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!

 

Being a wizard in Revit and Dynamo and composing Macros and Plugins like BIMozart on steroids is all well and good, but one has got to get paid for that eventually. And to be paid “eventually” one needs to have agreed on that payment beforehand. And let’s be honest, as inspiring and amazing our leaders are – directors aren’t famous for keeping on top of technology, and the documents are getting more and more technical. That is all ok though, because here is great opportunity for an even more collaborative process.

This need for technical involvement in contracts combined with the BIM Standards renewal gave us the inspiration to create a series of blogs starting to tackle the monstrous glossary that comes with contracts and standards for BIM Projects.

For more information on the new standards, please see here.

Very excitingly the PASS 1192 suite of documents created in the UK is being translated in a new international standard – BS EN ISO 19650, the first two parts of which are coming out at the end of this year –

  • BS EN ISO 19650–1 Organization of information about construction works – Information management using building information modelling – Part 1: Concepts and principles
  • BS EN ISO 19650-2 Organization of information about construction works – Information management using building information modelling – Part 2: Delivery phase of assets

So back to the new vocab – if you search you can get really good BIM Dictionaries online. I will let you pick a favourite one yourself. But you can’t just pick up a dictionary and memorise it – it just doesn’t work like this. I am also sure there are many amongst you that will always campaign for the use of plain language. Because of that, what I will be trying to do in this article is defend the need of, let’s call it train language, you know because it’s not plain, and because it can hit you like a train at the beginning. Then we will move on to digestible and accessible chunks of BIM vocabulary every few weeks.

BIM is a new method that has not been previously used and it needs its new language. Experienced professionals often seek the comfort of plain language, because it is intimidating to have to face something like that after you had just spent 10-15 years getting comfortable and confident, and stop trying to call apples… I don’t know – dragon fruit. We should be used to this by now, our industry goes through those shifts quite often – just like everyone wants to call Revit components and functions with AutoCad terms – a personal pet peeve of mine – and before that people wanted to call AutoCad things … I don’t know what was before AutoCad – cave drawings? Sure some things always stick around, that is why we still use a floppy disk as a symbol for “Save”, even though probably most people that have hit “save” across the globe since you started reading this article, have never seen a floppy disk or know what it is. But the fact is there are new concepts around and it is inaccurate to call on them with old words, and what I am doing here is trying to call on some vanity to make you think it is really cool to know all the new lingo.

After this longer than anticipated intro, let’s just ease into it with 3 key and super basic abbreviations:

BIM – Building Information Modelling – we have got to start with this, but if you don’t know what it is, “OMG show me the rock you have been living under” is actually not what I would say to you, because it seems that even though it is on the lips of literally everyone connected in anyway to the industry, often the concept escapes people. BIM is a set of technologies, processes and policies enabling multiple stakeholders to collaboratively design, construct and operate a facility in virtual space. It is a PROCESS. It is the whole shebang – 3D modelling is NOT BIM, specific software that is used in the process in NOT BIM. Yes indeed the full and federated models at the end of the construction process are the heart of a BIM project, but BIM pre and supersedes them. It is Building Information ModelING not ModeL – it is not just the what we make as designers, but how we make it, how we collaborate in the process (or really the fact that we MUST collaborate live) and then how our digital products are used to run a building. In slightly harsher words – if a practice has finally stumbled into purchasing two Revit licences, this does NOT mean they “do BIM”.

EIR – Employer’s Information Requirements. This is fundamental – the definition goes – A document clarifying the employer’s requirements during services’ procurement. Employer’s Information Requirements may include levels of modelling detail, training/competence requirements, ordinance systems, exchange formats or other employer-mandated processes, standards or protocols. Employer’s requirements or specifications for what, when and for whom the data and models are to be produced. What may happen here is, if an employer – client – does not have great understanding of the BIM process they may cover this in sweeping statements and you may end up having to produce large amounts of information, that the employer did not intend you to and doesn’t really need. Worse things may also happen, the contract may require BIM, but you may not even get EIRs at all, or get them half way into stage 3. At this place of BIM adoption in the industry, you may have to chase and beg for those, and even write them yourself. Every Technologist starting work on a BIM project should ask for those and be able to read and understand them.

BEP – BIM Execution Plan – that’s a Russian doll of an abbreviation isn’t it! The BIM Execution Plan is developed by suppliers – typically pre-contract to address the Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR) – and defines how the information modelling aspects of a project will be carried out. A BIM Execution Plan clarifies roles and their responsibilities, standards to be applied and procedures to be followed. A BEP collates/references a number of other documents including the Master Information Delivery Plan (MIDP) and the Project Implementation Plan (PIP) – details on those in BIM Dictionary Part 2. Currently there is a “Pre Contract BEP” which sets out the response to the EIRs, i.e. it is akin to Contractor’s Proposals. There is then a “Post Contract BEP” which sets out the agreed, contracted details of this delivery of the BIM aspects of the project. There is some discussion on some aspects of the BEP, however I would say it is the Technologist’s Holy Grail – it is HOW we do things. Since the BEP is a document that is revised it seems impossible for it to be a contractual document, however there are those in the industry who are working towards making it one.

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.

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.

Archilizer visited an exciting event in the end of April – the launch of a new group that unites legal professionals and technical BIM experts – BIM4Legal.

The group was born from an interesting peace of research – The Winfield Rock Report, commissioned by the BIM Alliance. We loved the spirit of the event. The message that seem to really hit the room was “Everybody thinks that everyone else knows BIM much better than them, but really we all have serious gaps in our expertise and we should ask more questions.”

The main perspective of the report is legal, however, Sarah Rock, one of the authors is also a qualified CAD engineer. Contractual documents can really impact the design process – after all we are all working for deliverable and that is where they are defined. More than anything the BIM process is about collaboration and that wide involvement of all consultants, and we have all experienced the difficulties when it turns out that Mr A and Ms B have entirely avoided to agree to that real time collaboration in their contracts.

Here at Archilizer we have seen BEPs and BIM Protocols of all shapes and sizes and we see beauty in all of them, but we also have strong opinions on what can make them better. The discussion about weather the BEP should be a contractual document was alive and kicking that night.

We highly recommend you should check out the Winfield Rock Report.

When managing projects of non-small sizes, one of the tedious routines that you are required to go through is to somehow match information that is part of the project’s Sheet set and its View set. The idea of cross-referencing data between various elements is native for information management, yet Revit does not yet cover that aspect for us. Dynamo, however, does (so, in a sense, Revit does. Duh).

Traditionally, we could approach that task as follows:

 

  • load all sheets
  • load all views
  • for each sheet and view, see which view the sheet is sat on and finally
  • check if the corresponding parameters match and if not
  • do something (make them equal)

 

Now, there is one little bug that has been migrating with every update of Dynamo, and the brand new 1.0.0 (Congratulations!) version still apparently still got it – when retrieving elements by Category, the View Category will spit a message which states that Template Views are not Views. That’s fine. There is an even nicer node that simplifies the task for us:

Sheet.Views

What this node is supposed to do is to only select those Views that are place on the set of Sheets it is given. Now we can skip a step, retrieve only the Views that matter, and continue with our cross-referencing. .. but this node ,too, does not work.

That’s also fine. Here is the solution to the problem, written in python code.

.. and here is what the definition looks like:

What we did here is that we collected all the sheets in the project, using the Dynamo node of retrieving All Elements by Category, then we fed the resulting list together with a couple of shared parameters, which both the Sheet and the Views of the project use, and we executed the python code which, on one hand matched the information of those shared parameters, and on the other, gave us a handy list of ‘failed’ views. Those ‘failed’ views are simply the views that had View Templates assigned on, controlling and thus ‘locking’ the shared parameters.

While we are on the subject of python and getting instance parameters from elements, I want to point out the correct (at least for now) way of doing it.

The general syntax of this command in Python is:

element.Parameter[“Parameter Name”].AsString() – to get (can also be .AsInteger(), .AsDouble()) the parameter, or

element.Parameter[“Parameter Name”].Set – to set the parameter.

This is important to know as a lot of times Dynamo tasks revolve around Parameter manipulation and there is hardly any information out there that explains how this can be achieved in Dynamo with Python.

I hope that custom Dynamo definition can be of help to you in your BIM journeys my friends! Good night and best of luck.

I have been doing work for a Doha-based practice for the last couple of days. It was a short gig, an in-and-out operation to help the team push through a rough deadline and since I was the one setting up their Revit Model just a month prior, I was in a great shape to take off the pressure off their team. The workflow was a bit more complicated, as we were working off a cloud repository, which allowed us to use the same Central Files, but required a bit of planning ahead. Aside from that, what I found quite annoying was the constant error messages that I kept running into – many times their inexperienced team would forget to relinquish certain elements, which would freeze my progress for short but increasingly more frustrating periods of time. I reached my limit of Skype requests soon enough, so I did the only natural thing – I Relinquished All Theirs. Here, let me show you how this can be done – it’s really quite simple.

By default, the username that Revit assigns is taken from your Windows login account. Let’s assume that your account name is ‘janeroe’. Your handsome colleague ‘johndoe’ from the 3rd floor has been playing with the Central File the night before and is now late for work. You get an urgent memo from your boss ‘hereyougo’ saying that you need to change the grid of the curtain wall system. You dash to your Revit icon, open the local file (which now takes 2 minutes in which you start to silently panic), Reload the Latest changes, as you should. You open the view, head to the curtain wall and the moment you try to unpin the first grid line, this error message greets you from the screen:

What you do next is the following:

  1. Open a new Revit session.
  2. Go to big ‘R’, Options and under ‘Username’ change the name to ‘johndoe’ (or whatever the name of the user that has the rights of the element is in your particular case).
  3. Go to ‘Collaborate’ tab, Synchronize with Central -> Relinquish All Mine -> head back to your other Revit session -> Reload Latest there and see if you can now edit the element. You should be.
  4. Go back to the extra Revit that you have opened with the ‘johndoe’s credentials. Close the file, change the user back to your original username and close the program. You can now keep working in your local copy.

You shouldn’t do that all the time or recklessly, those limitations were set there for a reason. This is a last resort measure that can save you at times of trouble. Normally, if you have your colleague within earshot, the right thing to do would be to ask politely for a Relinquish.

I hope that you find this tip useful! Have a great day and be nice to your colleagues.

Hey folks,

Today I am going to show you how to reveal all levels in a Revit project, because:

  • Have you ever opened an Elevation or a Section View only to find that your levels have miraculously disappeared?
  • And then opened every single section and elevation, but couldn’t quite figure where they went (pondering on the meaning of the words ‘propagate extends’ for at least few minutes)?
  • Googled ‘CAN’T SEE LEVELS REVIT’ to no avail?
  • Wasted time, money, hair and youth, but never got a satisfactory answer on how to make those pesky levels appear on your command? 

That scenario is so common that I finally took the time and came up with a bullet-proof, panic-free, robust solution that I now use every time the proverbial composting material hits the fan. I am going to explain to you how to do it, but I need to warn you that there are many reasons why something can be hidden in Revit and I am not going to attempt to cover all of them here. My favourite article on the topic is the 33 ways to find stuff, although you should know that this number is even higher. So, without further ado, here is the algorithm:

  1. Open your file, open a plan view, make sure that ‘Elevations’ and ‘Scope Boxes’ are turned on from the Visibility Graphics interface.
  2. Create a new elevation (View Tab/Elevation View) (it can be a section too, but let’s stick to elevations). Create a new scope box (View Tab/Scope Box).
  3. I prefer to do this in a 3d view, but you can do it in an elevation view just the same – your goal is to adjust the scope box so that it ‘contains’ all the levels inside its horizontal boundaries. This means you need to stretch the bottom and the top grid of the scope box – the bottom needs to be below the lowest level and the top – above the highest one.
  4. Now go to the newly created elevation view. Let’s take the worst-case scenario, in which no levels are shown. Create a new dummy level (shortcut ‘LL’). Don’t forget to delete this level after you are done with this exercise!
  5. Select the level and right-click -> select all instances in the project. (shortcut ‘SA’). You should observe that you have selected at least several levels.
  6. With all the levels selected, go to their Properties and assign your brand new scope box. You should now see all your levels neatly aligned within the boundaries of the scope box!
  7. In addition, you would want to repeat steps 5 and 6 for all your level types. Let me go back a bit – like any other element in Revit, levels can have multiple types. The command ‘select all instances’ implicitly says ‘of this type’ and therefore, in order to reveal all the levels in your project, you should repeat the above process for all level .. types (and so for all instances of those types).

That’s it! It wasn’t so hard, was it? What you would like to take home from this lesson is that scope boxes are a great way to control your datum elements and you should learn how to use them to your advantage. Of course, handling multiple scope boxes can be cumbersome, but that’s a topic for another discussion.

I hope you enjoyed this little Revit tutorial – have fun revealing all your levels!