Sunday, March 06, 2011

Copy Monitor Setup for Revit: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility... Use it or Lose it

Note: This posting is based on efficiencies and practice: if your teams are skilled and experienced and know WTF they are doing this posting may not fully apply, as I don't even get into the Coordination Review or Reconcile Hosting herein. That's for another day... This post is intended for beginner to intermediate Revit teams...

First off: Here is a Search List of some useful Revit Copy Monitor assets, I'm sure you can find more as the years go on. I want to give some colleagues using Revit Structure a tip on splitting columns automatically at time of link/copy/monitor, so I will... but not until I give some other requisites for anyone Copying & Monitoring...

Copy/Monotor Levels: Click Here
Why Use it??? See what ADSK says themselves Right Here.

Then consider if it's such a good tool for you. I think there is potential and merit in the "concept" of Copy/Monitor, but in actual practice it, along with user-error and/or lack of communication/coordination can cause huge problems. If a team has people that don't fully appreciate the power of what they are doing...
(read as either Revit Newbies or even experienced Reviteurs who just don't get it... and by 'it' I mean life, communication, coordination. impact, value, respect, professionalism, etc.).

Why do I steer many teams away from Copy/Monitor? Well, let's look at some unfortunately typical types of situations.

Let's say the Architecture team (RAC) gives their model to MEP (RME) & Structural
(RST) consultant teams to use and coordinate with/from & to.

Then let's say the Structural consultant DOES use Copy/Monitor, for all possible items and the MEP consultant DOES NOT... Who do you think will 'win'?

Here are a few examples of issues that they can
each expect to run into (read as will for sure run into for several items, some big, unless there is so much coordination and communication for every object deleted that everyone wants to pull out their hair)... I could be wrong but have never seen Copy/Monitor work cleanly without pretty major portions of work disappearing & needing to be re-done... Can anyone say loss of money?

Scenario 1: Deletion of a Level in the Architectural model
Architect team deletes a Level and creates a new one 2 feet above the previous one. (Yes I know the old level should (probably) simply been moved but shit happens sometimes).

The results of Scenario 1 -You tell me which makes more sense.
The RME team simply needs to look at most any Elevation or Section; see the difference and manually move their Level to
(hint) align with the RAC model's level. MEP is Done and onto work. (Clean!!!)...

RST who is Copy/Monitoring has to do a Coordination Review...
Hopefully the person getting this warning (that I'd argue cannot be ignored) knows what they are doing in Revit enough to actually react to this with proper diligence.

Then they need to make a choice which may solve the issue or else it will be standing for later, per
the following dialogue...

Either choice illustrated in the image left requires communication with the Architect (AKA: lost time, lost money. ...That MEP scenario is immediately looking better).

But wait, that's not all!!! Let's say RST deletes the object by using this dialogue; Well if they had objects associated to the deleted level they could expect to lose Views (Oh Shit: entire views, annotations and all!!!), Object Associations and Objects themselves... YUK... Mo Money,
Mo Money, Mo Money (lost).

See where this can go? I say we wait for teams to be real Revit experts before implementing Copy/Monitor. If your team has set protocols and buy-in then great!!!; if not :-(

Scenario 2: Deletion of a Wall from the Architectural model -It happens sometimes...
At times it's appropriate to move a wall rather than delete it, but sometimes it's appropriate to delete it and create a new one. So in this scenario I postulate not only the Copy/Monitor issue but I will add to that my dislike of
unnecessarily Hosted Components... In this scenario the MEP team still does not use Copy/Monitor but they also have made many of their components to be NON HOSTED (yaay for them), such as outlets, lights, etc. (no, not even face hosted!!!)

The results of Scenario 2
The MEP team sees the wall from RAC was deleted and manually moves their wall & other components into the new location and any constrained objects follow. Done.
Note: Objects that were constrained to the RAC wall like dimensions, etc.
will go away, so be watchful.

The Structural team must do the coordination review and deal with any/all hosted families wanting to be deleted or worse: rejected (yuk) this is why an object that is not hosted works better in my opinion. Better to move an object than it is to have it be deleted without ones' knowledge. Yes I know we can export the report of objects that get deleted this way but again, in practice I find this auto-deletion is worse in most cases than simply having to do a visual audit/repair.

Whatever method you adopt for Copy/Monitor; whether it be through Revit or manual methods I can't stress enough the need for communication & coordination with the extended teams.

The further along in projects you are and the more items that are constrained to others' objects may, in some cases require a moratorium be placed on deleting objects. That's right: NO DELETING without round-trip BIM management first.

You now get the idea that Copy/Monitor needs planning & coordination and can introduce issues if not regulated properly so on to the Copy Monitor Options (and that tip finally!!!)...

Collaborate Tab>Coordinate Panel>Copy/Monitor
The small down-arrow (as always in software, especially all of them) is important!!!
In Copy/Monitor's case, it's mandatory: This is where one chooses what link to coordinate to/from.

The two choices;
Use Current Project or Select Link are illustrated in the image at left; relatively straight forward.

Copy/Monitor Options
Options are straight forward as a concept but they do require setup.

These make Copy/Monitor very powerful when used correctly but you need to honestly evaluate if the statement "when used correctly" will be used, followed and communicated to ALL parties involved in the project & process. As I have said With great power comes great responsibility and the power using
Copy/Monitor is extreme... one can make it good or bad.

Copy/Monitor Options: Levels
Type choices are quite obvious.

The Additional Copy Parameters can be useful too. If the Structural Levels want an offset due to finishes, etc. this can be used ...but again: only if directed to, coordinated and communicated. I think this is one of the least desired options but hey, that's just me...

Prefix or suffix can be helpful, if used.

Copy/Monitor Options: Grids
Again Grid options are straight forward enough. I don't recommend prefix or suffix though... the grid is the grid.

Copy/Monitor Options: Columns
FINALLY!!! Here is the tip for Structural folks that I spoke of at the beginning of this (epic length) post.

See the check box next to: "Split Columns by Levels"? Well, if the Architecture team modeled the columns as one object, spanning all levels then I'd say RST users should check this box. Unless you want a 200' long single column, hindering analysis, etc.

Little box, big results... this is great: if you use Copy/Monitor, that is...

Copy/Monitor Options: Walls
Do the work!!! If you are going to use Copy/Monitor and not set these (and all the other options) up then you can be sure of major inefficiencies (repeat the Mo (lost) money chant)...

Copy/Monitor Options: Floors
Huge for Structural teams!!! Don't forget the openings and inserts...

Copy/Monitor: The Copy Tools
Multiple Obviously allows more than one object to be Copy/Monitored at a time. Useful in many situations, unnecessary in others, let your ego be your guide. NO, NO, NO, I just wanted to see if you are still reading this: actually let your judgement be your guide!!!
Finish (Not the button with the green check above it: that's for when you are complete with the entire
Copy/Monitor process. The small "Finish" button that is next to the Multiple box is used to finish the Copy procedure for the selected objects. Cancel Obviously cancels the process at hand. Filter. WOW this is powerful and necessary in many cases... don't use it if you want to re-double your efforts later and lose money, efficiency...

Now you should have a decent insight to Copy/Monitor Setups... use at your own risk!!!


  1. newbie here.. Anyway to stop Revit MEP from Regenerating after picking each item you're copying/monitoring? With 100's of items that I'm copy/monitoring, I just feel I'd be done with this entire project in Acad w/designmaster... and I haven't even started any designing yet.

  2. Copy/Monitor cannot copy roof elements. Right? I cannot select them thought the other structures are OK. hik hik.

    1. Trần Đức Anh: Correct, At this time only Levels, Grids, Columns, Walls & Floors can be C/M'd But if you make the Roof as a Floor object then you can get it to work ;)