my Build2Sustain posts, but you may want to because it's where the money is. This is a project to create best practices for LEED Existing Buildings and energy savings.

We explain the 12 week plan for the Paper Project with some more detail.

Video Link
What is the 12 week Process? - Blog - Build2Sustain Read more...

Inside the Factory: Autodesk Revit DB Link with 64bit Revit

From: http://insidethefactory.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/02/rdblink-with-64bit-revit.html

Quite a few comments on my Revit as a Database post from last week focused on the fact that Microsoft's various versions of 64bit Windows do not include or support a driver for connecting to an Access database via ODBC. The good news is, Microsoft appears to be changing course on this in the upcoming release of Office 2010. Their download site includes both 32 and 64 bit beta versions of their data connectivity component driver. I tested this out in Vista x64 with Revit 2010 x64 and the Office 2010 x64 beta and it works. The bad news: you will have to wait for Office 2010 to ship and many of you do not have a say in when your office upgrades.


Inside the Factory: Autodesk Revit DB Link with 64bit Revit


Revit MEP Error: Invalid Duct Fitting K-Factor Database - The Revit Clinic

Source: http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/02/invalid-duct-fitting-kfactor-database-error.html

Does this error look familiar to any of you using Revit MEP? Typically this error occurs when running Revit MEP on Windows Vista and usually when drawing duct or converting flex duct to rigid duct.

Without getting too technical, the issue has to do with user access rights to certain registry keys in Windows Vista. Since we're still receiving a fair amount of cases regarding this problem, I thought it would be worthwhile to provide the simple steps to resolve this.

If you see the above error, please try the following:

  1. Close Revit MEP
  2. Right-click on the Revit MEP shortcut
  3. Select Run as...
  4. Select Administrator
  5. Close Revit MEP
  6. Run as the current user

Alternatively, you can log in as Administrator, run Revit MEP once, close it, and reopen it.

Please note that for Revit MEP 2010 users, this issue should be resolved in the latest web update. If you haven't installed the web update, you can download it here.

Original: Revit MEP Error: Invalid Duct Fitting K-Factor Database - The Revit Clinic


Troubleshooting Revit Project Size Increases - The Revit Clinic

Source: http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/02/troubleshooting-revit-project-size-increases.html

At some point your Revit project size may have dramatically increased without the project itself dramatically changing. I’ve included 4 items below which are frequent causes for this type of file size change:

1. Family Types

Look for a large number of families which may be loaded into the project. Also if a type catalog was used when families were loaded into the project, there may be a large number of unused types.

Related to this, 1 family instance may have several nested family instances. So in the Project browser it may appear as 1 family but could potentially contain 4 or 5 more nested families. This can easily magnify the project size and is something to look for if there has been an increase. Manage > Purge Unused can be used to remove any unused family types.

2. Detailed Model Fill Patterns

Model fill patterns containing a large number of segments will greatly increase a Revit project size. This typically occurs when a detailed hatch pattern [.pat] file is used to define a new fill pattern. If when possible avoid the use of detailed custom model fill patterns to optimize the file size.

3. Raster Images & Rendered Views

For every inserted image or rendered image saved to the project, the project size will increase.

All of the inserted images, along with an instance count, can be viewed under Insert > Manage Images. Unneeded images can easily be deleted from this menu using Delete.

For rendered images saved to the project, by default they will be saved under the Renderings Project browser organization. They appear under the Manage Images dialog as well.

4. Lack of Compact File & Audit

It is essential to frequently open the central file, or project file with Audit checked to ensure the database is optimized. Along with this the project file should be compacted on a regular basis. For example audit and compact file should be run at least once a week.

To do this when opening a central file, ensure Audit is checked. Once the central file is open, save the project through Collaborate > Synchronize and Modify Settings > check Compact Central File.

For a non-worksharing enabled project file you can re-save the project file through R > Save As > Project. Click Options and check Compact File.

Original: Troubleshooting Revit Project Size Increases - The Revit Clinic


Thursday, February 18, 2010

3 More Revit Rendering Tips - The Revit Clinic

Revit Renderings, a vision of loveliness. PS. I have no idea why I'm writing these dorky things at the top of posts.

Repost: http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/02/3-more-revit-rendering-tips.html

Adding to the previous post of 10 Rendering Tips, I want to pass along a few more tips to keep in mind:

1. Rendering Process

When you render in Revit the Revit.exe process is not actually taking the bulk of the memory and performance usage. There is actually a second process that starts when rendering, called fbxooprender.exe, which is handling the rendering. So if you are looking to calculate memory usage or better track performance you can look for this process when rendering in Revit:


2. RPC Rendering & Windows Temp Folder Usage

Revit uses the Windows temp folder to store temporary files during the rendering process. When the rendering completes these .bmp files should be removed. These are typically related to RPC content, and have file names similar to RPC_TextureXXXXXXX.bmp.

However if the rendering process is canceled before completing these images may not be automatically removed.


When Revit is closed you can periodically delete leftover image files from the following folders:

Windows XP: %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Temp
Windows Vista\7: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Temp

3. Black Dots Appear in Render

Say you render an image and the final result shows black dots similar to the image below:


This is typically caused by light fixtures, using a material with high specular reflection. For example an aluminum material near the light source could cause this. To isolate this turn off some of the artificial lights around the scene under Rendering > Artificial Lights > toggle On/Off.


You can alternatively edit the light fixture and swap another material to test if the results are the same.

Along the lines of the 10 Tips, if you missed any of the previous posts I have included the links below:

10 Conceptual Mass Editing Tips

10 Linked \ Imported File Tips

10 Rendering Tips

10 Revit Tag Tips

10 Wall Tips

Original: 3 More Revit Rendering Tips - The Revit Clinic


Blurry Text, the answer is not new glasses - The Revit Clinic


I happen to be a geek (you may have noticed from this blog!) and it happens to be time for me to get new glasses. This weekend I was out shopping for them (my wife is very happy). The lady at the eye glass place was very helpful and got me setup with a appointment to have my eyes checked. Its been over two years since my last exam and they need a current prescription.

I know that my eyes have changed a little bit over the last two years, but I am not looking forward to a prescription change (headaches).

I would like to blame Revit and my days spent in front a computer, but sadly cannot. For one, I am near-sighted so I don't need my glasses for looking at the computer screen, but two, Revit 2010 isn't the cause of the blurriness that I might be seeing, even if it does look a little blurry.

You may have noticed that the in 2010, the text on the ribbon or type selector is not as sharp as it use to be.

Screen shot  2010-02-17 at 2.03.22 PM

Revit 2009

Screen shot  2010-02-17 at 2.02.28 PM
Revit 2010

It is pretty bothersome. Unfortunately, the core issue is inside Windows and we have to wait for a fix from Microsoft before we can completely address the issue within Revit. The good news is that Microsoft has fixed it; the bad news is that it won’t be released to the world until later this year.

One of our developers summed it up the best. In the past, Windows has always fudged character outlines to fit on a pixel grid and look sharper at small point sizes. But when Microsoft introduced WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), their new graphics library, they decided to stop fudging things and draw fonts as closely as possible to the way the font designer intended. This improves high-res, animated graphics -- but has bad results for small UI text. Microsoft realized their mistake and the next version of WPF will allow applications to choose which behavior they prefer.

If you’re curious, there’s some technical information here:

Some applications don't have this problem because it they don't draw its ribbon UI using the WPF library. Unfortunately we need WPF to implement other ribbon features, so removing it wasn’t an option for us.

Hopefully, this will help explain that blurriness you may be seeing in Revit and know that you don't have to run off to the eye doctor. :)

Blurry Text, the answer is not new glasses - The Revit Clinic


REVIT Rocks !: Add Sheet Counter to REVIT Title Block

I'm not looking forward to the day when every architect has Revit. There's just no way to keep up with all of the daily BIMbardment of BIMformation that is BIMply too BIMportant. Daryl, thanks for another excellent tutorial.

Source: http://revitrocks.blogspot.com/2010/02/add-sheet-counter-to-revit-title-block.html

REVIT does not come installed with a title block family parameter that displays how many sheets are in a sheet set. In fact REVIT doesn't have sheet sets.
Some people prefer to display the total number of sheets in a set as the '15' displays above.
In the 3 CADclips below you are first introduce to the completed title block family in a project then we start from scratch and show you how to build it yourself.
1. Create a Shared Parameter named 'Number of Sheets'.
2. Use this Shared Parameter in the Title Block rfa family file.
3. Load the title block family into a project.
4. Create a local Project Parameter of Category 'Project Information' pointing to the same Shared Parameter.
5. Set the 'Number of Sheets' value manually in the Project Information dialog box or the field in the title block and witness the change to all sheets.

REVIT Rocks !: Add Sheet Counter to REVIT Title Block


BIMtionary: Split-Face with Wall Reveal

Here's a great post from Brandon at BIMtionary. He's only done 6 blog posts, so maybe you can all visit his site and pressure him to make daily blog posts.

Source: http://bimtionary.blogspot.com/2010/02/split-face-with-wall-reveal.html

Have a complex wall/reveal design? Maybe EIFS reveals? Let's say you have a reveal in a wall and you need to have the portion of the wall above the reveal 'Color A' and below it 'Color B' - when you try and use your Paint Bucket it wants to select the entire face of the wall (Figure A), not the individual faces (above and below the reveal).

So the next logical step would be to use the Split-Face tool to split the wall face at the reveal location so you can have multpile faces to paint. After further investigation and frustration we see that when we select the wall face to split it, it automatically has the reveal edges assigned as a face border - so we can't split our faces along those lines. Now we could offset our split-face lines a teenie bit off the border lines but that would be cumbersome and annoying.

Well While going through this I discovered an long standing bug in the software, try this:

  1. Use your Split-Face tool and pick the wall face you would like to Paint.

  2. Split the face of the wall anywhere, I do it in a top or bottom corner and create a tiny 1/16"x1/16" wedge (Figure B). Select Finish Sketch.

  1. Now you will be able to pick the individual faces of the wall created by the reveal (Figure C).

Original: BIMtionary: Split-Face with Wall Reveal


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