Thursday, June 29, 2006

You "eyedeed it" now how do you find it?

Just had to quickly add to Steve's 6/28/06 post about using the Element ID tools. Select by Id can be really helpful when tracking down the causes and casualties of error messages. However one might ask how do I find one little element in a building? Revit will try to automatically find the "best" view to see an element, but as we know from experience Revit doesn't always pick a very good view, and quite often in large models, it just gives up.

My favorite way to find elements is to open a default 3D view, and turn it to wireframe mode.

Then I do my select by ID operation. This will at least help me narrow down where in the building the element is, because it should be the only "Red" (default selection color) thing in your view of crazy lines of all your objects.

From there you should be able to spin & zoom to narrow down where the element is, and you can do an isolate if you want to, to be able to see the element only.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I know there are plenty of you who are visiting on a regular basis. My goal is a post a week, but this week has been a wash at work with way too many deadlines etc... I have my next post in mind, and I think it will be a pretty good one, but I need to make some screen shot captures etc... Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!


Thursday, June 22, 2006


The training in our DC office for E-Specs went very well yesterday! The team was very impressed by the in person training provided by the company. The CIO came down to do the training, by all reports, he and his team back at the company are very talented Revit users as well as spec writers. The general feeling by the team is that E-Specs is another tool that helps eliminate some of the mundane tasks that go with documenting a building, giving us more time to focus on design. The catch of course is that a program like E-Specs requires disciplined and careful modeling in Revit (garbage in, garbage out). The training took the team through role playing exercises using Revit, to simulate the processes of extracting specification information out of a Revit model to generate an outline spec, and then updating the specification once it has been created. Apparently the next challenge that the team over at E-Specs is taking on, is developing how to put data into the Revit model from your outline specification.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What's New...

Nothing major to annouce.

Our DC office did training with E-Specs today & Revit. I'm looking forward to hearing an update from them tomorrow about how it all went. Based on intial reaction it sounds like it was a productive day. I will post some information about the general reaction and results as it comes in.

Our DC office is also planning on doing a targeted cost estimation exercise with an independent cost estimator based on Revit quantities. They will be using some of the practices developed by Ken Stowe from Autodesk Revit to export and tag the quantities in excel spreadsheets. I'll also update everyone with regards to those results.

We are proceeding with upgrading our active projects to version RB9, and deploying RS1 for our MEP engineers. A project kicked off this week that will make use of both products to design and document a building.

I'm also working on a presentation on best practices when creating Revit families to assure a certain level of quality and uniformity. This presentation is based on the outline family specification we've developed. I'm creating the presentation with the thought that I'll potentially present it to a larger audience outside of Burt Hill. I'm currently planning on posting a "teaser" version once it is complete.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more updates!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Do I really want to? But I have to...

YEAH! Revit 9 is released, we can all jump for joy! New features, more improvements, better performance!

Right, that was your reaction wasn't it? You know it was, it was mine too, still is. Take a step back though...

What about that 120,000+ sq ft project, that is a big hole in the ground right now? With CIP columns poking out. That Revit file has been through alot you know, started in version 7, upgraded to 8.1, now CA is moving along nicely, the uprgade to 8 was a little sketchy, do I really want to upgrade it again to v9.x?

Quite honestly this is a question facing us, and I think that it is a question that more firms will face. We're not doing day to day designing in this model any more. Sure it is open just about every day (on one person's computer) and he modifies a few things, adds more revision bubbles, new RFI sketches, but we're not documenting the building anymore. Why should we upgrade? The new features have no benefit at this point, we've worked around all the kinks that we found in 8.1, and it is, what it is at this point, we don't have the time or money to worry about "improving it", we're trying to build it! (if you're in Philly swing by Locust & 10th, that's right, that's a rendering straight out of Revit on the construction sign.. :) )

Furthermore, there is another huge project in another Burt Hill office that is a 40 story condo tower, all done in Revit 8.1, they just finished their CD's and I know they have no interest in bringing the model into 9, in fact from what I heard, there are drawbacks in their case, because of they way they solved some problems in 8.1.

What's a subscription firm to do? Right now we're talking to AutoDesk about this, in our case we're lucky, we'll probably resolve it one way or another, but we're big (I admit that), what is a small 12 person firm going to do if they run into the same problem? AutoDesk needs to seriously consider looking into setting up a structure to resolve this issue (because I don't see it going away), I've put my word in with out contacts, now its your turn! Tell your reseller, tell your Autodesk rep, tell the support guy on the other end of the phone! The more voices the better!

But hey, 9 is just plain cool too. :) Almost got it deployed here, IT is sometimes a little slow, :)

Oh, and by the way, please scroll on down to the next most recent post and respond, I'd really like to hear from different people.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Could you please pass the "blank" family?

OK, I've avoided cheesy titles up until now, but I couldn't resist with this one.

I'm conducting an informal survey to find out what families do people reach for first? When you're getting a project started in Revit, schematic design, deisgn development, whatever phase, what families do you need first, what families are important for putting together a decent looking set of documents?

Please post a comment with your list of top families that you need every day. Please feel free to be more specific that I have been. Being reptitive also counts as I'm interested in prioritizing requests, so even if someone else has posted an item, please post again.

My list starts with the following items (all generic and not manufacturer specific):

Plumbing Fixtures & Accessories
Furniture (block diagrams)
Light Fixtures
MEP - diffusers, sprinklers, etc...
graphic scales

I look forward to everyone's reponse!


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Special Characters in Text

Some CAD programs make it easy to insert special characters like ° or ±. I know Autocad has special key strokes for some commonly used special characters. With Revit you have to take a few extra steps to get special chacaters into Revit text (unless of course you want memorize many complex keycodes). The other advantage of this method is you have access to a pretty large variety of special characters like, ¼, ½, ¾. So you ask, how do I gain access to all these special characters! With Charcter Map, a handy little program that has been included with Windows since 3.1 These days in Win XP/2000 the best way to access Character Map is via the run command line. Go to your Start Menu, and click on "run". In the run dialog box type "charmap" and click "OK". This will bring up the character map program, a simple dialog box that displays all the charcters in the selected type style. You can then select and copy whatever characters you need, and paste them into your text in Revit (or any other program). Another quick hint, for very commonly used charcters you may want to make a list of the custom key strokes. The key stroke for a character is listed in the bottom right (if it has one), if it is listed as "alt+xxxx" then you will need to use your number pad to the right of the key board to enter the numeric code while holding the "alt" key.

Hope this helps, cheers,