Wednesday 26 February 2014

Workshare Monitoring Vs Bluestreak... the Smackdown!

I have users who like to use the Workshare Monitoring tool to monitor who is syncing and when on their projects.

Unfortunately Workshare Monitoring doesn't work on projects hosted on Revit Server... and we put all our projects on Revit Server....! 

there is a solution!
Project Bluestreak allows you to connect with your other team members. you can communicate similar to instant messaging, and see when team members are syncing or relinquishing objects.

With the Revit Activity Stream add-on app for Bluestreak, teams who work on a single Revit model can see all worksharing actions on the model to ensure smooth handoffs. When a Revit user saves to central, that action appears in the Bluestreak design stream and is shared with members of the selected Bluestreak group. With Bluestreak Desktop, these actions appear in real time. The latest Bluestreak Desktop includes a new Worksharing tab to display the current synchronization status of shared Revit central files. The Activity tab continues to display notifications from Autodesk applications and team communications as before. And in the Activity tab, team members can post comments or questions related to the saved model, or they can request other group members to synchronize with central models when needed. 


  • Share Revit Worksharing events with your Bluestreak Group through Bluestreak
  • Track relinquishment of Revit objects
  • See Revit Synchronize with Central comments
  • See current synchronization activity on Revit central files
  • Compatible with the Revit Server environment
  • Compatible with the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Revit products
So if your a Workshare Monitoring junkie who cant get a fix because or Revit Server give Bluestreak a try.


Monday 24 February 2014

Must read articles on BIM

Two interesting articles I recently came across.

5 Tech Trends transforming BIM/VDC
From energy modeling on the fly to prefabrication of building systems, these advancements are potential game changers for AEC firms that are serious about building information modeling. 

This article talks about the 5 tech trends that are currently impacting BIM and how we design.

The complexity of the application of BIM can be reduced by dividing it into 4 phases. A better understanding of these phases would help professionals achieve smoother implementation, since this requires more than BIM software tools and IT knowledge. It is not just a software tool but a working methodology.

Jonas Salih writes a blog called BIMhow. In this article he writes on the 4 steps on the Implementation of BIM. Jonas blog also has available a white paper on this topic.

Check out these articles, they're very interesting. Click the links to take you directly to the articles.


Tuesday 18 February 2014

BIM’s Big Impact on Design

The concept of Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been around since the early 70s but the term “Building Information Modeling” didn’t become part of mainstream terminology in the design and construction industry until the early 90s.

BIM could not be possible without the use of software developed by companies such as Autodesk, Graphisoft, Bentley Systems,and Vectorworks, and now with design-specific software such as Rhino and SketchUp we have many design tools available to suit all budgets. But the software is not BIM— BIM is the process. The software is just what we use to develop the process. Any form by which you can link information into a design is considered BIM. It could be as simple as linking an Excel spreadsheet with door type and hardware information from the supplier into a CAD file. However 3D modeling in a program specifically designed for BIM, such as Revit, can easily facilitate the process and give you more options.

I’ve been fortunate to see the progression from the drafting board to the adoption of 2D computer aided design (CAD) to the use of BIM software, and I’ve seen the dramatic impact each phase has had on the design industry. At CEI Architecture, being able to include digital information in our designs is quite empowering to the entire design team. To be able to see in an instant the impact a decision has on the design enables you to quickly and easily explore design possibilities and react to design and client demands. Being able to track and calculate materials and components for quantification and verification, we can use the model to verify specific requirements such as colour coding walls to verify fire ratings.

BIM has also had an impact on the analytical design of a building. We can analyze how the building performs and make changes accordingly, creating a more sustainable design. Using the digital model we can analyze the lighting options and create a solar study showing how a buildings shadows impact adjacent buildings. Being able to input the local weather data we have the ability to alter the building’s design or orientation to see how environmental conditions affect the performance of the HVAC systems and maximize natural lighting and take advantage of the prevailing wind direction.

3D digital modeling allows you to do this and more. By being able to share our model with the consultants, we can properly integrate each consultant’s model into one model allowing us to alter the design to best suit the project. Being able to coordinate between mechanical, electrical and structural all on the same BIM platform is far easier and more cost effective than 2D coordination, which is prone to errors, or having to deal with coordination on the construction site. 

This is why it’s invaluable to have all parties involved using BIM.
 In the future we will see this type of analysis to be part of every building’s design. Communities in the U.S. are already requiring this type of analysis as part of the building permit application process. It’s just a matter of time before it becomes the norm here in Canada, as projects are already stipulating the use of BIM on most government projects. Just another indication of the power of BIM on design.

 You can follow this article and other on the CEI Architecture Blog


Friday 14 February 2014

Autodesk Subscription tools

This is just a reminder about the tools you have access to if you (or your company) is a subscription member from the Subscription Center web site.

If you don't already have an a subscription account you need your serial number to create one. 

"Autodesk® Subscription helps customers maximize the power of their design tools, providing access to the latest software releases, Autodesk® 360 cloud benefits, technical support, and flexible licensing rights."

Once that's done you can access the wide selection of "product enhancement" tools available including:

  • Workshare Monitoring
  • Revit Server
  • E-transmit for Revit
  • Revit DB Link
  • Revit Extensions....and many more.

You can also log into your Autodesk 360 account via your Autodesk Software (Revit, AutoCAD, etc). It's the log in on the top right corner.

If  you or your company is a Subscription Member you have access to these resources that can help you with your day to day tasks.... use them.


Wednesday 12 February 2014

PDF Converter

Have you ever needed to convert PDF's to AutoCAD drawings? 
Or a PDF to Word, Excel, Image, Power Point, Publisher, Open Office or HTML.....

I found a pretty cool tool that can do all that for me.
Able2Extract PDF Convertor

I do a lot of power point so being able to convert whole Word documents into text box's automatically into a pdf format saves me a lot of time.

The conversion to AutoCAD tool allows you to take a PDF and convert it to AutoCAD.
I tried this out as we often have use for such a tool, and I was surprised how well it works. 

To try it out I use a PDF drawing I created using Revit (my house reno), converted that PDF to a AutoCAD format. It works great, it even put the relevant objects onto assigned layers!

You can select either the whole document or do a selection box of items you want, or just like in Word, use your mouse to select portions of text. Not bad!

You can download a free 7 day trial or they have the option to buy a 30 day license (which I thought was pretty cool) or the full version.

While I was checking out their website I also downloaded the free tablet app. Now I can convert PDF's on the go!  

"Able2Extract Mobile for smartphones and tablets is a Free, lightweight and easy to use app for creating and converting PDF documents. Available on Android and iOS, users can create PDF from MS Office documents and convert PDF to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more"

Check it's pretty versatile!


Wednesday 5 February 2014

Minn - U... a mini AU?

I have been accepted to speak at Minn - U coming up this March. 
Minn - U kind of sound to me like a mini Autodesk University which they hold every year in Las Vegas.

"Minnesota University is a Midwest Professional Development conference for Autodesk Users seeking opportunities to learn, connect and explore the industry they influence. Explore the latest Autodesk software, network with peers, and learn from industry experts."

I have two sessions both on the first day:

Being the Best BIM Manager
An interactive lecture on the role and responsibilities of the BIM manager those you expect and a few that you don’t! We’ll look at ways to become the best BIM manager.
During this session we will look at ways you can become an outstanding BIM manager. We will examine the roles and responsibilities of the position, and outline tips and tricks for managing BIM models and the people who create them. We will describe how the role of a BIM manager can positively affect the operation of your firm.

How BIM changed our Flow of Operations
A case study on how the implementation of BIM software changed CEI Architectures flow of operations.This case study looks at how the implementation of BIM software affected the traditional day-to-day operations of an architectural firm. How BIM affected the flow of operations, the findings of an in-depth evaluation of our current processes and the subsequent results.

Go to the web site to check out the other great speakers and the agenda for the event.
Speakers include.
Lynn Allen
Paul Aubin
James Wedding
Dan Stine...
To name but a few!

Hope to see you there.
Minnesota University
March 20th to 21st
Minneapolis Convention Center


Monday 3 February 2014

Quality Control at CEI Architecture

Over the past few months we here at CEIArchitecture have been working on defining and implementing a comprehensive new quality control system, which we’re calling CEIQ: Quality Control and Project Management ProceduresThis document includes a section called BIM Management System.

The precursor to CEIQ was a document and system outlining the firm’s Flow of Operations. It was solid, but changes in the industry and in our firm meant that an update was needed. The existing document didn't go into a lot of detail in regards to the BIM process, and several recent wins on major P3 projects including the recent announcement that our team, Affinity Partnerships, is the preferred proponent for the BCChildren’s and BC Women’s Hospital Acute Care Centre meant that our quality control procedures have expanded.

As the BIM manager I already had a number of existing documents and processes that I put in place, but I still found it difficult to share certain information and make everyone aware of its existence and apply it to their projects. We have some great content but it's no good if people are not aware of it, even though I've constantly promoted these documents and processes.

Part of the process in the creation of the CEIQ Quality Control document included interviewing our staff, asking pertinent questions about existing process and getting their thoughts on how we can improve our quality control and project management efficiency. 

We got great feedback! 

There were a few themes that came up in most interviews, one of which was a desire to have a clear, comprehensive and fully approved project roadmap. People want guidance on the "how," "where" and "what do I do next" on a project. Even though we already had these in the existing Flow of Operations, as time progressed our systems needed updating and we needed to re-instill a sense of accountability.

We consider CEIQ a living system, a set of guidelines, processes and beliefs that will evolve as the company and industry does. We expect it to be updated during the initial roll out period, and to adapt to changes over time. Our goal with CEIQ is to improve efficiencies and create consistency in every aspect of our service and deliverables. The ultimate goal is to ensure that efficient systems are in place to free up the creative capacity of our talented designers, so they can focus on what they do best: creating spaces that work well for our clients and their communities.

CEIQ includes a section on the BIM management system, which we hope to be able to give people working on a project clear instruction and guidance on their roles on a project that uses Revit. One of the biggest challenges in implementing this type of structure in any business is getting buy-in not only of the staff but of the partners. Fortunately the leadership at CEI Architecture have been the driving force behind the initiative, which makes the adoption process much easier throughout the organization.

After we roll out CEIQ: Quality Control and Project Management Procedures, I will periodically blog about sections of the process and explain the benefits of developing your own project management procedures.