Monday, January 31, 2011

(Revit ®) Families 101: An Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from a paper I am writing (and will post in it's entirety when completed)... The subject is Creating Revit Content and the first step in creating Revit Content is to NOT create Revit Content, rather see if you can't find it!!! Now I know that some firms have a "No Download" policy but others do not and the reality of our digital age is such that (IMO) closing down any possibly valuable assets just because there may be others that are liabilities is antithetical to the progress and efficiency of BIM. Just like we don't believe everything we read or see or hear, etc. we should be wary of found data but not fear it...yet(?).

Many necessary Revit families already exist but unfortunately for many this existing content is oft overlooked or ignored. More and more content is available from a diversity of places (read as “The Web”), therefore if you first use the “I bet it already exists, since others have probably needed ‘it’ before” mantra you might just find that you do not need to build quite so much content after all. Though you may need to modify them and you surely need to test them before introducing to the project environment.

Dealing with found content
Assuming you find what appears to be appropriate content for your needs, “out there” it is advised to never (read as NEVER) bring content from outside sources directly into a live project environment. Test-drive it first.

The Test-Drive
Open a new, blank file and place the content in there; then test it by looking at it in all views it will show up in, change parameters (one by one), etc. Do this testing as fully as possible; to verify that both the aesthetics and functionality are correctly suited for your project or firm’s needs.

Once validated (purged out as well) then it should be safe for project use.

A few validation tests
• Do objects below get covered properly?
• Does it show up correctly in all views?
• Do all parameters flex correctly?
• Is it actually Revit Geometry or not?
• If it’s a Tag, does it pull the correct parameter?
• Is it too big (in MB)?
• Etc.

Well that should get your appetites whetted... See you soon...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Worksharing Need to Know(s) Please Save To Central (No Matter What It's Called Now)

Another helpful hint to build into your team processes... Sync to Central ...Now!!!

What's going on in Revit Worksharing, what's important?
Firstly; the differences between a 'stand alone' project file and a Worksharing file need to be understood at least at a basic level. There are profound differences that many still miss: A) It is not recommended (read as "just don't do it) to set the "Backups" of a Worksharing project file to be less than the default of 20 and if you are like some people out there (Read as "some people out there") set it to 50.

No that does not create 50 complete files (like a standalone file would...
Worksharing files create very scary EPERM, DAT, & WPERM files that should not be tampered with (read in a Nigel from Spinal Tap voice as: DON'T TOUCH THEM... DON'T EVEN LOOK AT THEM). Those files may be the best way to blow a project up.

That said what is happening in WS files, beyond all that (and more) is communication & the availability of Worksets
(WS). AKA containers for discretely distinguished sets of objects. How many worksets to have all depends on project criteria but a few rules I follow are:
1) 1 WS for each linked file
2) beyond that it all depends... THIS LINK may be old but still in play; plus, MORE HERE on Central file protocols;
after that Search away...

Want the Revit User Guides? Get your flavor at the following links: Oh and... READ THESE!!!

Now on to the initial reason for this post: I wanted to post the Image at the top of this post, so when I teach Revit 101 I don't have to redraw this map each time... That image basically maps what is going on in WS files: at least 'basically'.

It's not only important if you are a newcomer to Revit Worksharing it is equally important if you don't "play nice" with others... Revit Worksharing is (digital) communication and requires (Human) communication. That said the following is a normal guideline for keeping the file and team working together...nicely.

Note that the frequency of steps 2 & 3 will want to be discussed and devised perhaps for each project independently, as project & team size, location, etc. will all be defining criteria in setting the proper frequency and recurrence of STC's.

Communicate as Revit does...Round-Trip!!!
1) Communication of Central & User Files is constant and requires good network connections, etc. This is why you want to keep your files & network working nicely... well that and losing work is horrible, yet preventable.

Worksharing means Sharing the work, not hoarding it!!!
2) STC/REL Also known as: Save To Central & Relinquish. Generally relinquish everything. BTW: STC/REL EVERY TIME YOU LEAVE YOUR CHAIR!!! No matter the reason (for getting up).

What's New? Better get it!!!
3) RL (in my shortcuts, AKA Reload Latest) This is typically done by everyone on the team right after the final person completes step #2. Why? So everyone is working on the most current model.

Also, if you open a user model file and don't recreate it then step #3 is necessary to do immediately after opening...just in case someone did something after your last STC/Save.

Funny anecdote (???): I once joked to a large, dispersed team that that they should get a bell to signal when to STS/REL/RL... Well they did and it surprisingly lasted a few weeks before the annoyance became unbearable!!!

P.S. Did you find the
somewhat hidden, virtual easter eggs in this post???

Happy New Year!!!