Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Text Wrapping in Revit View Titles

I just found out how to add text wrapping in a Revit view title.  Fill out the Title on Sheet field in the view's properties and do a Ctrl+Enter at the point where you want the text to wrap.  It won't work if you try that in the View Name field, or if you edit the view name on the sheet.  It is antiquated, but it works!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Webinar - Stepping Up From CAD to BIM

Check out my new webinar on the following...

  • Familiar Concepts – review of the concepts that exist in 2D CAD and ArchiCAD BIM software such as drafting tools, layers, modify tools and viewports on title blocks
  • New Concepts – exploit BIM-specific concepts like the shared model environment (Teamwork) and the single-model concept to make the most of your design
  • Work Environment – the “how to” portion – going over toolbars, palettes, keyboard shortcuts, etc.
  • Modeling – see how to model walls, doors and windows; objects and object creation; working in 3D by default
  • Teamwork – get up close demonstration of how to join a teamwork project, see how to send and receive, request and release, all to improve team communication and collaboration
  • Documentation: how 2D documentation is automatically generated and updated in the background while you create your Building Information Models
  • Navigation and Workflow: Project Map
  • Publishing to various formats (DWG, PDF, PMK, etc.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Some Best Practices For Those Who Are New To BIM

Early Preparation
  • Content development, such as blocks, families & objects needs to be tackled early in the project schedule.
  • Good Project Template:  It takes time to make a good project template but it pays for it self quickly.  Your project template may never be perfect and you will always be tweaking it, so get it in good shape then get your project started!
  • Be prepared before you start schematic design, but the DD Phase is the foundation for success:  Create your project specific content you need during the SD phase while the designers are doing their thing.
  • The SD phase is messy.  You may want to leave the mess behind in SD.  Copy what is worth keeping over into your fresh new project template for design development.

  • Your communication habits will need to change from what you are used to with CAD
  • Changes to the model can effect everyone’s work.
  • Teams working in a shared model environment need to communicate in real-time as much as possible.
  • Sit close to each other.
  • Instant Messaging is helpful (ArchiCAD has it built-in)
  • Learn how share (again?).
  • Standards and good documentation are still important.  Provide easy to read materials such as keyboard shortcut charts.
  • Compose logical easy to follow standards
  • Create model relationship diagrams for your team.  See image below...

Be Neat and Considerate
  • Don’t be a model hog, you're not in CAD anymore.
  • The mess you make is the mess you clean up!
  • Consult the model manager before redefining things, unless you are 100% sure of yourself.
  • Do not assume anything - Never delete, overwrite, move or edit any wall that you have not drawn, or that's not your responsibility, without asking the relevant team member.

Well Trained Staff with Good Attitude
  • The paradigm shift to BIM requires a staff that can adapt to change.  Whiners and complainers need to toughen up and deal with the fact that BIM is a many faceted challenge.
  • Don’t put rookies (no BIM experience) and computer illiterate people in your models.
  • Small changes and mistakes can cause major repercussions, so keep the knuckleheads away from the core 3D structure of your model.
  • Everyone on your project team should understand the process and nature of a complete construction document set.
  • Don’t hesitate to get professional help if your scared.

Coordination With Outsiders
  • Coordination between software formats can be a challenge:  Pay attention to how well things are converted.  Review your files before you pass them along.
  • 3D Model coordination:  Takes time to setup if you are working with differing programs, but is well worth the effort.  Conduct regular coordination meetings
  • If your consultant is not using BIM or 3D, you may want to make it 3D yourself
  • Architects can build the structural systems in their model if the structural consultant is all 2D.

  • CAD is Symbolic
  • BIM is Virtual
  • CAD work is in drawing files
  • BIM work is in model files
  • CAD changes are discrete and asynchronous
  • BIM changes are interconnected and synchronous
  • CAD process is document driven
  • BIM process is design process driven

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Revit 2011 Username Startup Switch

When working with a shared Central File in Revit 2011 (add earlier), Revit uses your username to identify your local file.  This username is stored in the Revit.ini file in the main Revit folder (under C:\Program Files\..)  This location varies depending on your company's installation senario.  The username can be changed in Revit via Application button > Options.

This username variable is saved per computer, not per user.  So if you have multiple people using a shared computer, the username needs to be manually changed each time Revit is used for a central file project. 

However, you can create a desktop shortcut for Revit 2011 and add the startup switch /username.  This will set the username to your username whenever you open Revit 2011 with this shortcut.

  1. Make a copy your Revit 2011 desktop shortcut
  2. Rename the new shortcut (from your copy) to include your username
  3. Right click over the new shorcut and click inside the Target box (see image below)
  4. Add to the end of the existing text, the following... /username
  5. Type in your user name so it looks like this... /username yourname.  For example mine would look like this... /username smackenzie
  6. My entire text line would look like this... "C:\Program Files\adsk_revit_arch_2011\Program\Revit.exe" /username smackenzie
  7. The name of your Revit 2011 folder will vary depending on how it was installed

You can create one of these custom shortcuts for each user of a shared workstation.  In my case, I use it on a remote computer in another office that a few of my co-workers also use.

Note: If you do not get the Target box when you right click over your new shortcut, you will need to create a shortcut from scratch.  Open the folder on your computer that contains the Revit.exe file, right click over Revit.exe and select Create Shortcut.  Move the new shortcut to your desktop.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back In The Saddle Again - ArchiCAD Just Feels Better

I have been working in Revit for the past 3 months solid.  I got back into an ArchiCAD project today, and it felt so nice.  Granted, there were some things that took a little longer to load since I have been out of the project for a while, and the sheet views take longer to refresh, but the workflow and even the 2D drafting tools just make more sense to me.  It is a better fit.

I am trying to remain as objective as possible on the matter of Revit vs. ArchiCAD.  But, at the end of the day I choose ArchiCAD.  When I started using ArchiCAD back in May of 2005, I never thought I would feel this way.  It was quite a big learning curve, since I came from an all Autodesk environment.

So there, I believe I am being objective.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Revit Architecture 2011 Cares About Where You Are Coming From

If you need to create a new local file from the central file, Revit Architecture does not care about where you are, it cares about where you are coming from.  Revit is more concerned with how your drive letter is mapped, than to what the drive is mapped to.
Before you upgrade a central file from one version of Revit to another, make sure everyone has their project drive letter mapped exactly the same.

For instance. If your central file was created in a drive that was mapped via an IP address such as \\\Projects, and your computer is mapped to that same drive letter via \\Server-F01\Projects, (to the same exact server and folders), when you browse to the central file, Revit will not open the Create New Local box for you. You will need to fix the drive map accordingly, or browse to the file via the original path directly.
Related issue links...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

BIM = ?

What does BIM really stand for?

A: Better Imbibe Martinis
B: Big Incredible Mess (somtimes)
C: Big Incredible Models
D: Better Increase Money
E: Bitching Is Mandatory
F: Buddy Its Mental
G: Building Information Modeling
H: Bubee It's Mushugah
I: Building Information Marketing (Autodesk products)

Answer: G, then everything else in any order you choose :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Revit Gets Credit For Competition's Product

This is evidence that you can't always believe everything that is told to you.  Open link below...

To see a news report giving credit to Revit for work done in ArchiCAD is troubling.  It is like giving credit to Ford after a Chevy wins a race.  If you don't know anything about cars, you won't know if you are being deceived.

Welcome to the age of mis-information.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Would You Like A Ribbon On Your GUI?

I know this is kind of a tired subject, but I have been trying to remain totally objective for a while….
The introduction of the ribbon in AutoCAD’s graphical user interface back in version 2009 caused a big fuss amongst many users, probably more of a fuss that Word & Excel users gave when the ribbon was added to Microsoft Office.

Word 2011 Ribbon Interface

I believe that working fast is more important to CAD users than your average word processor or spreadsheet user, plus I would imagine that there are more commands to use in CAD.  Switching between commands in CAD happens more often too.
AutoCAD 2011 Ribbon Interface
I have remained neutral on the ribbon vs. toolbar battle since the battle started.  But I’m starting to lean on the non-ribbon side of things.  I spent a good amount of time learning how to program the ribbon menu in AutoCAD via the CUI editor.  Once I figured it out I really enjoyed doing it and it looks cool too.  But I still feel the interface without the ribbon is faster.
AutoCAD 2011 Toolbars and Pull-down Menu Interface

To be fair the ribbon is much more dynamic than just toolbars.  With the later version of AutoCAD the ribbon changes automatically according to the current command.  But it is just not quite right yet and it does not save clicks.  I wonder if the ribbon should be considered the “beginner interface”. 
Once you know where everything is in both interface types, I believe the non-ribbon route is quicker.  Fewer clicks equal faster, right?

It reminds me of another interface change back when the digitizer and puck was replaced with the 2 button scroll wheel mouse.  Granted, the scroll wheel is essential now, but we lost the insanely quick command progression that the 9 or more buttons on the puck could produce.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rules of File Referencing

These rules apply to multi-person CAD & BIM projects using a file server

Folder Use

Files used for linking and referencing in a project should be placed in folders specifically designed for reference and linked files.
·         Do not link or reference files from archive folders.
·         Do not link or reference files from incoming, outgoing, sent or received correspondence type folders
·         Do not link or reference files from other projects.  The other project you link from may be archived and removed from the server before your project is finished.  Then all those linked files will be missing!
·         Do not link or reference files from your C-drive (Desktop, My Documents, My Pictures, etc) or any local computer drive.
·         Files shall be referenced only from the same network drive and project folder structure.

Folder and File Naming

Be consistent in your file naming.  Once you have a standard established keep it going.  Pay attention to what is going on and keep things consistent!

·         Files and folders with a date in the name should only be used for archive purposes.
·         Do not use files named with _copy in the name as current working files. 
·         Do not leave files named with _copy in the name within current work folders.
·         Keep file and folder names short when possible.  If folder and file names get too long, it can prevent files from being opened.   Long file names can be obnoxious and annoying anyway.

New work vs. Old 

·         Do not name files with the term new.   All active project files (linked or host) shall be considered as new work unless noted otherwise.
·         Do not name files with the term old.  Instead use the term obsolete.   Old can mean existing to remain or something other than obsolete.  Then move it out of the current work folder.

Following these rules will minimize confusion for anyone who is currently navigating through your projects, and in the future.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Every BIM Project Should Have a Model Manager

Projects based on BIM (building information modeling) are quite vulnerable to lawlessness and disorder.
Every project should have a model manager to serve as the police -- and the fire department.
If you think of a CAD or BIM project as a city or a close-knit community, you will appreciate the need for law and order. In a BIM project, the potential for vandalism, theft, fires and corruption is ever present.
  • Vandalism:  Family and view naming run amok. Poor modeling and drafting techniques. Even your most law-abiding citizens can cause trouble if they don’t know the standards.
  • Theft: Deleted objects, files and folders.
  • Fire: Unforeseen hardware and software issues. Problems related to user incompetence.
  • Corruption: Poorly made families and elements imported from unknown sources.

You can think of the BIM project as an entire city under one roof. Everything is connected and relational, so corruption in one part of the project can affect the whole population. This is why you need good standards and someone to maintain law and order.
Team Etiquette
What if someone snuck into your house while you were gone, rearranged the furniture and changed the locks on the doors? How would you feel? Or what if they brought in some tacky new appliances from an unauthorized source? Unauthorized families can be rude and disruptive; they can cause trouble if created incorrectly. Poorly designed families in a large model can bring the project model to a snail's pace.
This illustrates the need for some rules of etiquette. Here is a selection of work-sharing etiquette tips for a polite and civil project environment.
  • Communicate. Staying in touch with your teammates is essential. Maintain real-time communication: Sit next to them, pick up the phone often or use instant messaging.
  • Be neat. The mess you make is the mess you clean up! Clean up after yourself. Remove any unused stuff you placed off to the side.
  • Don't be a model hog. Do not have a bunch of worksets borrowed while you are out to lunch, away for a meeting or gone for the day! Borrow only the worksets you need, and relinquish all your borrowed elements when you close out.
  • Know the intended architecture of the project library, or don’t mess with it.
  • Never redefine any view property settings that is already set up on a sheet without consulting the model manager or the creator of that view.
  • Do not assume anything. Never delete, overwrite, move or edit any wall that you have not drawn or that's not your responsibility without asking the relevant team member -- even if you have to wait a day to do it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

BIM, CAD, Technical Writing Blog

My experience in the Architecture and Engineering industry dates back to 1988 when I
started as a manual draftsman. I was well trained in the art of creating great construction
documents. I worked my way up to a CAD Manager position, then to an IT Manager and
then took on the BIM manager role.

My blog starts today.