Friday, March 27, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Revit Type Catalog Tip

Type Catalogs are a great tool to drive parameters and to keep your project file size under control.

Some families (like structural wide-flange steel) have so many types that it is nice to only bring the types that you need into your project.



To create a Type Catalog, start a new session of Notepad or some other text editor (not Word though, the formatting will cause errors in the Catalog.)

The first line lays out all the parameters you want to control. In this example I only used one parameter, "Type Comments." I like this parameter alot. It's in every family and isn't used by anything else. By default it is blank (more on that in a minute,) but you can use it to tag custom ID information for that object.


The second line begins with the Type Name, then a comma (this is a comma separated value file.) Followed by the values for the parameters you are controlling, again separated by commas. We'll keep it simple here. I do want to mention though that when working with complex Type Catalogs, I like to import them in to Excel. That way they are separated by columns, instead of commas. Just save it out as a .csv, then change the extension to .txt and it will work fine.

The purpose of this post is NOT to go into too much depth about Type Catalogs. There are decent instructions on the basics of Type Catalogs in the Revit Help file and a slightly more in depth treatment in the Autodesk Family creation tutorials.

Name and save this file in the same folder as the family.



When you go to load the family, you get the dialog below. Control or Shift Click to select the types you want to load.
Click OK and you get...
This warning... Hmmmmmmm,
It actually does exist. It's just blank in the family. Since there is no data for the Type Catalog to override, Revit disregards that column of the catalog.
So, open the family. Place a default value in the parameter. It doesn't matter what it is, it will be overwritten by the catalog. Save it. And reload it into the project.
To show what we have, I created a quick tag that reads the Type Comments from the family.
To take on e step forward, create a new type in Family editor and load it into the project without saving or editing the Type Catalog. What value will the Tag show? The default...
In short, if you ever get the "Parameter doesn't exist in the Family" warning, check the family and make sure there is some sort of data in the field. It should work fine after that.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

BIMwash, the new snake oil?

I'd like to take a moment and try and define a new term.

BIMwash.

A portmanteau (a word that contains two words and combines their meanings) of BIM (building information modeling) and whitewash ( a thin paint-like coating that washes away slowly in the rain.)



More and more projects are requiring BIM. Sometimes the Design firm is requiring BIM from the GC and subs. Sometimes the Owner is requiring that everyone use Building Information Modeling. This is GREAT! I mean this is what we have been preaching and railing about.

Here's the rub though. BIM has become a BUZZWORD. Not to the extent that "Green" has, but a buzzword still. Now that everyone's talking about this thing called BIM, folks are starting to sit up and take notice. Heck man, there's money to be made here. We can do this BIM thing. We already model in 3D (sorta.) This (insert any BIM authoring software) looks pretty similar. We can't get left behind on this. RFPs (requests for proposals) are coming in asking for BIM. Let's go!

So XYZ Design (or Engineering, Builders, etc etc.) gets a couple seats of software, spend some time learning how to use it, and get it set up so they can plot documents to their standards. Yahoooo, we're on the BIM-train. Let everyone know, WE DO BIM!
Whoa, hold the phone, Buster. What do you mean you "Do BIM?"

Ummm, we use "Brand A" Software and... produce a BIM.

What's your deliverable?

Duh, the industry standard 2D CD's. You can't get away from that. Oh, and we can show you exactly what your building looks like with renderings and walk-throughs.


So, since Contractors, Subs, Design firms, even Owners all have their own ideas of what is BIM, are they wrong?

Yeah, I think they are.

I'm not going to rant and rave about what is and isn't BIM. Just Google it, there is plenty of discussion. What I will say is, there are plenty of firms out there that have jumped "on board" and are "Doing the BIM."

Educate yourselves. Have a serious discussion at your firm. What is BIM to you?

Everyone wants to get something different out of this. The Designer wants to validate design and communicate design intent in a new and easy to understand way. The Contractor wants to query the model and take off accurate Quantity of Materials and investigate "Buildability," dealing with interferences early in the process. And the Owner wants a BIM that they can use throughout the lifecycle of the building. Let the world know what you do or exactly what you want. Define it internally before you put it out before the public.

If you are about to issue a RFP that requires BIM, do yourself a favor and SPELL IT OUT. Define exactly what you are looking for. That way you have a better chance of getting what you want. And please, if all you want is rendering and walkthroughs, say that. Don't even use the term BIM.

If you are a Design, Engineering, or Construction firm, know what your strong points are. Know what you can and cannot deliver. Don't oversell your abilities. It will only come back to bite you.

And if you're just using the term because "everyone is doing it," STOP.

Don't be a BIMwasher... it's all likely to wash away in the rain...

Open Source Building Information Model (BIM) Server (Round 2)

David Harrison linked to a post on his site that gives a far more in-depth discription of what a BIM Server is and how it could effect the industry. It can be found here.

I figured I would bring this to the front page.

Thanks Dave.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Open Source Building Information Model (BIM) Server

An interesting idea. I have to admit I found the site a little lacking in useful information. But then again, I have to plead complete ingnorance when it comes to servers.

Check it out here.