Friday 31 August 2012

Managing a Revit Project the Do's: Part 2

Here is the final part of "What to watch out for when managing a Revit Project" a continuation of the last series of post's but now we'll look at the Do's.

Once again this was taken from a 2009 class called "Autodesk Revit for Project Managers" by James Balding and Scott Davis.

Get consultants, GC's and owners involved early and often: This is very important. The earlier the entire team is on board the most successful the project will be. It's easier to make design decisions early in the process and if everyone is on board decisions can be made together.

Model for change and VE: Swapping out objects in Revit for other objects is easy, as long as proper standards are followed.

Keep the design team close: As PM's, keep the team in close proximity to one another in the office. Revit facilitates communication and changes can happen quickly that impact the entire team. Keeping them close together allows for better communication faster.

Set Goals (by project): Goals in any process are important to measure success. Set the goals, reach for the goals and then be sure to determine if you met the goals. If not, find out why not and learn from your mistakes.

Use your reseller as a resource: Resellers have teams of people for training and support. Many of them have industry experience, use them for questions, support, advice etc. They are there to help you.

Understand constraints: Revit creates relationships between objects, users can add relationships to constraints. Understand what these constraints are and how they work.

Levels and Grids etc.: Know what levels and grids do, and how objects get constrained to them.

Support the best hardware: Revit needs power! Support Revit by feeding it processor speed and RAM. Don't expect a tool like this to run well on an old underpowered hardware.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Managing a Revit Project the Do's: Part 1

Here is a continuation of "What to watch out for when managing a Revit Project" a continuation of the last series of post's but now we'll look at the Do's.

Once again this was taken from a 2009 class called "Autodesk Revit for Project Managers" by James Balding and Scott Davis.

Relinquish upon STC: Be sure to always relinquish control of objects when you save to central. This allows others on the team to access them while you are out.

Have a Kickoff strategy session: You cannot plan enough. Be sure to kick off the project right. Use this meeting to set expectations and get the project heading in the right direction.

Focus on the deliverable: What do you need to get the project done? A well designed, well coordinated set of documents. Know what you need and focus on making it happen.

Be open minded: There will be times in a Revit project that things don't "work the way they did in CAD". Be open minded to change and realize that CD's don't have to be the same that they have for the last 25 years. change is good!

Expect training: Proper training and ongoing training are the most important aspect of a Revit project and implementation.

Detach from CENTRAL: Detaching a file from the Central file allows the PM to make any changes without affecting the Central file. Detaching from Central allows you to safely play with the model without affecting the rest of the teams work.

Have whole teams on the same build: Builds in Revit are "versions" in between the main releases. If the Architect is on Service Pack 2 then make sure the MEP and Structural consultants are also on Service Pack 2.

Use a "Sketch Project" to experiment: A sketch project is a new separate project, where you can cut and past back into the main model if you like.

Monday 27 August 2012

How to Create a Material Take Off

Here are the steps for creating a basic Material take off schedule in your Revit Project.

For this example I'll be using the components of an Exterior Brick on metal stud wall and quantify the amount of Brick in a project.

To start a Material Take off:

1.       Click View tab > Create panel > Schedules drop-down > Material Takeoff.

2.       In the New Material Takeoff dialog, click a category for the material takeoff schedule, (in this case Wall), then name your Schedule, and click OK.

3.       In the Material Takeoff Properties dialog, for Available Fields, select the material attributes. Such as Area, Description, Name (Volume if you require such in the case of Concrete. Sort the list in order accordingly.

4.       Use the filter to specify which material(s) you want to schedule.

5.       Sort by Material Name, specify a Grant total if you would like to itemize every Instance. By itemizing every Instance you can quickly and easily use the “Highlight” in Model tool to see the location of the material.

6.       Under “Formatting” you will need to check the “Calculate Totals” box where volumes or areas are required.

The material takeoff schedule displays, and the view is listed in the Project Browser under Schedules/Quantities.

Tip: When creating a flooring material take off create the floor finish as a separate floor, this way you can pull the material take off of the overall floor sub-assembly separate from the individual room or area floor finishes. For example typical wood frame floor assembly we can quantify the amount of plywood sheathing required as well as the area of carpet or tile on top of the subfloor.

Friday 24 August 2012

Check out this Awesome Window Tile App

Finally someone came up with an Revit App that tiles windows properly....
Check out this Awesome Window Tile App.

I just downloaded this free App from the Autodesk "App Exchange" (top right corner in Revit, looks like a X...) called "Palladio X BIM WindowsLayout"

Here is their blurb....: Using this addin, all open windows can be arranged by a scheme. Contrary to the built-in windows arranging tool which allows you only to tile or cascade windows, PXBIM WindowsLayout assumes that you want the active window to get most of the screen space. You can give 20 to 80 percent of the screen space to the active window while the inactive windows will arrange in the remaining space. Additionally, you can save and restore your window configuration. Optionally, you can decide if you want the re-arranged windows to be zoomed in or not.

I love it...finally i can arrange my windows automatically without having to manually do it!
AND... it's FREE!

Here are some screen shots:

You can specify the arrangement.

Increase or decrease the size of the windows.

You can save the configuration and under options control what happens when it arranges the windows for you...

Love it!


Thursday 23 August 2012

Revit View Cube Tips

I think the “ViewCube” is a underutilized tool.
Here are some tips and tricks for using the “ViewCube”.

The View cube can offer you additional views aside from the twenty six defined area’s (views set by clicking on one of the faces on the ViewCube).

If you Right Click on the ViewCube or select the small drop down icon on the bottom right  you have available to you a number of options.

Here you can save a view to the Project Browser, it’ll show up under your 3D views.

Set the current view as the Home View, this is handy if you want to set a specific view as your home view. You can reset this view back to the default any time.

By selecting the Orient to View or the Orient to Direction tool the dialog box will expand to allow you to select from views under the Floor Plans, Elevations or 3D Views that you have under the Project Browser.

The same applies for the Orient to a Direction selection.

These tools allow you to quickly and easily take you to specific views of the model, don’t be afraid to save specific views of the model to allow you quick access to 3D views you require.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Vasari... all grown up!

I have just downloaded the Beta1 version of Vasari.....

Were looking at analysing designs so were starting to use the tools in Revit and were looking at Ecotect but have found out that they're not developing Ecotect anymore... so it looks like Vasari and Green Building Studio will be the design and analysis tools we'll be using...

Vasari looks and feels much like Revit but without a lot of the advanced tools you typically use after the design process, it's basically a stripped down version of Revit Architecture with a focus on the design tools.... and the best part is.... it's the same file format! ya hoo!

Cant wait to have a play with it!


Tuesday 21 August 2012

Cleaning up Families

For some Revit Families you may have received either from a consultant of a supplier (especially from suppliers) the file size may be too big or over-modeled.

 Adam in my Vancouver office came up with this flow chart showing some simple steps on how to clean up Revit Families…

Save a copy of the image to your desktop to keep handy.


Thanks Adam!


Monday 20 August 2012

Model Behavior

An Article on Model Behavior and Architects preparing to take a leading role in Energy Modeling.

Here is a link to a great article that one of the Partners of the firm I work for passed on to me.

The article was written by Wanda Lau for the US publication "Architect" and talks about analyzing your model early in the design process to help design more efficient buildings...  

"Energy modeling is a relative projection of different systems against others and not a guarantee for performance"
Revit has a number of tools available for basic energy analysis where you can compare results from one model design to another including those built in to Revit as well as external software. Even using these to basically compare model design can help you design a more efficient building...

Great article, worth a read...


Thursday 16 August 2012

Ethical Architecture

I recently read a blog posting by Steve at Revit OpEd ( where he “was musing about a recent conversation where one guy's position was that BIM is hype, unnecessary and worse really just being foisted upon our profession in a scheme to get more money from "us"

This got me thinking…

I typically find that people who express comments like that are both short sighted and closed minded about opportunities to do what we/you do better.

Yes we can create magnificent architecture with a pencil but should we?

Personally I find that in the region that I work (Western Canada) we talk about BIM but we are still not fully embracing BIM, we say were using BIM technology but basically all we have done is replace ACAD with RAC… this is not true BIM, it’s Lonely BIM!
We still hand over a set of drawings to the contractor, not a building information model (unless we are legally obligated too). We coordinate with other BIM lonely consultants but there is still resistance to sharing a complete model…..Why? Are we afraid of Liability? Responsibility? Do we not have confidence in our model?

Knowing the people that I work with, I have absolute trust in the ability in the technicians creating the model, the information they have been given or gather is true and correct given the usual parameter that we work within. Which are the same parameters that we have worked under for many, many years.... so why the fear? Maybe it’s because we haven’t done enough to educate those members of a firm who make these kinds of decisions on the capabilities of BIM and Revit?

Integrated Project Delivery may be the saviour in regards to this, if everybody associated in a project signs a piece of paper (simplified here I know) stating that they wont sue each other everyone involve would be more willing to share information, confident that  that if the information may be incorrect the ramification wont escalate to a legal scrimmage. This of course does not reduce the responsibility of ensuring that the information you are passing on is as correct as you can possibly make it. This is called due diligence!

We need to be more confident in our capabilities and the capabilities of the people whom we place in roles of responsibility.

Once this is achieved I believe we will move forward and create true “responsible” Architecture, or "Ethical Architecture"!


Tuesday 14 August 2012

Creating a new Linetype in a Family

When creating a new family you may find that you are limited in the Linetypes available to you so you  need to create a new line type. Don’t get confused with line patterns… here we are adding a new Linetype style to represent objects in your family…

We use lines in families to represent our component in a plan view.

Here’s how:

  • Open the family you want to edit or start a new family from the template. (Duh!)

  • Under the Manage tab select the Object Styles icon. This will open up the Object Style Dialog Box where you will see the existing linetype styles available in your family.
  • Create a New Subcategory, under the Subcategory of your component. This will allow you to manage the lines latter…

  • Name your category and place it in the appropriate Subcategory.
  • Now you have created a new Category you can now select the line weight, colour and pattern.

When you’re done you will now have access to the linetype you created in the Subcategory linetype selection.

Thursday 9 August 2012

What to watch out for when managing a Revit Project: Part 3

Here is the final post of the Dont's "What to watch out for when managing a Revit Project" a continuation of the last post.
Once again this was taken from a 2009 class called "Autodesk Revit for Project Managers" by James Balding and Scott Davis.

Expect it to be like CAD!:  This is not AutoCAD. There are no layers, and no command line. This is BIM and it is different to ACAD.

Drag elements (press and drag):  Dragging elements or dragging across elements can move them. This will affect the entire model and all views. Turn off Press and Drag if you tend to click and drag the cursor around the screen.
I always tell my users to Pin objects, especially when the basic design is done this will help eliminate those anomalies of moving walls etc...

Upgrade the model: There is no backwards compatibility in Revit. You cannot do a "Saveas" and save down in Revit. If a project team, including consultants, is using a specific version don't open the file and save it using a newer version.
When and if the entire team are ready to upgrade to a newer version do so but make sire everyone including the consultants are on board and are ready to do the upgrade. Some projects can go for years and often new releases have additional tools that can greatly assist production.

Move levels: Levels define Vertical space in Revit. Moving a Level can move walls, doors, windows, ceilings, floors roofs and more. Levels are set early in a project and usually do not need to be adjusted during a project. If they need adjusting allow an experienced team member to do it.

Get enamoured by 3D: Revit is a great 3D and at building models. Don't get too caught up in 3D so that you begin to over model or expect your project teams to model too much. A really great model of a 3D toilet might look good for a perspective view, but placing hundreds of them in a model unnecessarily in a project will just slow things down.
Actually I would prefer to place model WC components rather than 2D symbols... it's a real balancing act...

Expect to learn it overnight: Revit is a complex building modeling and documentation tool. It's very intuitive to learn but it will take some time to master it.

Explode anything!!: Just like in AutoCAD exploding is BAD! Dont do it!

Tuesday 7 August 2012

What to watch out for when managing a Revit Project: Part 2

Here is part 2 of "What to watch out for when managing a Revit Project"  a continuation of the last post.

Once again this was taken from  a 2009 class called "Autodesk Revit for Project Managers" by James Balding and Scott Davis.

Do's and Dont's

The following list represents the do's and dont's for a Project Manager on any given project. These can vary greatly based on the level of experience a PM has with Revit and their roll as a "Technical" or "Managing" PM.

Oversell/promise the deliverable: Know your BIM limitations. Do not promise energy analysis on your Revit pilot projects if you don't know how to achieve results.

Open the file: This could go either way. If you are a Technical PM, then of course, open the file. If you are a Managing PM and don't know how Revit works, you could really mess things up if you open the file.
My personal thoughts on this comment: I will teach our managing PM's the basics of Revit so they can explore the model, seek information and print what they need using a Revit Viewer which doesn't allow them to save.

Open/Delete/Rename or Move the CENTRAL file: Central file are VERY important. Once they are created it's important that they remain exactly where they were created.

Force a Dimension: This innt AutoCAD, you cant for a dimension in REvit. If the dimension is wrong the model is wrong. Fix the model!!

Erase it if you don't know what it is: Lines in Revit views can represent any number of things and often are live 3D objects. Deleting a line could be the edge of a wall that hosts a door or window with dimensions and notes. If you delete it all that work in all the other views is gone!

Leave a file open: Leaving a file open means that others cannot access it, or in a workset environment, could mean they cant access objects you've checked out. Close the file when your done.

Over Model: Over modeling in unnecessary and will slow the model and the entire process. Only model what you can see. At smaller scales use detail components to describe the detail.
A good rule of thumb here is "Model what you would see if you were standing across the street".

Saturday 4 August 2012


I found this web site while reading an online Cycling magazine called "".

A "Knoaky" is a small piece of OAK-Wood, that is small and simple, that you can stick or put it wherever you want to for good luck.

Andreas Klier who is a professional cyclist came up with the idea after what he describes as  "a very close to have a horrible accident but luckily nothing happened. I knocked on the side of my frame as I do sometimes on the side of my helmet. I told the whole story to my wife and also told her how nice it would be to have a piece of wood with me when I am out for a ride. A small piece of wood that I could stick wherever I want, a small piece, that I could knock on, whenever I feel I need to..."

Hence the birth of the Kanoaky... the great thing about this idea is that not only are you protected by a superstitious tradition! but the proceeds goes to supporting a foundation called Plant-for-the-Planet which It's an wonderful project, from a kid with an incredible goal.

He wants to plant 1000 Billion Trees for the World. There has been already 12,5 Billion trees planted and with every MyKnoaky you buy he plants one more tree.

One MyKnoaky = one Tree, that is what you support! what a great idea...

check out Andreas web site and if you feel inclined and want to be safe on the roads buy one!

I did..



Thursday 2 August 2012

What to watch out for when managing a Revit Project: Part 1

I recently found these great little "nuggets" of information while going through some old Autodesk University (AU) handouts.

By the way I do go through my old AU handouts often as they contain great information such as the following taken from a 2009 class called "Autodesk Revit for Project Managers" by James Balding and Scott Davis.

What to watch out for when Managing a Revit Project

The "Overmodeler": In Revit there is a saying that says "just because you can model it doesn't mean you have too". Be careful to watch out for those that want to model everything down to the smallest details. Think about what needs to be shown in a view at a particular scale and only model to that level of detail. Detail items should only be shown as 2D detail items. Unnecessary modeling makes the models large and will slow the project down.

Sloppy Modeling: There is a correct way to model in Revit, and a wrong way to model. Items should be drawn using the appropriate category. Do not use Massing in Revit to model items that are not massing. Do not try to "fake" things in Revit. you are building a virtual version of the building. Sloppy modeling leads to sloppy construction.

Atempts to tun Revit into AutoCAD: Revit is NOT AutoCAD. It's not based on AutoCAD and its functions are very different from AutoCAD. Do not attempt to compare the workflow in Revit to that of AutoCAD. For example, "In AutoCAD we would just do it like this...." Statements like this will just undermine your efforts. The sooner you can understand this, the more successful you will be in Revit.

Cutting Corners "to get the job out the door": Don't cut corners! Once again, the process in Revit is different, It my take a little longer initially to get a piece of the model designed but in the end, the process is faster.