Monday, March 28, 2011

What's the best computer to buy for Revit 2012?

Another year, another release, another same question... Same as it ever was... WTF computer to buy for Revit? Especially since most all of us will have 3DMax & even Inventor added to the mix... As always the images and links are...well, links!!!

Got 2x24" (1920x1200) monitors yet?

You should!!! Not having these gives you about a 5-30%+ waste of budget, time & money. These monitors pay for themselves in about 3 months no matter what you do on a computer!!! Yes, even Admin folks can do more work with 2x24's!!!

Nothing has changed as far as my conceptual recommendation for a Revit Workstation... but ADSK now ups the ante (as usual!!!) 

More features=More System required. It just makes sense.

My Recommendation:
Simply look at this page, for the "Performance Recommendations" from Autodesk and use that as a bare minimum, then go beyond those specs up to your budget ceiling... Be careful to find the "Performance Recommendations" drop-down, as the 32bit & 64 bit drop-downs are going to give very unsatisfactory computer experiences if you ask me... and you are, after all!!! Please do look hard at your budgets, since the following may not seem evident...

Studies (& benchmarks that I have done, as well as many others) show that for each & every 1% a machine can enhance productivity (assuming just a $100 per hour billable rate); that 1% = $2,000 per year!!! No shit!!!

If the machine you get is 10% faster than another, that will (read as WILL) translate into a super-conservative earnings bump of $6,000... this assumes that the person is only at the computer 50% of the time and even then not always working on task.

They really do pay for themselves; these $3,000 to $6,000+ Workstations!!! Yes, there will be a delta where the price and productivity flip flop but that's usually somewhere North of $4,000 to $10,000, depending on the work you do.

I like to stay around the $3,500 range personally -not including monitors- yet professionally I look at the budgets and all that fun stuff but do still recommend Workstations that range about the same with power user Workstations above those.

It just 'seems' to hurt when cutting the checks, but when taking a longer view of business good Workstations do pay for themselves quite quickly!!!

Don't forget to make sure to get a "Recommended" Video Card & driver setup (link below too)... I suggest a test machine first, since I have been told about anecdotal evidence (by another BIM Manager) that they have found some cards, even though ADSK says are recommended still throw them the "Direct 3D" warning with some of the new visual styles; I have not personally run into that (yet???) but it's always safer to be safe!!!

(ADSK) Performance Recommendations

  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 64-bit Enterprise, Ultimate, Professional, or Home Premium
  • Quad Core Intel® Xeon® Processor (2.50 GHz, 2X6M L2, 1333) or equivalent AMD processor (Can you say Multiple Quads? or Better yet: 6 Cores... No joking.)
  • 8 GB RAM (or more) (12 Minimum!!!)
  • 1,280 x 1,024 monitor with true color (This must be a Joke by ADSK: those were horrible for AEC 10 years ago!!!)
  • 1 GB (or more) DirectX® 9-capable graphics card with Shader Model 3. Find out more about recommended graphics hardware. (1GB will work for now but I bet not so well next year!!!)
Happy Revitouring!!!

    Revit 2012 What's New and More: + Some Art in LA

    March LARUG (Los Angeles Revit Users Group: a brief...brief: Hit the image Left for a pretty thorough recap as well as Revit What's New assets & Links.

    More From LA

    Go see Art!!!
    I took my kids to see two Ace Galleries in LA this weekend and we saw some evocative Art with a broad range of context & emotion: in the Beverly Hills' Ace we saw a Robert Irwin column, along with some other painters and sculptors' works...very cool... Too bad there wasn't a major RI installation or some paintings there too, but it's nice to see these columns wherever they appear.

     Then we went down Wilshire to the LA Ace to catch The Date Farmers exhibit... quite exhaustive and rich.

    My kids went more for these and cited the works' emotion and power.

    I have to agree with them, but I do like the challenge of both styles; the Super Cool and the Sub Pop (as I see them).

    There's something great going on when everyone is affected by a work and these hit on so many levels that we all were blown away at every turn!

    Shit; I'm gonna get painting more!!!

    ...FYI: if you use Internet Explorer this blog may look odd, so use another browser... IE still sucks!!!

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    The new Autodesk & Revit BIM Building Design Suites are (almost) Here!!!

    The new Autodesk 2012 Building Design Suites have been announced: I'm sure your twitter is blowing up @BIM & @Revit, so cutting to the chase; here's the direct link to find out from the source (hit the image).

    YAAY, ADSK is finally beginning to 'get it' I just hope the installs aren't a one-by-one nightmare!!!

    Can you say "cross-grade"???

    Wanna see what's new? (in addition to the 3Dconnexion Space pilot functionality in Revit 2012, which I will document in the next week)? Check out DLight's blog HERE!!!

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    More Dimensions to Revit

    A question posed to the LARUG's LinkedIn group: Does revit have symbols for center line or angle like the other software has?

    F' Yeah!!!
    OK: select a dimension > hit Edit Type and look at the properties!!!

    You should be able to figure it out from there... If not; look at the image below for the 3 "Centerline" fields and go at it (in Revit)!!!

    More on Dimensional goodness, from an old post on Dimensions: Here!!! also...

    A final tip: Unless you have memorized all parameters for all possible objects, ALWAYS CHECK THE PARAMETERS!!!

    If you have a question and then look at all the parameters, both the Instance and Type, you just may find what you are looking for... or better yet, find something you weren't looking for yet that will help you immeasurably later on!!!

    Wednesday, March 09, 2011

    You Need Tools for Your Revit Tool, Don't You?

    Your Tool is important to you.

    Therefore we need a place to find them and this post will effort toward listing them (at least as many available at the moment it's published). In no apparent order, here is a list of the many Revit Tools one can find... As always click the images for links to the sites.

    Please understand that you must evaluate these tools on your own since this posting is in no way a recommendation to use or purchase anything. I have no vested interest in any of these tools. Some are better than others and there's a shitload of info on these in & on the web... Now about those Tools...

    If I find more I'll append or re-post...

    Obviously you need Revit!!!

    Autodesk Subscription is where you'll find some of the best addons, additions, service packs, patches, new builds, etc. If you are on subscription you'll probably know this... if not HAHAHAHA... Among the fantastic benefits are: RoomBook extension, bridge/road/terrain tools, framing tools, grids generator, compare models, convert parameters to shared, element positioning, freeze drawings, text generator, etc...!!!

    Autodesk Labs is the place for all (ADSK) things potential!!! Google Earth connectors, DB connectors, BIM Family toolkit (interface w/ Inventor), Chinese daylight analysis, Bluestreak, Newport, Project Vasari!!! (Revit conceptual modeling without Revit...and free)!!!, STL exporter, and...Who knows what the future holds???

    Mertens3D has a great tool for creating hatch patterns on-the-fly, directly enough within Revit... YAAY, it makes the .pat files for us!!!

    Eaglepoint has SiteTools & LandCadd addon applications for Revit, as well as other apps for other platforms...

    These folks have some great addons such as an MWF... Metal/Wood Framer, a Manufacturing CMS: or Component Management Software. (Hey, didn't ADSK have a free wood framer???) Perhaps you need more control???

    EMC2 has a great tool to edit/manage Keynote files, without the explicit use of Notepad!!!

    This makes Keynotes: How to Use & Abuse the System: A How To for Good, Not Evil much easier!!!

    The image left gets you directly to the whitepaper referenced in the "Keynotes" posting/link above, just in case...

    Toolbox4Revit has a few tools for 2008-2010 versions so perhaps they aren't so useful for many Reviteurs any longer... Never know what the future will hold though...

    Revit Express Tools are some pay to play tools including: Excel Link (hey there is a theme here), BID&M and many more (some are very expensive IMO, but I know these guys and they're great in any case)...

    Revit Family Tools is free and these include: Delete Backup Files, Type Catalog Tools, Compare Shared Parameters, Merge Shared Parameters, Family File Version Detector. -Pretty cool!!!

    Imaginit's tools are pretty well proven and some are NEW for 2011... Element Renumber, MEP Parameter Tool, Parameter Copy, Room Renumber, Grid Select, Change Case, Door Mark Update, Revit Content Browser, Space Update, Earth Connector for Revit, Room Phase Copy.
    There are Free Imaginit tools available & they are: Room Renumber, Change Case, Space Update and Grid Select... Free is good!!!

    RevitTools Ribbon (pay to play) includes streamlining & productivity tools such as: Import/Export to Excel, Count Elements, Create Shared Parameters, Renumber Elements and many more. The
    re is also a RevitTools Toolbar for 2009 in case you're in the stone(d) age... Also included: "Schedule & Tag real door swing properties, Schedule & Tag real 'From' & 'To' Room info from doors" (Hey, isn't that already in Revit? YES!!! maybe theirs is somehow better???)

    Free means free!!! This includes Zach Kron, Buildz's Extensions tools. As they say: "The amazing Revit extension "calculates the distance between curtain panel by pattern instances and
    some other placed family, then writes this number to an instance parameter in each panel. But once we hook this parameter up to some geometry and formulas... oh the fun we can have!"" API Yi Yi.

    These are pay to play and some of the tools, or similar ones are already inside of Revit, or available for free so look around before purchasing all of them... Tools for BIM Management, Architecture, Structure, MEP & Sustainability, including tools for: Detailing, Dynamic Legends, Sheet Manager, Smart Floors, U-Value, Smart Browser, Rafter+, Truss+, Opening Cut, Sort & Mark, Estimating, R-Heating, Building Energy Performance.

    FM/GIS/BIM data workflow Mgmt. from CDV Systems.

    At left is a link to a previous (2009) post with more (mainly older) tools to look at... Never know what you may find... Cheers!!!

    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!!!

    Wednesday, March 02, 2011

    Revit, BIM Can't Save AEC from Bad Leadership & Workmanship

    Why is one of the largest economies (California) screwed? Hitting the image (left) will get you to an LATIMES article outlining just one small (read as huge) part...

    Why didn't they listen to Larry and others???

    Some quotes from the article: "..."I wouldn't let them build an outhouse for me," she said.... that inspectors, architects and project managers began finding serious construction defects early on and grew increasingly frustrated as deadlines came and went and the complex ultimately opened with many of the problems uncorrected. ...Yet the top two officials overseeing the construction program did not share their urgency.

    They publicly praised the contractor's work and repeatedly approved payments to [read the article for names] over the objections of Valley College officials and construction supervisors, who wanted the money held back until problems were corrected. The district had the right to withhold nearly $5 million but released almost $4 million, forfeiting a key source of leverage..."

    Typical unfortunately of some officials: they see a crappy job done, their advisors say it's crappy and then the officials say it's all great!!! Can one intimate Payola???

    Part Two of this story can be found in the image/link at right... I feel for you Don.

    Keep up the good governing (read as SNAFU).

    Big sad face goes out to the LACCD leadership and everyone else who was warned of the problems and didn't react with our (taxpayer) interests or the students, teachers, administrators, etc. in mind; now we must all live with these results daily.

    Thanks for taking some good work by many and turning it into institutional waste.

    This is why AEC can be so screwed as an industry. Shotty work and cover-ups. Not even BIM can save us from these kind of people who hold no seeming value in quality work or responsibility to anything more than perhaps their personal station in life... you know; the 'let's hope the shit hits the fan after we are gone' syndrome.