Thursday, January 29, 2009

Broken Revit MEP pipe fittings

Part of my duties at Erdman is to QC the engineering content that is being created. Some of our content is being created in-house and we are outsourcing quite a bit as well. A number of the pipe fittings that we received from our content vendor arrived in this condition.
When the view’s detail was set above a “Coarse” level, the symbolic line that represents the pipe continues through the fitting. When set to Fine level the fitting displays correctly.
What was causing this strange behavior? Categories (or maybe it’s subcategories.)
Every object in a Revit project belongs to a category. Walls, windows, floors, etc. are all categories. So are pipes, pipe fittings, etc. When you dig a little further, opening the pipe fitting inside the Family Editor, and looking at the object styles available, you will only find one category available. This makes sense, given that each object can only belong to one category. Notice however that there are SUBCATEGORIES under the category of the family. These are very powerful. I’ll write a post about using these later.
So, what does this have to do with our broken pipe fittings? Well, the model lines that display when the view in the project is set to medium or coarse were actually set to be one of the subcategories (Center line) of Pipe Fittings.
Once these were changed to “Pipe Fittings” the fitting behaved correctly.
So far, 6 out of 10 of the fittings we received from our vendor have this condition. With 100’s of families to QC, I am less than pleased.
In short, I recommend, when purchasing content from a 3rd party, make sure they know the product inside and out. These fittings (and other content we received ) were modeled beautifully. However, a 3D object is less than half what we are looking for when it comes to BIM.
I suppose I can forgive the error; there just aren’t that many people with tons of experience with Revit MEP. I just wish we had the staffing necessary to QC the content before so much was created.
Live and learn.
Next time, the power of SUBCATEGORIES…….!