Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Design Options and Phases: Post #2

This post assumes you already have some exposure to the Parts tools or that you think the Split Face and Paint tools are the only tools available for defining scope of materials.

MORE CONTAINERS: Think of the Parts tool as yet another container... an instance of a family is duplicated in two containers... (Original vs. Parts).

USING SPLIT FACE AND PAINT: Parts are a nice alternative to using the split face and paint tools, a workflow that, in my experience, does not behave well with changes to the main model and other Design Option sets.  Split face sketches can get deleted (or moved) and painted surfaces can, often without warning, bleed onto adjacent faces.

PARTS REDUNDANCY: Create Parts from an original wall. You will end up with two walls in two separate containers (Original vs. Parts). Keep in mind that Parts, Design Options, and Phase containers are nice in that clash errors do not occur when used properly. Try using your Workset containers to study design options and you'll run into many clashes/warnings.

Parts (or layers) of a wall, floor, roof, ceiling and other categories can be:
  • DIVIDED for breaking up layers of a walls, floors, etc. (ex. for defining variable finishes on an elevation/plan)
  • EXCLUDED for very specific scope of finish applications (ex. where wall finish meets a sloping grade)
  • DEMOLISHED for removal of existing finishes to make way for a new finishes

THE BEST PARTS (no pun intended): Add the original wall to two or more design options and you will find that you can now divide, exclude, and demo parts... within Design Option containers!

If you are just replacing the finish layer for a remodel consider dividing the finish into two parts, reshaping them both to the shape of the original...  it's ok if the finishes overlap ;) and set their demo/create parameters as independent of the original. "Show Shape Handles" to change the thickness of your proposed finish.

Every view can be set to "Show Original," "Show Parts," or "Show Both."

Show both is quite nice when the Parts category in Object Styles is set to line weight (1) for projection AND cut and your plan view is set to "coarse". The Object Styles of Original elements will override the Object Styles of Parts "when both are present" so don't feel like you have to pick one or the other.

This in mind, you can also combine solid and line patterns when you "Show Both".  Try making your Original material solid fill grey and your Part material any line pattern.  This works in cut and projection ;)

In addition, you can quantify for the area and volume of parts in material takeoff schedules, resulting in more specific takeoffs than what you would achieve in the scheduling of Original elements only (ex. separating an insulated stud layer from a non-insulated layer of the same thickness).

There are many advantages to exploring the Parts container... and not just for construction modeling!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Template Tips

The standards of templates and content are symbiotic. That is, the standards of one are dependent on the other. Providing content without also providing a template is like shipping doors and windows to the wrong project site. They may have value as doors and windows but not on this project currently under construction.

Templates and content properly developed can also significantly reduce (but not eliminate) the scope of training required for new staff. Without a proven template you will find yourself with a lot of staff asking how to configure object styles, line styles, view graphics, and many other settings that should be automatic.

Authoring a first library of templates, content, and standards is a big effort... but so worth it!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Design Options & Phases: Post #1

The use of Design Options and Phases is similar.  Some of the same challenges are present that I believe shared concepts can solve. This post assumes you already have some exposure to the Design Options and Phases tools and that you think the Split Element and Linework tools are the only tools available for exploring design options and phases.

MANY CONTAINERS: I'm sure you're aware that when you place an element into a view it is always relative to some reference (A workplane, a reference plane, a level, a host, a face). Well, did you also know that when you place an element into a view it is typically going into three "containers" at the same time?
  • A Workset container (ex. Workset1)
  • A Design Options container (ex. Main Model)
  • And a Phase container (ex. New Construction). A phase container is different in that an element can cross-over into other phase containers (see phase created/phase demolished parameters)
USING SPLIT ELEMENT AND LINEWORK: Most beginners will split walls to explore new wall shapes in design options or to explore additions/reductions to as-built walls, because the split element tool is just so easy to use and looks great in my plan view!

Well, if you are doing that on a very regularly basis you will get to be best friends with another tool in Revit... the Linework tool, particularly when you're trying to keep up with all the elevation cleanup issues that can result from continuously splitting walls with every study. The split element tool IS great if you are deleting a split off wall or changing the wall type of the split off wall, but you might consider an alternative to the Split Element tool if you are using it to explore design options or a proposed remodel on a wall that is really the same wall type from end to end and floor to ceiling.

ACCEPTING REASONABLE REDUNDANCY: If a wall type is consistent from end to end, consider copying the wall and it's host doors/windows into another container and reshaping, rather than split (a split is restricted to vertical & horizontal lines anyway).  A wall split into 7 walls... of the same type... in the same plane... and trying to join geometry in the same container can cause unwanted elevation cleanups, while a reshaped copy means just two walls in two separate containers... no multiplying of connection cleanups to deal with in elevations later (not really redundant because elements are separated into containers).

Because you now have a copy of your wall in another container you can now freely reshape that copy as often as you need, with every design change, all while preserving the integrity of your proposed and as-built elevations, thank you very much!

Keep in mind that when you copy a wall into another design option or phase container it will also copy all families cutting it & possibly any sweeps/reveals hosted on it.  Obviously the more families you build that are cutting the wall the more unnecessary redundancy you will run into.

DESIGN OPTIONS REDUNDANCY: Copy a wall into another design option container and reshape. There will be some redundancy of doors/windows in the design option scenario, which is ok, because at the end of the day all but the one design option will be deleted anyway (teaser: secondary design option walls DO cleanup at intersections with the main model walls if you are willing to accept some redundancy at variable intersections. If you give up, there's always the Linework tool ;) Remember to include rooms as part of both design options if the room boundary is expected to change.

PHASES REDUNDANCY: Copy the wall into a future phase container, demo the as-built wall, and reshape the proposed copy. There will also be some redundancy of doors/windows in the phased remodel scenario, which is ok, because renumbering of doors/windows and overriding of plan graphics with view filters and filled regions is manageable. We expect to be cleaning up plans anyway... we would rather elevations and perspectives mostly cleanup themselves.

Having a demo phase has helped me to sort out the required filters here, but "this can all be done without a demo phase." Yes, you heard me right.

THE BEST PART: Your as-built model is also preserved and intact in the active model, should you need to update it to benefit proposed plans or to reprint a clean as-built set later.

At project completion, the deleting of demo'd elements and combining of phases into a presentable and final record model can result in a pretty darn clean final product (if you haven't been splitting walls on the same model for 18 months).

And, if you want to explore design options and phases in the same model and you're really worried about someone accidentally deleting elements of an as-built model as proposed changes move forward, consider grouping and pinning the as-built model before proceeding with design option studies and phases (hint: you can still demo elements of a grouped and pinned as-built model, without someone accidentally splitting them ;)

More to follow...

Monday, March 04, 2013

Finding a way

Now that you can revise instantly, are you often asked to instantly revise?

One of the common challenges we face in Revit is trying to update a model, as fast as changes are occurring in the design process.  If you too are struggling with this, try to keep these questions in the back of your mind as you model:
  • Is this change worth commiting to the model now or will a sketch suffice?
  • I know I can update some things very quickly in a model, but what things are taking time?  Cleanups?  Sitework?
  • If this change is taking so long my way, there must be a better way? Ask around!
  • How can I reduce or eliminate this unneccessary source of lost time and get the output I really need?
  • Do I need to be this specific this soon in the process? Or is coarse data not only faster, but more desirable at this stage?
As a Revit Beginner you can wait around and be told what to do, or you can constantly reinvent yourself and find a better way.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy new year to everyone. I hope 2012 was a very exciting and productive year for all you Revit Beginners out there and I thank you for following my posts over the years and continuing to contribute your thoughts despite my absence these past two years. I do continue to explore Revit and the BIM movement as it pertains to my work in architecture.

This past year was spent mostly on template and content development and project startup practices. Getting the right start on a project is so very important on so many levels and I've been wanting to post my thoughts on this specific topic hopefully before the the end of this year ;)

It's hard to believe I started my Revit journey 10 years ago. I have learned so much these past years and look forward to yet another exciting year!