Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Remodels in Revit... the untold story

To my surprise, there's not a whole lot of discussion on this very important topic. Anyone who has developed a custom remodel residential project can tell you it's not as simple, clean, or intuitive as a custom new construction residential project.

The first step is pretty staight forward... build your as-built model in the existing phase. Once an as-built model is done you might want to archive a copy of the model just incase the design scope changes and you have to start all over again with a clean as-built. Now I'm sure you are all aware that as the design develops the project architect and the client are both going to want to explore varying design iterations. The model builder is going to have to do partial demolition of walls, floors, roofs, ceilings, etc. The way most Revit Beginners go about doing this is to split the wall, floor, roof, etc into two parts and demo the half they want to remove. The problem with this method starts to reveal itself after 2-3 design iterations when the as-built model, now split into many parts, degenerates into useless plans and elevations. Constantly reshaping the proposed design on the fly without time consuming cleanups also becomes less possible.

So what do you do with partial demos? You could create a new phase between Existing and New Construction called "Existing To Remain." Then copy the element to be demo'd to the clipboard... then demo the whole element in the "Existing to Remain" phase... paste the element (into the same place) back into the "Existing to Remain" phase and then reshape the existing to remain version of our element (Some users think that a demo phase is not necessary, but it has it's benefits). Now anytime the design goes through iterations all you have to do is reshape the existing to remain element while leaving the as-built model preserved and intact.

Plans require additional cleanup, but this approach reduces the frequency and types of cleanups required, particularly obvious when you move on to elevations and sections.

EDIT: Partial additions can be done the same way you would do partial demos... copy, demo, paste, reshape. If you just add on to the length of a wall you're going to end up with a proposed design that's in pieces too. This can be important later on down the line when you want to combine phases into a new asbuilt. However, getting accurate Material Takeoffs on a remodel can add a dimension to this procedure (you might want a model that's divided into accurate pieces afterall).

EDIT: This process works with or without a demo phase.  The critical point is to group and pin previous phase work before proceeding with the next phase and then copy, demo, paste, reshape in the next phase... with plan cleanup in demo and proposed plans by regions and element overrides. Most beginners only think in terms of existing and proposed. This process considers multi-phase projects.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Demons In Your Data?

The more you work with Revit the more likely you are to run into demons in the data. What do I mean by demons? Demons are unexplained behaviors. I'm not talking about software bugs that won't go away until you've installed a software update. I'm talking about errors in the data of the project file itself. Errors that can be repaired by replacing the corrupt data with an arbitrary value and then changing it back again.

Somehow, the process of changing the offending data to something arbitrary, then changing it back to the way it should be can remedy unexplained behaviors. I'm not talking about changing a value and then hitting the undo command. I'm talking about using Revit's tools to change the data to something arbitrary then changing it back... like the change is some new data for the model. It's just a matter of isolating the parameter values that are causing the unexplained behaviors... then finding the right combination of commands that will reset or refresh the offending data. These commands might include flexing parameters, cut & paste in same place, mirror, nudging, or possibly other commands. Let me give you some examples...

I upgraded a model once, from Revit 2009 to Revit 2011, and an odd thing happened. In hidden line mode, half the doors and windows had shaded glass (by design) while the other half had no shading. And it wasn't like there was any consistency... the shading was gone from random doors and windows. I realized at that point that I had a demon in my data, so I went into the offending material (glass) and set the surface pattern of the glass material to none (it was the surface pattern that was not cooperating), then changed the surface pattern back to solid fill to get this glass material to show properly everywhere.

Another thing that happens a lot... I like to nest families into a host family and link the parameters of the nested family and its host family, but once in a while after making a change to a nested family and loading it back into the host family, solids disappear or just don't flex when the family is loaded into a project. I have to flex some of the linked parameters, while still in the family editor, to reset or refresh the offending data.

Wall cleanups at intersections (not to beat a dead horse) can also cause demons. Sometimes nudging one of the walls can cleanup your intersection. Sometimes you have to cut a wall to your clipboard and paste it back into the same place to get intersections to heal properly. In fact, when any family (that was working fine before) isn't cooperating try a cut and paste in same place. This can reset data in the model.

If any of my readers are familiar with a particular demon please feel free to leave a comment describing the demon and how you "exorcised" it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Should I enable Hardware Acceleration?

Hardware Acceleration (in options) controls the performance of several features in Revit 2011 including:
  • realistic materials in realistic view
  • ambient occlusion
  • performance of mechanical views
  • performance of underlay views
  • performance of overall project
To find out if your graphics card supports hardware acceleration, Autodesk has now published a Supported Graphics Hardware List for Revit 2011.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Often Overlooked By Beginners (Part 2)

One of my earliest posts focused on little tools that are often overlooked by beginners. I thought I'd revisit this topic now that I've had more experience working with Revit Beginners. Here are a few more tips that beginners are often not aware of:

1. Wall Location Lines. The location line is kind of an anchor point for a wall. When you flip a wall (ie. change its orientation) the wall will flip about its location line. So if you wanted to flip a wall without affecting its position you could make the wall's centerline its location line as well. Location line is controled in a wall's Instance Properties. Some of your choice settings for the location of the location line include face of core, face of finish, wall centerline, etc. When a wall is selected you might notice two blue dots at either end of the wall. Grab this blue dot and stretch the wall to any length you want. You might also notice that when you change the location line of a wall this blue dot will relocate, reflecting your newly chosen location line.
2. How do I fillet two walls (or lines). A common thing for beginners, is to go right to the trim tool in search of a fillet option (because they are likely more familiar with AutoCAD). Well in Revit the fillet tool is located elsewhere. If you are drawing a wall or a line there is a pallet of line shapes that you can draw (square, polygon, circle, arc, etc.) Well fillet is one of those options circled below.

3. Stretching a gridline in the current view only. When working with gridlines for the first time a beginner will often take notice that stretching the end bubble of a gridline stretches the grid in all views globally. The next question they ask is, "How can I stretch it for this view only?" Well there is a little icon next to a grid bubble that reads "3D." Click on the icon and you'll notice that it now reads "2D." You are now free to strech the gridline for the current view only. The location of the original 3D grid bubble is at the hollow circle you see below.

4. How do I host my railing on a ramp or stair?: Ok, so you've sketch a new ramp or stair and you want to add a railing to it, but the railing is resting on the first floor and doesn't slope with your ramp or stair. Well, when you're in sketch mode shaping your new railing path, there is a tool called "Set Railing Host." Select this tool and then select your host (stair or ramp). Your railing will now slope with the host as was your original intention. Remember, the railing tool is located on the Home tab and is its own sketch. Do not try editing the sketch of your stair or ramp to add new railings. I've seen beginners try this alot.

More beginner tips to come...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Editable Worksets and Workset Ownership

Here is a tip for beginners working with Worksets for the first time.

Let's say you have a project with worksets enabled and the whole model is on Workset 1 by default. If you right click on an element that is on Workset 1 and select the option that reads "Make Worksets Editable" you are making yourself the Owner of Workset 1. No one else is going to be able to edit ANY modeled elements that are on that workset. They can add elements to Workset 1 but they can't edit elements already placed.

If you go to Collaboration... Worksets... and you see yourself as the Owner of any workset you're probably locking everyone else out of that workset so make sure you click on the "Non Editable" button to relenquish the user-created Workset... or do a save to central and relenquish user-created worksets so other users can work on the model too.

What you more likely want to do is borrow... or select the "Make Elements Editable" option instead so you are only borrowing a small part of the worksets rather than Owning the whole workset.
Just a heads up for you beginners out there.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Some New Bloggers on the Block

Steve Swensen is REVIT GUY
Oliver is the author of Revit In Motion
and you can find more interesting reading at revitflow

I look forward to reading your posts guys.