Archive for November, 2010


Linking BIM to the Field to Facilities Management

November 23, 2010

Interested in how the BIM is utilized in the Field and at the Facilities Management level? You might want to check out this On-Demand Webinar.

The webinar is a case study of Maryland General Hospital, a project that utilized BIM for Commissioning, owner Handover, and Facilities Management. There is a brief discussion on return on investment to the owner.

The basic BIM workflow for this project was the generation of the BIM in conjunction with the project construction by the General Contractor; however the use of Tekla by the GC facilitates the use of other IFC compliant BIM applications like Revit, Microstation & ArchiCAD which can export to IFC as a viable delivery method when the B.I.M. is being created by the architectural team. It was unclear which applications were utilized to construct the B.I.M. for this project.

Tekla was utilized by the construction team as their Construction Management Software enabling:

  1. IFC import of B.I.M.
  2. Clash detection 
  3. ASI (architect’s supplemental instructions), RFI (request for information),
      Submittal tracking
  4. Construction Scheduling and Schedule Linking to Primavera P6 & Microsoft 
  5. 3d change detection

Vela Systems was utilized by the construction management team for commissioning and hand-over and is not a Facilities Management Application. This application enabled:

  1. Inventory List generation
  2. Historical Database generation
  3. Linking of Documents to Barcodes utilizing a Management interface
  4. Facilitates motion tablets field gathered datalinks of: field notes, photos, 
      barcodes, O&M manuals, warranties, specifications, maintenance, etc.

Facility Manager from Tiscor was utilized by this particular owner for F.M.
While reference was made to this application providing maintenance alerts it was unclear whether this application would project annual capital expenditures based on these maintenance cycles.

It would appear that all three of these applications would be required at the management level with Tekla driving the 3D visual interface at the mobile tablets for maintenance personnel while Vela would facilitate the document management and retrieval via Tekla links, with the Tiscor Facility Management software deriving data from Vela. Vela systems appears to be acting as a database bridge between Tekla and Tiscor an essential field to management office connection.



B.I.M. Trends – A Google Perspective

November 22, 2010

Not sure if you’ve had the opportunity to try out Google Trends but this feature allows you to compare historical trends in word searches.  I saw this on a blog comparing ArchiCAD and Revit.  The graph shows an interesting upward trend for Revit in both the Volume Index (top graph) and the News Reference (bottom graph).


Down the Revit Rabbit Hole… (or Revit Operator Transition Syndrome)

November 19, 2010

Working on an unfamiliar project can make you feel like Alice in Not so Wonderland tumbling down the rabbit hole of Revits’ numerous options and visibility controls.

Besides not knowing how the original Revit operator set things up you have to deal with how that operator left the various view settings, global visibility settings, local visibility over-rides, phase settings, option primaries, et. al.  It can drive you crazy and waste many hours trying to understand the project setup while the new user(s) try and  reconstruct the lay of the land.  This is especially true for remodel projects which have extensive constructs in the existing phase.

Here are some tips on dealing with the Rebbit Hole.

  1. If a transition of operators is to occur make sure the primary operator spends some time with the new team members in:
    1. describing the project approach and how that is being translated into the Revit model.
    2. covering the design options approach.
    3. reviewing any new phase setups.
    4. reviewing worksets when a central file (for multiple user access) is being used .
  2. If you are working on a remodel project you may want to consider creating several as-built options.  One to retain all the existing conditions and duplicates to be paired with your various options since demo limits may change with each option.
  3.  Trouble Shooting the Revit Model.
  •  DEMOLISHED WALLS NOT SHOWING IN REMODEL PLAN:  A common error that can occur, specifically with remodel projects, is that in creating the as-built model you should be working in an existing phase (see your view properties settings) and then you will start demolishing without changing the view properties phase.  This puts your demolished building elements as being demolished in the existing phase rather than the new construction phase.  When this happens your demolished walls will not show up in the new construction phase of your new work.  You then have to go back and reset the phase of those demolished elements (select the elements>in the properties dialog> change the “demolished in” phase to “new construction”)
  • NOTE TO AUTODESK: Wouldn’t it be nice if Revit automatically recognized that you don’t typically construct and demo in the same phase, unless the subcontractor has screwed up, and automatically switched to the new construction phase when you started demolishing building elements.


  • More often than not Revit operators tend to leave visibility settings where they were when they leave a project.  This can lead to an array of building elements being turned off just due to standard operations during the model construct. For a new operator coming in you should check your:
  1. Visibility/Graphic control settings (keyboard shortcut “VV”) and turn on all elements that would be commonly “on” in that view.
    This does raise an interesting question, would additional visibility controls like “Set to CD final” be of value?  Since it is more than likely that your final CD view visibility settings will be common for most projects and being able to preset the view visibility settings to a known array of on-off’s that you could activate with a single button would be a nice efficiency feature.
  2. Override Graphics in View is a really nice way to fine tune the visibility of an element or category in a view but can also lead to hidden elements. You can make visible the elements that have been hidden via the Lightbulb”(reveal hidden elements) icon at the bottom of the Revit interface screen tool (right most icon).To make the elements visible just select the element while in the reveal mode>right mouse click>select “Unhide in View”> element or category.
  • NOTE: This is also where you “Hide in View” selected elements or categories.

The View Properties Dialog is another visibility control that should be looked at as well.  Two controls specifically affect what you see.  The Phase and Phase Filter.

Here you can control which “Phase” is being shown, in the default case that will be “Existing” and “New Construction”.  You can also control the “Phase Filter” which has numerous selections controlling an array of visibility presets.  These presets can be access via the “Manage” tab > “Phasing” tool group > Phases >Phase Filter tab.  Each Phase has a drop down selector giving
you three visibility options.

And if that isn’t enough Design Options present another level of visibility control that should be checked. Depending on how the original template or Revit operator set up the D.O.’s or left them during the last work session this will affect what can be seen on the project. With Design Options the “Primary” option is the one that can be seen, subject to the visibility controls mentioned above. You can access the D.O. through the Manage Tab> Design Options tool group>Design options. To view the other (non-primary) options select the desired option and then “Make Primary” button to the right.

Thought I was done didn’t you.  This one is not as common but if your office is setting up a central file with numerous worksets beyond the default there is a degree of visibility control within the worksets that may need to be checked.You can access the worksets visibility control through the Visibility / Graphics control (keyboard ‘VV’)> Worksets tab with a drop down for each Visibility Setting.




Revit Server

November 18, 2010

10 Things that are different about Revit Server over a local file based worksharing method.  This extension is really for multiple offices working on a single project.

Thanks Manny for the Link!


LIDAR – Scan to BIM for Revit

November 17, 2010

The Scan to BIM software add-in takes the ordeal out of the process of getting 3D laser scanning data into Revit. It enables you to import point clouds directly into Revit, visualize them directly in Revit, and interact directly in Revit with automated recognition and placement of walls and openings, as well as pipes and ducts.

Scan to BIM Video

Eliminate time spent working with point clouds outside of Revit – eliminate the ordeal of scanning to BIM. Work faster and more accurately, gain new revenue streams, and stay on top of client demands. The Scan to BIM software add-on for Revit actually makes scanning directly to BIM a reality.



To model or not to model: That is the question.

November 17, 2010

There was much talk at last night’s meeting about how much modeling should be done in a BIM project.  Revit will let you model everything. That can become a pitfall for most new users. That type of creation consumes a vast amount of time and ultimately slows down your model.

The AEC (UK) BIM Standard for Revit, on page 27, Section 7.2.1, offers some good advice and a visual to help with this particular issue.

At the outset of the project, consideration shall be given to the maximum level of detail to be included in the BIM. Too little and the information will not be fit for purpose; too much and the model may become unmanageable and inefficient.

  • The BIM Co-ordinator shall dictate the point at which 3D geometry ceases and 2D detailing is utilised to prepare the published output.
  • Intelligent 2D linework shall be developed to accompany the geometry and enhance the required views without undue strain on the hardware. 2D linework is not exclusive to detailed/fabrication information.
  • Detailing and enhancement techniques shall be used whenever possible to reduce model complexity, but without compromising the integrity of the model.

3D modelling is carried out to an accuracy of approximately 1:50

…so imagine the level of detail needed for a physical 1/4 inch scale model.

As discussed last night, the different disciplines have different needs. Sometimes that level of modelling detail must be there in order to reap the benefits of using BIM.

Using BIM demands an open line of  communication. So  before going into the modeling portion of the project, have the team discuss what families are needed. If they are needed, to what level of detail do they need to communicate design intent. Do they need a lot of fancy parameters? There needs to be a ‘stay on task’ conversation to make sure the project is focused on the end result.

I’m sure as more usable family content becomes available, the hardware gets beefier and the sharing of models becomes more routine, this issue may go away. Until then…To model or not to model: That is the question.


November 2010 Meeting Follow-up

November 17, 2010

Thanks to Steve for setting up the November meeting and providing the munchies.

I just completed checking the web cast recordings and posted the two segments for your viewing pleasure.

The recordings should show up along the “Latest Videos” thumbnail bar as:

IPD The Process Part I Intro. (31 min)
IPD The Process Part II The Good Stuff. (2 hr)

These recordings can also be found in the Nov 2010 Video Library further down the page.

As Steve previously mentioned the recordings can be found at:

This was an exceptionally insightful meeting into the IPD collaborative process along with a reveal of some of the shortcomings in the software technology as well as some recommendations.  A must see.  I hope Autodesk is listening 😉  Nothing like ending our year on a high note.

I would also like to extend a personal thanks to JSR for hosting this meeting and sharing their experiences on this project along with their consultants PET, GLHN and Schneider Assoc.  It’s this level of involvement that makes the difference in the success of our group.   

Thanks to all of you that attended last night (great turnout) and to those of you that have continued to support the group through your attendance throughout the year.

This was our last meeting for 2010.  We will resume in January of 2011 and will be working on setting up our General Contractors presentations over the holidays to kick off the 2011 season.  These meetings will focus on the GC’s use of BIM technology and their experiences in IPD.  Also Andrew will be presenting on using active URL links in families to connect to web site repositories of data, as a methodology for putting the “I” in B.I.M.  Andrew will explore how these links (information) can flow down to the facilities management level.

Until next year myself and the management team at SARUG extend our best wishes for a happy holiday season to you and your family.



SARUG November Meeting Update

November 10, 2010

Just wanted to make sure you were aware of the date change for our November meeting.The meeting has been moved to Tuesday Nov. 16th. That’s next week.

Johnson Smitthipong & Rosamond
4067 E. Grant Rd. / Suite 203
Tucson, AZ  85712
Ph: 520 / 547-7904

JSR will be presenting their recently completed BIM project which was completed entirely in Revit and will include discussions and information about working with Revit Consulting Engineers as well as a Project Management Team utilizing Navisworks.

Also we are requesting that you bring a Revit Family which you have created, modified, borrowed or are having problems with, so that the “group” can openly work on it together. This should be a fun and exciting way to learn more about the “Family Editor” and creating (or modifying) better family components.



Virtual AU2010

November 10, 2010

Those who are not attending Autodesk University 2010 should note that you get a free pass of Virtual Autodesk University with your Autodesk Subscription.
If you are not on Subscription you should find someone who is attending AU2010 and beg, plead or steal one of their 4 free passes they have available.

AU Virtual Standard Pass – Available to any AU member

  • Provides access to a limited selection of virtual classes and product clinics with live interactive Q&A.
  • Real-time keynote viewing.
  • Insider interviews from the Las Vegas conference, roundtable discussions, industry news, interviews, and real-time networking with colleagues.
  • Cost: Free! You just need an AU Online account. Register and enjoy all the benefits of membership.

AU Virtual Premier Pass – Full access for only US$139

  • Everything included with the Standard Pass.
  • More than 200 additional classes, product clinics, and keynotes in English, Portuguese, and Spanish during the live event.
  • Access to 350+ on-demand classes from AU 2010 after the event.
  • Cost: Only US $139. Free if you are an Autodesk Subscription customer or a member of the Autodesk Student Community.

And, everyone registered for AU 2010 in Las Vegas—the physical event— automatically gets Premier-level access and four (4) more free AU Virtual Premier Passes to share with colleagues.

Once you have your pass in hand (xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx) go here to register.  The pass will be entered as the Registration Promo Code. Each pass is good for one registration.



Creating Custom Surface Patterns in Revit

November 2, 2010

Metal Roofs, Block, Tile, Brick, etc. Revit comes with a number of built-in surface patterns but inevitably you will run across the need to customize your pattern file.

Revit’s pattern files are stored in the ” revit.pat ” file located at:

   C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit Architecture 2011\Data

Path varies depending upon your current working version.

In explorer go to the file but don’t’ open it. You need to change it’s properties to turn off the ‘read only’ protection by right clicking on the ‘revit.pat’  file, go to properties, and uncheck ‘ read only’  This can be a pain in Vista so if you run into a problem with being able to over-write the file here’s the work around.

  1. Control ‘X’ on the file and Control ‘V’ it to a temporary location.
  2. Then save your file to the original location.

Then open the file (with notepad) and edit the code per the instructions at the beginning of the file.

Below is a code sample for a demolition lay-in ceiling.

*Ceiling-Demo 24×48, 24 x 48 Tiles
0, 0, 0, 0, 24, 2, -2
90, 0, 0, 0, 24, 2, -2

Save out this file once you are done.

Now open Revit. You will need to create a new material, in this case a demolition ceiling pattern “Ceiling Demo 24 x 48″ and then edit its surface pattern.

Select ‘Model’ then ‘new’ then ‘custom’ then ‘import’ then import the ” revit.pat ” file at this path
C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit Architecture 2011\Data

You will then have a number of patterns to select from, one of which will contain the new demolished ceiling pattern.

I believe the pattern generator code is not unlike AutoCAD.  We save our Revit Pattern file to our main library so its accessible throughout the office.  Frequently used patterns should be established in your template as just saving the revit.pat file to the library does not automatically make this pattern available to all your stations.  Another approach would be to load an object with the pattern attribute already assign on an as need basis for each project.


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