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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Brian Keane: The Incredible Power of Solar

Why aren't all architects and engineers recommending this as a way for their clients to reduce operating costs?

Source:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-keane/the-incredible-power-of-s_b_776233.html

Sometimes we get caught up in the process of transforming America's energy economy and lose sight of what it would really mean to effectively harness the power of renewable resources. Here's a great reminder:

Every hour, the sun provides the earth with as much energy as all of human civilization uses in an entire year. At just 10 percent efficiency -- that is, if only 10 percent of that solar energy was converted to electricity -- a 100-miles-square area of land could produce enough electricity to power the entire United States.

That's from a Reuters article about Walmart, which recently announced it's adding thin-film solar panels to another two-dozen stores in Arizona and California. "Yet," the article points out, "a century after Albert Einstein explained the photoelectric effect, solar technology remains a trivial player in global energy."

Companies like Walmart and Kohl's are leading the charge for commercial solar -- and it makes good sense. Solyndra, a leading manufacturer of commercial solar products, likes to use this talking point: There are approximately 11,000 square kilometers of commercial rooftop space in the world available for solar panels. If you covered all of those rooftops, we could generate approximately 512 gigawatts of electricity -- enough to replace 1,000 coal-fired electric plants.

Now there's something to think about.


Special offer on IES VE-Toolkits - #LEED

Last chance to purchase! From 1st October 2010 to 31st October 2010 you can purchase a single 'Stand Alone' licence for only £240, €340, $400, AU $600 per Toolkit, no annual charges!

First Choose Your VE-Toolkit

SketchUp integration

The following VE-Toolkits are available to purchase on their own or together:

Sustainability VE-Toolkit:
This VE-Toolkit interrogates; climate, natural resources, building metrics, construction materials, energy, carbon, daylight, solar-shading, water, low & zero-carbon technologies, and ASHRAE/CIBSE heating & cooling loads.

Toolkit for LEED®:
Indicative LEED credit assessments that cover daylighting, comfort, water and renewables across LEED NC v2.2/v3, Schools v1/v3, Core and Shell v2/v3.

Toolkit for LEED® India:
Automated indicative LEED-INDIA rating system credit assessment that covers daylighting, comfort, water and renewables across LEED India New Construction v1.0 and Core and Shell v1.0.

FREE: Toolkit for Green Star (beta):
Indicative Green StarTM rating system credit assessment that covers daylighting, comfort and water across Office Design v3, Office As-Built v3, Office interiors v1.1, Education v1, Healthcare v1 and Retail Centre v1.

For more detailed information on these VE-Toolkits, click here.

Enhance Your VE-Toolkit Experience

IES offers additional services that will 'enhance' your use of the VE-Toolkits in different ways:

1. Customisation: IES Consultants can do a one-time customisation of the drop-down selection list within the VE-Toolkits, so they reflect the typical design approaches most important to you.

2. Training: IES Training offers live web-based and face to face training options for SketchUp and Revit Workflow, and the VE-Toolkits, as well as other options.

3. Project Consulting: The IES Global Consulting Division works with design teams to bring specialist performance analysis and LEED services to all types and size of projects. They can work alongside you to quantify impact, develop solutions and position your company as sustainable leaders.

Purchase Online

Single 'Stand Alone' Seats
Can be purchased online www.iesve.com/Software/VE-Toolkits

Special Multiple Seat Offers
We offer special discounts on multiple seat purchases across both single and multiple offices.

For Further Information
Contact me for pricing and product demonstrations.


Design Technology Management Conference - #AU 2010 - The Dirt

Design Technology Management Conference

Monday, November 29
1:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

AU will break new ground in 2010 by offering this new conference focused on managers of design technology services. If you are responsible for keeping your design enterprise working smoothly, controlling overhead, and motivating staff, sign up for the Design Technology Management Conference.

  • Gain insight into innovative technology and management solutions.
  • Enjoy making new contacts with others like yourself.
  • Enhance your expertise in the implementation, deployment, and management of current Autodesk technologies.
  • Learn about Autodesk plans for the future technologies.

Why Attend?

This half-day conference will address many of the business issues that managers like you face—from the impact of a new release on their systems and teams to best practices and many other issues in between. Special focus will be on building information modeling (BIM). Emphasis will be placed on group discussions with other managers in collaborative environments that foster sharing, problem solving, and learning.


Pushing back on mediocre professors - #Revit

This one's for the Revit Kid.  Jeff, how many of your college professors are teaching Revit and BIM?  Or, is it all AutoCAD and Rhino?  Are they even teaching technology at other architectural schools?  One of my favorite stories I heard at BIM Forum was the group that graduated college (all very proficient in Revit of course) and started their own brand new architectural firm.  All they needed to do was hire an architect who could seal their drawings.  Imagine trying to compete against a young 100% Revit firm while your company is still using AutoCAD 2006.  What a competitive advantage you'd have telling your client how your 2D workflow, tons of RFIS and incomplete drawings was the way to go.  Welcome to the future.



The vast majority of email I get from college students is filled with disgust, disdain and frustration at how backwards the system is. Professors who neither read nor write blogs or current books in their field. 

.... And most of all, about professors who treat new ideas or innovative ways of teaching with contempt.

"This is costing me a fortune, prof! Push us! Push yourself!


Your Help is Needed! 40 Labs Need Lab Assistants | #AU2010

Source: http://auspeaker.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/your-help-is-needed-40-labs-need-lab-assistants/

We have 40 labs that need one or more lab assistants.  Lab assistants are key to making these hands-on classes great learning experiences for those who attend. As a lab assistant, you will quietly assist students throughout the class, allowing the instructor to stay on track with the material that needs to be presented.

Please look at this list of labs and if you are interested in assisting and your schedule allows, please send an email message that includes your name, the class ID and title of the class to  au.speaker@autodeskevents.com.We will add your name to the lab and provide you with more information later.

Labs needing assistants (xlsx – 16kb)

Thanks in advance for your time.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Scripting Uninstall - The #Revit Clinic

I've been expermenting the last few days with some scripting.  You may be familar with the solution that walks through the process ( 2011: How to Uninstall Revit products ).  It is one of the most widely used solutions so, as a pilot, I decided to try my hand at scripting the process to make it easier and faster. 

Sometimes there are problems that require you remove the Revit product and reinstall it.  Sometimes, just doing that from the Windows control panel is not effective and doesn't solve the issue.   The process to do a "Clean" uninstall is a little challenging as in involves navigating to multilple folders and manually editing the registry.  This script attempts to make the process easier. 

There was a lot of trial and error developing this script, but after working with our product support specialists for testing (thanks to their help, I was able to test on multiple operating systems and different products), I think I have a script that works well and does the job. 

A couple of warnings:  

  1. Make sure you backup any customizations, custom families, or templates before running the script.  The script deletes files, folders and registry keys on your machine to perform the clean uninstall and I would hate if you lost something you needed.  Also, it is a good idea to also backup your registry if you can before running the script.  See solution, TS66513 for more information. Additional information about the registry is also contained in the Help topics in the Microsoft Registry Editor.
  2. Disable any Anti-virus that may be running on your machine before running the script. 
  3. Make sure you talk to your system adminstrator and have adminstrative permissions before running the script.
  4. Please review the technical solution before running the script.  The solution follows the process that the script uses so you will know what the script is deleting (except for number 4). 
  5. The script does not remove the Autodesk Material Libraries or any shared components with other Autodesk Products. 

I wrote the script in VBScript so it is open (uncomplied) and you can edit or modify it to fit your needs.  I would love to hear your comments, questions, or suggestions about the script (or if you run into any errors).  I am planning on working on a few others, if this goes well, so if you have any suggestions I would like to hear them.  

Now that we are through all of that.  Download the REVIT 2011 - Uninstall scriptand give it a try if you need to. I've commented out the skipping error handling section of this script, so if it don;t successful do something, you will be able to see the error message.  Save the script to your machine and double click on it to run the script.  You will be prompted to enter which product you want to uninstall.  

Happy Scripting


How to Slay Energy Vampires - #Sustainability

Source: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2010/10/28/how-to-slay-energy-vampires/

This post is from staff writer April Dykman. April is writing a series on money monsters for the recently launched Pageonce blog, including fighting zombie debt and how to Frankenstein your savings.

There are demons that can suck the life force from you — and you unknowingly invited them into your home. Vampire electronics may not suck your blood, but they 'll drain nickels and dimes for every dollar you spend on energy.

The cost of vampire energy
Vampire energy is the electricity that electronics and appliances drain from the power grid when you aren't using them. Some electronics that are turned off still suck energy in standby mode, especially those with the following features:

  • Internal clock
  • External clock display
  • Panel display LED
  • Remote control sensor
  • Battery charger
  • Power-conversion pack
  • Portable units with a base (such as a cordless phone)

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, vampire electronics are responsible for 5-10% of residential energy use. In other words, if you slay your energy vampires, and you'll see a noticeable difference in your energy bills. CNN reported that you might have as many as 50 vamps lurking in your midst:

Alan Meier of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been studying vampire electronics for years. "Each home now has anywhere from 10 to 50 of these products, so that adds up and represents as much as a month of your electricity bill," he says. We plugged a DVD player that wasn't even playing a DVD into a watt meter, and it showed consumption of 11.32 watts with the power on. "I've turned it off, and now its drawing six watts," Meier says…Meier's home computer is just standing by. But it's drawing 65 watts.

I'm definitely guilty of letting energy vampires run amok in my own home. In fact, as I was writing this, I decided to take a look around to see what electronics were plugged in and running up the electric bill. I found the following:

  • 2 laptops
  • Printer
  • Back-up drive
  • 2 sets of speakers
  • 5 lamps
  • Clock radio
  • Camera battery charger
  • 2 phone chargers
  • Television
  • DVD player
  • Microwave

I should pull the cord on most of these electronics, like the extra laptop that rarely gets used, the printer, the back-up drive, and the chargers, but they stay plugged in day after day.

Put a stake through vampire power
So how do you dust these energy vamps? There are two factors to consider: One is energy efficiency, and the other is whether the device is on or off.

  • The first thing to consider is a device's overall energy efficiency, since in-use energy used can often be more important than standby energy if an appliance sucks a particularly large amount of power. The U.S. EnergyStar program provides energy efficiency ratings for various categories of electronics, so begin your search there when shopping for energy-efficient appliances, light bulbs, water heaters, windows, and more. While it's not possible for most slayers to replace all of their appliances and electronics, you can start to slowly swap older devices with energy-efficient ones when you need to replace something.
  • Second, take care of the vamps in your home. Unplug chargers and adapters when you aren't using them. When that's not practical (because you don't want to reset your clock 10 times a day or shutdown and unplug your computer every time you use it), consider a power strip like the Wattstopper Plug Load Control or Smart Strip Power Strip, which work two different ways to lower your bills.

The Wattstopper ($90) uses a "personal sensor" to turn off power after a device has been idle for a user-defined time period. The Smart Strip ($35) can sense when devices are on or off and shuts off power supply accordingly. According to the Smart Strip website, independent consultant tests showed that it can "save enough energy to pay for itself in as little as six weeks…up to $20 per month on your electric bill."

Your wooden stake power strip will pay for itself.
J.D.'s note: Now's a good time to remind you of the Kill-a-Watt electricity usage monitor. This little gadget detects how much power your appliances use so that you can make smart decisions about electricity. You only need to use the Kill-a-Watt about once every year. So, do what we did: Buy one and loan it to all your friends so that they can find the energy vampires in their homes.

Related Articles at Get Rich Slowly:


Worksharing with Bluestreak - The #Revit Clinic

If your not aware of Project Bluestreak, you should go check it out.  Over at Revit Op-ed, Steve Stafford has a nice post about the latest update. 

What is interesting about this update is that it includes the Autodesk Revit Activity Stream App, a new way to see the updates that are happening with a workshared project and it works with Revit Server. 

From the download site:

"The Revit Activity Stream app connects Revit to Bluestreak cloud services to help distributed teams more effectively collaborate as they work on one model. This Bluestreak app combines automated notifications of Revit worksharing events with informal team comments so team members can communicate when models are saved to central to ensure efficient hand-offs. The Revit Activity Stream app is compatible with the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Revit Architecture 2011, Revit Structure 2011, and Revit MEP 2011 software, as well as the Revit Serverenvironment. Note: In order to use Autodesk Revit Activity Stream, you must also install Bluestreak Desktop."

You might remember that the worksharing monitor doesn't work with the new Revit Server (from 10 things to know about Revit Server), so here is a way to help you keep up to date with what is happening across your model. 

I highly encourage you to check it out.  Pretty cool stuff. 


#Revit Services & Support - How to get support for your Autodesk product

Published date: 2010-Oct-27
ID: TS15906309

Applies to:
AutoCAD® 2011
AutoCAD® Architecture 2011
AutoCAD® Civil 3D® 2011
AutoCAD® ecscad 2011
AutoCAD® Electrical 2011
AutoCAD® for Mac® 2011
AutoCAD LT® 2011
AutoCAD® Map 3D 2011
AutoCAD® Mechanical 2011
AutoCAD® MEP 2011
AutoCAD® P&ID 2011
AutoCAD® Plant 3D 2011
AutoCAD® Raster Design 2011
AutoCAD® Structural Detailing 2011
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2011
Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design 2011
Autodesk® Alias® Automotive 2011
Autodesk Alias Design 2011
Autodesk Alias Surface 2011
Autodesk® Inventor® 2011
Autodesk® Maya® 2011
Autodesk® MotionBuilder 2011
Autodesk® Mudbox™ 2011
Autodesk® Navisworks® Manage 2011
Autodesk® Navisworks® Review 2011
Autodesk® Navisworks® Simulate 2011
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture 2011
Autodesk® Revit® MEP 2011
Autodesk® Revit® Structure 2011
Autodesk® Vault 2011


You want to know the different options that are available to get support for your Autodesk product.


Autodesk provides a broad range of support options to meet your needs:

Autodesk Installation Help

Autodesk Knowledge Base
  • Search the support Knowledge Base for answers, hot fixes, tips, and service packs.
  • Browse documentation and online help.
  • For a complete list of options, go to Documentation & Online Help.
Autodesk Discussion Forums
  • Autodesk and community experts are actively responding to questions in the Autodesk Discussion Forums providing timely responses to your questions.
  • For a complete list of available forums, go to Discussion Groups.
Autodesk Safety Net
  • For a one-time fee, you can speak directly to an Autodesk product support specialist.
  • Get help with installation, configuration, printing and plotting, troubleshooting, and customization using VBA or LISP/Visual LISP for the current release and two previous major releases.
  • For details, go to Safety Net.
Autodesk Subscription
  • Subscription members get convenient access to many advantages through Subscription Center including technical support directly from Autodesk.
  • For details, go to Subscription.
Autodesk Resellers
  • Get in touch with a reseller near you for information on product support programs that fit your needs.
  • To locate a reseller, go to the Reseller Center.

Autodesk - Autodesk Revit Architecture Services & Support - How to get support for your Autodesk product


Toposurface Thickness by Section Box - The #Revit Clinic

This tip has been around for a while but it's come up several times over the last few weeks so I thought it would make a good post.

Using the Section Box in a 3D view, you can cut a toposurface element in order to create a site base "thickness".  

For example the following 2 images show a before and after the Section Box is enabled and adjusted so it intersects the toposurface.  After enabled you can hide the Section Box in the view:


For an out-of-the-box example of this you can reference the Basic Sample Project that comes with Revit Architecture 2011 [C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit Architecture 2011\Program\Samples].

There are 2 materials utilized for the fill under the toposurface when cut with the Section Box:

Detail Level: Coarse – Poche
Detail Level: Medium\Fine – Section cut material [by default Site – Earth]

So for example, you can adjust the Poche material for a 3D view set > Coarse Detail and change the Cut Pattern Color as needed:



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

#BIM Manager Surveys 2010 - Please help and complete the surveys

Please spend a few minutes and help out a BIM Manager:

Help me put the final touches on my BIM Manager class for AU2010.

I am looking to compare prior surveys to what is happening in 2010. By looking at the changes from year to year, we can see the progress being made and where there might need to be improvement.

I created them on SurveyMonkey

BIM Position Survey 2010 – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/X27M6BF

BIM Training Survey 2010 – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/X2CDXWL

BIM Software and Projects Survey 2010 – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/X2RNF9W

I need the result in 14 days – I know,I am starting late on this effort.

Please help me by giving your opinion. Results will be shared at AU and also on my blog after the presentation.


BIM Manager Surveys 2010


BIM Manager Surveys 2010 - Please help and complete the surveys

BIM Manager Surveys 2010: "

Help me put the final touches on my BIM Manager class for AU2010.

I am looking to compare prior surveys to what is happening in 2010. By looking at the changes from year to year, we can see the progress being made and where there might need to be improvement.

I created them on SurveyMonkey

BIM Position Survey 2010 – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/X27M6BF

BIM Training Survey 2010 – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/X2CDXWL

BIM Software and Projects Survey 2010 – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/X2RNF9W

I need the result in 14 days – I know,I am starting late on this effort.

Please help me by giving your opinion. Results will be shared at AU and also on my blog after the presentation.





License Time-out Feature for Network License Manager - #Revit Tip

Published date: 2010-Oct-27 
ID: TS67304
Applies to:
AutoCAD® 2011
AutoCAD® 2010
AutoCAD® 2009
AutoCAD® 2008
AutoCAD® 2007
AutoCAD® 2006
AutoCAD® 2005
AutoCAD® 2004
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture 2011
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture 2010
Revit® Architecture 2009
Revit® Architecture 2008
Autodesk® Revit® MEP 2011
Autodesk® Revit® MEP 2010
Revit® MEP 2009
Revit® MEP 2008
Autodesk® Revit® Structure 2011
Autodesk® Revit® Structure 2010
Revit® Structure 2009
Revit® Structure 2008
You would like to know how to use the network license time-out feature.
The Network License Manager can be configured to reclaim a license when a client workstation is idle for longer than a defined time-out period*, or the connection with the workstation is lost.
*This option is not applicable to AutoCAD 2002 based products.
Idle Period
Any of the following activity in the active application prevents the client workstation from being idle:
  • Any keystroke.
  • Any mouse click.
  • Any command, Lisp expression, menu macro or script in progress.
  • Any Modal dialog box opened (a dialog box which needs to close before continuing to other tasks).
Note: Using the Help system does not keep the session active.
Configuring License Time-out
License time-out is configured by implementing an options file with the Network License Manager. For a detailed explanation of options files, please refer to theFLEXlm End User Guide, located by default on the network license server in the following directory:
\Program Files\Autodesk Network License Manager\Docs\FlexUser
A brief explanation of options files is provided below:
  • Options files are created with an ASCII text editor, such as Microsoft Notepad.
  • Keyword statements are used in an options file to configure various operating parameters of the Network License Manager.
  • The options file must be named adskflex.opt.
  • The options file must be located in the same folder as the Autodesk product license file.
  • All text in an options file is case sensitive.
  • The options file is read each time the license manager is started or the license file is reread.
License time-out is configured in an options file by using the TIMEOUT keyword.
The syntax is: TIMEOUT [feature] [n], where:
  • [feature] specifies the application you want to control. The feature code can be found in the license file, right after the word INCREMENT.
  • [n] is the number of seconds before the license server reclaims an inactive license. The minimum value is 900.
Example: TIMEOUT 48800ACD_2006_0F 3600
This line in an options file would configure the Network License Manager to reclaim an AutoCAD 2006 license (feature code 48800ACD_2006_0F), if the client machine was idle for 3600 seconds (one hour).
License Time-out Behavior
If your license is lost because of the idle time-out, the product attempts to claim a new license once you access the product again. If a license is available, the client pulls a new license and continues the session. If no license is available, you will be prompted to save your work before the product shuts down.
Note: The debug log file can be examined to determine if a license has been reclaimed. When a license has been reclaimed, the debug log file will contain a line similar to:
11:43 (adskflex) IN feature  user_name@host_name (INACTIVE)

#Revit hangs on launch – solution - Revit Tips

Great tip from Vincent....
Source: http://www.vincentcadoret.com/2010/10/revit-hangs-on-launch-solution/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=revit-hangs-on-launch-solution

So you launch Revit and all you see is the splash screen and it never goes beyond that point. Most of the time this has to do with the recent files list, especially if you usually work on networked files.

So the solution is:

1) Find the Revit (either Arch, MEP or Struct) Program Files directory. Go to the 'Program' folder.

2) Find the Revit.ini file.

3) Make a backup copy of the Revit.ini file.

4) Now open it up and find the section that starts with [Recent File List].

5) Delete all of the following lines up until the next section (which starts with a title in square brackets like: [Recent Workset List])

6) Save the file and re-launch revit. It should launch fine.

If you ever need professional technical support please contact us by any means listed on this page: http://www.procadconsultants.ca/a-propos/about/

Original: Revit hangs on launch – solution

Autodesk QTO Backout Tool: A Few Cool Things About It

Source: http://doddsandends.typepad.com/blog/2010/10/autodesk-qto-backout-tool-a-few-cool-things-about-it.html

I am often reminded that even simple tools can make a huge difference when completing a takeoff with Autodesk Quantity Takeoff (QTO). The Backout (subtraction) tool is no exception to this. I was with a customer recently and was not only reminded why this is a fun little tool, but that it might have another use as well.

10-21-2010-QTO1 QTO Backout, located with the Manual Takeoff tools has 4 associated tools:

Polyline Backout:Allows for multiple points (lines and arcs) in the backout
Rectangle Backout:Creates and rectangle shape backout
Ellipse Backout:Creates and ellipses shape backout
Count Backout: Acts as a subtraction tool to delete count items from the takeoff

Using for Area Backout:
The Area backout tools are great for when you have an area that covers a portion of your takeoff where you need to perform a subtraction. See below images (Figure 1) for more info.

10-21-2010-QTO2 10-21-2010-QTO3

Figure 1: Image above shows backout tool removing area takeoff over column

Using for Linear Line Break:
As a good alternate use, the backout tool can also be used to "break" linear takeoffs. Take the example shown below. The takeoff was complete with a single line segment through a door, but maybe you have a workflow where you don't complete takeoffs that way. You could use backout tools (except count backout) to remove that portion of the Linear Takeoff that is in the door. See Figure 2.
10-21-2010-QTO4 10-21-2010-QTO5

Figure 2: Image above shows backout tool deleting line segment at the door

Original: Autodesk QTO Backout Tool: A Few Cool Things About It

Capturing the Revit Sun Path - The #Revit Clinic

Source: http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/10/capturing-the-revit-sun-path.html

Quick tip for Revit Architecture 2011 and the Sun Path. By default the Sun Path is for an on-screen visual representation. So while you can see and interact with it in the view, it will not print, render, or export to formats such as DWF or Solar Studies.

However, you can capture the sun path in images should you wish to utilize it for solar studies. The trick is to export to an image format, which will include the sun path.

For example, enable the Sun Path in the view and set the date\time as needed.

Then right-click on the view in the Project Browser > Save to Project as Image.

Specify the name, options and image quality. After you click OK the view will be saved as a new image under the Project Browser > Renderings.


Adjust the Date\Time as needed and repeat the process to save additional views.
These image views could then be dragged to a sheet to organize a solar study:

Alternatively, you could potentially create an animation should this be the desired end result. Instead of saving to the project as an image, you could Export > Images and Animations > Image. Once you have the still exported images you could combine them in an application such as Windows Movie Maker.

Just to recap, this process would only be necessary to capture the sun path.
Otherwise the standard Revit solar studies and animations would capture everything else.
Original: Capturing the Revit Sun Path

Updated Project Bluestreak Now Available

Paper doesn't have to be blank to be 'plain.' You can do better than 'plain old paper.'

The Project Bluestreak team released an update yesterday. Recall that Project Bluestreak is a technology preview on Labs that helps distributed AEC project teams collaborate informally with self-organizing groups and coordinate their work with real-time communication. With this new release, Project Bluestreak now combines team communication with automated notifications from Revit Server and supports collaboration from the desktop or the web. To see for yourself how Project Bluestreak changes how AEC teams collaborate, navigate to:


Yesterday's release has three key features.

  1. This latest update includes a Bluestreak Desktop that runs run in a compact window. This is handy for running it alongside any Autodesk or other desktop application so you can stay connected with your distributed AEC team. The Bluestreak Desktop provides real-time communication and automated application notifications.

  2. The Revit Activity Stream app connects Autodesk Revit to Project Bluestreak cloud services. This helps distributed teams more effectively collaborate as they work on a shared Building Information Model. For users of the new Revit Server technology, this app replaces the older Revit Worksharing Monitor.

  3. This update also allows you to use your Autodesk Single Sign-On credentials as your Project Bluestreak login. This is the same user name and password that you already use to:

    We are happy to add Project Bluestreak to the list.

Facilitating AEC team collaboration is alive in the lab.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Autodesk - Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing Systems - New Complex at USC School of Cinematic Arts # BIM Win

I'm curious...anyone ever see a story like this about CAD?  Remember, it's not about the software, it's all about the team embracing BIM technology to improve the process for the owner if the project.  That's where The 2D year olds fail to get the BIM picture.  It's that selfish, self serving behavior that's created so many RFIchitects.   


The Project
In 2009, the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC) marked its 80th anniversary with the dedication of a new multibuilding complex. The $165 million facility is adjacent to the school's current location on the USC University Park Campus in Los Angeles.

The main building is a four-story, 137,000-square-foot facility housing classrooms, production labs, and administrative offices, as well as a 200-seat theater, an exhibition hall, and a café situated off a central courtyard. Completed in 2010, the second phase of the project provides another 63,000 square feet of educational and production space in four buildings.

The USC School of Cinematic Arts was the first university in the United States to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in film and is now the top-ranked film, television, and interactive media school in the country.

The new complex underscores the school's continued pursuit of innovation and growth. While providing much needed space for expansion, the project itself is groundbreaking. The primary donor of the facility—Lucasfilm Foundation—specified the use of a Building Information Modeling (BIM) process for design, construction, and lifecycle management of the buildings. In addition, the school stipulated that the buildings be designed and constructed to maximize longevity and performance.

The Team
The university's project architect was Urban Design Group (UDG), a full-service design firm specializing in commercial and institutional buildings. The project architect coordinated the programming, design, and construction through the university's Capital Construction and Development, and Facilities Management Services departments. The contractor was Hathaway Dinwiddie, a prominent builder in California. The team also included construction management and cost estimating company TBD Consultants; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineering firm IBE Consulting Engineers; structural engineering firm Gregory P. Luth and Associates (GPLA); KPFF Consulting Engineers, who provided civil engineering services.

The project team relied on core Autodesk BIM solutions, including Autodesk® Revit® ArchitectureAutodesk® Revit® MEP,Autodesk® Revit® Structure, and AutoCAD® Civil 3D® software, along with Autodesk® Navisworks® Manage and Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design software, to help deliver the project under budget and ahead of schedule.

Project Challenge
With its existing instructional complex at 120% capacity and some buildings in urgent need of renovation, USC School of Cinematic Arts launched its building campaign in 2005. After much investigation, the school had already concluded that major renovations were too costly due to the age and code compliance of some of its buildings. In addition, new construction would enable the school to set new standards for its facilities. The school directed the project team to deliver a high-performance complex that reflects the school's legacy and has a 100-year lifespan.

"We were tasked with designing buildings that were energy efficient, earthquake resilient, and with highly flexible interiors that could accommodate the school's needs for a century to come," explains Raymond Kahl, managing principal at UDG. "In addition, the project donor—perceiving the advantages of BIM for lifecycle management—specifically requested that the designers, engineers, construction contractors, and facility managers all use BIM."

The Solution
Driven by the owner's commitment to BIM, the design teams, the fabricators, the BIM facilitator, and the contractor used BIM processes and software solutions for the design and construction of the complex. Throughout the project, they used Navisworks Manage to help aggregate disparate design and fabrication models into a single master model for cross-disciplinary collaboration, coordination, and clash detection.

The team repurposed its BIM-based design models for energy and structural analysis, design and construction visualization, specification, material and cost estimating, fabrication, and ultimately as a platform for ongoing facility operation and maintenance. "The collaboration on this project extended beyond building delivery into lifecycle management," says Kahl. "USC proactively worked with the design team to make sure that the information needed for operations and maintenance was embedded in our models."

Create Virtual Designs
Although this complex is new, its location is next door to the school's existing facilities. "Given this urban campus setting, we had to make sure the buildings were scaled to fit comfortably in the confined footprint and complemented the other university buildings," says Cliff Bourland, UDG project manager.

To honor the school's legacy, UDG used Autodesk BIM solutions to help design buildings that played well with the architectural vernacular that was popular at the school's founding in 1929. "To help visualize how our emerging designs fit on the site and meshed with the neighboring buildings—and to better communicate those designs to USC—the team used Revit Architecture and 3ds Max Design to assist in the creation of model-based visualizations and animations," says Bourland.

Maximize Longevity
The facility's structural engineering design reflects the school's goal of a 100-year life span. The design features replaceable connectors that isolate and redirect the damaging effects of an earthquake, protecting the building's inhabitants and structure. The design results in a minimal number of interior structural columns, which helped UDG build flexibility into the buildings' interiors.

"During preliminary design, we relied on Revit Architecture to more quickly lay out, visualize, and study various interior options based on spatial 'building blocks' that could be more easily reconfigured to better meet the unforeseen needs of the school in the future," says Kahl. "Once the space planning was complete, the design team transitioned its conceptual models to detailed design and documentation."

Coordinate Designs
"Throughout the design and construction process, Autodesk BIM solutions were absolutely essential for collaboration and coordination.". GPLA imported its design to Revit Structure for tighter design coordination with UDG's Revit Architecture and IBE's Revit MEP models. "Then during our weekly design reviews, the project team used Navisworks to merge and visualize cross-discipline design and fabrication models, helping to guide design decisions and quickly resolve design conflicts that might have become costly field changes," adds Israel.

Optimize Performance
To meet the school's requirements for high-performance, the project team designed the new complex to LEED Silver™ standards. Early in the design process UDG and IBE collaborated on materials, systems, and strategies to maximize building performance. "Instead of spending time re-creating models for analyses, we used the intelligent information in our Revit-based design models to conduct daylighting and whole-building energy analyses," explains Kahl. "As a result, we developed building designs that took better advantage of sunlight, wind direction, and temperatures, as well as building systems that delivered optimal energy performance."

Streamline Construction
During construction, the team continued to rely on Autodesk BIM solutions for visualization, coordination, and planning. "The Revit family of products and Navisworks software products enabled a digital RFI process," says Israel. "Decisions were made in hours instead of days, helping to minimize disruptions to the construction schedule, minimize the number of RFIs, and expedite the RFI response time."

The construction trades also used BIM, referencing Revit and Navisworks models from computers in construction trailers. In the later stages of construction, workers even accessed the Navisworks models on-site from handheld tablet PCs.

Extend BIM to Lifecycle Management 
With design and construction complete, USC is now extending BIM to lifecycle management by linking the data-rich design models of the new buildings to its existing operations and maintenance (O&M) software platform. The new School of Cinematic Arts complex is the first time the building systems in any of USC's buildings were designed using Revit MEP, so this is the university's first opportunity to finally use BIM for "smart" building operations and live maintenance monitoring.

"The 3D models of the complex's main buildings—the first phase of the project—were great for design, construction, and coordination, but unfortunately they did not contain the data that USC needed for facility management," says Israel. During the second phase, USC worked with the project team, the installation contractors, and the commissioning agent to incorporate as-built facility data into the Revit models. Data included equipment numbers, electrical capacities, fan speeds, and hyperlinks to warranties and operation manuals. "A lot of the added data had been locked away in hardcopy documentation and drawings," says Bourland. "By digitizing this data and making it more readily available to facility managers, USC can leverage the information inherent in BIM to help make dramatic improvements to its overall response and repair time."

The next step was to create a custom software solution and user interface that links the Revit models and data to USC's O&M platform, giving it a more accurate and interactive visual capability. The custom solution, which uses software from EcoDomus, Inc., enables USC to compare "as operated" data received from building sensors and meters to BIM-based "as built" data and improve performance using "as maintained" data from USC's maintenance management software. The implementation also features role-based access to the O&M platform, using four USC facility "personas" to deliver functions, data, and hyperlinks pertinent to that role. "Now USC can access a single solution to find data and documents, get live performance information, and also see 3D graphics of system components, presented in the context of the building as a whole," says Mitch Boryslawski, co-founder EcoDomus, Inc.

BIM-Enable Operations
USC's efforts represent a proof of concept for extending BIM to operations. The first stage is complete, with several staff using the integrated solution for their day-to-day work. In the coming months and years, USC has aggressive plans for BIM-enabled operations. USC's current implementation has proven that it can successfully transition data and models from design and construction to operations. Now it's time to measure the ROI, and put plans in place to make the process repeatable and affordable.

Expedite Close-Out
"During design, construction, and commissioning, most of the information USC ultimately needs for its operations has been already captured, usually in a digital format," says Bourland. "BIM processes keep that information digital so it can be harvested for ongoing facilities management. But this means USC has to require a standard data format such as COBie for as-built deliverables; a format it can use to streamline data integration with its O&M platform and start reaping the benefits of BIM at occupancy." In anticipation, USC is now leveraging their experiences on this project to establish BIM standards for operations and to expedite the close-out process.

The Results
USC wanted a facility that reflected the school's history, reputation, and vision. The project team delivered on that—and a lot more. The architectural theme of the new School of Cinematic Arts complex is a scaled-down motion picture studio, reminiscent of the early days of filmmaking. But the complex is actually bursting with state-of-the-art technology, innovative design features, advanced building systems, and operational strategies that will serve it well for 100 years.

"The use of BIM processes and solutions on this project has led to integrated planning and delivery, cohesive teamwork, expedited project schedules, and fiscal control," says Kahl. The first phase of the project was two months ahead of construction schedule and 2 percent under budget. The second phase of the project came in three months ahead of schedule and 10 percent under budget.

The complex features eco-friendly materials and building systems. The buildings' radiant heating and cooling systems are the largest of its type in Los Angeles, and USC expects the complex to achieve a 30-percent greater reduction in energy use than required by California's strict energy codes.

And perhaps the most lasting benefit is the prospect of using BIM for building lifecycle management. "The use of BIM resulted in data-rich as-built models that contain a wealth of information for smarter building operations," says Boryslawski. "BIM has given USC a strategic opportunity to help improve facility management."

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