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Spring 2010

BIM for Integrated Design: A Process for Design Analysis Combining Energy and Cost Analysis with Revit Collaboration Using a Single Model






Windows Ž. Life without Walls™. HP recommends Windows 7.




Parametric, associative design tools require power and performance The HP Z600 Workstation provides the multi-core power and multi-threading performance for your most advanced 3D architectural needs. Š 2010 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. Intel and Xeon are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

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contents features


8 42

























Windows Ž. Life without Walls™. HP recommends Windows 7.



  To be updated

The perfect pair for drafting, engineering, design, and architecture 0

Professional 2D, Entry 3D, the HP Z200 gives you the exibility and the power to get the job done. Š 2010 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. Intel and Xeon are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

table of contents (cont.)

contents special sections & departments

AUGI AEC Edge Publisher Karen Popp



Stephen Stafford

Contributing Writers

Departments 18 Contributed White Paper “BIM for Integrated Design: A Process for Design Analysis” Jon Allen Gardzelewski, Philip Membreno 32 Product Review “Product Review - CodeBook - version 9.0” 38 Autodesk Insiders A QA Session with a QA 42 AUGI Local Chapter AUGI Local Chapters: Philadelphia AutoCAD Users Group, Inc. (PAUG) 55 Inside Track AUGI | AEC EDGE brings you recent developments in Autodesk and AEC related software items. 60 Head’s Up HEAD’S UP! Updates, Service Packs and Top Known Issues (obtained from product pages at

Lee Ambrosius, Christian Barrett, Elizabeth Chodosh, Lonnie Cumpton, Doug Eberhard, Jon Allen Gardzelewski, David Harrington, Glenn Jowett, Trey Klein, David Light, Philip (Chico) Membreno, Jay Polding, Keith Rice, Steve Stafford (me), and alphabetically last, but not least, Daniel Stine.


Keith Kelly 415.255.0390 x13

Production Coordinator

Spryte Heithecker

Advertising / Reprint Sales

Karen Popp 415.255.0390 x19

Extension Media, LLC - Corporate Office President

Vince Ridley

Vice President, Marketing and Product Development Karen Murray

Vice President, Business Development

Melissa Sterling

Vice President, Sales

Embedded Electronics Media Group Clair Bright

Mark Kiker

Senior Vice President David Harrington

Vice President John Morgan

Treasurer Paul Kirill

Secretary Bill Adams

Board Directors

Peter Jamtgaard

Dario Passariello Ken Leary Donnie Gladfelter Jane Smith

60 Cover image: Caltrans ©2010 Autodesk, AutoCAD, Autodesk VIZ, Autodesk Architectural Desktop, Autodesk Revit, Autodesk Building Systems, Autodesk MapGuide, Autodesk Civil Design, Autodesk Inventor and DWF are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc. in the U.S.A. and/or in certain other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.

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AUGI Board of Directors President


Published by:

The AUGI AEC Edge Magazine is published by Extension Media LLC and AUGI. Extension Media LLC and AUGI makes no warranty for the use of its products and assumes no responsibility for any errors which may appear in this publication nor does it make a commitment to update the information contained herein. The AUGI AEC Edge Magazine is Copyright ®2010 AUGI. No information in this magazine may be reproduced without expressed written permission from AUGI. All registered trademarks and trademarks included in this magazine are held by their respective companies. Every attempt was made to include all trademarks and registered trademarks where indicated by their companies.


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Editor’s Note

We are pleased to have a few articles focused on sustainable design and how Autodesk’s various products factor into this design process and philosophy.

WELCOME BACK! Welcome to our fourth issue for June-July 2010. Thank you for waiting patiently. We are pleased to have a few articles focused on sustainable design and how Autodesk’s various products factor into this design process and philosophy. We are seeing more signs that the economy is on the mend with more work opportunities and previously stalled projects moving forward again. Sustainable design is certainly part of this emerging work.


This issue includes a return of the Autodesk Insider column featuring a look at Trey Klein’s work as an Autodesk Quality Assurance team member. A last minute conf lict caused us to lose a nice article about Revit MEP’s new conduit feature. Hopefully we can get it in the next issue. We do have another product review for CodeBook, a database tool to manage external data and connect it to software like Revit or Autocad Architecture. We hope to be able to continue with product reviews and are looking for both people and products to help provide them. Interested?

THANKS AND RECRUITMENT As always, we want to thank the authors who contributed their time and expertise to this issue, some new and some returning:


Lee Ambrosius, Christian Barrett, Elizabeth Chodosh, Lonnie Cumpton, Doug Eberhard, Jon Allen Gardzelewski, David Harrington, Trey Klein, David Light, Jay Polding, Philip (Chico) Membreno, Keith Rice, and Daniel Stine. If you really like a particular author’s work please let us know so we can apply pressure, friendly, loving pressure, to ensure they return, often! As always if you want to be a part of this magazine as an author or as an advertiser please let us know. • Steve Stafford - Editor: • Karen Popp - Sales:

PLANNING As always we are actively recruiting for new articles for our next issue. Thanks for reading!

Steve Stafford AUGI AEC Edge Editor Member AUGI Board of Directors 2006-08 AUGI Revit Community Forum Manager




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by: Jay Polding

Design Your Own Adventure: Combining Energy and Cost Analysis with Revit


INTRODUCTION Design can be like a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book. Wouldn’t it be nice to flip to the ending instead of heading out on a long design detour? When it comes to making sustainable design decisions, the earlier they are made, the better. Good decisions are informed by good questions and the information they produce. Along with best practices, we need to be armed with accurate data about the building; price, energy usage, appearance etc. One way we can get this information is by using Revit Architecture 2011 along with programs like the IES VE Toolkit and SmartBIM QTO. We will examine a scenario where the designer and client are trying to understand the implications of design decisions on price, LEED credits including the LEED Daylight credit, and overall energy usage. It should be said that these tools do not turn architects into energy and cost consultants. We are using this software understand relative differences and improve the design. The consultants can pick up where we leave off and do what they do best. They may even be able to use our energy model. Because we’re not trying to be energy or cost consultants we want to use tools that are easy, reliable and inexpensive. Before we get into the story of the example project let’s take a quick look at the tools we will be using.

Plug-in Play: IES Virtual Environment, SmartBIM QTO A Plug-in is software that can take the building information model to another level. We will look at two such plug-ins, IES Virtual Environment and SmartBIM Library. Both plug-ins install into the Add-Ins Tab of the Ribbon. Having them inside of Revit makes them easy to access and use, eliminating the frustrations of exporting and importing from one program to another. IES Virtual Environment The IES Virtual Environment software is well respected for energy analysis and used by engineers worldwide. IES discovered that architects would also like to use their tools. So, they built a starter version which plugs in to Revit called IES VE Toolkit. There is also a direct link from Revit to the full Virtual Environment. The IES VE Toolkit will convert your model into gbXML and use it directly in the same session of Revit. You will then be able to define characteristics about the site and building construction. Then you can choose from a variety of analysis options. To get the HTML analysis reports you simply need to press the right button. Some of these inlcude ASHRAE/CIBSE heating & cooling loads, water use, comfort and the 2030 challenge. We will be using primarily the Energy/Carbon Simulation in which we can interrogate a range of energy and carbon metrics (without shading, with simple external shading, or with advanced solar penetration – using a dynamic thermal simulation at sub-hourly time-steps).

THE TOOLS Revit Architecture 2011 The enhancements to Revit Architecture 2011 reveal Autodesk’s intent of integrating analysis tools within the product. The Sun Path Interactive tool for visualizing the impact of natural light and shadows on buildings and sites is a great starting point in examining the site. Display performance improvements (over 30%) help to make this interactive sun/shadow tool truly ‘interactive’. Additionally, Revit 2011 will now maintain a high level of geometric accuracy for elements placed within 20 miles of the project origin. Of course, we can’t underestimate the value of a Revit 3D model. We want to see problems early, avoiding waste. We want the client to be happy with the look and feel of the building inside and out. Renderings, 3D Sections and schedules are powerful tools in the sustainable and LEED process.

We will also use the Daylighting button which Covers LEED Credit EQ8.1. We have the ability to define what spaces are included in the analysis. Output includes indicative pass/fail result, previous run comparison, visual floor-by-floor movie and tabular results to enable easy identification of marginal fail rooms. The file that you create for the IES VE Toolkit can be passed right into the full IES Virtual Environment Software for CFD, lighting analysis and other in-depth calculations. Note: It should be mentioned that the Green Building Studio web service is now included with Subscription to Revit. This provides a high level report on energy cost and alternatives, the LEED Daylighting credit, water and more. While this is a great tool for general information there is no opportunity to expand the analysis as you can with the IES VE products.

SmartBIM QTO SmartBIM QTO installs into the Add-Ins Tab of the Ribbon too. SmartBIM QTO matches the RS Means construction da8


Cross-Discipline tabase prices with your model and provides a building estimate. You can refine your analysis by changing material and labour prices of each item and category. You can also export results to Microsoft Excel and bill of material (BOM) files.

THE EXAMPLE PROJECT The designer is spending a day exploring early design directions. The project is a small restaurant, cafe and wine bar located in downtown Toronto, Ontario. The client wants a modern, minimalistic style to which they have provided photos of desired features. Natural lighting is highly desired. Exterior summer patios need to be strategically placed for an enjoyable customer experience. The client is interested in exploring LEED certification up to Silver. There is an ugly and busy parking lot to the south of the site that the client wants to keep out of customer view. Don’t forget the tight budget and accelerated schedule which always comes standard. EXAMINE THE SITE It has been said that an energy efficient building in Phoenix is not an energy efficient building in Montreal. The local climate and situation of the site should drive your design. So, we will start our design by picking the location on the Google Map built into Revit Architecture 2011. Massing Tools, Sketchup or even AutoCAD 3D can be used for contextual buildings. It may be a good idea to create this in a separate file and link it into your designs for context as needed. Revit Architecture 2011 has a nice tool to show the Sun (Earth) position. Use this to examine how adjacent building’s shadows affect the building in question. Soil cut/fill volumes may assist in quantifying the material that needs to be removed or added to the site.

sustainable opportunities. In the case of this site there is an opportunity to get 67% of annual electricity form solar panels and 58% of your annual water load from rain. You can incorporate these possibilities right into your design even before schematic. It’s not fun designing a rain water collection system after the building design is done.

Figure 2 – Wind Rose report from IES <VE>

MAKE THE MODEL There are many good whitepapers and tutorials on how to properly model a building for energy analysis. In fact the winter Issue of AUGI | AEC EDGE gave us some best practices in the article entitled “How to Help Simplify Sustainable Design Analysis with BIM” written by Philip Membreno. Some suggestions are to make a simple model, turn on Area and Volume computations and make sure your rooms extend from floor to floor or roof face. You will need at least one model for each major design iteration. Once you model your baseline design do a simple ‘save as’ for more versions. Stay away from the Design Options and Phasing tools if possible because this tends to create ‘issues’ in energy analysis as well as cost analysis. The Import Model button on the IES plug-in menu allows you to pick a building type, location, heating and cooling system and construction materials which represent a good baseline for the building. Use the Energy/Carbon Simulation to get a projected annual energy usage. This will be calculated in Mega Watt hours. This is broken down further by room, system (lights, boilers) and month.

Figure 1 – The new Solar Path feature

IES is ideal for displaying site specific climate and weather data. You may want to use IES Virtual Environment to display a Wind Rose which will graphically show wind data during specific time periods. The IES VE Toolkit can be used to instantly discover spring_2010

The LEED Daylighting credit is just a single button click on the LEED menu in the IES VE Toolkit. Calculating the LEED Daylighting credit for a building of this size may take as much as 45min.


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Cross-Discipline When doing the cost estimate in SmartBIM QTO you will want to have only the model in the file, no other buildings etc. When you run the initial takeoff SmartBIM will count all of your objects in your model and provide you with a report. You can go through this report and confirm or change items that you disagree with. When you run the actual estimate, SmartBIM will connect with RS Means construction pricing database to match market material and labour prices with your Revit objects. The actual report is generated in seconds. Any extra time you spend would be on refining the line items. With some refinement it is possible to be within 15% accuracy of a conventional cost estimate. So let’s run these tests on four models and see what trends stand out.

CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE Adventure 1 – Baseline (918 m2, see Figure 3) • Projected Cost Estimate: 1,135,000 • Projected Annual Energy Usage: 233 MWh • LEED Day Lighting Credit: 23%

just the baseline plan rotated 90 degrees, is better for the energy number but not for Daylighting. When we look at the difference between Adventure 1 and 4 (see Figures 3 & 4) we Figure 4 – Adventure 4 - Baseline information can see the LEED Daylighting Credit factor is rising dramatically while the energy usage is dropping. Also, the price of Adventure 4 has risen but not as drastically as Adventure 2. Why don’t we go with Adventure 4 as our direction? Before we move on let’s talk a little about the price. If the price seems too low it’s because it is. We have only walls, floors and roofs made in Revit. If we had more modelled then the price would reflect that. For now this simplicity is a good thing.

REFINE YOUR ADVENTURE Now that we have a direction, let’s do some further analysis. We can start to look a little closer at the site. For instance, we might now be concerned about the wind on the patios. This is where we could again use IES Virtual Environment for wind data. Our Wind Rose could be specific to only the months or even days in which the patios may be in use. Wind from neighbouring buildings can be studied if this is warranted. Since our client is concerned with getting natural daylight we may want to use IES Virtual Environment Radiance tool to perform detailed daylight (see Figure 5) and glare (see Figure 6) studies.

Figure 3 – Adventure 1 - Baseline information Figure 5 –Light penetration results)

Adventure 2 – Clerestory Roofs, Reduced Balconies (918 m2) • Projected Cost Estimate: 1,141,000 • Projected Annual Energy Usage: 235 MWh • LEED Day Lighting Credit: 44% Adventure 3 – Rotated Baseline Plan (918 m2) • Projected Cost Estimate: 1,135,000 • Projected Annual Energy Usage: 220 MWh • LEED Day Lighting Credit: 23% Adventure 4 – Rotated Plan, Reduced Balconies (918 m2, see Figure 4) • Projected Cost Estimate: 1,136,000 • Projected Annual Energy Usage: 221 MWh • LEED Day Lighting Credit: 69% Remember, we are looking for trends. From Adventure 1 to adventure 2 we can see that all numbers are rising. This is good when it comes to the LEED Daylighting credit but we are sacrificing both price and overall energy usage to get there. Adventure 3, which is 10

We can also push our IES VE Toolkit a little harder. Let’s study the envelope by choosing different roof and glass materials. You have the ability to quickly swap out a material of one U/R value for another. This will have a direct bearing on the Energy/Carbon Simulation. We can see and measure which changes will provide the highest gains. Not all possible building material configurations are listed so it may be better to focus on the U or R value. Adventure 4 Envelope Study —Baseline • Roofs: Concrete with 4” Insulation • Glass: Low-E Double Glazing • Projected Annual Energy Usage: 221 MWh Adventure 4 Envelope Study —Roofs • Roofs: Concrete with 9” Insulation • Glass: Low-E Double Glazing

Figure 6 –Window glare results spring_2010

Cross-Discipline •

Projected Annual Energy Usage: 215 MWh

Adventure 4 Envelope Study—Glass • Roofs: Concrete with 9” Insulation • Glass: Low-E Triple Glazing • Projected Annual Energy Usage: 206 MWh This study shows us the effect of changing materials. IES Virtual Environment has the ability to change each layer of the wall and see the accumulative U or R value. In some cases it may surprise us to find what changes have the biggest impact. It may mean spending more money on insulation instead of external sun shades or vice versa. We may want to try to adjust the price to the new materials. You could do this by updating the line items in SmartBIM. This may take a little research on your part. How much more does 9” insulation cost vs. 4” insulation, is it even available? You may not decide to go with the exact material configuration but a similar U or R value. This can take some research to find out the insulation values of certain materials. Now that you have the energy model and the cost estimate it is easier to engage with a consultant and provide them with some advance information. IES North America Consultancy can take your energy model to the next level and then show you how they did it.

DESIGN ADVENTURE SUMMARY: ALL IN A DAY’S WORK... What did we learn by doing these studies: • LEED Daylighting Credit of 69% is 42% better than baseline and 6% off target • Projected Energy Usage of 206 MWh is 13% better than baseline • Envelope study reveals that the roof and glazing materials have a noticeable effect on the energy usage • Initial Cost Estimate reveals a price increase of 11% over baseline • Lighting study reveals high glare on the top level: colours and summer shades considered • Wind study confirms balcony placements and wind screens. • 67% of annual electricity is possible from solar. Examine possible locations for these. • Rain may provide 58% of annual water load Our goal was to take a direction which agrees with the client requirements. This is not always easy as some requirements contradict each other. This may mean making some tough decisions early on. But early decisions always cost less. It’s important to look for trends in our studies. We may even find some things that we weren’t expecting. All of this has to be done quickly and be cost effective. In the end we are looking to create a beautiful, sustainable and affordable building for our clients. This means making the most of our experience and the tools available. So go ahead, flip to the end of the book and design your own adventure.

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by: Daniel Stine

Rooms and Spaces; Revit's Un-built Elements


Most advanced computer applications have features which can be used in a basic way with few user settings and then also in a more sophisticated manner, requiring the user to have an intermediate level of knowledge. This is true with Revit's Rooms and Spaces. This article will provide the reader with a well rounded overview of this feature set in Revit. First you will be presented with a general introduction in case you are new to Revit and then a more detailed look at how these features are, or should be, used within the context of each discipline; Architecture, MEP, Interior Design and Structure.

OVERVIEW Room and Space elements are one of the few things modeled in Revit that a person cannot put their hands on when the project is built. They are used to provide and store information about the various spaces within a building, such as area, volume, finishes, room name and number, etc. User created parameters, information placeholders, can be created to keep track of project specific requirements such as "Government force protection required", "LEED daylighting required", "Medicare space tracking code", etc. Each parameter can be a simple check box, a drop down list or a text box. Revit Architecture uses Rooms and Revit MEP mainly uses Spaces but can also place Rooms. The two elements are identical in almost every way except that a Space can read values from a Room if

they occupy the same area, even if the Room is in a linked model. When a Room or Space is placed, its bottom sticks to the level (datum) it was placed on and its sides search out for an enclosed perimeter. The top position can vary, this will be discussed more later on. The image below illistrates this concept. Note the Room element has been graphically displaced from the actual room to clarify this concept. There are a number of practical concepts which need to be considered when using Rooms and Spaces on a project. When not used properly several problems can arise. Problems with phasing, schedules, room name and number tagging and cross-discipline corrdination can impact the succecss of a project. The remainer of this article will look at discipline specific concepts and issues related to Rooms and Spaces. It is important to understand all of these concepts, even if you only specilize in one discipline becasue your model will impact the other discipline's model.

ARCHITECTURE The Architectural model utilizes Rooms to manage room names and numbers, as well as areas and finishes. The Revit model should only have one Room element per room, per phase. Room Tags are view specific, so they need to be added to each view in which they are needed. Just be careful not to place another Room when you really only want a Room Tag. This happens to a lot of

Figure 1 –Room elements conform to room bounding elements



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Cross-Discipline new users because Room Tags are automatically added to the view in which the Room element is created; so they think of the Room tool as a Room Tag tool. The Tag All tool can be used to quickly add a Room Tag to every Room in a view; Rooms already tagged will not be tagged. However, it is possible to tag a room multiple times. This is necessary when match lines, and dependent views, are used to break up large plans. Not everything in Revit is a Room-Bounding Element. Additionally, the elements which are Room-Bounding can be set to not be. For example, in a housing project the closet area might need to be included in the bedroom area. In this case, the closet wall common to the bedroom can be selected and set to be non-RoomBounding via the Properties Palette. Room-Bounding Elements • Walls (curtain, standard, in-place, face-based) • Roofs (standard, in-place, face-based) • Floors (standard, in-place, face-based) • Ceilings (standard, in-place, face-based) • Columns (architectural, structural with material set to concrete) • Curtain systems • Room separation lines • Building pads When placing a Room, in the architectural model, it is important to be on the correct Level and in the correct Phase. Once a Room is placed the Level and Phase cannot be adjusted, unless you employ a workaround (such as cut and paste aligned). The current view dictates the level and phase the Room element is placed on. Therefore it is necessary to have a view for each phase (Existing, Demo and New Construction). It is also required to have a view for each level a person can walk on, even if the levels are only 6" apart. Figure 2 shows a common scenario for a new or existing building. The Level 1–1971 view might be the only view placed on a sheet, but a Level 1–1953 view is required to place Walls, Doors, Rooms, etc. The floor plan view may look correct if everything was modeled in the Level 1–1971 floor plan view but various problems would arise. For example, interior elevations and sections would not be accurate (especially if the walls and doors were drawing at the higher level), Volumes would be off and the MEP designers would run into problems placing Spaces (more on this in the MEP section). Looking at the image below again, another problem might be placing a Room at the lower level but all the walls have been modeled at the upper level. Things look correct in plan, but Revit cannot find a valid boundary at the lower level in which you are working. Revit only searches for a valid boundary at the level you are working on. A quick section cut will reveal this problem. Change is always occurring during the design process. Revit has a few simple rules when it comes to model changes and Rooms. First, the point you pick then placing a Room has some significance. Where you pick is where the center of the "X" is located. The "X" does not show up by default, except when using the Room


Figure 2 – Room elements placed at wrong level

tool. Both the "X" and colored fill can be manually turned on in a view's Visibility/Graphics Overrides; expand the Room category and check each sub-category. Once placed in the model, to select a Room you must move your cursor around a room until the "X" is highlighted and then click. When deleting a Room, it is not deleted from the project! This is confusing to new users. The only way to delete them is from a room schedule—which may not exist depending on the template the project was started from. This functionality is meant to maintain the information stored in a Room and help maintain the programmed spaces. It is possible to place unplaced Rooms (see previous AUGI article). When a Room is made smaller by an intersecting wall, the Room element will automatically get smaller. Which side of the new wall does the Room favor? The side with the center of the "X". See the image below. Also, when using the Tag All tool, the tag is placed at the center of the "X". So it would be wise then to use some thought when picking the point within a space to place a Room element. Whenever the boundary for a Room is broken, a Room "collapses" to a small rectangle. As soon as the boundary is healed the Room automatically floods the space. It is with hesitation this is mentioned, but if an area of a floor plan was only represented with a 2D AutoCAD link one could place unbounded

Figure 3 – Notice the Room reference point determines the location when the boundary conditions change


Cross-Discipline Rooms and tag them. This would provide the needed tags and schedule entries. The height of the Room element has an impact on the overall BIM project. By default Revit does not calculate volume and Autodesk's Revit "Performance Guide" recommends not to do this for performance reasons. However, this writer believes it is required to make Spaces work properly in the MEP model and avoid problems.

track of volumes), but will help keep Spaces working smoothly in the MEP model. In the partial dialogs shown above one can see the ability to control how Room area is calculated. When the wall is set to centerline, this also includes the centerline of the exterior walls. It is not possible to use the centerline of interior walls and the outside face of exterior walls. See David Baldacchino's Do U Revit notes on "Room Area and Curtain Walls" (

The image below shows how Rooms will extend to the level or height specified no matter what it passes through; this happens when "calculate volumes" is turned off.

Figure 4 – Rooms extend through upper bounding elements when not calculating volumes

The next image shows how the Room's top stops when they hit a room bounding element such as a ceiling or a floor. This is not important in the architectural model (unless you need to keep

Figure 6 – Rooms stop at upper bounding elements when calculating volumes is turned on

The top of the Room conforms to soffits and sloped ceilings as can be seen in the image below. Note that the bottom of walls (i.e. the bulkhead) is not room bounding. This will throw the volume calculations off a little. It is also possible to add Room Tags in a section view. Understand that Rooms are one of the handful of elements which cannot be tagged through a link (tagging linked elements is new to Revit 2011). Rooms can extend up past other levels in multi-story spaces, for example atriums and stair shafts. This allows consistent tagging and scheduling.

Figure 5 – Rooms stop at upper bounding elements when calculating volumes is turned on


When working on existing buildings, Rooms must be placed at least twice. Once in the existing phase and once in the new phase (a room element is needed for each phase). If you place all the existing Rooms you can Copy/Paste Aligned to quickly do most


feature focus

Cross-Discipline of the redundant work. One thing that is tricky is creating a demolition plan view showing the existing room tags. This is due to the fact that the only way demolished walls will show up is if the view's phase is set to New Construction and phase filter is set to Show Previous + Demo, which then turns off the existing Rooms and Room Tags. This can be overcome by creating a dummy view with the phase set to Existing and everything is turned off except Rooms and Room Tags categories. This dummy view can then be placed on top of the demolition plan on the sheet; that is, two views are doubled up on the sheet. TIP: When placing two views on top of each other, Revit will snap the two views into alignment in each direction. This is similar to how it also aligns with the view titles.

having Spaces in addition to Rooms is to separate architectural and engineering information and support a linked model workflow. A few things should be noted when the Electrical or Mechanical designer is setting up their model. The MEP model should Monitor or Copy/Monitor the levels (datum) from the architectural model. This will make sure the MEP levels and architectural levels stay in sync. If the bottom of the spaces do not align there are often problems with Spaces showing the architectural room name and numbers correctly (i.e. not showing or showing the wrong information). Once the architectural link is placed, it should be selected and its Type Properties modified; Room Bounding is selected to make it possible to place Spaces and Phase Mapping should be verified. If the architectural model and MEP models do not have the same phases many problems will pop up. Spaces are placed similarly to Rooms. However, Revit MEP has a very nice "bonus" tool: Place Spaces Automatically. This can only be accessed once the Space tool has been selected. This will add Spaces to every enclosed area (except plenums). Even areas the architects have not added a Room in. This is required when doing energy analysis but is not a problem because it is not required that all Spaces have a Space Tag. So they will not be visible in the construction documents. FYI: Energy modeling programs require all spaces within the building have a Space element. This allows the analysis engine to determine interior versus exterior walls and roofs versus ceilings. It is tricky to place Spaces in plenums, above ceilings. Especially true when the ceiling heights vary, which they usually do. See Revit MEP help for detailed steps on how to do this.

Figure 7 – Room separation lines create boundary conditions where no built geometry exists

Rooms can be further controlled by sketching Room Separation Lines. This special 2D line allows alcoves, waiting areas, open office areas, etc. to be carved out of a larger area within the building as in the image below. However, they must be on the same level (datum) as the bottom of the Room element. If a project has grouped unit plans, it is possible to have Rooms within the Group. Each instance of the Group can have a unique room name and number. If phasing is involved, each phase needs its own Room element within the Group. FYI: Use Room Separation Lines within the Group so the exterior and demising walls do not have to be duplicated within the Group.

MEP Spaces work very similar to Rooms; pretty much everything covered previously on Rooms applies to Spaces. The main reason for 16

All bounding elements in the link are honored, including Room Separation Lines. It is not possible to ignore them (unless the levels do not align vertically). The default Space Tag reports the Space's name and number. However, it is possible to create a custom Space Tag that reports the linked Room's name and number from the architectural model. One thing the MEP designer has to watch is for changing rooms from the linked model. The name and number will update automatically, but if a waiting room and an exam room are swapped this may require the HVAC CFM load parameters to change (or some other room specific parameter value). This type of change is not automatic and no notification is provided. TIP: Turn off "press and Drag" on the Status Bar to make window selections easier. This will prevent Revit from selecting a Space and dragging it rather than starting to select a window. It is possible to use Design Options to develop and maintain bid alternates through construction documents. One option might spring_2010

Cross-Discipline be the base bid and another add alternate. This works well in the architectural and structural models. It also works in the MEP model with the exception that Spaces do not recognize elements in Design Options. Therefore they cannot find a valid boundary. In this case Space Separator Lines must be sketched around the perimeter of each room. In these areas a special Room Tag is needed which reports the Space name and number as the linked information is not available. The Space name and number must be manually edited to match the architectural model (or you can use the Space Naming Utility available with subscription). A Space is required when creating HVAC Zones. When doing heating and cooling loads based on the Revit model, the Spaces should all be assigned to Zones. The Zones element has several instance parameters which contribute to the analysis.

INTERIOR DESIGN (ID) All of the concepts in the Architectural section previously covered apply to the Interior Design (ID) discipline. Additionally, on large ID projects where the ID model is separate from the architectural model, it is possible to use Revit MEP Spaces to setup and manage Room Tags, which would actually be Space Tags. This would allow the tags to be moved around in each room to avoid overlap with furniture and notes. This would require a copy of Revit MEP. All three flavors of Revit (architectural, structural and MEP) can open and manipulate the same model. So the Spaces could be setup with Revit MEP and the design work can be done in Revit Architecture. Unfortunately room finishes must be manually entered into the Room via the Properties Palette. This information is what shows up in a room finish schedule. It is not possible to have this information automatically mapped to the finishes selected for the wall elements. This may be a good thing as it would significantly increase the number of wall types required in a Revit project.

STRUCTURAL Because structural drawings rarely have enclosed boundaries the Room and Space tools are not available. If the structural engineer wants to have the room name and numbers show up temporarily for a desk reference set or client meeting they can select a specific view from the architectural link to display. This will show all notes, dimensions and tags from that specific view as well. Dan Stine, CSI, CDT is a registered Architect with nineteen years experience in the architectural field. He currently works at LHB, a 160 person multidiscipline firm, in Duluth Minnesota as the CAD Administrator, providing training and support for two regional offices. With rare exception, all building projects are completed in Autodesk Revit (Architecture, Structure and MEP) and AutoCAD Civil 3D. Autodesk has featured four of LHB’s projects during the Revit Structure installation process. Dan is a member of the Construction Specification Institute (CSI), the Autodesk Developer Network (ADN) and also teaches AutoCAD and Revit Architecture classes at Lake Superior College. Additionally, he is a certified Construction Document Technician (CDT) and certified Revit Architecture 2010 Professional. Mr. Stine has written the following textbooks (published by SDC Publications; Design Integration using Revit 2011 (Architecture, Structure and MEP) , available this Spring Residential Design Using Revit Architecture 2011 , available May 10th Commercial Design Using Revit Architecture 2011 , available this Spring Residential Design Using AutoCAD 2011 , available this Spring

Once Rooms or Spaces are place it is possible to add color schemes to a view. This allows the designer to color code a plan based on a parameter in the Room or Space, such as department or room name.

Commercial Design Using AutoCAD 2011 , available this Spring Chapters in Architectural Drawing (with co-author Steven H. McNeill, AIA, LEED AP)

TIP: the color scheme can be set to foreground or background via the View Properties on the Properties Palette. However, when set to background you may get undesired results if some content is set to display its 3D elements in plan while others only show 2D line work. The 3D elements will hide the color and the 2D ones will not. So you might have a desk hiding the color and the chairs do not. It is also possible to create schedules that report the room name and number each piece of furniture is located in. Search AUGI for a few threads on creating signage schedules as well.




contributed white paper

BIM for Integrated Design: A Process for Design Analysis

When working together as an integrated design team, there are new and unprecedented opportunities to design high performance buildings using today’s design analysis methods. Traditionally, energy modelers in the United States have had a consistent and fairly straightforward process. They would begin by using the architect’s and MEP engineer’s building designs to run an annual energy simulation. Then they would model the same building according to the ASHRAE baseline standards and compare the two results. The proposed design should score higher than the baseline and the percentage improvement translates almost directly into LEED® points. While this energy modeling process is excellent for providing an objective evaluation of how your building may perform it often occurs too late in the project to have much influence over design decisions. For your analysis to be able to inform your designs you need an integrated design team utilizing analysis software like Autodesk® Ecotect® Analysis software with Autodesk® Green Building Studio® web-service* for faster feedback at the very earliest stages of design.

Design Analysis Process Unlike the ASHRAE process for energy modeling, most design analysis processes are not well defined and have unpredictable outcomes. With so many options, designers and engineers are often lost before they start, simply because they don’t know the right questions to ask. Knowing the right questions really means knowing the right strategies to optimize a design. Strategies such as daylighting, natural ventilation, or passive solar—all of which influence the entire design, from the building form to the details.

tems such as daylight dimming, double facades, and innovative HVAC systems. Although the design analysis process will vary between building types, it should begin with a building information modeling (BIM)-based energy model. This energy model can be created using Autodesk® Revit® MEP or Autodesk® Revit® Architecture software in conjunction with Ecotect Analysis, Green Building Studio, or any other compatible energy modeling software you are familiar with. You should first create a very simple energy model that takes into account building type, size, and location. As a quick check, you should compare the simulated energy consumption against similar types of buildings in the region. You can easily do this by using the Energy Star® functionality built into Green Building Studio web service. From your Revit MEP or Revit Architecture model you can export via the open schema gbXML to Green Building Studio where you can then estimate how much energy is spent on heating, cooling, and lighting—three energy uses that are easily influenced by thoughtful design. Once you begin evaluating the basic energy model you may find that the heating bill is three times your cooling bill. This doesn’t automatically mean that passive solar will be the best approach— you should still do some research, or consult with a local expert on building energy use for your climate zone. In addition, you can use the weather tool in Ecotect Analysis. Ecotect Analysis


Before you begin to evaluate strategies, a distinction should be made between the design analysis process for buildings that are skin-load dominated (such as a single family house) versus internal-load dominated (such as an office building or convention center). Think of this distinction as the building’s metabolic rate. If your building is very active it will generally need cooling and lots of fresh air; if it is not very active it will be sensitive to temperature, particularly in cold climates. Buildings with low metabolic rates generally rely on passive strategies, such as thermal mass, solar design, and tempered air. On the other hand, buildings with higher metabolic rates tend to rely on active sys18



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Architects and engineers working together in integrated design teams have new opportunities to design high performance buildings. spring_2010

Windows ÂŽ. Life without Wallsâ&#x201E;˘. HP recommends Windows 7.

Go from concept to completion with Autodesk Revit on the HP Z600 Workstation This project could be the most important project of your life, or the culmination of a long career filled with important projects. Either way it deserves your best efforts, the utmost attention to detail so that form and function are married together into one, perfect whole. Autodesk Revit gives you the parametric, associative design tools needed to turn ideas into realities. The HP Z600 Workstation provides the power and performance to do it efficiently.

The HP Z600 Workstation offers the pure power and performance of up to two Intel Xeon, quad or six-core processors*, expansive and expandable memory, and the ISV certified graphics solutions needed to conceptualize, model, simulate and realize your biggest and best ideas. From a school building to a whole city center, Autodesk Revit and the HP Z600 Workstation give you the tools to perform. *Multi-Core technologies are designed to improve performance of multithreaded software products and hardware-aware multitasking operating systems and may require appropriate operating system software for full benefits; check with software provider to determine suitability; Not all customers or software applications will necessarily benefit from use of these technologies. Systems may require upgraded and/or separately purchased hardware and/or a DVD drive to install the Windows 7 software and take full advantage of Windows 7 functionality. See com/windows/windows-7/ for details. Š 2010 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. Intel and Xeon are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

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contributed white paper

software’s passive strategies analysis helps you quickly determine what strategies will be most effective for reducing heating and cooling loads for your climate. When you overlay this level of information with your base energy model, you can instantly spot the low hanging fruit for improvements. Bear in mind that the passive strategies analysis is most relevant with skin-load dominated buildings. For internal-load dominated buildings, there are other considerations (described later in this article).

your Revit MEP or Revit Architecture baseline energy model. Once you have determined the best passive strategy/strategies for reducing your heating and cooling loads, Ecotect Analysis can then be used to help evaluate these strategies at the level of detail necessary to define the architectural forms and design details.

SKIN-LOAD DOMINATED BUILDINGS An ideal first step for skin-load dominated buildings is to compare the passive strategies analysis from Ecotect’s weather tool with

Start with an early design model, whose building form has been influenced by programmatic and site constraints, or simply by the client’s interests.

Weather Tool Passive Strategies Analysis overlaid with Ecotect Thermal Analysis. On the left is a passive solar strategy overlay for Newcastle, UK. The yellow box shows the range of temperature and humidity where people are comfortable while the red region shows the effectiveness of any given strategies (in this case it is showing that passive solar is ineffective). On the right are active cooling strategies for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The yellow lines here break up the temperature and humidity ranges into associated active strategies that will be effective for cooling.

Here is a typical design analysis process for a skin-load dominated building:

Heating/Cooling • Determine envelope and internal heating and sensible cooling periods from a thermal analysis. √ Reduce solar gains during the cooling period with passive solar shading. √ Improve solar gains during the heating period with south glazing. √ Devise a strategy to store excess solar gain using thermal mass inside the envelope. √ Devise a strategy to migrate your thermal barrier after sunset with the use of features such as sunspaces or window curtains (residential). • Study summer prevailing winds and modify the interior layout to allow cross-ventilation. Daylight and Views • Determine worst case daylight levels √ Increase the overall daylight area through the careful placement of windows, light shelves, and interior partitions. √ Reduce the amount of glass on non-south facades. √ Protect against glare by studying luminance on interior surfaces (non-residential).

Weather Tool Passive Strategies Analysis overlaid with Ecotect Thermal Analysis. This image shows the heating and cooling required for Denver Colorado. The most effective passive strategies shown are passive solar heating (red overlay) and evaporative cooling (pink overlay). Passive solar is a successful strategy due the large amount of solar radiation, while evaporative cooling works well in the summer because the air is shown as being very dry.


Skin-load dominated residential building. Design and Images Courtesy of Amanda Hansen, University of Wyoming spring_2010



152500 Original design and the daylighting analysis of the main floor of a skin-load dominated building.

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contributed white paper


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Heat (Gas)





Other (Elec)









The energy-use breakdown, including lighting, for an internal-load dominated building. A modified building design featuring a larger second-story window and the resulting daylighting analysis and grid. Note the increased amount of light in the interior spaces of the building.

A winter and summer solar analysis of the modified building design.

able. Therefore, determining the best strategy or strategies for an internal-load dominated building requires a more iterative investigation with an integrated design team. This, in turn, requires an early commitment from the client and project stakeholders. Your results may clearly indicate a specific building performance strategy. For example, you may find that a daylight-driven design is more effective than a design intended to minimize surface heat loss (e.g. a bar vs. a cylinder). Or perhaps you’ll discover that a ventilation-driven design (oriented for cross ventilation or with an atrium for stack ventilation) is optimal. But if early energy modeling does not clearly point towards one strategy (or one combination of strategies), there are still building performance rules of thumb to guide your decision-making process. For example: • Daylight won’t save you any energy if your lighting control systems are not designed for sensor dimming. • Glare in workspaces makes daylighting ineffective because it causes the occupants to close their blinds.

INTERNAL-LOAD DOMINATED BUILDINGS For internal-load dominated buildings, you will need to compare the associated heating and cooling energy with lighting and other electricity use. In this situation, you should simulate multiple scenarios to determine areas for energy savings. When designing internal-load dominated buildings, you need to consider that the lighting and equipment loads will work with the heating loads and against the cooling loads. Remember that when you turn on a light you’re actually turning on a mini space heater. Conversely, a daylight-driven building design typically works with the cooling loads and against the heating loads due to increased envelope heat loss, better solar control, and better access to ventilation. In order to capture this benefit, it is critical that the lights are controlled in some manner to ensure that the “mini space heaters” are turned off when sufficient daylight is availspring_2010

Internal-load dominated office building


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contributed white paper

Analysis images showing a well daylit space that is free of glare on a sunny day

Solar analysis of a untreated façade during cooling season

• Solar gain through windows is not beneficial after your building heats up, unless you are in an extremely cold climate. • Daylight dimming during the cooling season is a double bonus on energy savings because it reduces the unwanted heat gains in your space. • Solar heating requires a great deal of winter sunlight and proper orientation. Many cold climates don’t have enough sunlight to offset the heat-loss through south glazing. • Horizontal shading strategies are effective on all orientations for daylighting since they bounce daylight to interior spaces while blocking the hot summer sun. • Carrying out a “whole building energy analysis” of this sort done by Green Building Studio will automatically account for the interactions between lighting, heating, cooling and other systems. To study these “rule of thumb” design considerations you need a detailed model with more accurate geometry. Ecotect Analysis excels at evaluating these green design strategies in detail and, if you are using Ecotect Analysis in conjunction with Revit Architecture, you can more easily analyze building performance at the required level of detail. 22

Solar analysis of building massing during cooling period

Solar analysis of a treated façade during cooling season.

CONCLUSION Using an integrated team and an iterative design analysis process, you can often make the right building design decisions early on with confidence and clarity. If your building types are very complex and it is unclear which strategies will have the best payoff, you can still use analysis to avoid potential problems while providing the best level of performance given your programmatic, climatic, and site constraints. Using Autodesk Revit Architecture and Revit MEP with Autodesk Ecotect Analysis helps give the design team a greater advantage in understanding building performance during the design process. *Autodesk customers who add Subscription to their Autodesk Ecotect Analysis license can access whole building analysis capabilities via the Autodesk® Green Building Studio® web-based service for the duration of their Subscription, subject to the terms of use that accompanies the service. Autodesk, AutoCAD, Ecotect, Green Building Studio, and Revit are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates, in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications spring_2010

and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document. ©2010 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.

Inside the Factory blog spot

Jon Allen Gardzelewski is the owner of Freeform Energy, a design and consulting company which specializes in high performance buildings. He has practiced architecture in San Francisco, Portland, Washington DC, Paris, and London, becoming an expert in both Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Building Performance Analysis. Jon also teaches at the University of Wyoming where he collaborates with building systems engineers for architectural design studios that focus on integrated design.

RETOURNER AND FEATURE STORIES Hello! I’m back from a break and ready to re-take up blogging. Thanks to Tom for his efforts to keep the information flowing. As many fellow bloggers out there know ..its work. I was fortunate to visit some great cities: Amsterdam, Cologne, Munich, Bern and Lucern. The U.S. should look to its past and across the ponds to re-establish some decent rail service. It was really a treat riding speeding ICE trains that arrived exactly on time and dropped me off right where I wanted to be. …anyways back to work. I’ve gotten some first and second hand feedback that people enjoy posts that provide insight into factory feature production. Given this I’ll make an effort to share some stories on some 2011 features and start with ....custom elevation tags. The first thought of anyone who didn’t learn Revit this year is probably what took so $%#&@#* long. .........yeah....ummm.....sorry..about that. The main complicating issue was the fact that elevation tags differ from all the other symbols in that they supported multiple views. This required a different solution and complications kept inflating estimates requiring more people to be involved who were already booked ect....ect... Believe me we wanted to solve this guy and it was a real let down each year when it remained an open issue. 2011 it was do or die. This thing would not get the better of us. Lets review some solutions that were explored over the years. Allow one to choose a symbol to use for the arrows and one for the body. This seemed fine yet the body and arrows are closely related making it difficult to imagine how one could make the content so it all lined up properly in the project. When you edit a section head or tail they are always separated so they don’t affect each other. Not so with elevation tags. Imagine someone iterating for a long time trying to get it right. Additionally no joy for those who needed flexibility in the number or direction of the arrows.


Philip (Chico) Membreno is a LEEP AP certified professional with over 15 years of experience in the AEC Industry. Currently, Chico is Autodesk’s Technical Marketing Manager for Architecture and Sustainable Design where his primary focus is building information modeling (BIM). Prior to joining Autodesk, Chico practiced as an architect for 10 years in the Boston area.

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contributed white paper

Draw the arrows and body in the same family and use a parameter or subcategory to assign line work to a view direction or the body. This was workable yet again didn’t allow for flexibility in view direction or the number of views. We’d have to hard code the directions (up/down/ left/right) and the number of views (4). It would also be possible to assign a left arrow to a right view or forget to make an assignment which is stupid. It looked like a very manual and error prone process. Copy Section code to the Elevation category This would allow you to place something like a section but Revit would treat it as an elevation. Let’s just call this a hack. It would be a gesture but leave many requirements on the table - multiple interior views for instance. Nesting! This was the breakthrough. One could make an arrow symbol and nest it into the body symbol. This would allow the arrow to behave as a single thing rather than a bunch of lines and one could accurately position it relative to the body previewing the final assembly. The view direction would be inferred by the system and the number of arrows could be 1 - n. Happy Joy Joy! There was a concern that family nesting was too advanced to be a required skill yet BIM managers typically make the content. We would also ship examples for modification. All examples we had collected were now possible as well as some unconventional examples: Work left to do? Sections have an embedded behavior where the symbol line maintains a horizontal orientation. Many would like to see this capability in elevation tags. Currently this only works for the lines in the section content we ship so there would need to be some UI exposed to allow you to specify if a line can rotate or not. Please share any additional items below. Next In an upcoming post I’ll continue this story as work hardly ended once we had the design. Features often encounter something I like to call “Lurking Evil”. In this project it came in many forms. Subscribe to Inside the Factory at http://insidethefactory.typepad. com/my_weblog/


feature focus


by: Lonnie Cumpton

Linking Revit Files


WHY WOULD YOU EVER WANT TO LINK TWO REVIT PROJECTS TOGETHER? When talking about linking Revit projects together most people think about multi-discipline linking. This is when you link a structural model to an architectural model or an architectural model to an MEP model. That is very common and a simple concept that most everyone understands. This article is not asking the question of multi-discipline project linking, but of inner-discipline project linking. Why would you ever want to link two architectural Revit projects together? About 3 or 4 years ago this was a hotly debated topic. It was a conversation that was challenging the Revit single model theory that dominated Revit use at the time. At that time the answer was simple “project size”. Back then 64 bit Revit was not available and if you wanted to pull off a very large project in Revit you had to break the model into smaller parts so that you could get the complete project into Revit. This really limited what types of organizations explored project linking. Even today it is not uncommon to meet Revit users that have never linked two Revit projects together. What is even more surprising is that what took two words to answer just a few years ago now takes pages to understand. In this article we will look at why, when and how you might want to consider linking project files together. Even more importantly is what Revit 2011 has in it to make project linking better than ever.

THINGS THAT TEND TO MAKE US THINK ABOUT PROJECT LINKING. Attempting to compile a complete list of why you may want to link projects together is a distraction. It is a better use of your time to focus on the really important reasons. Keeping this in mind, the list below represents some of the more common workflow process that will likely cause a project team to consider project linking. • Project Size • Work Sharing (large teams, multiple offices working on the same project at the same time) • Model Security (preventing accidental core model modification) • Project Phasing / Venue Delivery Packages • Outsourcing Project Work • Hardware Performance • Remote Model Access Almost any situation can lead you to a point that you may want to consider project linking. The key is to make sure the effort of linking projects does not outweigh the benefit that it might bring to the project. Without question a single model working environment should always be the first option to consider. Simply put it is just easier when all of the data is in the same place and accessible at the same time. The very nature of project linking causes you to start separating data into different locations. This will take you to a point when a user is in one model and needs to edit data in another model and has to close the model they are in and open the other to make the edit. This adds 24

time and overhead to the project. The more links you add, the more this is likely to happen. With this in mind you need to have a process that you use when considering adding linking to a project. This process should be part of your project kickoff meeting and should be designed to answer yes or no to the project linking question. The details of how the linking will be done can be addressed later but at your kick-off meeting you need to know if you are going to use project linking or not. If you cannot answer the question now it is best to not use linking, consider it later instead. It is usually more difficult to start a project using linking and then try to reverse the linking process than to introduce a linking strategy later.

TO LINK OR NOT TO LINK IS A PROJECT KICKOFF QUESTION. At your project kickoff meeting you will be setting into motion the plan for completing the project. All of the normal topics that you already cover at the kick off meeting are the exact topics that you need to consider when answering the link or not to link question. When I am asked to look at a project and consider if linking is a good idea or not I use the follow list of questions as a start to the process. 1. What is the overall size of the project? 2. What consultants are using Revit? 3. What is the size of the team and where are they physically located? a. What are the team expansion plans if the project gets behind schedule? b. Will an outsourcing firm be used on the project? 4. What are the project deliverables? a. What is the schedule for the deliverable and how do they relate to each other? b. What team members are assigned to what deliverables? c. What flexibility is needed in moving team members around on deliverables? (This one is critical if you have multiple locations) 5. What are the hardware limitations of the team? a. Is 64 bit operating system available to all team members? b. What is the lowest hardware spec on the team? c. What are the network connection speeds between team members? As you develop a list of questions for your organization you will need to add and remove questions based on your organization standard project/process types. For example if your organization has multiple offices then the questions about team members and project deliverable assignments will need to be explored in more detail. When you work with projects that are using linking, some areas of the Revit workflow process become critical. Understanding those and preparing for them can help eliminate problems in the linking process.


Windows ®. Life without Walls™. HP recommends Windows 7.

Go Beyond 3D to Digital Prototyping with Autodesk Inventor and the HP Z400 Workstation AutoCAD Inventor provides the tools mechanical engineers need to design, model, simulate and prototype their creations in a virtual environment. The HP Z400 Workstation gives AutoCAD Inventor the power and performance to do all of this without shattering your budget or making compromises in quality, reliability and expandability.

Cutting-edge quad-core processors from Intel, high performance memory, Autodesk certified professional 3D graphics and Microsoft Windows 7 Professional give HP Z400 Workstation users the tools they need to design and analyze their designs more efficiently, greatly improve their personal productivity and seize competitive advantage.

1. This system may require upgraded and/or separately purchased hardware and/or a DVD drive to install the Windows 7 software and take full advantage of Windows 7 functionality. See windows/windows-7/ for details. 2. Quad-Core technologies are designed to improve performance of multithreaded software products and hardware-aware multitasking operating systems and may require appropriate operating system software for full benefits; check with software provider to determine suitability; Not all customers or software applications will necessarily benefit from use of these technologies. © Copyright 2010 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. Intel is a trademark of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

feature focus

Cross-Discipline WORKSETS WITH LINKED PROJECTS Worksets play a big role in the project linking process. When you get ready to link a project the first thing you should do is create a new workset for it. As a standard process I recommend creating a unique workset for each project you link. If your start the name of each link workset with the same name they will group together in the workset list (see Figure 1).

open dialog box you can use the “specify” option to control what worksets you want open (see Figure 3). If your linked projects are set to the workset then you are controlling what links are loaded at startup. This technique is critically important when working with large projects that have several project links.

Figure 1- Worksets for each link help manage the linked file

Make sure the workset is active before you link your project. Moving the link to the workset after it has been linked will not give you the same result. Once the project has been linked to the specific workset you can control visibility of that link with the visibility/graphics overrides dialog box in the worksets tab. In Revit 2011 those options have been extended to Show, Hide and Use Global Settings (see Figure 2).

Figure 2- Visibility/Graphics control over Worksets has changed with Revit 2011.

The most important reason behind creating a workset for each link is so you can control the loading and unloading of the linked project by simply opening and closing the worksets. This allows you to control what links are loaded when you open your project. In the


Figure 3- Specifying which worksets to load while importing and linking a file.

The Workset theme continues to be important in linking projects when you consider how much of a project you want to link. You will find that often you may want to display selected parts of a project. In the “Import/Link” dialog box you will see the arrow next to the open button that allows you to select specify option. This allows you to control what worksets you want to be linked from the linked project. An example of this could be when linking the tower projects to the podium project. You may not need to see all of the levels of the tower but just the lower levels that interact directly with the podium. By creating your lower levels of the tower on a select set of worksets and then using the specify option when linking the projects you can reduce the hardware demand for loading and working with the project. This technique will allow you to do more with less and reduce the all demanding load times of your project. Before Revit 2011 the downside to using this technique was that after you had linked the project and specified what worksets to load you could not see what workset were closed or opened on a specific link. The only way to know what was or was not loaded was to document it at the time when you linked the project. Revit 2011 has dramatically changed this situation making this process significantly more manageable. First in the Manage Links dialog box you will find a new button called “Manage Worksets”. This tool will allow you to see what worksets are open or closed on any link (see Figure 4). Second you will find view specific control of linked worksets in the “Visibility/Graphic Override” dialog box in the “Revit Links” tab. Select the “By Host View” button, then select the “Custom” radio button and change the tab to “Worksets”. After you change the Worksets option pull down to “Custom” you will be able to control what worksets are visible for that view (see Figure 5).


and ask why this object not in the other model. It is not uncommon to get caught up in the project and have something modeled in the wrong place and simply not think about it.

Figure 4- The new Manage Worksets button in the Manage Links dialog.

Figure 5- Visibility/Graphics overrides in action.

This view specific control of linked project workset has never been available before and unlocks endless variations of what is visible from a linked project. Before we move on from the view specific display control of linked projects you will also want to look at the “Basics” tab and look at the View filters pull down list. This will allow you to apply a view filter, that you may have as part of the current view, to the linked project (see Figure 6). These new tools take control and management of linked project data to a completely new level.

WHERE SHOULD I CREATE SHEETS IN A PROJECT WITH LINKED DATA This is another area that some advance planning will pay off big if you take the time to ask the questions before you start linking projects. All of the questions about deliverables get you the answers you need to determine what project files you should put your sheets and documentation information into. If you’re first deliverable is a core and shell package, then it is safe to say one model should be a core and shell model and the documentation for that package should be in that model. In general the best place for the documentation of an object is in the model that the object lives in. Unfortunately that is not always an option. Before you put the documentation of an object into a different model you should double check yourself spring_2010

feature focus


Figure 6- Applying a View Filter to a linked project increases your options for managing linked files.

When considering documenting something in another model you need to remember that some things cannot be referenced through links. For example section / detail callouts cannot be seen from a linked model. View specific annotation or tags can been seen from a linked view but you must setup a view in the linked model and use the “Visibility/Graphic Override” tools to set the linked model to that view. In Revit 2011 we have been given some tools to help us with this process. For example it is possible to tag several objects like doors and windows that live in the linked project in the current project. This is the first time we have been able to read object data from a linked project in the current project and allow a reaction (tagging) to that data. This is a massive improvement to the workflow process and will change the way we document our project in the future. Unfortunately some objects cannot be tagged through the linked project like rooms and spaces. I am confident that Autodesk will add rooms in the future. With some planning and basic setup of the Revit process I am sure you will be able to easily answer the question of “Why would you ever want to link two Revit projects together?” Understanding the technology associated with Building Information Modeling (BIM) isn’t the only challenge faced by the building design and construction industry. With over 17 years of design, production and management experience. Lonnie brings a unique understanding of how technology can be integrated into organizations. Keeping an organization grounded in fundamental business practices, while capitalizing on current and future technology trends has become his passion. Helping to mentor the industry into the age of BIM is his goal. You can follow Lonnie and his efforts to accomplish his goals on


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by: Glenn Jowett

Collaboration Using a Single Model


One thing that makes Revit stand out from the crowd in the AEC world is that Revit comes as three discipline specific products: Revit Architecture, Revit Structure, and Revit MEP. These three products succeed where others in the past have failed because all three disciplines can be fully integrated with ease. In this article I will offer an alternative solution to the integration of all three disciplines using Revit as the main design / documentation tool. Multidiscipline Collaboration on a Single Central File is a different workflow to the traditional linked file and copy / monitor method. It requires multiple disciplines within a design team to utilize one central file, split into worksets to produce a Revit model and construction documents. This methodology is suited to multidiscipline consultancies large and small. The image in Figure 1 is just one example of a project that we’ve used this approach with successfully.

Figure 1- Structural framing and services for a new build Tea Factory in New Zealand

WHY USE A MULTIDISCIPLINE CENTRAL FILE? From a collaboration point of view, a multidiscipline central file will mean nothing is modelled twice, and everything is fully coordinated. Currently we find the majority of Architects will model structural slabs, structural walls, columns and beams. The Revit Structure user will come in and model the structural slabs, structural walls, columns and beams all to the correct size as per the design. This information doesn’t always make it back into the Architects model, resulting in the Architect showing the incorrect structural steel sizes and referring back to the Structural Engineers drawings. Isn’t this asking for trouble? In addition, the Revit Structure user will copy / monitor any timber framing from the Architects model that may need to be shown in certain sections and details. By this stage we have two of every major component in the project. Next it is the Revit MEP users turn; they start by modelling a ceiling (because Revit doesn’t allow copy / monitor of ceilings) and also copy / monitor most of


the walls in a project. Once all three disciplines are involved, we have two to three copies of every major component in a project. One single central file means we only do things once, and everyone owns and only models what belongs to them. This means the model will be coordinated as it is constructed, as opposed to coordination reviews taking place at set stages during the design and documentation stages. This can only result in increased productivity, and improved documentation.

THE WORKFLOW NEEDS TO CHANGE For a multidiscipline single central file to work effectively, the timing of each disciplines input into the Revit model needs to be thought about carefully. Ideally the basic footprint of the building, grids, and floor levels need to be set before any Structural and Services input into the Revit model. The Architects may have to put in more work up front, to the point that Architectural developed design is almost complete when the structural developed design starts to make its way into the Revit model. I appreciate there are always time constraints on projects, tight deadlines, 50% and 75% design reviews, but if the Structural model can start to take shape as late as possible, you will have a much more successful project, and larger profit margin, in comparison to starting the model early and updating the model as the design changes. COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS Communication within the design team always has and always will be critical to the coordination process and the workflow of a project. Revit does have collaboration tools that can improve communication between disciplines, but this should not replace a much more traditional approach i.e. a phone call, or even an email to discuss design changes that could have an impact on the other disciplines. In my experience with Revit, I am seeing less and less communication between the “drafting teams.” If anything Revit requires much more communication than the old AutoCAD days, to make sure this happens the Revit team (the lead Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP modellers) should hold Revit meetings, similar to the design team meetings held by Engineers and Architects, to discuss any Revit related issues in the project. The Revit team should hold a Revit meeting before the project starts, this first meeting should be used to identify when each discipline should start to model, outline who will set up the central file, where the central file will reside, who will model what, and who will own what. The Revit team should then hold Revit meetings on a regular basis throughout the duration of a project. If all three disciplines are working under one roof, set up a project team. Sit the Revit Technicians from each discipline in the same spring_2010

Cross-Discipline area, this will only improve communication and coordination, and can only lead to increased productivity. On large scale projects, a Revit Manager should be appointed to project manage the Revit model and the Revit team.

PRODUCE ACCURATE MODELS We rely on each other’s work, so all Revit Technicians should take the time to go that extra mile to get things right. Don’t model something that “looks right” on a drawing at a scale of 1:100, and produce the 1:10 detail using a drafting view and detail lines. Make sure it is accurate within the Revit model.

control is required for naming conventions, browser organisation, etc. • A naming convention for usernames can be a great help when working on a multidiscipline central file, an example would be the name of the user + their extension number i.e. Glenn Jowett – Ext. 8144. Remember communication is critical. • If each discipline uses the same title sheet, it is important to add discipline specific parameters to the title sheet family, i.e. Structural Drawing Number, Architectural Drawing Number, etc. • Everyone must use the same release and build of Revit.

If we construct an inaccurate model, what chance do we have of producing accurate construction documents? Guidelines should be set up that detail the best practice methods for constructing a Revit model. All Revit users should follow these guidelines, keeping the construction of Revit models consistent throughout the company. This will ensure any Revit user can step in and work on any project at any time, with minimal complications.

SETTING UP A MULTI-DISCIPLINE CENTRAL FILE A multi-discipline central file should be set up and managed by a single user. This user could be a nominated person from the Revit team on a small scale project, or the Revit Manager on a large scale project. Close attention should be paid to the following stages of the file set up. • Central file location - If the project is going to span across offices or regions the central file should be set up on a server that has a good connection speed for all remote users. If the project is ‘in house’ (all disciplines under one roof) the central file should be set up on a local server that can be accessed by all disciplines. • Worksets - Worksets within a multidiscipline central file should be set up for at least each individual discipline I.e. Architecture, Structure, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing. It may be necessary to set up more than one workset for each discipline, or break the building up into worksets. This should be discussed in a Revit team meeting, before the central file is set up. Consider owning the worksets you are using, this will make sure no other discipline can interfere with your elements – easier said than done, but worth a thought on smaller scale projects. Phantom users could be created to lock down certain worksets i.e. Levels and Grids. The phantom user could be the Revit manager, who would set up the levels and grids at the start of the project, and take ownership of the workset. CONSIDERATIONS • It will be necessary to set up a Revit project template that is suitable for use across multiple disciplines, keep this simple, and don’t overload it with too many families. Line weights and line styles will need a lot of thought, and view templates for each discipline are a must. • The project browser should be set up to list Type/Discipline; this will break down the views specific to each Revit flavour. Careful management of the project browser is essential;


Figure 2- Exterior view of a new build Tea Factory in New Zealand

THE FUTURE This article only scratches the surface of multidiscipline collaboration on a single central file, but I think the key to successful multidiscipline collaboration is to set boundaries and guidelines from the start of a project, pay special attention to the timing of each disciplines input into the model, and open up the lines of communication between disciplines. If you can stick to these three basic principles you will soon see the benefits of single central file collaboration. Glenn Jowett is the National Revit Structure Leader for Opus International Consultants, based in Wellington New Zealand. His role is to assist in the implementation of Revit within Opus New Zealand, working closely with Revit Structure, Revit Architecture and Revit MEP Leaders in New Zealand, Australia, and England. This role involves training, family development and supporting new users. Before moving to New Zealand in January 2008, Glenn built up over 3 years experience in Structural documentation and detailing in England using various versions of AutoCAD. Glenn can be contacted at


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by: Doug Eberhard

Sustainable Infrastructure The benefits of Autodesk BIM at a project and city scale


CALTRANS PRESIDIO PARKWAY When I got this AUGI opportunity to do a story around Sustainability, Revit and how it’s been applied to an important transportation or city-scale infrastructure project, one particular project came to mind. The Caltrans Presidio Parkway project in San Francisco was already using an integrated Civil3D, Navisworks and 3dsMax Design model for engineering & construction and was featured in 3 different AU main stage presentations last year, see Figure 1. It was a great project to talk about given its sustainable approach to environmental, economic, social, and infrastructure safety concerns. There was a Revit Structure pilot being considered to improve upon current 2D bridge design methods being employed and further enhance the BIM modeling effort already underway. There was also an effort to incorporate new high definition laser scans from Caltrans survey department into this BIM-centric model. This would help verify accuracy of the BIM model and existing conditions, while providing a more comprehensive and holistic digital means to support other contracts and tasks for this billion dollar project. This BIM use, and re-use, was in effect creating a new kind of “digital sustainability” that would serve the project, city and regional needs today as well as tomorrow. Seemed like a perfect fit.

said that PB was in fact using Revit in conjunction with Civil3D, Navisworks and other Autodesk BIM solutions on a number of transportation and infrastructure projects, from roads to rail to airports and even entire city models. PB had actually been building a BIM base model for San Francisco and the Bay Area that was being used to support ongoing BIM efforts on several different projects. I soon learned that there was in fact a more important story to tell about how BIM was being applied at an city or urban scale and how tools like Revit and others were making a dramatic impact in winning and delivering new work in a better way. This is how the story unfolded. It all started about four years ago, when a Navisworks 4D modeling task (3D model + schedule) for the Caltrans San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge project was proposed to look at constructability issues related to having multiple large scale independent construction contracts occurring concurrently within a tight confined area. This BIM work expanded to working with TY Lin, the structural designers of the bridge to perform clash detection between the PB designed MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing) within the TY Lin designed self anchored suspension bridge. PB had been steadily improving its BIM capabilities on other projects, so when large set of 2D MEP drawings and specifications were delivered to Caltrans, and needed to be coordinated with the structural and architectural elements of the bridge, PB was ready to meet the challenge. “It was hard to understand how all the parts would fit together and get constructed” commented one project engineer. BIM or 3D/4D modeling looked like the right way to go. The deliverable was a fully coordinated model that allowed team members to see the design and plan for construction in a way that had previously not been achievable using 2D methods, see Figure 2. The impacts of moving from 2D to 3D to Building Information Modeling (BIM) on this one task created additional opportunities to address similar needs on other parts of the project.

Figure 1- Presidio Parkway Project - Navisworks 5D model integrating cost loaded schedule form Primavera with Civil3D design model

A BIGGER STORY I then spoke with the BIM Project Manager, Brady Nadell P.E. with Parsons Brinkerhoff(PB), who had been leading this innovative work and asked him what he thought about writing this story. He said it sounded like a good idea, but suggested there was an even bigger and better BIM story beyond this project. He 30

Figure 2- SFO Bay Bridge Project - Navisworks 4D model showing master construction schedule simulation


Cross-Discipline A Navisworks 4D model was then requested to look at construction phasing for the overall bridge and approach structures. Autodesk BIM tools and deliverables were then used to look at pre-fabrication and construction logistics for several construction elements and contracts. Navisworks deliverables even got specified in an integrated shop drawing contract where clash reporting and schedule simulations became the norm. What started as a Microstation 2D design standard had become an Autodesk BIM deliverable and it didn’t stop there. The project has gone on to utilize Autodesk BIM solutions to visualize, simulate and communicate numerous complex project issues. As in the Presidio Parkway project, PB has also integrated point cloud data from Caltrans into the Bay Bridge BIM model which has improved its accuracy, integrity and extensibility. There is even a new bike and roadway design project for the City of San Francisco that interfaces with the Bay Bridge project and PB already has the BM base model ready to take this effort forward using Civil3D in conjunction with the overall BIM model that already exists.

EXPANDING SCOPE Even more intriguing is the fact this Bay Bridge BIM effort and evolving city-scale BIM base model has gone on to be used for Presidio Parkway and other key projects. PB is now providing design services to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on the Central Subway Project where both Revit and Civil3D have been written into the contract. PB has been able to utilize this BIM “Base Model” for the greater San Francisco city area on all three projects and this has saved considerable time and money over having to build accurate base models and shared elements for each project individually, see Figure 3.

Figure 3- SFMTA Central Subway Project - Revit and Civil3D used for tunnel, track and station design.

In between all this work, PB has successfully implemented BIM solutions and deliverables on other projects in the area. For the Caltrans District 4 880/92 Interchange reconstruction project, PB developed a comprehensive Civil3D and Navisworks model used for constructability review, construction planning and logistics. This project took 2D design and 3D DTM data that enabled Caltrans and project team members to see the project in a new way and address costly issues in a more collaborative and intuitive spring_2010

way. They found and fixed potential issues ”virtually” in the computer first, before any construction began in reality. “All projects should be done this way” commented Caltrans leaders on several occasions (see Figure 4 for an example).

Figure 4- Caltrans 880/92 Interchange Reconstruction - Civil3D / Navisworks 4D Model

GOING FORWARD What began as an internal BIM initiative at PB, and an MEP 4D modeling task order for the Bay Bridge project, soon turned into a robust BIM base model for the Bay Area and a new set of BIM specifications, deliverables and opportunities for other critical city and regional infrastructure projects. Technical and non-technical stakeholders have been able to understand these projects better and be assured that what they see is more accurate and accountable over traditional 2D ways of doing things. Project teams and leaders say they want to do all projects this way in the future and achieve this kind of digital sustainability to support the actual sustainability of their cities, buildings infrastructure. Autodesk BIM solutions like Revit, Civil3D, Navisworks and others have played a significant role in this transformation. The city of San Francisco and surrounding Bay Area now have a credible BIM foundation for these projects and others that will better serve the needs of its agencies, professionals, communities and citizens for years to come. For over 24 years, Doug Eberhard has created and implemented innovative computer model-based solutions on over $120 Billion of Capital Planning, Design and Construction projects around the world. As the former CTO of Parsons Brinckerhoff(PB), Doug helped pioneer numerous unique and award-winning solutions to visually and virtually manage and communicate proposed projects using 3D visualization, Building Information Modeling (BIM), Web Collaboration and Project Information Management Systems. Doug started PB’s strategic technology and BIM initiatives in 2003 and founded several computer modeling, visualization and technology group during his 18 years there. Doug has been a featured speaker at numerous industry, media and academic events and is a founding member of the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board - Geometric Visualization Committee. Doug was named to the Carnegie Mellon Presidents Advisory Board in 2007 and has been an advisor to several AEC companies and industry consortia.



product review

by: Elizabeth Chodosh

Product Review - CodeBook version 9.0


Cannon Design recently started looking long and hard at programming tools that meet the demands of our healthcare, laboratory, and education planning teams to “take spreadsheet (Excel, Access) data to and from Revit.” There are a lot of different tools available to any enterprising firm, including Autodesk’s own Revit Database Link tool that recently graduated from Autodesk Labs. We use many database tools at Cannon Design, and most recently began implementing CodeBook on a pilot test case for one of our projects. Being a newly minted user means that I, like the rest of my team, have a lot of outstanding questions for long-term implementation at a firm as large as Cannon Design. And, while we see the potential, we have only just begun to explore the software to its capacity. This article is an overview of what we’ve found so far. To begin with, what is this software, anyway? The following description is found at the Codebook website. Codebook is the computer application and database that allows the designer to work with coordinated graphical and textual information, producing schedules, themed graphical views and room data sheets. CodeBook is used by all members of the design team from inception to completion [including]: • Architects • Services Consultants • Healthcare Planners • Contractors • Health Trusts • Facilities Managers There really is a lot in a name. For reference, in cryptography, a codebook is a document used for implementing a code. In social sciences, a codebook is a document containing list of codes used in research. And, Codebooks were also used in 19th- and 20th-century commercial codes for the non-cryptographic purpose of data compression. Generally, this software “sortakinda” does all of that: implements codes, decodes, and aligns data (not too sure about data compression part). In this case, it’s CodeBook. That’s capital C, capital B, no space between. And, before we go any further, let us dispel the first assumption everybody makes just in case all that reference to codes and data above still leave questions: CodeBook has nothing to do with checking your building code compliance. Instead, CodeBook is all about Rooms and Spaces, think: Room Data to the nth power.


CodeBook provides an interactive database management tool that relates Room (and/or Space) data within Revit to more Room Data outside of Revit (which then gets ported into Revit) and also corresponds to content such as things which belong in Rooms and Spaces within the Revit model (dataset). Get it? Or are you as dizzy as I was when that first sunk in? Hang on to your hats, folks, this is one heck of a great ride. Let’s quickly define what Revit is doing with the “i” in BIM. We are all most familiar with the “m,” or modeling of BIM. I proposed a theory a few years ago that implementation of Revit is BIM in reverse: M, to the I, to the B. Without any reservation, I still believe this is true 99% of the time. And, despite how many times I referred to me, myself, and I in the previous sentences, the “i” in BIM is often overlooked, or under-utilized for much of our day to day production. Often, this is for unknown reasons, or because it is more difficult to manage than necessary for the average deadline. The potential, however, is what makes all us BIMmie folks get all excited over nerdy topics like XML, IFC, OmniClass, COBie, IFD, etc. Somewhere in the middle, we can tap into that information inside of Revit and capitalize on why we often hear Revit Project files referred as “datasets” in favor of the more common term “models.” For what CodeBook does it is best to think of your Revit Project as a “Revit dataset.” So, what does this mean? And, no I am not going to bore you with too much tech talk about data and metadata (even though that is exactly what this is all about). We are dealing with sets of data, classifications, if you will. And this data is bound to other more general classifications of more data. Revit is innately structured this way. CodeBook just upped the proverbial ante by classifying these objects with a project-specific set of codes assigned to elements within Revit. By developing a set of codes and wrapping the program requirements of your project around them, you begin to develop a book of data around your project. Thus, a code book, and what CodeBook does for us is to connect our modeling to programming information. Take the proof if you will: if BIM, then M + I = B. The website for CodeBook International purports that CodeBook is “the Vital Tool for Leading Designers of Complex Buildings,” which is a slight change in direction from what many of us have heard before where CodeBook was described as the “Vital Tool for leading Healthcare and Education Building Designers.”


The tool itself is really non-denominational, although it is still targeted at “complex building types” with specific emphasis on Healthcare, Education, Defense, and Airport market sectors. The further we got into the training and the more I have played around with it, the less it seems specific to only those market sectors. I think it can be applied to any Revit project requiring sophisticated Room Data management and content coordination. Annie Lehatto, a lead Healthcare designer observed: “CodeBook looks like it could be good for organizing a lot of things and easily inputting information without having to be in the model. It could be very useful for people like Project Managers who may not be so good at understanding how to draw things in Revit. Instead they can just input the information by picking it in CodeBook.” One of the advantages that CodeBook offers is the ability to populate the rooms with equipment and other components (e.g. Revit Families), rather than having to dig through libraries and locate a specific piece of equipment, for example. The disadvantage to this method is the time to set up all the components and libraries in CodeBook. Time well spent, but time that must be invested if you wish to have your customized planning and programming datasets ready to go as a corporate standard. Each CodeBook project requires a defined Equipment library. Once the library location is defined, the software provides three methods of importing components into your project, and assigning them to your Room or Space data: • Equipment (these are single families - *.rfa’s) • Unions (embedded families - *.rfa’s, in intelligent groupings) • Assemblies (entire room layouts of all required Equipment).

LET’S TALK TECH... The software is available in both 64bit and 32bit compatible versions (parallel to your Revit installation), but remains a native 32bit application. I would note that running all of this on my 32bit laptop, I was impressed at how my classmates on their 64bit HP desktops were easily steps ahead of me while my computer processed...and processed...and processed. That said, my laptop is a Revit and graphics powerhouse that blew the benchmark results in Revit 2009 out of the water just one short year ago. This is data-intensive software, and just like Revit, needs everything you can throw at it: your productivity is only as good as your processing power (and, well, only as good as your patience with any new software, too).

I mean: CodeBook demands that you, as a user, are familiar with the intimate details of your project and its program of requirements. Therefore, you cannot hand this off to an intern to fill in the data without having done some heavy lifting first to set up the parameters around your project based on the knowledge of a healthcare planner, for example. This release of CodeBook is Revit-compatible but it also supports various other BIM and CAD applications too. One of the first things a user does is to select the BIM or CAD system, as shown in Figure 1.


product review

Figure 1-Choosing the BIM/CAD software to work with.

Each project requires that you define two Library locations: Equipment and Room Data (see Figure 2 and Figure 3). As pictured below from the demonstrations we receive with the training materials, these include Microsoft Access databases:

Figure 2-Defining the location for Equipment Library.

While the engine running the databases you interact with and edit in CodeBook are powered by Microsoft Access, you do not need any experience with Access itself to utilize the software. A basic familiarity with digital spreadsheets is all you really need to have. Things like using Tab to go to the next field and other basic Windows interactions many of us take for granted are the only application skills you need to bring to the table. What you do need, however, is knowledge of your Program. Now, in an application’s review, that may sound odd to say. It’s a given, we’re reviewing a program, right? But, that is not what spring_2010

Figure 3-Defining the location for the Room Data library.


INSTALLING CODEBOOK 101 Before you start Revit <insert f lavor> 2010 without the subscription advantage pack installed, the one feature you’ll really appreciate having is the Keyboard Shortcuts editor available from within the Revit interface, available with the subscription update. It’s an interesting change for Revit after years of all of us bumbling around in Notepad to make our customizations. You may wonder why this matters. It’s simple: you need to change your keyboard shortcuts for CodeBook to run from inside of the Revit application. Keep in mind that you can now manage your Add-ins from within this new UI for the Keyboard Shortcuts. So, if you’re an external tools junkie and are tired of tabbing over and sorting through a pull down menu just to do something nifty, but quick (like changing model lines to symbolic lines in the Family Editor), you can now set up your custom keystrokes to initialize these external commands. The basic requirements are: • Microsoft Office 2003 or 2007 (specified during installation of Codebook) • The installation: (go find your IT guy or gal) in two parts: • Application • Access Data Service. • Append your INI file (to add it to your external applications) • Set read/write access to the dataset base folders on your C-drive (IT guy/gal again) My advice? Do not PASS Go without getting someone from IT to give their input, advice, or just to be on-call to support you. And, as always, don’t forget sense of humor. Naturally with any pilot project when we run into problems with the program we contact our supplier, CDV Systems (US Distributor of CodeBook) to help us work through it. This project is a lot more cumbersome due to the fact that we are trying to blend the information from our REVIT model and our space programs. Had we started out using Codebook, I believe the process would have been a lot smoother. One of my other co-workers on our architectural team, Victor Malerba, said that despite the difficulties, “It will be a powerful tool for equipment, furniture, and typical room layouts. For the planners, it is going to make our lives a lot easier to make room data sheets and creating reports for spaces throughout the building.”


Elizabeth Chodosh, LEED AP, is a firmwide BIM Specialist with Cannon Design. An experienced A/E/C practice technology coordinator with a background in architecture, she joined Cannon Design in Fall of 2008. She currently specializes in BIM with an emphasis on Revit and related technologies, including development of and supporting Revit projects, libraries, external utilities, as well as best practices and standards. She is actively involved in promoting the expanding knowledge base of BIM and virtual design technologies, leads staff training in Revit and related technologies, and is a contributing team member establishing integrated modeling and collaborative BIM practices. Liz is also a member of the buildingSMART Alliance and participates as part of the National Practice Committee toward development of the National BIM Standards. In 2008, Liz had the honor of participating in Autodesk University as a lecturer. Today she often contributes to Revit Phoenix (, the Phoenix Metro Area Revit/BIM Users Group) and has previously served as an Advisory Board Member of RevitDC (, the Washington, DC Metro Revit user group, where she has presented on a few occasions with her peers, including “Shared Coordinates Tips and Tricks: Basics of Using Shared Coordinates for Large Projects.” She is also a charter member of the f ledgling Architecture for Humanity Phoenix chapter, which is growing and seeking new membership in the Metro Phoenix area.

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Civil Engineering

Visualization and Automation Guide


INTRODUCTION Have you ever wanted to add some additional 3 dimensional objects to help visualize your AutoCAD® Civil 3D® designs (C3D)? Maybe you would like to show a client or a municipality a more detailed representation of your design? You might just want to use it just as a tool during the design process to see how everything fits together more clearly. Like others in this downturn of the economy you might be looking for ways to make your designs stand out. For example, you can show a potential client how you can make the process of obtaining construction permits go a little smother by creating visual aids that help everyone involved understand your designs better by providing a more realistic presentation.

feature focus

by: Christian Barrett

Having the ability to create a drive through visualization is a great benefit! Adding things like signs, hydrants, houses and trees to our drawings help create more realistic presentations. We are usually inserting blocks to represent all of these items already in our 2D plans. If these same objects could be represented in two dimensions for our sheets AND in three dimensions for our other presentations at the same time as well, without adding a lot of additional work to your design process, then why not? One of my favorite tricks with Civil 3D is looking at my designs in the object viewer because it is a quick and easy way to see what I’ve created (see Figure 1). I can check for errors more easily and quickly show others a design; in particular those who may not be able to understand the design as easily with only a 2D presentation. I find it useful while doing training and demos too. Whenever you can show a clearer picture of what you are designing, it makes it easier for you and others to evaluate your designs. I found out very quickly that I could do most of my designing visually, since most of my work was now represented in three dimensions. I seldom create any objects now without viewing them in the object viewer immediately after their creation. It has helped me catch plenty of errors and that just reinforces my desire to make sure that as many objects are shown in three dimensions as possible. That is, at least everything that I can figure out a way to represent in three dimensions which the software has not already provided a tool for. I believe they have done a very good job so far. Click the following link to watch a brief demonstration of using the Object Viewer to see 2D symbols become 3D.


Figure 1- Object Viewer

MULTI-VIEW BLOCKS One of the easiest ways to add additional 3D visualizations to your Civil 3D drawings is to use multi-view blocks in place of the standard 2D blocks that are so commonly used. Civil 3D has a good number of multi-view blocks preloaded when it is installed, but I believe these blocks may be often overlooked, either because users do not realize they exist or may have not thought about using them. A lot of CAD users, not just C3D users, tend to form habits of doing the same steps project after project. There are all sorts of reasons but I feel the most common reason is deadlines, the need to get the project out the door! These multi-view blocks have the ability to display in 2D model space the same way as our traditional blocks but can also have a totally different view in 3D space. Some of these preloaded blocks may have the exact same appearance as the blocks your already use. If not they can be edited to match your current company standards or we can adapt our standards to use these blocks in their current state.


feature focus

Civil Engineering USING DESCRIPTION KEYS TO INSERT BLOCKS We can add some automation to our design process with the use of description keys (see Figure 4) to insert blocks into our drawings. There is also a very good chance that you company is already using description keys during point data insertion. But are you using dynamic blocks for this process? We can also run the description key process after we have points in our drawings, even if we have received a drawing that already has points inserted into it, or from stake-out points that we created.

Figure 2- 3D View

When we use these multi-view blocks everything looks the same, at least until we change our view, by rotating our drawings on one or more of its axis, initiating the 3D view of these blocks (see Figure 2). Like magic our seemingly ordinary blocks suddenly show their true power, and our designs become so much clearer, without adding any additional time to our projects! The multi-view blocks can also be added to our cross-section views.

TOOL PALETTES Now that I hope you’re excited about the possibilities of using multiview blocks, let me tell you where you can find them. You can navigate your way using windows explorer to the default location in your C3D folder, under program files. However, it is faster and easier to simply drag and drop them from a tool palette see Figure 3. Tool palettes are a great time saver, but this is also where you can find the C3D multiview blocks because they are already organized in a tool palette group. Go to your tool palettes and right-click on the right edge of the tool palette window to select Civil Multiview blocks. If you are not currently using tool palettes then you should learn more about them. There is a good chance you are already using them for your corridor assembly creation, but there is so much more you can do with them. You can even create custom tool palettes of your company’s standard block library, possibly saving you time on a daily basis!

Figure 3- Tool Palettes


You can have multiple sets of description keys. You can have one for field point data insertion and one for stake-out point data. Instead of inserting blocks to represent certain objects that will require points as well, you can create the points first and then apply description keys, to insert the required blocks. You will still have to rotate these blocks after insertion in order to have the correct orientation. One of the great advantages of using description keys is having the ability to auto-scale your blocks during insertion, very handy for sizing trees to a more natural size that will show in 2D and 3D views. The dynamic blocks will have to be loaded into your template or drawing before you can assign them to your description keys. It would also be helpful if we could use point groups to assign the same multi-view blocks, but unfortunately the 3D views are disabled when multi-view blocks are used in point groups.

Figure 4- Description Keys

ASSIGNING ELEVATIONS You are going to want to have your blocks matching your surface elevations; this is a pretty simple process. If you are using points to create your blocks then if the points are assigned the surface elevations of course the blocks will carry this elevation. Assigning the surface elevation when you create a point is a good idea but you can do so afterward too. Here’s what you do; select the points that you want to move to your surface elevation, the contextual ribbon will appear, in the modify panel you will see - Elevations from Surface - select this command and when the dialog box appears select your desired surface. Now choose Selection from the options of which blocks spring_2010

Civil Engineering to assign the new elevations. Your points will now be assigned the elevations from that surface and the blocks will move with them. The steps for moving blocks to surface elevation is a very similar process; first select the surface that you will be moving your blocks to, then when the contextual ribbon for that surface appears, on the Surface Tools panel click to expand the additional commands, there you will find the command - move blocks to surface - select this. When you initiate this command a dialog box will appear with a list of all the blocks in your drawing, this does not show blocks that have not been inserted, only blocks that have been placed in the drawing. Select the block or blocks you desire, it will only list the name of the blocks, so if you have four fire hydrants for example it will find all four of them and apply the new elevation pulled from the surface data. You will want to keep this in mind if you have multiple surfaces and blocks. Click the following link to watch a short video demonstration.

CLOSING These are fairly basic visualization procedures where you don’t have to create very much material from scratch. Autodesk has given us a very powerful civil engineering platform to work with, with the added multi-view blocks being like a bonus set of tools. When you combine the Building Information Modeling (BIM) objects, with materials added to these objects and throw in some

3 dimensional blocks, you’ll be on your way to creating some very realistic visualization. At the very least you can produce some very cool engineering drawings! Take a few minutes to look over the multi-view blocks available in AutoCAD Civil 3D and see which ones you can use to represent objects in your designs that you are currently using typical two dimensional blocks to represent these objects. You’ll want to update your description keys to use the multi-view blocks in the future, which can be done fairly easily, and save them in your template file. This will enable all your users to switch over to the three dimensional blocks with ease. Christian Barrett is an AEC Applications Engineer at Applied Technology Group, North Little Rock, AR. He has over 10 years of Civil and Surveying industry experience as a CAD designer using Land Desktop & Civil 3D, and has been a CAD Coordinator at Multi-disciplinary Engineering/Architectural Firms. He was the creator and author of Autodesk Users Group International’s (AUGI) Hotnews column “The Civil Side,” and is a Civil Engineering forum moderator for the AUGI organization. As a civil applications technician and trainer, Christian has guided many engineering firms in the implementation of Civil 3D for design and CAD management, National CAD Standards, and Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows.

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by: Trey Klein

autodesk insiders

A QA Session with a QA his article is a series of questions posed to Trey Klein followed by his answers. Trey is an analyst with the Quality Assurance (QA) team at Autodesk.


So you’re a QA at Autodesk? How long and for what products? I’ve been an Autodesk Quality Assurance Analyst, in Waltham, MA, for almost six years. During that time I’ve worked on Revit, focusing mostly on Revit Architecture, but our division, Architecture/Engineering/Construction (AEC), is responsible for many products, including Revit Structure, Revit MEP, Civil 3D, and more. Is your entire QA department in Waltham? No, not at all. We have Quality Assurance employees here, in our office in Manchester, NH, and in Shanghai, China. By the way, here’s my “QA Experiences Will Vary” Disclaimer: All observations, explanations, opinions and comments in this article are based on my experiences with Revit. Other QA’s perform different, but equally important, tasks—and would undoubtedly relate widely varied experiences. Okay, so… I’d imagine that you had an extensive background in software testing prior to joining Autodesk, right? Um, no. I was a practicing architect for almost 20 years before working here. People do join QA with varying amounts of experience in programming and testing, but many of us also have professional domain knowledge as architects, structural


engineers, mechanical engineers, civil engineers, construction managers, etc. You’re an architect? Wouldn’t you rather be working in an architect’s office designing buildings? I’ve always loved being an architect, but working at Autodesk is really great. I’m still giddy about Revit, and I’m inspired by what our amazing customers are doing with it. It’s what I would’ve wanted to use for the buildings I designed and put together. By helping to make Revit better and better, I feel like I’m giving back to the architectural profession. Plus, being a QA member can be surprisingly creative. Really? You make it sound pretty fulfilling, but aren’t you just testing the C++ software code that the Revit programmers are writing? Well, being in QA is great because we get to work with several internal groups and lots of actual customers too. Within Autodesk, we meet regularly with Product Management (PM), User Experience (UX, formerly known as Product Design), Documentation, Localization, Marketing, etc… as well as the developers (Dev). Oh, and by the time we test the code it’s compiled and no longer in raw C++ (thankfully). Outside the office we get to spend a significant amount of time working with existing customers and participating in various Revit forums (AUGI, Alphas and Betas, Inside the Factory, BuildZ, many customer blogs, etc). Some of you may have even seen us running The Lounge (see Figure 1), a perennial favorite at Autodesk University. spring_2010

autodesk insiders early testing for bugs and proper interaction with the other Revit features. ��� QA writes test plans based on the CD, BSpec, and the HLSD. When a feature (or portion of a feature) is Code Complete (CC) it should no longer contain lots of obvious bugs. At this point QA begins focused testing (see Figure 2), using the test plan as a road map, and starts making regression tests. In some cases, QA provides same-day testing on specific projects. You guys sure use a lot of acronyms! And what’s a regression test? YWD (yeah, we do). And I’ll explain regression testing in just a minute. Okay, but I won’t let you off the hook.

Figure 1- The Lounge at Autodesk University 2009 - the virtual model version

Here’s a brief glimpse into QA’s involvement in a typical feature’s development life-cycle. It goes something like this: • PM defines goals, themes, and specific problems that need to be solved. This process results in a list of potential projects, and then initial specifications (customer needs and project requirements) are done for each of them. • QA typically has an opportunity to review and comment on the projects, as well as occasionally gathering and recommending a list of potential small enhancement projects to supplement the main features. Small Enhancement suggestions are based on AUGI Wish Lists, QA’s experience working with customers, AUGI forums, running The Lounge at Autodesk University (AU), facilitating alphas/betas, processing reports from Product Support, and (of course) our own testing. • Dev does preliminary calculations of how long it will take to write the code for each project, and QA prepares testing estimates. PM, Dev and QA iterate to reach a set of projects that can realistically be implemented in the time allotted for the release. • UX takes the requirements specified by PM and leads the design effort for the new feature. As members of the Feature Team (FT), QA often provides both professional domain knowledge and Revit expertise, and reviews UX’s high-level Conceptual Design document (CD) and detailed Behavior Specification (BSpec). • Dev outlines their programming strategy in a High Level Software Design (HLSD) document, and then begins writing the code. Often, Dev creates early testable prototypes and smaller chunks of the feature functionality which can be used by UX for user validation of the design, and by QA for spring_2010

• QA files bugs and validates that the intended behavior is implemented and desirable. Dev fixes the bugs, after which QA verifies the corrections and typically adds more regression tests to cover the changes. By Feature Complete (FC), most of the serious defects have been found (hopefully) and fixed. QA then gets really busy with Production Exercises, System Testing, Alpha and Beta, Bug Bashes, Wacky Day, Gunslingers, AU, Pre-Ship testing, and more… Okay again, what’s a regression test? It’s a big part of what we do in Revit QA, and it gives us time to focus on finding the new bugs that inevitably seem to find their way into a new feature. As you probably know, Revit creates a journal that lists, step-by-step, everything that we did in that work session. We can use that recorded journal to automatically replay, very quickly, that entire effort. As we test functionality in a new feature, or verify fixed bugs, we save the journals and add them to a massive test suite on what we call the Regression Farm—a room containing hundreds of computers in various configurations. The tests, currently there are about 13,000 of them, run daily and automatically check failures against hourly builds of Revit. QA then analyzes the regression failures, looks at the various code submissions during that hour, and assigns a bug to the likely developer. To avoid such failures, developers use these tests, or at least a smaller subset of them called Smokes, as a check prior to submitting their new code. If their work still breaks the Revit build, they quickly repair or remove their code and buy donuts for the office the next morning, a longstanding Revit tradition! A typical test might consist of: 1. Open a new Revit project 2. Draw some walls 3. Turn on shadows 4. Change location, time, and other settings—and create an image of the view after each change with an Image Capture tool. The journal and the correct images become the test. In the (hopefully unlikely) event that a developer ever accidently submits code that causes the location coordinates to shift by even the tiniest bit, the position of shadows and walls will change—and


autodesk insiders the comparisons to the saved images will fail. This test will now run automatically, and save us from having to regularly manually check the tested functionality, giving us more time to test the new stuff. Image Capture tool? I don’t remember seeing that in Revit. Do all regression tests use it? Image Capture is one of the many tools that we’ve created for our testing, diagnostics and repair. These tools exist in the Revit code, but can only be accessed via a special in-house debug mode. Some tests use Image Capture comparisons, but others measure performance (with timing benchmarks), compare memory usage, compare Ribbon/Application Frame states, evaluate various export formats, etc. Also, we often manually add lines to a journal (using standard VBN scripting language) which will make it do things that would be very difficult, and time consuming, to do by hand in a Revit session. For example, we can draw a single wall in Revit and move it a few feet. In the journal, we can find those two steps and add an If-Then-Else loop that will make it replay it to create 1,000 walls… or 100,000 walls! Isn’t bug-filing your main responsibility? A main goal of QA is to help Autodesk deliver high quality software that has the fewest bugs possible—and finding the bugs is probably the most important aspect of our job. But we ultimately want to get the bugs fixed (hopefully before we ship the software to our unsuspecting users), so filing them skillfully, and becoming bug advocates, is also imperative. In terms of actually operating the software as users, our Revit developers have a wide range of Revit knowledge. Some developers are proficient users, others are expert only in the one or two feature areas on which they’ve worked, and the rest are on a spectrum in between beginner and expert. What this means for QA and bug filing is that clearly communicating the problem is a key aspect of good bug filing. We want the developer to quickly understand what the problem is and exactly how to reproduce it. The developer’s time is precious and journal playback with their debugging tools can be quite slow. So, the more efficient our journals and descriptions are, the better it is for our developers… and also for our Autodesk customers. A bug report (SPR, in our Revit acronym speak) has several important parts: SPR Summary - This is a frequently searched field in the Revit database (which we call the SRD). Before we file any bug, we check here to see if it has been reported before. The Summary must include any important key words, and typically has an indication of the severity—especially if it involves a crash or data-loss of some kind. SPR Description -We typically begin by noting the Revit flavor and build number in which we found the bug. We 40

then provide clearly numbered steps to reproduce the bug, as though the reader was a novice Revit user. If the bug involves a particular file or journal enclosed with the SPR, we’re specific and explicit about what to do with which files—as more files are likely to be added during the life of the bug. At the end of the steps, we note the observed bad behavior, along with what we expected Revit to do. Other - The SRD includes fields for lots of other searchable data, including Function, Project, Severity, Priority, Customer, Target Version, Assigned To, Reported By, Dev Status, Ship Status, Comments, and lots more. Sounds very involved, how do you find all the bugs in the first place? Lots of ways, and this is where it gets especially creative and interesting. We have to find as many of the most important and riskiest bugs as we can, as fast as we can. We have lots of powerful methods for doing this, including: Exploratory Testing -This encompasses much of what we do, and it overlaps with most other testing techniques. We learn about Revit, its usage, its risks, and the ways in which it has failed in previous testing. Exploration involves continuous learning, experimentation, backtracking, and taking a new path, for example. It’s definitely more free-form than executing tests from a script, but it often catches critical bugs. Feature (Functional) Testing - QA’s will typically be on the feature team from the early stages of design. When the developers have a prototype or other test worthy piece of the functionality, we hit it hard. Using our test plan as a guide, we test as much of the feature as we can, often creating new regression tests along the way. System Testing - In addition to responsibility for new features, most Revit QA members have specific existing features which need to be tested with respect to the new tools. This provides some important overlap with feature testing—originating from the existing tools side. Boundary Testing - This method involves pushing inputs to the limits with their largest and smallest possible values— and then going even a bit larger and smaller. Does this crash Revit? Sometimes! Ham Sandwich Testing - We occasionally do some random crazy stuff, such as trying out scenarios with various key combinations. This seemingly haphazard mashing of keys has been compared to hitting the keyboard with a ham sandwich. After ruining several keyboards we now only use metaphorical ham sandwiches! Alpha and Beta Testing - Many of the Revit customers reading this interview have probably participated in an Alpha or Beta. When most of the major bugs have been found and fixed, we then give the not-quite-ready-for-release software to several hundred Revit users to pound on for a few months. QA manages the feedback in the Alpha and Beta forums, and our resourceful customers do find some amazing bugs. Bug Bashes and Wacky Days - These are quick guerilla sessions, often lasting one-day or less, where everyone in QA launches a fast and furious attack on a single new functionalspring_2010

autodesk insiders ity that most have not yet used very much. A Wacky Day is an especially envelope-pushing Bug Bash, see Figure 2. Fresh eyes find new bugs, every time.

ments. We also have a dedicated Performance Farm devoted to preventing regressions of this sort. Production Exercises - These take place near the end of each development cycle. We choose a project type, a site, and a program, and we form a “virtual office” of architects, structural engineers, and mechanical engineers. The project is put together in the manner of our Revit customers, and we are all in the work shared file simultaneously—putting stress on the software as much as we can. In these large-group drills, we get to design and work in our areas of domain expertise. The exercises can be really fun, and quite valuable for bug-finding, see Figure 3. All those testing techniques and you still don’t find all the bugs? (he sighs) Yeah, I know that’s really hard to believe. We certainly keep on striving for perfection!

Figure 2- Klein “bottle” created during a wacky day of testing exercises

But it does sound like you really enjoy being in Revit QA?! I do. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one, as Revit QA’s tend to have longevity at Autodesk. In spite of being geographically diverse (Waltham, Manchester, and Shanghai), we work together capably as a well-performing group. We get to collaborate closely with many other departments in the company, use our varied skills and experiences in creative ways, and help produce quality products that we believe in. The essence of testing is to provide information, and the information we gather and submit forms the basis of critical decisions about Revit. Our service is vital, demanding, creative and rewarding—a nice mix which (generally) makes it a pleasure to come to work each day! Trey Klein has been with Autodesk for over five years as a Revit Architecture QA Analyst, and is still a licensed Architect. He holds degrees in both Environmental Design and Architecture from the University of Kansas, and is LEED certified. In addition to several new Revit projects (which he can’t talk about here due to the infamous Sarbanes-Oxley Act), his current legacy functional areas include Stairs/Railings, Platform UI, Openings, Inserts, and Sweeps. Please feel free to contact him regarding these areas or anything else!

Figure 3- View of one of this year’s Revit 2011 Production Exercises

Performance Testing - As Revit customers begin to make bigger and bigger projects, we are increasingly striving to make Revit faster and faster. We have tools that allow us to check the speed of Revit functions, with respect to keyboard and mouse clicks for example, in 1/30 of a second incre-



by: Keith Rice

AUGI local chapters

AUGI Local Chapters: Philadelphia AutoCAD Users Group, Inc. (PAUG)


Department. He has also developed and taught CAD courses at other area schools. Mr. Fulmer has also been President of HMF Consulting where he has trained, customized, and supported AutoCAD for a diverse group of clients. In addition, he has also co-authored various AutoCAD books with New Riders Publishing (see Figure 1).

THE BEGINNING PAUG was co-founded by Howard Fulmer, Dorothy Kent, and with the assistance of others not on record. Mr. (Professor to some) Fulmer has been teaching at Villanova University for many years in their College of Engineering where he also provides webmaster duties for the collegeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mechanical Engineering

During his time with PAUG, Mr. Fulmer served as President, Vice President, and Program Director.

THE FIRST? The Philadelphia AutoCAD Users Group (PAUG) may be the oldest and longest standing Autodesk focused group being that it was formed in 1983, just one year after Autodesk. At a special 25th anniversary meeting in 2008 where we had the pleasure of having none other than Lynn Allen (Autodesk Technical Evangelist and Cadalyst columnist) in attendance, which also gave her famous AutoCAD Tips & Tricks presentation to a packed house, pointed out that we were in fact the oldest group in the world. Obviously the PAUG membership is proud of that fact, and may be why the group has been able to sustain itself for the amount of time it has.



PAUG co-founder Dorothy Kent is a published author and veteran AutoCAD end user and trainer. Since 1983, she has taught hundreds of industry professionals and their support staff how to be productive with AutoCAD. This includes creating customized training and implementation programs. A registered Autodesk author, Dorothy has been a guest speaker at Autodesk University, is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Cadalyst magazine, and has worked with Autodesk's Customer Education and Training Department developing training materials for their Learning Resource Series publications. Dorothy previously published an AutoCAD book with Springer Verlag. Dorothy has also published her best seller AutoCAD Reference Guide with New Riders Publishing and was a contributor to Inside AutoCAD, Special Edition (see Figure 2)

publication without a copy minimum and at a low cost. Once you create your free account, upload a PDF version of your publication to the MagCloud website, you can then set your price based off of the current and very reasonable $0.20 per page as a baseline. For example, if PAUG’s future magazine were 24 pages, the cost per issue would be $4.80, which I feel is very reasonable to produce a short-run publication. Also, you h ave the option of setting a markup if you’re looking to generate a profit or to recoup the cost to author and design the publication.

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AUGI local chapters

Obviously addressing the quality of the printed page is one phase of this effort, but the quality of the content is paramount. To address this I’ll be recruiting the knowledge and skills of our membership, board, local Autodesk Reseller’s as well as other industry professionals. Asking an Autodesk Reseller’s to contribute articles to a publication such as this is a win-win for both parties. The Reseller’s get to demonstrate their knowledge in a particular area and the reader will potentially contact the writer or Reseller with questions or a request for professional services. I’m sure the Reseller’s view this type of user interaction would be another method of marketing, but also benefits our membership by sparking their interest in areas that they may have otherwise overlooked. For PAUG members that contribute content, it could be viewed as a professional accomplishment to put on their resume, or an opportunity to market the services and skill of their respective company they work for, manage, or own. Hopefully I’m able to develop this idea into reality since I feel it would have a positive impact on our local and regional members, their companies, and the companies that potentially serve them.

We’re currently uncertain of the exact positions Dorothy held within PAUG over the years, but whatever they were it was much appreciated.

THE BIRTH In 1986 the PAUG CADalaug newsletter was born. The newsletter contained featured articles, tips & tricks, and various code snippets written by PAUG members. Over the years there have been many contributors to the newsletter such as Lee Loeb and Rick Webber that both served as PAUG CADalaug Editors and are still active members of the group today. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s the PAUG CADalaug thrived and was a perk for all members when we were charging dues. Personally I feel the Internet boom from the mid 90’s till today contributed to the newsletter’s demise in the mid 2000’s. A personal goal I have since taking on the Vice President position in 2006, and now President since January 2009, is to revitalize and rebirth the PAUG CADalaug as a fresh and current magazine style publication. I’ve been researching cost effective ways to provide our membership access to a high quality full-color publication in both hard copy and digital formats at a reasonable cost, similar to the AUGI World and AUGI|AEC Edge publications. My research has brought me to MagCloud ( which offers Small independent magazine publishers, online content creators, schools, universities, small businesses and anyone else the means to publish a quality magazine style spring_2010

THE NOW In the early 2000’s PAUG struggled with meeting attendance and involvement, and in late 2006 almost the official dismantling of the group. Earlier that year I had been wondering if PAUG was still actively meeting due to their stagnant website that was not current. I reached out to my local Autodesk Reseller (Microdesk, Inc.) to see if they had current contact info or if they had worked with PAUG in the past. Luckily they were able to get me in contact with the PAUG President at the time, Tim Kramer, who organized a meeting later that year. That meeting resulted in only 5 or so people attending, which included Tim, myself, a representative from Microdesk, the PAUG Treasurer, Jim Shomper, and one or two others. The topic at hand turned out to be, “should we keep the group alive, or dismantle it?” My feeling before ever stepping into that meeting was that I was ready to take over if the group was going to be dissolved. I felt that the region still needed to have a group such as PAUG, and I was willing to assist in whatever way necessary to keep it alive. On a more positive note, this meeting ended with me being offered the Vice President position and a vision of the next meeting being a successful one. One suggestion I had during this revitalizing meeting was to try involving all the local Autodesk Resellers to advertise our meetings to their clients and potentially use them as a technical resource for presentations when necessary. Another idea was to


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AUGI local chapters offer food at all future meetings to allow those coming directly from their job a reasonable meal. Lastly, it was decided that the group was going to eliminate annual membership dues that the group established back when it was thriving. Being that PAUG’s active membership was way down, and with very little funds in the bank to facilitate these new efforts, we planned to look to the local Autodesk Resellers to cover the food costs as part of exclusive sponsorship of each meeting. Over the last few years all of these new efforts have proved to be successful, and we’re continuing to introduce new methods to show value to existing and future members. We continually thank each and every one of our sponsors for supporting PAUG and our meetings in various ways. What drove me to contact PAUG in 2006 was the stagnant information presented on the website ( at the time. After the small meeting in 2006 and becoming Vice President in 2007, it became clear the reason why the website was stagnant. At the time we made it a top priority to rectify the problem. A previous board member had been given the responsibility to maintain the website but was faced with some medical problems that forced the person to shift responsibilities, but never reassigned the PAUG website tasks. Eventually the current PAUG board was able to obtain all the necessary information to manage and maintain the website and we’ve since migrated it to various hosts over the past few years. The first host we migrated to was Cadopolis ( which offers free hosting and e-mail services to non-profit user groups. Recently we’ve moved our hosting to 1&1 ( which provides very inexpensive but feature rich hosting packages at a reasonable cost. Over the past year we’ve also implemented a very feature rich portal site ( based off of

a free offering from Ning ( which we may fully transition to in the future. As part of this transition we would redirect all traffic from our primary web address (http:// to our Ning portal site (http://PAUGinc.ning. com) (see Figure 3). As I mentioned previously about our potential PAUG Magazine, content is paramount, and is the same for whatever web experience PAUG offers. We’re continually trying to expand the content on our portal site and only see it growing more rapidly as we dive into producing a more magazine like publication in the future. Another critical aspect to our groups past and present success “was” having a stable and reliable meeting location. The reason I use the word “was”, is that we’ve recently lost the ability to use the facilities at a local community college that PAUG has for many years now. With the down economy and decreased enrolment, schools everywhere have been forced to monitor and recoup operating costs wherever possible. Earlier this year they put in place new requirements that PAUG is not able to fulfill to allow us to continue using their facilities. By no means do I blame the college for the changes they’ve made, and totally understand the position they’re in. With this change we’re forced to look for a new meeting venue. We currently have plans to use my employer’s (Pennoni Associates Inc.) largest conference space that will accommodate approximately 80 comfortably, for at least the remainder of 2010. One critical requirement I have for choosing any future meeting venue is having free parking available. I feel our membership appreciate our efforts in keeping the group and any associated meeting costs to a minimum. I think everything we’ve been doing to facilitate the elimination of membership costs and the Autodesk Resellers graciously covering food costs, has contributed to our recent successes in increased membership and meeting attendance.

THE FUTURE As PAUG looks towards the future, we only see the group growing even more as we reach our upcoming 30 year milestone. As our various new ideas become reality, we hope our current and future members find PAUG to be an indispensable resource. I hope to be writing a follow-up to this article sometime in the future that includes information about positive outcomes to our various initiatives, and ultimately positive impacts the group has in our member’s professional careers. Keith is an Engineering Application Specialist and CAD/BIM Administrator for Pennoni Associates Inc. (, a multi-discipline engineering firm headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. With 17 years of experience, Keith is an expert in CAD/BIM Management and IT. He’s worked with and managed a wide variety of engineering, design, and analysis applications with a primary focus on civil engineering. He is also a skilled trainer and has written multiple corporate training and standards manuals. Keith is also serving as President of the Philadelphia AutoCAD Users Group, Inc. (



by: Lee Ambrosius


AutoCAD 2011: 25 and Still Going Strong


It is a calm cool spring day in the Midwest, the days are getting notably longer and the flowers have begun to bloom. Construction seems to be in full swing. Oops sorry, wrong authoring project. It is spring, and if you are a user of AutoCAD or an AutoCAD-based product you most likely are aware of what is upon us. As you read this, the next release of AutoCAD will have been unveiled and you have begun your quest to find out what the new release has to offer for you. AutoCAD 2011 is the 25th release of AutoCAD, and it builds on top of a very long history of product releases. Since the first release was announced back in 1982, Autodesk has strived to position AutoCAD as a complete drafting solution. Like recent releases, AutoCAD 2011 includes enhancements to 2D drafting and 3D modeling. You will be happy to know that the user interface remains largely unchanged, and the drawing file format is the same as that used with AutoCAD 2010. Any custom applications you have for AutoCAD 2010 should work without many; I will not say any, problems. Now onto the good stuff.

2D DRAFTING, FRONT AND CENTER AutoCAD is a 2D drafting workhorse for many companies, and those that do 2D drawings will find the many 2D enhancements to be welcomed additions. AutoCAD 2011 introduces many enhancements to the tools that you use frequently on a daily basis: hatch, polyline, and parametrics to name a few. Hatching is by far one of my favorite enhancements in AutoCAD 2011 and that is because the dialog box is gone, well not gone gone, but has been replaced by a more intuitive interface. The Hatch Creation tab (see Figure 1) shows why the ribbon is such a powerful change that was first introduced with AutoCAD 2009. The ribbon makes the hatch enhancements in AutoCAD 2011 very intuitive. When you start up the HATCH or GRADIENT commands, AutoCAD begins to look for closed boundaries. As you move the cursor, AutoCAD gives you feedback in real-time instead of having to jump in and out of the Hatch and Gradient dialog box used in previous releases. Along with changing settings in real-time as you are hatching, you can now specify a layer, color, background color, and transparency for your hatch objects. If you want to use the Hatch and Gradient dialog box, you can use the SEttings option of the HATCH and GRADIENT commands or set the HPDLGMODE system variable to 1. Hatching is not the only change to 2D drafting in AutoCAD 2011, the following changes have also been made: Polylines – Grip editing has • been improved to allow for the adding and removal of vertices, converting a line segment to an arc or an arc to a line, or stretching a segment of a polyline. • Splines – You can now switch between using the fit points or control vertices when grip editing a spline, add or remove fit/control points, and change the tangent direction.

Figure 1- Hatch Creation tab spring_2010


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Architecture • Parametrics – The Infer Constraints feature allows you to create constraints as you draw objects. Constraints are created based on the object snaps you use to draw objects. • External References – When you select an xref in a drawing, it will be highlighted in the External References palette. Xrefs selected in the External References palette, are also highlighted in the drawing while the cursor remains over the External References palette. • Scale Lists – A list of default scales can be stored in the Windows Registry, and then used to update the scales in a drawing to match the scales stored in the Windows Registry. • Linetypes with Text Alignment – Linetypes now support a ‘U’ rotation parameter that indicates to AutoCAD that the text or shape in a linetype should rotate so it remains upright.

each object in the list, it highlights the object in the drawing. Repeat the process to continue selecting other overlapping objects.

TRANSPARENCY OF A DIFFERENT KIND Transparency is a feature that has been on the wish list of many different people for along time. You can apply transparency to objects directly or by using the Transparency attribute of a layer. Hatches are where you will find transparency very helpful.

In addition to selecting overlapping objects with greater ease, AutoCAD 2011 offers some additional object selection changes. These additional object selection methods are:

You might use transparency to mask objects in your drawing or add a splash of color behind other objects without obscuring all objects. An example of when you might use transparency is for denoting an area of a floor plan that might be in a second phase of a project. Figure 2 shows how three overlapping filled circles appear with a transparency of 50% and without any transparency.

Figure 2- Objects with and without transparency.

SPECIFYING AN OBJECT SELECTION Selecting objects in AutoCAD is second nature for many of us and can be compared to tying your shoes; you do it without even thinking about what you are doing. It has been many releases since there have been improvements around object selections, I could be wrong but I think that the last major change was when Quick Select was introduced. One of the most frustrating tasks in AutoCAD for me has always been selecting overlapping objects. It ways seemed to come down to trial and error to select the right object. AutoCAD 2011 simplifies the process of selection cycling into a few easy steps. You enable selection cycling by clicking the Selection Cycling button on the status bar. Once enabled, an icon of two overlapping boxes appears next to the cursor when you pass over two or more overlapping objects. Click to display the Selection dialog box and select the object from the list you want to select (see Figure 3). As you rollover


Figure 3- Selecting overlapping objects with Selection Cycling.

• Select Similar – Quick Select has been around for many releases now and it does a great job at allowing you to select objects based on type and property values. However, it does interrupt the drafting workflow a bit. The new SELECTSIMILAR command allows you to select objects that are similar by name and/or have similar property values. The Settings option of the command allows you to determine how similar objects need to be for them to be selected. • Isolate/Unisolate Objects – You can hide a set of selected objects or keep a set of objects displayed without having to manipulate the layers of your drawing. Once you are done, you can redisplay the hidden objects. You use the Isolate Objects button on the status bar for this. • Add Selected – Have you ever wanted to create a new circle or insert a block like the one in the current drawing without having to go start the specific command. The new ADDSELECTED command does not create a copy of an object, but starts the command used to create a new object like the one selected.

SCRATCHING THE SURFACE OF THE NEW 3D ENHANCEMENTS Stop… I saw you start glancing past this section, thinking 3D is not for me. Well, you might say that today in your current job but companies are always looking for a competitive advantage to differentiate themselves from others in the market. AutoCAD 2011 builds upon the foundation that was start in AutoCAD 2007, and expanded with each new reFigure 4- Carton created using surface lease since then. In modeling. this latest release, AutoCAD 2011 introduces surface modeling that goes beyond 3D solids and meshes. While surfaces are not an entirely new concept in AutoCAD, how you create and modify surfaces are. You can create procedural surfaces like you could in previous releases with comspring_2010

mands like LOFT and SWEEP, but you can now create NURBS (non-uniform rational b-spline) surfaces. NURBS surfaces allow you to create 3D objects through a sculpting process. You use the new Surface tab on the ribbon to create surfaces. Procedural surfaces can be converted to NURBS using the CONVTONURBS command. The Surface tab contains tools that allow you to modify surfaces with tools like blend, trim, or offset. You can also display the control vertices for NURBS surfaces which allow you to control the shape of the surface. Figure 4 shows a 3D model created using NURBS surfaces. The Surface tab on the ribbon contains tools that allow you to perform an analysis of the surfaces. Surface modeling is a large 3D modeling feature in AutoCAD 2011, but there are many other 3D enhancements that have been introduced. The following additional features have been introduced: • 3D Object Snaps – Apparent Intersection has been the only 3D object snap for a long time in AutoCAD. AutoCAD 2011 introduces six new 3D object snaps that allow you to snap to the center of a face or a vertex among others. • Associative Surfaces – When you create 3D objects by lofting, sweeping, extruding, or revolving you can modify the original objects used to change the 3D object if associativity is enabled. Both 3D solids and surfaces can maintain a history between the 3D object created and the 2D objects used to create it. You can also now choose to create surfaces from closed profiles. • Visual Styles – Five additional pre-configured visual styles have been introduced: Shaded, Shaded with Edges, Shades of Gray, Sketchy, and X-Ray. Figure 4 shows an example of the Sketchy visual style on the left. • Consistent Materials – Materials have been enhanced so they are consistent across all Autodesk products. The editing of materials is now more intuitive, and the previews shown in the Materials palette are much closer to how it will appear when rendered. Materials can also be stored in custom libraries so they can be used across drawings and projects. • Mesh Modeling – Mesh modeling tools have been expanded to allow for merging meshes, closing holes, spinning faces, and collapsing an edge or face. • Point Clouds – You can now attach 3D point clouds that can contain millions of scanned points. These points can be used to help create digital models of physical objects. • 3D Basic Workspace – A new simplified 3D modeling workspace named “3D Basic” comes with AutoCAD. This gives those new to 3D modeling a chance to get started with a small subset of the 3D modeling tools available in AutoCAD.

todesk discussion forums and AutoCAD Exchange that is relevant to the current topic you are viewing. Action Recorder – View Observation changes cannot be deleted from an action macro. Navigation Bar – Navigation tools have been consolidated into a single location. The Navigation Bar allows you to access both 2D and 3D navigation tools and is located by default along the right side of the drawing window. Native 3Dconnexion Support – AutoCAD now natively supports 3D mice developed by 3Dconnexion. For more information on 3Dconnexion products, visit 3D UCS Icon and Gizmos – The UCS and Gizmos have been updated for 3D modeling. Workspace Switching – You can now switch workspaces using the Workspaces drop-down list located on the Quick Access toolbar. Sketching – The new improved SKETCH command allows you to sketch using lines, polylines, and splines.

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CONCLUSION AutoCAD 2011 includes many new 2D and 3D enhancements. There are many long time requested enhancements that have been included in this release, and improvements to some of the everyday workflows to help you be more productive. From the improved hatching to the new object selection features and even the inclusion of transparency, there are many new and exciting changes that will make it easier to get your job done faster and better. As you might have noticed, since about AutoCAD 2007, AutoCAD is not only a 2D drafting application. 3D modeling is a key part of the feature set in AutoCAD. The changes to visual styles and materials are welcomed additions, and the new surface modeling features make it easier to create complex looking models. To learn more about the new features and enhancements in AutoCAD 2011, download the trial version from http://www.autodesk. com/autocad or contact your local Autodesk reseller. Lee Ambrosius is a Sr. Technical Writer in the PSEB division at Autodesk, Inc. and works on AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT. He is an author and contributor to a number of AutoCAD books that are under the For Dummies and Bible series. Lee can be reached via e-mail at lee_ambrosius@; other contact information can be found on his Website at http://www.hyperpics. com or Blog at

OTHER CHANGES AutoCAD 2011 contains a variety of features and enhancements that are both large and small. I listed many of the key features earlier, but here are some additional ones that are worth mentioning: Web Based Help – AutoCAD 2011 introduces a new look for its help system, and offers an online and offline mode. When online, help pages display additional content from the Au-



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by: David Light

What’s new in Revit Architecture 2011


So after months of speculation, I can finally reveal what’s new in 2011! I’m not talking about the year, instead this year’s release of Autodesk Revit Architecture.

However, before diving into what new, let’s have a brief history lesson. Autodesk got a rough ride when they released Revit 2010 onto its existing user base. The main wrath was about the user interface; yes, the introduction of that Microsoft Ribbon! The Ribbon is part of wider Autodesk project, referred to as Airmax, which is an attempt to make all Autodesk products look, feel and work in a similar fashion. So if you are proficient in AutoCAD and you are coming to Revit for the first time, at least you are familiar with tool icons and the ability to navigate around the user environment. The common interface approach then allows you to focus your attention on just learning the Revit tools. The principle is actually a great idea and whilst it certainly made Revit 2010 look and feel more like the modern application it was meant to be, performance problems with the Ribbon and workflow issues caused a major outcry within the existing Revit community. Many users felt that whilst Autodesk had put all the effort into the Ribbon and the Conceptual Design Environment they were actually loosing connection with the tools that the average user really needed. The Global economy has changed; firms need to remain efficient in these new tougher economic times. So to see their subscription monies invested into an interface which seem to make them less productive, was not popular. But in

many ways Revit 2010 was an enabling release, with a lot of work taking place under the bonnet. Whilst not immediately obvious, it would take time for this to come to fruition. Nevertheless, one of the issues that Revit has suffered from for a long time is the way that Autodesk has dealt with the beta program. Having been involved with the Beta programs since version 9; testing of pre-release versions has always lagged well behind many of the other Autodesk solutions, who start their beta programs months before the Revit team. So in a bold move and to avoid the fury they received about 2010, Autodesk decided to start the Alpha and Beta programs for the Revit 2011 release earlier than I have ever known it. The initial Alpha was started last August, this lead into the Beta early January 2010, each time inviting more users. Having spent the last 7 months participating in the 2011 Alpha and Beta program, I am genuinely excited about this release. But then I am always passionate about a new release of Revit, as it opens up new opportunities, gives us new toys to play with and helps drive the adoption of BIM within our

Figure 1- The new user interface in Revit 2011




Figure 2- The modification tools are more consistent now

industry. So what’s in RAC 2011 you may ask? RAC 2011 introduces some new concepts, an improved interface, as well as some genuine user feature requests.

RIBBON AND UI So let me start with the interface, as already discussed, this has been a constantly debated, argued subject amongst many a Revit user on the AUGI forums. So these are the headliners for UI improvements (see Figure 1). • • • • • • • •

Contextual Tab display Contextual Tab display behaviour Modeless Properties Palette Modify Tab is both static and contextual Modify Tools improvements Quick Access Toolbar customization Resizable Dialogs Worksets and Design Options

The most obvious improvement and a complaint I personally had with 2010, was having consistent access to modification tools, see Figure 2. Revit 2011 allows rapid access to modification tools, no more clicking backwards and forwards between Ribbon tabs. When you select a tool and start to work with it, the modify tools are constantly at hand. The Ribbon also seems to be a lot faster and there is better icon clarity with other Autodesk solutions; again the Airmax Project in action. The other obvious change is the disappearance of the type selector from the Ribbon. This is not going to be to everybody’s taste; as it now resides in a modeless Properties Palette, see Figure 3. The Modeless Properties Palette can remain open or closed. This reduces the need to “click” open the type or instance properties, as settings are always quickly visible. It takes a bit of getting use to and does take up screen real estate, but it can be docked onto another monitor if you have a Figure 3- The new Properties Palette dual screen setup. docked above the Project Browser spring_2010

After a short time, I found that you do get use to it and access to properties requires far less picking and clicking. If you don’t like the PP palette on screen all the time you can hide it with a keyboard short cut, but this then causes you a bit of an issue as the Type selector is no longer accessible, but you can get around this as you are able to add the type selector to the QAT (quick access toolFigure 4- The new QAT editor bar). The QAT is now customisable as it has its own dialogue box (see Figure 4) which allows you to reconfigure tools quickly if required. Other noticeable changes to the UI include resizable dialogs as well as what you might describe as a head-ups view to workset and design options. Worksets and design options can be easily accessed from the main window without having to hunt through various ribbon tabs, with them conveniently located in spare space of the status options bar. What I like about the new UI improvements is that Autodesk have really listened to how users actually work. The feedback that users have provided, however negative has been captured, analysed and reviewed. Revit 2011 now seems to encompass the original concept of the Classic UI workflow within the Ribbon approach. Whilst it may not keep everybody happy, I suspect most users will find the new Ribbon easier to use and more like the old Revit they were used to. However, if you really still can’t live without the “Classic mode”, it can be enabled using the same the Revit.ini file switch you could use in Revit 2010. However, remember, this is still not officially supported by Autodesk. My advice to the users I work with, learn the Ribbon, however painful it may seem.

WORKSETS AND LINKING As firms push the limit of what Revit is capable of doing, they realised that the only way to deal with large datasets apart from enabling Worksets, was to Link and Workset these huge models. Whilst using Worksets and Linking is nothing particularly new, managements and control has always been an issue. So Autodesk have been quietly working in the background to address these


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Architecture needs, with a number of enhancements which will assist those that work are datasets. A linked Revit model viewed By Host, will set the visibility of linked model worksets which share the same name as your host model worksets, to the visibility of the host model worksets in that view. In view Visibility/ Graphics under the Linked Revit Models tab, linked model worksets can be individually turned on or off. A new Manage Worksets Tab within the Managed Links dialogue also allows you to open or close worksets in a linked model file. These linked management features are an absolute god send and will save you a lot of time when managing large linked datasets. Workset visibility has been given far greater control on a projectwide basis. The Worksets dialog now offers the option to change the visibility of a Workset globally. The Worksets tab in individual views has been improved to allow the per view workset visibility to be visible, not visible or to follow the global setting. Trust me; if you use Worksets and linked files, these improvements alone are worth the subscription renewal even in these financially difficult times. Whilst there is still much to do improving Revit at all levels, (please don’t get me started on limited site tools, stairs and railings ), workset and linked file improvements really start to help to address the need to define sub models when the Revit model gets too large to handle in one super model. Also, to help with performance, speed improvements have been made and a project which has been upgraded to 2011 will now benefit from a multiple threading thus improving opening times. To support the linked model approach, linked models can now be tagged. A new management feature has also been included which allows the user to track and watch if Tags lose their hosted elements. The Reconcile Hosting command opens up a new browser allowing you to decide what to do if a tag loses its host.

GRAPHIC DISPLAY AND HARDWARE In RAC 2010, Autodesk migrated from OpenGL to Direct 3d. This has allowed further graphic improvements to be made in RAC 2011. If you have a supported Graphics card you will be able to enable Ambient Occlusion, which is accessible via the Graphics Display Options dialog box. Those that are familiar with using visualisation tools such as 3dsmax will know all about Ambient Occlusion. I suppose the best way to describe Ambient Occlusion is that it adds realism to models by taking into account attenuation of light due to occlusion. Ambient occlusion attempts to approximate the way light radiates in real life, especially off what are normally considered non-reflective surfaces. Look in a room at the corners between the wall and the ceiling; you will notice the soft shaded falloff of material colour which is not defined by the sun, this is ambient occlusion. Two additional view styles have now been added to the View Control Bar (see Figure 5), these include a Realistic View (see Figure 6) which will display materials and textures defined to elements in real-time. You also have a Consistent Colours view style (see Figure 7), which displays colours in a constant manner across all faces of the model in a 3d view.


Figure 5- New Visual Styles, Realistic View and Consistent Colors

Figure 6- Example of Realistic View applied to a 3D view

To get the real benefits of these new graphic features you are going to need a supported graphic card. If you have a relatively new card which supports Direct X, you should be ok. My laptop is a Dell E6400 latitude with Windows 7 (64bit) and a Quadro shared graphics and it worked fine. Be sure to check out the Autodesk website [] that provides some great advice on suitable and recommended graphics cards and driver versions for Revit 2011.

Figure 7- Example of Consistent Colors applied to a 3D view

RENDERING Mental ray rendering was introduced with RAC 2009 and generally it’s been a hit with Revit users. Certainly the quality of renders I have seen, have been superb. But to some extent quality was limited by desktop power, with rendering being limited to 4 cores only. This meant that you may have a super all bells and whistles workstation with multiply processors, but the 4 core throttle resulted in Revit not being able to make use of all the workstation power at your disposal. In 2011, this restriction spring_2010

Architecture has been removed so you have more power at your hands when you come to render. In Revit 2011, Autodesk has also made significant changes to material editor interface (see Figure 8) as well as deploying a common material library. Referred to as the Protein 2.0 library, this is a single project library which is now common between Revit, AutoCAD, Inventor and 3dsMax, once again highlighting the effort to provide consistency between these software solutions. If you where to import a DWG or ADSK file with Protein 2 appearances, the materials would appear within your Revit environment. Also, another nice touch is the ability to add a custom bitmap of your choice as a background image when you render.

now divide a surface by intersecting levels, reference planes and lines drawn on a reference plane.

Figure 9- The new work plane viewer feature

Figure 8- The new material editor dialog

CONCEPTUAL MASSING If you have read any of my blog posts in the past, you will know I am a big fan of the conceptual massing tools introduced in Revit Architecture 2010. However, one annoyance in 2010 was the loss of the sketch mode when creating forms. Rest assured it totally confused the users in my office! So after listening to user feedback, Autodesk have reintroduced the sketch mode back to forms created with lines. You are able to edit the profile of a form and the geometry automatically updates. This works with revolves, extrudes, blends and sweeps. If you choose to lock profiles the change is made to the top and bottom profiles. This is an excellent addition and combines the best of old school massing with new school massing approach.

RAC 2011 also sees the introduction of a new family called the Adaptive component family; to be honest this is one of my favourite features in 2011. It expands the conceptual massing tools further and I am really looking forward to using this new family type within projects. Described by Autodesk; the Adaptive component resolves the issues related to stitching border conditions of divided surfaces. It also addresses the problems of creating and placing pattern component panels (triangular, pentagonal, hexagonal, etc.) on non-rectangular and non-evenly spaced grids.

You can now dissolve a form using the new dissolve function. For example, say you build a form from lines or reference lines and you decide you want to take it back to the line work it was originally created from. Just select the form and choose dissolve. Once a form has been dissolved the surface created is lost, however the profiles and path remain, allowing you to edit these and recreate the form after you have made any adjustments. This functionality also works with points and splines. Figure 10- The new modelling tools in action

A new feature called the work plane viewer (see Figure 9) has now been introduced, making the editing of profiles within a form a lot easier. This is a floating dialog box that provides a dynamic view and when adjustments have been made to a profile they are automatically reflected within the main form. The divide surface tools introduced with the new conceptual massing tools in 2010 has been further enhanced and you can spring_2010

The adaptive components can also be used to create a repeating systems generated by arraying multiple components. When you place a point in an Adaptive family you can define whether it is a placement point and these can be numbered accordingly. Placement points can then be connected together with 3d line work, creating a sort of rig. When this family is placed into a project or a conceptual massing family, as you place the points the family will


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Architecture automatically flex and adjust based on the placement points. I used these features to create the model of the London Eye shown in Figure 10. If you take a look at the images you hopefully see what I mean. One feature which may go unnoticed is the ability to do a solid solid cut on two forms. Described as follows; you can cut out one solid from another, but the resulting form is not a geometric combination. When the Cut tool is used on 2 solid forms, the result is separate geometry. It certainly makes for cleaner geometry. To improve the 3D working environment, you can now use the align tool in 3d as well as 2d. You can use a node, vertex, edge, surface form or level as your target, then all you need to do is pick then element you wish to align to.

FAMILY EDITOR PARAMETER ENHANCEMENTS I regularly tell users that it’s the “I” in BIM which is one of the most important assets of the BIM process. So being able to extract data from your Revit model so that it can be used for other functions is an everyday occurrence for the users I work with. So to improve the data pipeline workf low, Autodesk have introduced what is referred to as a Reporting Parameter, see Figure 11. These are a special parameter type which do not actually drive forms or geometry, but instead will report its own value driven by a dimension in the family model. What this actually means is that a dimension can be uncovered and reported in a way that can be used for downstream applications. A simple user case maybe, that you need to report the width of a wall for a door or window frame in your schedule. Until now this was not possible, but with a reporting a parameter assigned in your door or window family you can pick up the wall width instance so that the reporting parameter can report the width of the wall and this can be scheduled.

dimension is locked, if you attempt to move the geometry which is associated to the locked dimension, Revit will try to retain the dimension value as a constraint. To better understand which geometry is locked and associated, if you select a locked dimension, all related dimensions are highlighted, which certainly helps when trying to fault find constraint issues within the family editor.

Figure 12- The lock column in the Family Types dialog box

EVERYDAY WISH LIST ITEMS I guess one can assume that Autodesk must have a room somewhere in the factory which is full, from floor to ceiling with user feature requests for inclusion within future releases of Revit. Whilst we all have our favourites, development time, budget and technology restrictions often mean that they are not immediately viable. However, RAC 2011 has included a number, which will be real time savers in my opinion. We now have Repeat last command, which can be accessed off the right mouse contextual menu or enabled via a keyboard shortcut. The contextual menu also now lists the last five commands you have used. You can now select instances across a view as well as across a project and temporary dimensions can now remember any edits made to witness lines per session. There have been a number of enhancements made to text notes, with better control of leader placement. Text notes can now be enclosed with a box with the option to change the text margin between the text and box.

Figure 11- The Reporting Parameter setting

OTHER FAMILY EDITOR TWEAKS There are a couple of other Family editor enhancements which are worth mentioning. Anybody who has used the 2010 Conceptual Design Environment will be familiar with the ability to interactively explore different parameter condition through the direct manipulation of reference lines and reference planes. This has been extended to the Family editor so when dimensioned geometry is manipulated in-canvas, its dimension label will adjust and this will update any related family type parameters. You can also now lock “labelled” dimensions, see Figure 12. When a labelled 52

DWG export from Revit has continued to be a contentious point, with the quality of the output not always meeting expectation. However, it really does depend on what your expectations are. I have always been of the view that whilst the output was ok, it would never be as clean as if you where to have drawn it from scratch in AutoCAD. With this in mind and understanding the benefits of what Revit provides, really a DWG export is just a snapshot in time. But I also realise that there are some fundamentals issues when exporting to DWG. Autodesk seemed to have worked hard in this particular area and models which we had, which refused to export to DWG in


Architecture previous versions of Revit, now happily export as expected and the graphic fidelity is a lot better. Aligning views in a consistent manner on drawing sheet has also been a general pain in the backside. Those that have come from an AutoCAD background, I would guess in many cases that’s around 95% of us, have found the approach to placing views poor compared with how you can align viewports in AutoCAD. You only need to look at the AUGI forums and you will see that users have tried to come up with all sorts of weird and wonderful hacks to solve this issue. Well no need to continue hacking, as RAC 2011 says hello to Guide Grids. Guide Grids are a new element which can appear in the active sheet which will allow you to align elements within and between sheets. The following are valid items which will snap to Guide Grids; Levels, grids, reference plans, model crop regions and schedule extents. Users can now create custom elevation tags. This particular request has been on many Revit users wish list for some time, so it will be a welcomed improvement. It will also mean that you can actually create elevation of any view rather than having to sort to using sections to generate non- orthogonal views. With all the performance and stability enhancements for Revit 2011, you’ll be glad to see this has also extended to the importing of large DWG files. In Revit 2010 it was so annoying to see that dialogue that would pop up and say that Revit cannot import a particular DWG because it will create a Revit model which is larger than 2 miles across! You would be left scratching your head wondering how you were going to get around this particular issue. So it’s a welcome enhancement to see the 2 mile limit extended, referred to as “Expanded Region of High Geometric Accuracy” in the help files, the 2 mile limit has been extended to 20 miles.

But one thing is for sure, as an industry we need to be smarter about how we design buildings and we need to reduce the energy consumption of our buildings. To analyze a building, typically you need 3D data. Whilst Autodesk already have solutions like Ecotect and Green Building Studio, there is still a need to have tools within your favourite design package to enable you as the designer to make informed decisions. To support this Revit 2011 now includes a sun path tool (see Figure 13), similar to the one found in Ecotect. You can use the sun path tool in solar animations; you can also grab it in a 3D view and interactively drag the sun around, depending where you are in the world, to see the impact of solar shading on your design. This is a great step forward and I look forward to seeing more tools included to support sustainable design workflows.

EXPANDING THE API With each release of Revit, we see Autodesk putting a heavy investment into the further development of the Revit API (Application Programming Interface). Revit 2011 is no exception and there have been some significant changes in this release. This major overhaul of the API will allow for future growth, expansion and stability. The main highlights are:• • • • • • • •

Dynamic model update Analysis visualization framework Advanced selection and element Filtering Model update on demand New UI tools Application idling event Custom error handling

There is no doubt that the API plays an important role within the implementation and use of Revit. One reason that AutoCAD became such a dominate player in the Computer Aided Design market place, was because it had a robust easy to program API. This allowed developers to generate tools and applications to extend the capabilities of AutoCAD, which Autodesk alone could not achieve. One obvious change for us non-programming types is the move away from using the Revit.ini file to register 3rd party applications and tools. Instead, the Revit API uses an add-in XML manifest file to register applications developed with the API. This XML file can be placed in one of two specific locations within your Windows system. In a non-user specific location under “application data”:Windows XP - C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\2011\ Vista/Windows 7 - C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\2011\

Figure 13- The new Sun Patch tool interface

SUSTAINABILITY REQUIREMENTS One of the key benefits with BIM is the ability to use the model to meet the ever increasing sustainability requirements. Whether you believe all the discussions about global warming that the governments and scientist talk about, is a matter of opinion. spring_2010

Or a user specific location in “application data”:Windows XP - C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\2011\ Vista/Windows 7 - C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\ Revit\Addins\2011\


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Architecture The other major addition is the introduction of the Analysis Visualization Framework. This new functionality creates the linkage for external analysis applications to easily display the results of their computation as 3D data in the Revit model. This is of particular importance for those considering the development of sustainability analysis tools. The significance of this new functionality cannot be underestimated. I hope to see developers scrabbling to develop tools which will support the green agenda and provide the same powerful analysis functionality which has been on offer to Revit Structure since its inception.

Autodesk-Revit blog spot

CONCLUSION So that’s it folks, a quick round up of what new in Revit Architecture 2011, there are other minor functional improvements in this release which I haven’t covered, but I am sure you will discover these soon enough. Without doubt, the general word on-the-street is, in years to come, we will look back and recognise the importance of this release as the turning point for the Revit BIM platform. Revit 2011 will be what release 14 was to AutoCAD. Whilst the article looks solely at Revit Architecture, the key to the success of the platform is the work that has also taken place in Revit MEP 2011. No argument, there is still much to do, but even those that doubted it when Autodesk purchased Revit in 2002, are now acknowledging the importance

of Revit to support Building Information Modelling across the global construction industry. David Light is currently employed as the Revit/BIM Specialist for HOK London, focusing on Revit and BIM as well as helping to drive forward the HOK’s global BuildingSMART principles. David started out his working career as an architectural technician, where he learnt the skill of drafting on the drawing board and construction detailing. Realising that CAD was the future, he transition to Microstation and then onto AutoCAD and 3dsMax. David was first introduced to Revit at version 4.5, just after the Autodesk acquisition and has had an unhealthy passion for the technology ever since. Before joining HOK; David worked for an the UK’s Autodesk Premier Solutions Centre providing coaching, training and consultancy in Revit Architecture and Revit Structure. David has developed a reputation as one of the leading UK experts in Revit and is a popular speaker and blogger on all things Revit and BIM.

CREATING A HELIX USING ADAPTIVE COMPONENTS IN REVIT 2011 A few months back I looked at how to create a helix in Revit 2010 without the need of any heavy math. Zach Krone and BIM troublemaker did similar examples on there blogs with varying degrees of complexity.

With a bit of messing around you can end up with something like this. :-)

So I figured the other day that there must be a smarter way to do this in Revit 2011 with the new adaptive component tool. Take a look at the youtube Video for more info.

Subscribe to Autodsek-Revit at



by: Stephen Stafford

inside track

p AUGI |AEC EDGE brings you recent developments in Autodesk and AEC related software items. AUTODESK LABS: BRIDGE MODELER FOR AUTOCAD CIVIL 3D Bridge Modeler at Autodesk Labs URL:

Bridge Modeler for AutoCAD 3D

The Overview reads: “Welcome back to the Bridge Modeler for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011. This is the second phase of the bridge technology preview project. We are pleased to be able to continue listening to your voice if this bridge technology works well or if we should invest our resources to other prospective technologies. Here is one simple question that we would like to ask you Civil 3D and/or Revit Structure experts in this technology preview project.”

AUTODESK LABS: NEON CLOUD RENDERING SERVICE Neon Cloud Rendering Service at Autodesk Labs URL:

Neon Cloud Rendering is in the Lab

The Overview reads: “Project Neon is a rendering service that offers greater productivity and a faster turnaround of photorealistic renderings by leveraging the power and compute capabilities of the cloud. Rendering is a time and hardware intensive process that translates 3D models into photorealistic images that allow the design team to optimize the results they deliver to their clients. By harnessing the power of the cloud, customers no longer you have to wait for long periods of time to generate single or multiple views of their designs, The Project Neon service eliminates the need for customers to purchase and maintain expensive hardware for their rendering needs. Providing a realistic view into designs during the entire design process delivers superior results for your customers.”




AUTODESK LABS: PROJECT NEWPORT Newport 3D Storytelling at Autodesk Labs URL:

Project Newport is in the Labs

The Overview reads: “Experience real-time 3D story-building technology designed specifically for architectural visualization and presentation. With game-engine technology and intuitive navigation techniques, Project Newport helps architects show their designs in context, rapidly explore design options, and create vivid and immersive 3D presentations in which customers and building owners can actively participate. Project Newport brings architectural designs to life by expressing design intent, understandably and in context, at every stage of a project.”


BLAUGI blog spot

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AUGI is pleased to announce that the latest issue of AUGIWorld is now available for download. AUGI Wish List 2010 - The AUGI Wish List program is the ultimate user feedback tool - providing a direct line between AUGI members and the developers behind Autodesk’s most popular programs. In the cover story, you’ll get a peek at the Top 10 Wish Lists from the June 2010 cycle for AutoCAD and Autodesk Revit Architecture. Plus, AUGIWorld authors offer up their own wishes for the Autodesk products in their specialty areas.

Wide Area File Services at Globalscape

The overview reads: “GlobalSCAPE WAFS allows end users across multiple offices to access and share files over a WAN at LAN speeds. File replication ensures the same files exist at all locations while real-time file locking keeps users from overwriting files in use. As files are modified, changes are mirrored instantly using intelligent byte-level differencing to minimize the impact on network bandwidth.” Until next issue! If you’d have some news to share with us for future issues please let us know. Likewise if you are a user of a featured product or news item and would like to write a review, we want to know. Contact the editor:


Click Here to download the AUGIWorld July/August 2010 issue Also in this issue of AUGIWorld: ∙ A Quick Spin with Autodesk Inventor Publisher - Fresh from an Autodesk Labs preview, Autodesk Inventor Publisher joins the company’s stable of products. Author John Evans leads the tour of this product, which gives CAD and non-CAD professionals access to detailed views of CAD models. ∙ An Easy Way to “Do the Math” - Don’t overlook the AutoCAD Calculator, suggest author Jeff Bartels. In this article, Bartels shows you all the things this tool can do. ∙ Keynote Address - Jim Nothnagel explores Keynote, an often-overlooked Autodesk Revit annotation feature. ∙ Oops! You Just Spent Too Much for Your CAD Workstation - Judah Jackson explains how you can score a great workstation for far less than you probably imagine. ∙ The CAD Manager - CAD Manager Mark Kiker presents the items on his wish list.


by: David J. Harrington


Revit Fundamentals - Part 3


ANNOTATION CUSTOMIZATION So far in our endeavor to implement Revit Structure we have dealt with the basic setup with line work and such. We then went on to adjusting object styles and visibility graphic overrides. All this effort has proved fruitful, now the elements we see in Revit Structure look pretty good. Now it is time to take it up a notch! What else can we do? Well for starters, the text you look at when you annotate anything is a great place to begin. The problem is that, in Revit, the text you look at is defined (or customized) in numerous areas. These containers have to be accessed one at a time and it is that fact that causes such much annoyance. To begin, the basic text element in Revit is the Text Note. From the Annotation ribbon, you can click the Text tool. From there you then access the Properties Palette and then click the Edit Type button. This then opens the Type Properties dialog, as shown in Figure 1.

Once this dialog opens up, on the surface it is pretty simple. At the top you set your color which in most conditions will be Black. The Line Weight is a bit more confusing. A little further down is the Text Font and as you notice, it is called Arial. If you don’t know already, this is a Windows TrueType font. And as such, the Line Weight setting has zero effect on this font. The Line Weight setting is really for the Leaders that may be enabled. Next down is the Background setting. At this time there are only 2 options, Transparent and Opaque. Setting to Opaque enables the area of the text object to hide line work below it. This can be handy at keeping your text clear and easy to read. New in Revit 2011 is the Show Border option. Enable this and you get a nice box (using the Line Weight assigned) around the text object. How far away from the text object this box is placed is controlled by the Leader/Border Offset value. Making this zero would push the leader and any box up onto the edge of the text annotation. The last Graphics setting is the Leader Arrowhead. Here you can choose any existing arrowhead type. You can define your own but only within certain styles such as a tick, dot and arrowhead. Finally you get to the Text itself. Here we set the text size, duh, and the Tab Size. This is the amount of space that is inserted when you are typing and press the TAB key. The remaining settings are basic Windows font settings, but include a Width Factor. Often in AutoCAD users would change the text style width factor, to help the text take up less space. If you want to, use it. But as I mentioned earlier, the problem with fonts in Revit is the way that Revit manages them. If you change from Arial, 3/32”, and 1.0 Width Factor, to get all your annotation to look that way will require the following edits: • • • •

Template RTE file 1 Text Type 4 Dimension Types 31 Families with Annotation

It is that last one that usually gets people to reconsider. If not, now add to that all the families that are not loaded in the template but rather stored in the various Revit libraries Figure 1- Type Properties for Text spring_2010


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structure and contain annotation. Now add to that Autodesk issuing a Revit update every 4 months. Each of these updates, may or may not, include updates to families. Do you want to do the research to get the latest family trick, and then fix the annotation – again and again? So with that I would caution taking on the font. Until Autodesk develops a tool to sweep through all families to change the fonts as needed I wouldn’t bother. Okay, so that is the Text. Next is Dimensions. Also from the Annotate ribbon, click any Dimension tool and then on the Properties Palette click the Edit Type button. As shown in Figure 2, in the Graphics area we have the Dimension String Type. You have 3 forms, Continuous, Baseline, and Ordinate. Continuous offers a single run of dimensions. Baseline will provide a stack of dimensions, and Ordinate will show distance values at each end.

Figure 3- Text Properties of Dimension Types

Hey Look! Text Settings,…again. As shown in Figure 3, this starts out very similar but ends with interest. We have a Read Convention setting, Up, then left. Clicking this will expose a list of 5 conventions, of which I personally have not tried so I’ll leave what they do to you to figure out. I’ll skip the Units for a moment. At the bottom is Show Opening Height. This option when enabled will then show header elevations on the dimension object when dimensioning a door or window. Now for Units, when you click the example button the Format dialog opens up. Depending on your template, a given dimension type can give the Project control of the look, or you can let the dimension type control it.

Figure 2- Type Properties for Dimension Types

Next is a misnomer, Tick Mark. Even though named incorrect, this is the mark that is shown at the intersection of the dimension and extension lines. The rest of the area is riddled with controls for line weights and spacing and sizes of elements. At the end of the Graphics is a value that controls the gap in which dimensions will space themselves when stacked.


Figure 4- The Format Dialog


Personally I prefer the later. Once you do, you can then choose the units, some version of imperial, decimal, or metric. Then pick a rounding, assign symbols, and then consider suppressing 0 values and spaces.

YOU CAN GET JUST ABOUT ANY LOOK YOU WANT REALLY. So those are the main text items. Once you get into editing family files you will add Label objects to the mix. They have the same properties as Text but are distinct from Text Objects. Each and every family will have this repeated over and over. The big problem is there isn’t a good and easy way to bring changes you make in one family into another. Pasting them won’t change the current family types. Neither will loading into project from one family to another. And you can’t use Transfer Project Standards.

BIM and Beam blog spot

So clearly you see the rub. You can make the changes easy enough, but you don’t want to do it over and over again. And doing it once, you can’t easily leverage it in other family files. However, if you do want to do it, there is a technique you can use. Build a blank family template for each category you need, i.e. annotation symbol, wall tag, etc. Then that family can contain the text, dimension, and label settings. You can then copy and paste line work from the Autodesk family to your custom family.

Of course, if the family has a bunch of constraints and formulas, then this copy and paste method probably isn’t going to work well. Sigh…can’t have everything. CALLING REVIT API PROGRAMMERS: The Revit users of the world would like a program that will sniff through a project model and make changes to all fonts in one step. And make the program free. You never know…

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David J. Harrington is the technical editor for AUGIWorld magazine and has served AUGI as Local User Group Representative, AEC Industry Chair, Board of Director and President. He was re-elected to the Board in December 2009, term beginning January 2010 and lasting until January 2012 (two years). David has written several CAD related books, most recently Mastering Revit Structure 2010. He currently works for Walter P Moore, a consulting engineering firm based in Houston, Texas and in addition to his role as CAD Designer provides in-house Revit training and customization. David is teaching a class on standards at Autodesk University 2009 and his blog can be found at http://caddhelp.

EXPLORE THE UPDATED REVIT STRUCTURE COMPOSITE FLOOR DESIGN EXTENSION Revit Structure 2011 users with valid subscription can take advantage of an updated Extension that assists with the analysis and design of composite floor systems. This newly updated Extension, which is now available on the Subscription Center, provides analysis and design capabilities for composite and non-composite floor layouts using the current AISC 360-05 design specification. The integration of this analysis and code checking capability inside Revit Structure enables structural engineers and designers the ability to perform analysis and make code check centric decisions earlier in the design process.

Figure 2: Composite Design Showing Beam Detail Subscribe to BIM and Beam at

Figure 1: Composite Design Extension Main Screen




by: Stephen Stafford

head’s up

HEAD’S UP! Updates, Service Packs and Top Known Issues (obtained from product pages at AAUTOCAD/ACA/AMEP TOP KNOWLEDGE BASE ISSUES Unhandled exception when using products based on AutoCAD 2010 or 2011 id=13109351&linkID=9240617 Error: A valid license could not be obtained by the network license manager id=7574782&linkID=9240617


Unable to create a deployment from the Autodesk Design Suites id=15255311&linkID=9240617 ADMS Backup Fails: Warning: Failed to rollback transient permissions id=12291848&linkID=9240617 Cannot see any CTB plot styles id=15258601&linkID=9240617


Video, You want to add a page to a multi-pages DWF file d=15245995&linkID=9240617

SAMReport-lite for Windows 7 d=15105775&linkID=9240698

AutoCAD splash screen starts up and then closes (Standalone) d=15176093&linkID=9240617

Asian Character Command Line Input Hot fix for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011 d=15033401&linkID=9240698



Certified Hardware XML Database Update d=7440746&linkID=9240618 SAMReport-lite for Windows 7 d=15105775&linkID=9240618

Printed Manuals or Help for Autodesk 2011 Products d=14913682&linkID=13734494 Cascading Sequences for Autodesk 2011 Products d=14885918&linkID=13734494

Autodesk InfoCenter Hot Fix d=14898367&linkID=9240618


AutoCAD 2011 CHM-Based Help d=15068206&linkID=9240618

AutoCAD Civil 2011 Object Enabler d=15131158&linkID=10382102

Asian Character Command Line Input Hot fix For AutoCAD 2011 d=15008935&linkID=9240618

Printed Manuals or Help for Autodesk 2011 Products d=14913682&linkID=10382101

Liveupdate Hot Fix for French/Italian/Spanish AutoCAD 2011 64-bit versions d=14928753&linkID=9240618 PublishToWeb Hot Fix for French/Italian/Spanish AutoCAD 2011 64-bit d=14928540&linkID=9240618 Autodesk Materials Library 2011 Update 1 d=14835465&linkID=9240618

CIVIL 3D UPDATES AND SERVICE PACKS - 2011 Survey and API Hot fix d=15291107&linkID=9240698 Certified Hardware XML Database Update d=7440746&linkID=9240698


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head’s up

FLEXnet® feature codes for Autodesk 2011 products d=15224763&linkID=10382101 AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2011 Object Enabler (32-bit and 64-bit) d=15194195&linkID=10382102 Cascading Sequences for Autodesk 2011 Products d=14885918&linkID=10382101 Autodesk Navisworks 2011 Installation User Guides d=15024540&linkID=10382101 How to borrow a network license in 2011 d=15174001&linkID=10382101 AutoCAD Architecture & AutoCAD MEP 2011 Object Enabler (32-bit and 64-bit) d=14896252&linkID=10382102


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head’s up In Revit, the Navisworks File Exporter is grayed out on the ribbon menu d=15175410&linkID=10382101

Switch between local and online help documentation for Revit 2011 products d=14994272&linkID=9243182

TimeLiner / P6 Web Services Hotfix d=15128670&linkID=10382102

Printed Manuals or Help for Autodesk 2011 Products d=14913682&linkID=9243182


Clean uninstall of Autodesk Revit 2011 products d=14633513&linkID=9243182

Resetting the Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011 user interface d=14880949&linkID=9243099 When you attempt to use the Navisworks exporter in Revit, a “localization” error displays d=15175458&linkID=9243099 Revit 2011 products crash when attempting to replace material render appearance d=15255349&linkID=9243099 Top issues with file maintenance in Revit Architecture 2010 d=13127554&linkID=9243099 FLEXnet feature codes for Autodesk 2011 products d=15224763&linkID=9243099 System requirements for the Autodesk Network License Manager (Windows) d=4791200&linkID=9243099

Video: Creating Deployments of Autodesk Revit 2011 products d=14858163&linkID=9243182 Error: Entry Point Not Found d=15131969&linkID=9243182 Revit 2011 additional render paths work differently with realistic views than with rendering d=14981997&linkID=9243182 Upgrading IES lights in Revit 2011 d=14982433&linkID=9243182 In Revit 2011 the PANTONE Find Color field does not search for a matching color d=14982864&linkID=9243182

Changing a Revit 2011 deployment type from imperial to metric d=15220364&linkID=9243099


Enabling 3GB switch on Windows Vista™ or Windows 7 d=9583842&linkID=9243099

Clean uninstall of Autodesk Revit 2011 products d=14633513&linkID=9243142


Revit 2011 Product install from Web Download to multiple machines d=15041978&linkID=9243142

Revit 2011 Product install from Web Download to multiple machines d=15041978&linkID=9243182


Materials and lights in Revit 2011 FBX file not visible in 2010 applications d=14633229&linkID=9243182

Upgrading IES lights in Revit 2011 d=14982433&linkID=9243142


Video: Creating Deployments of Autodesk Revit 2011 products d=14858163&linkID=9243142 Video: Standalone Installation of Autodesk Revit 2011 Products d=14877739&linkID=9243142 Video: Post Installation Tasks for Autodesk Revit 2011 Products d=14877683&linkID=9243142 Video: Network Installation of Autodesk Revit 2011 Products d=14877729&linkID=9243142 Some features may not be fully supported by the video card and driver on this computer d=14636373&linkID=9243142 Can’t Make Type error when loading MEP family with type catalog d=14949773&linkID=9243142

The Revit Clinic blog spot

Using shared parameters for a title block in a project d=13126260&linkID=9243142

UPDATES AND SERVICES PACKS REVIT ARCHITECTURE 2011 Web Update #1 Web Enhancement List 2011_ur1.pdf

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REVIT STRUCTURE 2011 Web Update #1 Web Enhancement List 2011_ur1.pdf

REVIT MEP 2011 Web Update #1 Web Enhancement List 2011_ur1.pdf

ROTATE A MATERIAL BY INSTANCE OR TYPE Let’s say you have some elements where the material rotation needs to be modified. Depending on the number of objects I have included some approaches below. You can selectively rotate a material with a model surface pattern or you can create a new material and assign it to objects. If the material has a surface pattern, of Pattern Type > Model, you can TAB select over the pattern until selected. You can then initiate the rotate tool to modify the pattern orientation and corresponding material rotation for that instance only: Video Example Another approach is to create a second material with a varying rotation angle. You can achieve this through the material render appearance. Materials > Render Appearance > Image > Edit Image > Transforms > Position > Rotation:

Keep in mind if you rotate the material image in this manner the model pattern will not rotate with it. You would need to create a second model pattern type with a matching rotation or simply rotate the model pattern as described above [which will also rotate the material appearance]. You can also apply the material using the Modify > Paint tool to any object face once you have a second material: Video Example Related to this, if your material with a surface model pattern is inside an in-place component, ensure to edit the component prior to attempting to rotate or move the pattern. Otherwise you will simply move the entire component versus the pattern: Video Example Subscribe to The Revit Clinic at

Video Example



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Takes Collaborative Design to a Whole New Level Working efficiently is one of the cornerstones of competing in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business world. HP SkyRoom gives you the ability to put all the resources you need to get the job done, together in one virtual place, at the same time so that ideas can flow freely and naturally, without barriers, without confusion. Collaborating across broad geographies typically involves complicated efforts to render models in video, compress it to manageable sizes for email, and then gather feedback. When actual files are sent, there are security and versioning concerns. However it is done, the process is time consuming, laborious and error prone. HP SkyRoom changes that. HP SkyRoom enables up to four people, anywhere in the world1, to videoconference and share

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