This is the last bit! Have a look at my Impressions of the conference here and at my class recommendations here.

By now you should all be very excited about AU and planning your own 2019 adventure, so here are some tips from me!

  1. DO your homework!

As soon as the list of classes is out, research them. Figure out what is important to you and strategize about your research. I personally do not think there is any point in reading the synopsis of each class – you are a busy person, you can’t dedicate that much of your time to this! Another thing you can’t afford to spend your time on is the wrong class while you are at the conference, so come up with a balanced plan.

There are two main things you want to look at – the what and the who. The “what” is a given – you want to go learn about things you care about – things that are relevant to you. Pick two topics to focus on – say Standards and Dynamo and try to stick to them – be realistic – if you go to see 16 classes that cover 16 different intense highly specialised topics, chances are by the end of the week your brain won’t have been able to absorb anything and you will be exhausted. Try to focus your studies, and maybe if you have a free slot, allow yourself a cheeky class on Healthcare design. Once you have picked your areas of interest, see how many classes there are that cover them, and read those blurbs.

The second thing – the “who”, I think is very important, not because they are a ground-breaking rock band from the 60s, what I mean is who is the BIM rock star that you are going to give your precious time to. Everyone learns differently and everyone teaches differently. Some of the presenters you may know, you may have listened to and you may know that their style of teaching perfectly suits you – prioritise this. A lot of the speakers would have given classes at previous AUs, you can look them up and watch a recording of their classes – maybe this can help you make up your mind. But also think about what their background is and what filter it will apply to the information they are giving to you. To me, who I am listening to is vital – the source of the knowledge is sometimes just as important as the facts. I have always found it extremely important to build a diverse range of opinions and experiences – If I have heard several talks on standards by white male BIM managers of large companies, I want to hear my next one from a woman of colour working in a midsized business.

  1. Queue

After all the work you have done to pick your classes, it is almost inevitable that some of them will be fully booked. Here is a secret – you may still be able to get in! Make a note of your desired classes you couldn’t get into and just go hang around the door before them and it is very likely that people would have booked them and not gone to them, or the staff would be willing to let standing audience in.

  1. Find your gang

The BIM community is huge and tiny at the same time. A conference of this size is an excellent opportunity to meet people you feel so connected to by your work, but you may find they have the audacity to live on the other end of the world.

It is, however, a huge event and if you want to meet anyone, you need to organize yourself very well. Plan what, who and where and make sure you all think the “main entrance” to be the actual same place.

Along with finding your gang – let yourself find new connections too – share the experiences with the people around yourself – you will definitely have things in common.

  1. Get a lip balm

Think practical stuff –

  • Get a lip balm for your pocket, one for your bag, one for your other pocket.
  • Get a bottle to refill – there are stations everywhere and it would have been so great if people did not use the single-use cups provided but had bottles – hydrate either way.
  • Take comfy shoes. Yes, you will be staying in the same building the entire week, but trust me there is much more walking than you think! So also –
  • Get plasters for your inevitable blisters
  • Prepare for conference food – if you have special requirements, there may be some accommodation, but if you want to be 100% sharp for your classes you may have to sort yourself out. I myself am vegan and can’t have gluten, and while at most main meals there was at least one thing I could eat, sometimes there wasn’t anything at all, and getting outside to search for food is something you simply can’t afford time-wise.

 

  1. Have some “personal time”

After all of my advice on preparing and planning, my last bit is sort of the opposite. There are classes all the time, and you can have your schedule full and still not see all you want to see. Despite that, open a slot or two for what in your AU Schedule is conveniently called “personal time”. Before I got to AU, I was so pumped for classes, I almost forgot there is an entire Expo to explore, and some of it was truly spectacular, and really not a 15-minute quick look sort of thing.

As promised – part two of my AU2018 review – 3 Class Recommendation. See Part 1 – Impressions here.

As I mentioned the sheer number of classes available was overwhelming and while I do believe the three below are outstanding, it seems too wild to me to call them “top 3”, since I only saw a tiny selection of the classes available. So here they are as the three girlfriends we have all had –

  1. The Reliable Date – Standards

It was very interesting to hear about BIM Standards in the US by Johnny Fortune in his Building your BIM Standards class. I must say, seeing how many different documents there are in the US defining BIM standards, I will not tolerate people not having read the PAS 1192 suit ever again! Unfortunately, the talk did not address the ISO 19650. An interesting aspect of the way standards seem to be written and published in the US is their intended audience – there are a documents specifically aimed to the users, the designers etc. – with the obvious caveat that I have not read or applied any of those, this initially strike me as a great idea – well the clients will finally read something, if there’s their name on it – but upon further thought, why would you want to give the different players different rulebooks to play with? I would love to hear more about these aspects of American standards from professionals that have worked with them. The class was very well structured and easy to follow – would highly recommend. It did look at a more corporate situation of business, larger scale operations etc., as, actually, was most of the conference. While there were so many valuable takes from the week, a lot of the angles of the lectures were from a scale very different to the one in the UK. Even though we do projects very comparable in size, the UK ACE business as a whole seems to like its smaller scale, and this immediately reflects on the implementation of standards.

  1. The Pixie Dream Girl – Dynamo

This year at Autodesk University there were over 70 classes dedicated to Dynamo. Alas, I was not able to go to all of them, and from all the ones I went to it was difficult to pick my favourite one.

The classes varied from very easy tools to start your automation journey with to quite complex experimentation in visual programming; there was also a very sizable contingent of classes that were telling stories about using Dynamo so that architects can keep not using Revit properly. While those were indisputably clever endeavours, and I do agree that “the best tool for the job is the tool that a designer is the most skilled in”, I think it is important to think long-term about those things – great, we have come up with several complicated but working workflows to translate things from other software into Revit, but is that what you want to teach the young staff coming in with no experience, if you can just teach them to use Revit and Dynamo on their own to achieve the same results?

If you are at the start of your beautiful friendship with Dynamo, I would highly recommend looking into automatization for project documentation – this is something that will be relevant for any stage of the project and will rarely require cleaning the data, which proves to be the most confusing thing for newbies.

Which leads me to one of my favourite classes – Marjan Sadeghi showed us her FM perspective and some excellent Dynamo tools she had developed to clean the models and data she has received from construction design teams so that she was able to successfully use them in FM software. With Marjan’s background being as rich and diverse as it is, she brought a beautifully intelligent approach to converting information to the FM process. So often we find that the BIM process becomes crippled due to the lack of connection with that last node – the FM, and what Marjan showed us was, well some may say I am exaggerating, but at least a promise for that BIM singularity we are all so longing for

  1. The Ex – Healthcare BIM

I was committed to doing Dynamo and Standardisation classes only in this intense week of learning, but I couldn’t help myself and slid a cheeky healthcare case study in between them. My love affair with Healthcare design is what brought me to BIM, and I do always keep an eye out for a hospital project I can dip in. I’ve always maintained that Healthcare architecture is one of the most fertile soils for BIM, it has been so for me at least. When trying to compare projects, as this class did, this shows even better. The materials provided were an excellent collation of case studies with data and very interesting comparisons. If you are about to embark on a new healthcare project – this class by Jacques Levy-Bencheton and Julien Drouet is a must!

Those were my highlights, but a large amount of the AU2018 classes were recorded, and if you are interested you can stream or download them along with materials (sometimes including tools you can immediately use) from the AU website. Additionally, the Winners of the Speaker Awards have just been announced, with our very good friend Sol Amour getting an honourable mention, those are always a good guide to what to look into.

 

 

Greetings, folks!

Here is a quick solution to an inconvenience I was having when setting up some Window Legend sheets today. In this particular case I’ve decided to use the Phased Out Legends approach discussed many years ago in this blog post by Martijn de Riet. This is from 2012 but it’s still a valid approach in my opinion. We’ve enjoyed quite a few treats in the recent years, sadly Legends are still to get the attention they need.

The premise is that you setup your Window views as plain old Plan and Elevation views using one long long wall containing all your window types. In order to hide that in all your normal views, you place this rig inside the ‘Existing’ phase and you also demolish them in that same phase. Then you simply adjust your views to show said phases correctly. These dummy windows would remain hidden in all normal views including schedules. That’s the gist of it.

I bet there were a number of ways to automate the task of creating all the ‘mini views’ for each window type, but what I found myself doing is duplicating the same plan and elevation view as dependant views, adjusting the crop region as needed and placing them on the appropriate sheet. Tedious, tedious work.

Duplicate Views on Sheets

What came out of my frustration was a neat way to duplicate Views on Sheets. I can see how that can be quite handy in so many situations where you simply want to save some of the hustle of all the duplicating and dragging and dropping. So here you go, folks, a nice little Macro that you can use inside your Application Macros straight away (unless you need Administrative rights in which case you can go and kick your IT’s butt from me).


// Use inside the Application Macros
public void DuplicateViewPort()
{
	Document doc = this.ActiveUIDocument.Document;			
				
	Viewport viewportToDuplicate = ViewportToDuplicateFromSelection(this.ActiveUIDocument);
	View viewToDuplicate = ViewToDuplicate(doc, viewportToDuplicate);
	XYZ placementPoint = viewportToDuplicate.GetBoxOutline().MaximumPoint;
	using(Transaction t = new Transaction(doc, "dulicate viewport"))
	{
		t.Start();
		Viewport.Create(doc, viewportToDuplicate.SheetId, viewToDuplicate.Id, placementPoint);				
		t.Commit();
	}
}
// Returns the Selected Viewport to Duplicate - promps for selection
internal Viewport ViewportToDuplicateFromSelection(UIDocument uidoc)
{
	var selectedViewPort = uidoc.Selection.PickObject(ObjectType.Element, "Pick Viewport");						
	var viewport = uidoc.Document.GetElement(selectedViewPort.ElementId) as Viewport;
							
	return viewport;
}
// Returns the duplicate View to be placed on the Sheet
internal View ViewToDuplicate(Document doc, Viewport viewport)
{
	using(Transaction t = new Transaction(doc, "duplicate view"))
	{
		t.Start();	
		var view = doc.GetElement(viewport.ViewId) as View;				
		var duplicateView = doc.GetElement(view.Duplicate(ViewDuplicateOption.AsDependent)) 
                   as Autodesk.Revit.DB.View;
		t.Commit();
		
		return duplicateView;
	}			
}

Feel free to use it as you see fit. Ask away, if you have issues implementing it. Use the code to create Dynamo nodes of any sort or kind and generally knock yourselves out.

The wait is over and Warchart is available for download from Autodesk App Store – go right ahead and get your fresh copy of our new product and start cleaning those pesky Warnings, enjoying yourself every step of the way!

Ok, you might be thinking – wait, whatchart? Warwho? Alright, let’s take it one step at a time.

History of Revit Warnings

Warnings have always been a part of Revit’s grunt. Their existence is important in two ways.

First and probably most important, Revit is doing you a great service in telling you that something is wrong with your model. Understanding Revit Warnings, in Autodesk’s own words, is important and you would want to prioritize those areas in your project where you might be punished later down the road – for example, having “Duplicate Instances in the Same Place” might result in a misleading schedule – not ideal.

Hint: clear Warnings which lead to program implications first.

The second way in which accumulating Revit Warnings should be of interest to you is because it directly affects Model Performance. Yup, every character is a byte of information and it just adds up, slowing your model in the process. There is no hard limit as to how many Warnings is a definite no-no – I bet my BIM hat that everyone has their own opinion, my

Hint: let’s say Warning Number = N and File Size in MB = S. Then:

  • Wow: N = 0
  • Good: N < S
  • Alright: N < 2 x S
  • Poor: N < 4 x S

For example, if you have a model of 350mb, you can tap yourself on the shoulder at 350 Warnings, go ‘meh’ at 700 and feel bad about yourself at 1400. Each project is different and those values will vary.

Let’s see what Autodesk has to say:

“Ideally, all warnings should be addressed and the total number of unresolved warnings should be zero. But in reality, this is a tall order in most projects. So the pragmatic approach is to resolve as many of the warnings that you reasonably can.”

User Interface (UI)

Revit provides you with a simple but thorough UI to let you go through the different Warnings in your Model. While it has everything that’s needed to get the job done, I feel that the main problem the community has had with the default Warning Dialogue was the difficulty with which you navigate and isolate the affected elements.

 

After Autodesk Development Team released the Document.GetWarnings() method a number of community created alternatives came to live each attempting to give a better way of dealing with Warnings. In all fairness, the process started even before Revit 2018, but the extra step of having to export and parse an .html file made those solutions a bit .. uglier I guess is the word. GetWarnings() created a really elegant way of interacting with what was already inside Revit.

Enter Warchart

Warchart stands for Warning (Pie) Chart. The great thing about Warchart is that it builds on the fluidity of this new feature. It’s absolutely adorably interactive. It gives you an immediate feedback. That’s a really powerful feature and we can talk about gamification, dopamine release all we want but the fact of the matter is that it’s just super cool watching you eating through those Warnings like the proverbial Pacman (see what I did there?). A part of this, of course, is the Modeless WPF which allows you to keep Warchart open while you go about your business.

The other really potent feature is the ability to zero on those warnings which matter the most – because the interface is actually one big colorful pie-chart, you know the distribution of Warnings in your project immediately.

To give you a taste of what Warchart looks and feels like, here are a couple of screenshots from it.

 

 

 

Download Now!

With Warchart you can have your Pie and eat it too! Actually, I’m not entirely sure how applicable to Warchart this saying is, but we do have a tasty-looking image of a Pie so I couldn’t resist.

If you are burning with excitement like we do, head to the App Store and download Warchart! You’ll see how much more enjoyable your model management becomes with this intuitive and easy to use gem of a Plugin.

I hope you like our new release. If you have any questions about it or ideas on how to improve it, drop us a line – we’d love your feedback and we’d appreciate your time!

 

Here in Archilizer we are proud geeks! We love a bit of scripting, and a handsome spreadsheet – data speaks to us. Just give us a crisp set of algorithms on a Monday morning and we will break them and fix them by noon.

But we also remember our humble beginnings in design. We know that visualized data is worth a thousand words, so we always strive to optimize how we view those seductive masses of information we are constantly showered with. Say for instance, Warnings in Revit – nobody wants to deal with them – it is such a hassle to figure out where to start from and what is important and what is just Revit being a Diva. So we created a plugin to clean all that into a neat pie chart with built in functionality to help you get that thrilling satisfaction of reducing your Warnings!

The plugin analyses the types of warnings, presents them in a minimalist way, so you can select what you are most interested in, or what seems to be the widest spread issue and isolate it, so you can investigate and fix.

Warchart is going through final approvals by Autodesk and will be available on the Autodesk App Store soon – watch this space.

Here are some videos showing off our new little gem:

 

 

 

This blog has been verified by Rise: Rf7f0871f6cad38fd4a4c9ffd79aa4ae4

We ain’t many. I am not planning to shower you in statistics – if you want them, there are resources avalable a google search away, but if you think that the construction and technology industries are gender diverse, this blog may not be your cup of tea.

Feeling alone on a table with an average of 12 angry old white men has been part of my job description for a while. I must admit the technology/IT tables have been a little less white, which is a great thing, but just as or even more deprived of non-male people. The reasons for that seem very simple to me – feminine qualities are not generally celebrated in business. I have a wild theory about BIM however. BIM is a collaborative process that seems to be calling for something that is not exactly the typical values of masculinity – independence, competition, aggressiveness, assertiveness – focus on one goal. No. This process will finally thrive when there is willingness to collaborate, genuine cooperation and openness across construction disciplines and agreement and integration of the whole encompassing process that design and construction of a building is.

Now, what is relevant here is not how gender diversity and feminism as such, concern themselves with physical bodies and whatever genitalia may be attached to however may be identifying person so much, but the traits and values we celebrate. Because the issues of the patriarchy are not penises and vaginas, but, and in the corporate world especially – the ways in which we all consider things “feminine” less than, and even shameful. Because an openly queer soft spoken man, that does not insists on having the last word at a meeting even though he has nothing new to add, and may be even has his make up on fleek, is much more of a gender diversity success story than a successful woman that acts “like a man” and is “one of the boys”.

I understand that I may have lost a lot of you by now, and may have attracted some of you I may not want to attract, but let me reiterate once more – it’s not bad to be a man, it’s just ALSO super great to be feminine.

And back to BIM – the Women in BIM networking event, even with a modest number of participants, came for me with a sparkling silver lining. In this tired patriarchal system of architecture qualification and overall construction industry, BIM as a field seems to be the quenching watering hole, that can allow women to thrive and develop and climb up the ladder in a way we were not able to before.

The event was opened with a short intro by Karen Fugle giving us a bit of context on Women in BIM, talking about the international reach of the group. Then Vicki Holmes spoke about her unconventional career path and how this new field gave her a chance to grow. Her success was inspirational and she spoke with such palpable passion about her work. As someone who often gets excited about schedules and spreadsheets, I really felt she was speaking my language when she shared her love for reading standards. She also emphasised on the outreach of the group and the eagerness they had to get people out there to speak about the representation in our industry – that too excited me very much!
The last speaker was Cristina Savian, who shared her academic research and sparked an excited discussion. Understandably all present were in quite the agreement about the topic of it – the lack of gender diversity in the construction industry, but there were lots of people also wanting to express dismay with academics as a whole. Christina was very honest about her experience and let us on on feeling out of place and not good enough – classic imposter syndrome we all get at least once in a while, but she also shared a brilliant moment after speaking at an event when one of the very few women there approached her to say thank you and “I want to be like you” – a young woman, that seemed like, in Christina’s own words, only shared gender with her. Christina closed the evening on a lovely note: “That really showed me how important just me being there is”

You can find more about Women in BIM here.

At the start of last week, I was delighted to participate in the very first UK Dynamo User Group Dynamo Day. I was invited to speak about my experience with Dynamo and also had the opportunity to take part in a Dynamo workshop. This was the first event of this kind to be organised in London and as part of it, the UK Dynamo User Group meeting was the first one ever to be ticketed. It goes without saying I was eager for that day to come, and the UKDynUG did not disappoint. The organisation was brilliant, and along with all the excellent professional perks of being there, there was also vegan desert after lunch, so pretty much all my needs were satisfied.

The intermediate workshop was carried by John Pierson, and had a lovely air or accessibility, even though it was meant for people with some experience. John was really great breaking things down and handing us practical tools as well as helping us understand the underlining concepts of the algorithms we were exploring. We even got to create our own custom package – something I had never attempted, because I assumed it was way too complicated, but actually turns out is beautifully straight forward.

Following the workshops, we moved on to a series of talks, opened by yours truly. My talk aimed to show simple every day usage of Dynamo that anyone can implement in a working project. I built on simple graphs for running checks on schedules and moved onto mass placement of families under a system of rules. This kicked off an evening with an excellent range of presentations:

Giacomo Bergonzoni & Fabrizio Sampietro spoke about the challenges of Historical BIM and how Dynamo can help overcome them – having had some experience on listed building refurbishment in BIM, I have to say – this is some admirable work that they are doing.

Nicolas Leguina talked about Computational design & workflows on a specific project with a tight budget, and it was really great to see the genuinely creative usage of various software in a way to help a seriously understaffed project.

Radu Gidei talked about alternative uses of Dynamo, and I must admit I was very impressed by his angle; it is also true that what his research has done requires experience and knowledge that not anyone in an architectural studio has.

Hands down the most visually exciting presentation was by Long Nguyen from the university of Stuttgart. He presented his custom package DynaShapes – do look it up – and gave us a demonstration that made me think of the animators that did Merida’s hair.

gif: https://www.bustle.com/articles/76537-what-your-favorite-disney-princess-hair-says-about-you-from-snow-whites-lob-to-meridas-pretty

Sol Amour & Mark Thorley from Designtech closed the evening talking about Project Refinery. Project Refinery follows on from the form finding exploration of Project Fractal, but also explores optimisation and refinement as well as allowing for randomisation. Refinery seems like something that can bring great depth to conceptual design without demanding the proportional work. The Project is still a work in progress and the duo called out to anyone who is trying it out for feedback.

The event culminated to the usual networking drinks and it was amazing to share experiences with so many people equally excited about computation. I hope to see all of you on the field soon!

More about the Dynamo Day you can find soon here and following the #DynamoDay.

Cover image currency of Sol Amour.

What is Dynamo? Dynamo keeps coming up here and there and if you are not sure what it is or why you should be excited about it – this is for you!

Here in Archilizer we get very excited about automation but also teaching and empowering the users. Dynamo is the best tool for that. If you have ever worked with Rhino, Dynamo is for Revit what Grasshopper is for Rhino. If you haven’t – well then, you are in for a treat – Dynamo is a plug in for Revit that allows you to do what is called Visual Programming in Revit. It is essentially an accelerator for the dormant power or Revit. It allows you to program actions within the software without having to write lines and lines of unintelligible code – tailor made for architects.

Another excellent thing about Dynamo is that it is an open source software. This creates an amazing community and ever-growing library of tools. If you want to learn more about it this is the main source – http://dynamobim.org/

Because the open source provokes so much collaboration, groups and communities for collaboration naturally grow around Dynamo. One like this is the UK Dynamo User Group. The group has existed since the start of 2016 and it has had multiple meetings hosted in exciting venues like the Foster+Partners, Grimshaw Architects and Arup offices. Deyan Nenov has already contributed his experience to the group in May 2016 when he talked about the differences in various automating strategies for Revit. You can see his presentation here. And since he did a great job with that, we have been invited again – this time Katya Veleva will be speaking about her experience with non-graphic information in healthcare projects in later stages. We are all very excited! Tickets for the event can be found here.

It is a beautiful time when you dive in a project where all the consultants involved are fully BIM enabled and thirsty to make those schedules work beautifully not only for the QS, but also for your strategy drawing showing several models owned by entirely different parties!

If you spend long enough in an environment like this it is easy to forget there are still practices working hard to keep to deadlines with 2D data and endless drafting and coordination.

We spent a day at the RIBA Road Show recently and we got reminded that there are still companies needing convincing about BIM, so we thought we should ask ourselves that question again – Why BIM – it’s always good to question your fundamentals from time to time. Here are our unfiltered thoughts:

First let’s note BIM is NOT a software – Revit is not equivalent to BIM, neither is Archicad, or whatever you may want to use. BIM is a process that demands collaboration at an early stage between all the consultants at an early stage of the process. The idea is to digitally build the building before you physically do, because boy, is it cheaper to move a digital duct than it is to have to deal with that kind of thing in real physical life. I know that for many the word “cheaper” doesn’t really come in mind when you think of the software prescriptions of BIM or the amount of work that it seems to require. But trust us, the bottom line at the end of a project will show you that this is the case, you actually have spent much less time coordinating and you have saved so much on on-site issues. The work simply has moved forward in the process.

*diagram inspired by http://www.shoegnome.com

Having said that, we do have to look at the software that comes with BIM. We are big fans of Revit around here. The Archilizer team has been committed to Revit since 2009 and both of us have not been able to shut up about how amazing it is purely for drafting. This is one of our favourite videos that illustrate this in clear numbers:

Why would you ever draft in 2d?

Coordinating everything consistently and in 3D environment and including that sweet sweet non-graphic information allows accurate building analysis early! All those standards that we want to meet and overspecify for – LEED, PassiveHouse, WELL ect, – this is what can help us target them with accuracy and efficensy. Ain’t no body likes a surprise at their Air Tightness test – what an embarrassment!

Treating the information about a building as an asset is priceless in the running of the building. The BIM-FM relationship is still young, but it promises to be a love story of a life time – no “The Notebook” shenanigans, actual Michelle and Barak of steadiness and prosperity.

Having revisited our fundamental question, we are very much still into BIM and can’t wait to share our enthusiasm, especially on the last point. We are looking forward to a BIM for FM event soon and will review that soon after.

Two years since its incorporation, Archilizer has now grown and has an established client base – ready to double its size.

First, we put out heads together with some professional helpers to establish a new logo for Archilizer. We wanted our logo to be practical and minimalist and to relate to our clients in a familiar way, but most of all we were looking for something to reflect one of the main pillars of our work ethic – efficiency – we are not clickers, we are thinkers – we think up and forward!

With the new logo we felt ready to refresh our website. We wanted to choose a subtle colour scheme that can easily blend with our client’s needs, but also has a rebellious side that can be pulled out when in need of some flair. That is how we chose a set of cool greys and then kept some tangerine and sunflower oranges in our back pocket.

And last but by no means least, we are exited to introduce Katya Veleva – Archilizer’s first full-time employee. Katya hit the ground running in the start of April and has brought new experience and plenty of enthusiasm to the office. You can read more about Katya here.

Welcome to a new chapter for Archilizer.