Monday, December 12, 2011

Unlocking BIM Data / BIM Coding Standard

A paper has been written to introduce the concept of developing an industry standard coding structure for application to 3D design systems to create increased value from Building Information Modeling.

"The design and construction market consistently refers to the use of BIM, but recent research has shown that opinions still differ as to what BIM actually is. Owners, designers and construction managers as well as subcontractors and vendors all use, so called, BIM in a variety of ways. Most of what we see is actually for visualization and coordination/clash detection which is only the tip of the iceberg.

A 3D model, on its own, is not BIM. It is actually that model’s ability to store and transfer data relating to the design to other processes and systems that makes it important but, if that data never leaves the model where are the benefits, where is the BIM?"

You can download the full paper

Friday, November 18, 2011

Revit UK Content

Alan over at the learning curve has asked me to 'echo' his blog on UK Content.

See below:

"This is
“Your Opportunity to have your say”….
Paul Oakley has been requested to put forward a list of issues to Autodesk relating to the Revit 2012 UK Localisation.
The report to Autodesk is intended to report what’s wrong with the “Out of the box” UK Content plus also what the UK Users would like to see
This includes

What should be in them & What not?

• System Families(Walls / Roofs /Floors / Railings etc.)
• Materials / Property Sets etc…)
• Parameters (Schedules / Annotation / Tags)
• Anything Else…


• Types
• Parameters
• Annotation
• Etc….
Any suggestions or comments please forward to: Paul Oakley or "

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BIM - Are you ready for the digital switchover? The NBS

Following on from the success of the NBS BIM Roundtable, the joint NLA-NBS conference BIM – Are you ready for the digital switchover? brought together an expert and influential panel of speakers to discuss the latest thinking on BIM.

The presentations and panel discussions with the contributors can be viewed

The presentations are:

  • Creating the Infrastructure

  • The owner / Occupier Perspective

  • The Retailer's Perspective

  • The Project Managers Perspective

  • Panel Discussions 1 to 3

  • BIM and Sustainable Design

  • Implementing a Company-wide BIM Strategy

  • Collaboration and Integration

  • A Legal Perspective - Who owns BIM?

  • BIM in Practice

  • The 'I' in BIM

  • BIM and Education

You can also download some of the presentations in pdf format.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Design Review Mobile - for iPhone and iPad

Autodesk have released an app in the i-tunes store called 'Design Review Mobile'

The Autodesk Design Review mobile app enables you to review Autodesk 2D and 3D design files directly on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. View, mark-up, and annotate drawings on the spot, reduce the need to carry around over-sized paper drawings, and enjoy an all-digital design review workflow.


• Open and view 2D and 3D DWF files from your Autodesk Cloud account
• Use multi-touch to zoom, pan, and rotate drawings
• View meta data and other details about elements within your drawings

Markup & Annotate

• Use simple and intuitive redline and markup tools to communicate changes
• Add text or comments using familiar callouts and drawing tools

Design Review Mobile is FREE in the app store, and well worth the download!

Screen shots below.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Revit User Group Leeds Meeting No.3 28th September

RUGLeeds meeting No2 will take place on the 28th of September, unfortunateley I am currently on an overseas assignment in New Zealand so will not be available to co-host, details are below.

We require ALL delegates to confirm their attendance. Strictly Invite Only. Please RSVP by email to

Places are limited so please confirm ASAP! If we reach capacity (45) it will be max 2 attendees per company.

The next RUG Leeds event has been scheduled for
Date: Wednesday 28th September 2011, 6 for 6:30pm start
Venue: White Young Green, Arndale Court, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 2UJ


6:00pm – 6:30pm: Arrive, refreshments


6:30pm – 6:45pm: Welcome and Introduction


6:45pm – 7:30pm: Des Kinlough, Buro Happold – presenting - BIM - The MEP Perspective (How MEP fits into the BIM Revolution)


7:30 – 7:45pm: Break


7:45pm – 8:30pm: Andrew Darlington, Gifford - demonstrating – Laser Scans and Point Clouds


8:30pm: Wrap-up & Evening Drinks/Networking

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Project Storm - Structural analysis in the Autodesk Cloud

Autodesk have released Project Storm in the Labs.

Project Storm for Autodesk Revit Structure is a technology preview that provides cloud-based structural analysis to structural engineers as a part of the BIM process. With Project Storm, engineers and designers can extend design models from Revit Structure to the cloud for structural analysis from directly within Revit Structure.

Results can then be visualized and explored within Revit Structure and disruptions to workflows are minimized by performing analysis in the cloud as users continue to design.

Read more on the Autodesk Labs blog here.

Revit Light - Project Spark

Autodesk have released a Revit LT – ‘Project spark’ - via Autodesk Labs.

Unfortunateley I missed the bloggers webinar as I was on a plane en route to New Zealand.

Project Spark is essentially Revit without the functions listed below.

You cannot open a Revit file using Project spark – you can only link.

You can create families in project spark but they cannot be used in Revit – and vice versa.

there is no point me recreating the wheel, David Light has covered this quite nicely in his blog

It’s worth a look.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

AUGIuk Revit Camp - Call for Speakers

1st February 2012 – London Venue

Call for Speakers

AUGIuk are hosting a one Day Revit Camp comprising 75min classes covering Revit Core, Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP. The format of classes will be that similar to Autodesk University and also used in the AUGIuk Design Academy.

If you are interested in speaking at the AUGIuk Revit Camp, you're invited to submit a proposal by 30th October 2011. We welcome submissions from experienced presenters or those with industry knowledge in either the Core Revit product or one of the Revit Vertical products.

Please submit a proposal to the Chairman of AUGIuk Paul Oakley via email at:-

Class Proposal Guidelines for AUGIuk Revit Camp

Classes should help differentiate AUGIuk Revit Camp from other ATC or similar training that are available. Classes should be focused on specific aspects of the software and classes must not be a product demo. Attendees are seeking classes that will help them overcome practical design and workflow challenges in their day-to-day work.

AUGIuk Revit Camp offers attendees a unique opportunity to learn new ways to streamline processes using Autodesk solutions.

What to Include in Your Proposal:-

•Class Outline
•Speaker biography
What Makes a Proposal Successful?
A good proposal should successful focus on one or all of the following elements:

•State-of-the-art tools, tips, and techniques that represent best Revit practices in the various disciplines.
•Personal and team productivity-boosting solutions for common day-to-day tasks and issues faced by attendees.
•Specific methods to improve concept-to-completion cycles: workflow, collaboration, productivity, and overall efficiency.
•Business considerations and strategies for evaluating, adopting, and maintaining new technologies.
Many attendees are requesting more classes that cover advanced topics. We therefore invite proposals with more challenging content that will engage and benefit "power users"; that is, professionals with five or more years of industry experience.

A sample AU proposal which shows the type of sessions we are looking for:

Real World Problems - Real World Revit® Solutions: Model Management
1.5 hr. Class Skill Level: Intermediate

Target Audience/Who Should Attend

Intermediate-level users of Revit
Using real-world solutions as examples from real-world Revit® problems, this class will introduce core concepts for successful Revit model management. See why the proper setup and use of the correct template is a critical first step to a successful Revit project. Learn how to intelligently manage data between several disciplines and still maintain modelling accuracy. Explore the principles of file linking, exchanging data between linked files, and coordinating building locations, and how to avoid and resolve conflicts between building systems and design teams by strategizing work division between Revit models (or within a single model). See why your production quality is only as good as your IT strategic goals, and how your PC specifications may affect the bottom line on a project.

Class Objectives

After attending this class, you will be able to:
Outline a strategy for maintaining a good template file
Manage template setup for both internal Revit data management and traditional analog production requirements
Develop a workflow strategy for projects with multiple models
Determine appropriate multidisciplinary work environment: linked vs. singular model
Communicate effectively on key IT issues and effective strategies that relate to managing Revit models

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ICE BIM Conference 2011

ICE BIM 2011
Wednesday 19th October 2011, London, UK

Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
London SW1P 3AA

ICE has put together an expert speaker line up who will guide delegates through the project lifecycle, share experiences and best practise. The day will consist of detailed case studies, presentations and discussions on how BIM can benefit all of the supply chain. The conference will start with the client view, supply chain delivery, support and conclude with a facilitated debate around asset management.

ICE BIM 2011 will be a key meeting for engineers, consultants, contractors, architects owners and operators of construction projects.

Speakers include The Cabinet Office, The Department for Business Innovation and Skills, Crossrail, BAA, Gatwick Airport, Parson Brinkerhoff, BDP and the Consolidated Contractors Group.

Registration details can be found

BIM and The Government Estate - Summary

The seminar was opened by John Lorimer, the Capital Programme Director for Manchester City council. John set the agenda, and gave an overview of Building Information Modelling and Management. Management seemed to be the ‘buzz’ word in the government strategy seminar; everyone is looking at BIM, but the government are also interested in the 6D side of BIM – Facilities / Lifecycle Management.

Just to clarify the different ‘dimensions’ of BIM are:

2D - Something with 2 dimensions (flat)
3D - Something seen in 3 dimensions e.g. width, length and height.
4D - Adding the aspect of Time to a project (phasing/sequencing)
5D - Adding the aspect of Cost to a project (cost estimating)
6D - The aspect of Life Cycle / Facilities Management (owner/FM)

John also made a point that The Centre for Construction Innovation had hosted BIM seminars as far back as 2008.

The view of the Government was next on the agenda, Terry Boniface, the Programme Manager at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills gave details of the government’s strategy.

Terry referred to the government construction strategy, a document I forwarded on a week or so ago. (this was published by the cabinet office in May 2011) Some of the key statements in that strategy are:

“Government will require fully collaborative 3D BIM as a minimum by 2016”

“A staged plan will be published with mandated milestones”

“This will be a phased process, working closely with industry groups”

“Allow time for industry to prepare for the development of new standards, and for training”

The government are looking to make a 20% saving on future construction projects, and see BIM as part of that process – more efficient tendering, improved coordination, reduced RFI’s, reduced abortive works, etc. The government want “Improvement in cost, value and carbon performance.”

A chart was presented that showed the recommendation made to the government; it consisted of Levels 0 to 3. Level 0 being 2D CAD, Level 3 being fully integrated BIM. The interesting thing is that by 2016 the government are only aiming for Level 2, which is collaboration. I would have thought that to achieve collaboration, you require integration? We integrate the Architecture and Services models into our Structural model as part of the collaboration process….

The next steps involve the publication of a mobilisation plan, which is expected to be published towards the end of July, and the government will be putting together some work packages which the requirements for BIM can be trialled.

The information provided at the seminar was based on a document in the post below titled; Building Information Modelling (BIM) Working Party Strategy Paper, March 2011.

This 107 page document is a recommendation from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and it is expected that the government strategy will be close to this recommendation.

Laing O’Rourke were next to take the stage, as a contractor, they really have embraced BIM. They employ BIM Engineers who are responsible for linking all the different models together in Navisworks, producing 4D Construction sequences – adding the element of time to the model, so it can sit side by side with the construction programme and at any given moment you can physically see where the project is compared to where it should be.

They are also responsible for 5D scheduling – costing up the project using BIM, and add things like tower cranes into the model so they can see how it will affect surrounding buildings for example.

They also presented a case study along with Ryder Architecture, of Manchester Central Library. Laing O’Rourke used a 3D model for site set out, to liaise with police and local authorities – show them any hazards, etc. and liaise with local businesses, so they could see in 3D what would be happening in the area. A 3D model was also used for a site safety induction video.

BIM was not used on this project until after Laing O’Rourke won the bid, they had the ability to influence the design team to work in a BIM environment, and assisted in up-skilling team members and the client.

Ryder Architecture used 3D Laser Scanning / Point Clouds to build a model of the existing library building, and from there used BIM for collaboration, clash detection, people movement and 4D (Timeline) construction sequencing (using Navisworks.)

This project is still on site, but the feeling is everything is going well to date.

Manchester City Council are looking to “own” this model, so it can be used for Facilities Management (6D.)

The seminar was attended by 83 people from 57 companies ranging from Engineers, Architects and Contractors through to Local Authorities, CAD Resellers and Universities.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Report to the Government Construction Clients Board on Building Information Modelling and Management

Building Information Modelling and Management BIM(M) is a managed approach to the collection and exploitation of information across a project. At its heart is a computer-generated model containing all graphical and tabular information about the design, construction and operation of the asset.

The benefits of supply-chain integration in the construction sector are largely understood in terms of performance improvement, greater project ‘certainty’ and reduced risk. One of the key factors in achieving successful integration is the accuracy, effective flow and intelligent use of information which BIM(M) – by requiring interoperability of information – will encourage. In addition to design and build benefits, one of the main value-added applications of BIM(M) is in the post-construction phase, through the on-going management of assets for optimum value in space utilisation, running costs and energy/carbon reduction.

In September 2009 Paul Morrell, The Government’s Chief Construction Advisor, presented a short paper to the board outlining an Industry working group, commissioned by BIS, to provide a report on the potential future use of BIM. The Government Construction Clients board adopted the working group and agreed to receive its final report.

The final report was presented in March 2011 and provides Government Clients with a suggested roadmap and strategy to enable the progressive use of BIM on Government building programmes as well as providing a framework for procurement and delivery standards. The report also considers the training and support required to enable the industry to rise to the BIM challenge.

The Government Construction Strategy was published by the Cabinet office on 31 May 2011. The report announced the Governments intention to require collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) on its projects by 2016.

There are a number of Institutes, Industry groupings and standard setting organisations (see links) developing knowledge on the implementation of BIM practices. The Government clients group will engage with these groups and seek comment on its BIM implementation strategy as it progresses.

Source -

The BIM Working Party Strategy can be downloaded here

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Look

I've been having problems recently with the template of the blog, the side bar (to the right) was shifting to the bottom of the blog.

So I decided to change the template, hence the new colour scheme.

However, when I view the blog on my laptop, the side bar is still at the bottom of the page, on the other hand, when i view the blog on my phone, all is as it should be, the side bar is to the right of the page.

Is anyone else having problems viewing the blog?

I would appreciate your feedback.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

BIM and the Government Estate: The Strategy for the use of BIM on Public Projects

There is an event next week in Manchester that will outline the governments BIM strategy for the use of BIM on public projects.

Details are below.

Venue Details

113-115 Portland Street
Greater Manchester
M1 6DW


The Government is due to announce its strategy regarding the future use of BIM on the Government Estate. It is expected that the Government will endorse the Low Carbon Construction Report’s recommendation that BIM should become a key part of the Government's future procurement and operation of its buildings and Government will set a Roadmap leading to a requirement for BIM information from all bidders and contractors on future public sector projects .

Integrated BIM and digital models mean a fundamental change in the design, construction and facility management processes that involves data sharing between all shareholders based on digital models that can be used from a project's early design stages through to completion and monitoring of subsequent performance.

As one of the leading regions for BIM in the UK, the North West are delighted to offer a fantastic opportunity to share the views of Government directly with you – the Centre for Construction Innovation and Constructing Excellence offer you the chance to find out:

What the Government is planning to do with regards to BIM;

The implications this will have for clients (especially those in the Public Sector);

What the next steps will be; and

How you can get help to understand and deliver projects that unlock new ways of working that will reduce cost and add long-term value to the development and management of built assets in the public sector.

If you are already using this technology and want to know how you can influence clients; if you are a client that is already using this technology, but want to know more about it; if you are not using this technology, but would like to or if you are interested in finding out how you can learn more and be signposted to further help and advice – both technical and non-technical – then this seminar is for you.

The Seminar will be Chaired by John Lorimer, Capital Programme Director, Manchester City Council and Chair of the Constructing Excellence BIM Task Group with support from Terry Boniface, Programme Manager at Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, a member of the Government/Industry team developing the Government Strategy. The Seminar will include examples of BIM that are on-going in the region and details of where and how you can get further help - from academic courses [UoS] to signposting and awareness training [CE/CCI].

Follow this
link for registration

Monday, June 20, 2011

Excitech Revit Toolkit - Coordinates 2012

The Excitech Revit Toolkit - Coordinates is now available for download for Revit 2012.

The Excitech Revit Toolkit is a set of utilities developed and published by Excitech to enhance the benefits you get from Revit technology.

The Revit toolkit contains a modular installation utility that makes additional utilities easy to add in and manage.

The first tool released is for Coordinate Scheduling.

Revit Coordinate Scheduling Tool
The FREE Excitech Revit Coordinate Scheduling application is a powerful tool for Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP that will enable users to automatically acquire precise X, Y and Z coordinates from certain Revit objects.

This allows users to more rapidly produce schedules of, for example, piling and services; as well as to publish coordinates for complex geometry across 3D space.

The coordinates are added to the objects element properties which will allow schedules to be generated and tags to be placed.

The application has been designed to publish X,Y and Z coordinates to selected object categories and store these within the objects instance properties.

To maintain the accuracy of the coordinates the Excitech Revit Coordinate Scheduling Tool has the following built-in checks which will prompt the user when performing one of the below operations.

•Viewing Schedule Tables
•Saving Documents
•Saving As
•Opening a document
•Exporting a file
•Closing Documents
•Synchronising with the Central File

You can download the toolkit

UK Government Construction Strategy

Alan over at The Revit Learning Curve has posted details about the UK Govenments Construction Strategy report, which was released last month.

Here is alan's post.

"....Building Information Modelling (BIM) is now emerging as a common requirement on both public and private sector projects alike. Only recently, the government has reaffirmed its commitment to make savings of at least 20% across all public sector construction projects and that BIM is to be mandated to help drive more efficient cost benchmarking.

Standards are currently being drawn up with a view to roll out BIM on public projects in 2012...."

You can download the report

The government are also due to release a BIM Implementation Plan, which is due to be published this month, I will keep my eyes open and post the details asap.


The Australian and New Zealand Revit Standards are now available for download.

The Australian and New Zealand Revit Standards (ANZRS) was an initiative conceived at RTC (Revit Technology Conference) 2009 in Melbourne (I was present at this event) in response to the Revit user community’s frustration with lack of consistency and quality in Revit families available from Autodesk, Content Creators and other sources.

It’s been a mammoth effort, and not without the contributions of dozens of volunteers, but RTC 2011 marks the first public release of the Australian and New Zealand Revit Standards – for Content Creation and Management.

The project has attracted interest globally.

Feedback was received from a number of contributors during the recent Peer Review process, and this has been integrated within the body of the work. On the basis of what was presented during this review, several local content creation firms have already agreed to adopt the standards. These include KarelCAD (DesignContent), Benn Design and ProductSpec .

The document pack constitutes:

1.Introduction and project contextual information
2.Forms articulating criteria to be met in order to comply with the standards
3.Reference material to assist content creators to surpass minimum requirements.

The Revit Content Model Style Guidelines produced by Autodesk were the first widespread effort in this direction. However, we find some of their prescriptions and guidelines lacking – so, we figured we’d form part of the solution by contributing our own for public use.

ANZRS addresses content standards for Autodesk Revit only. It does not attempt or purport to be a product- or vendor-neutral standard. This was predominantly because such efforts require enormous amounts of effort and buy-in from so many parties, and sometimes made more complex by proprietary limitations. We felt that if we could help get the Revit-aligned part of the industry to agree on something, that it might be an easier step to take to get everyone on board to something greater.

The committee is actively in dialog with other related parties and projects, in the interests of optimizing our alignment with them and vice versa. Such initiatives are:

AEC(UK) BIM Standard, and;

The ANZRS can be downloaded

The pack includes a 72 page printable pdf, and shared parameter .txt files for Revit Structure, Revit Architecture and Revit MEP.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Revit and Bridges

I am currently looking into the use of Revit for modelling, presenting and documenting bridges.

My colleagues overseas are having a lot of success with bridges using Revit, and I have read numerous posts that Revit is good for the 'high end detailing' on a complex bridge.

I wanted to share a couple of images, the first is a quick and simple render I have just done on a bridge.

The others are more detailed images produced by my colleagues overseas.

I will report back here with more information and details once I get stuck into some bridges using Revit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Revit ST joins Twitter

I have opened up a Twitter account for Revit ST.

Follow RevitST for live blog updates and other Revit 'tweets.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Revit & Structural Analysis

I have always maintained that the Structural Analysis 'bi-directional' link between Revit Structure and the numerous analytical packages out there is a myth.

Engineers analytical requirements are not as precise as the detailer at the front end of the project.

An engineers analytical model could be 10mm, 50mm, even 100mm out, whereas a construction / documentation model has to be 100% accurate. After all, this is what is used to work out tricky buildability area, take accurate steel weights and concrete volumes, not to mentions detailing difficult connections.

It is due to this very reason that I have always taken a stance that an analytical model exported to Revit, only has its uses at the early stages of a project. Tender stage for example, the analytical model will be fairly accurate (it has to be if the engineer wants to give a good estimate of the actual costs involved.) It is so easy and time saving if the tender documents are produced from an exported analytical model.

You could produce a set of annotated GA's for a large building in well under a week. The cost savings for the consultant alone will be huge, compared with traditional 2D or starting from scratch.

I have then always taken the stance that the Tender model is 'binned' (archived) and a fresh model is constructed after tender, whilst the Engineer continues to 'tweak' his / her analytical model as and when required through to Construction issue.

Mark Fox over at
Revit FOX has thrown an interesting spanner in the works with his post Revit / Analysis Software - The Missing Link.

He explains his way of working, which the concepts / philosophy is more or less the same as mine, but he does things the opposite way round. He uses the 'one' export from Revit to the analysis software, at quite an advanced stage.

....Firstly, the model should always be created in Revit. My reason is simple. Whilst Engineers are very fussy about some things, there are also some they couldn't care less about; the accuracy of the analytical model generally falls into the ‘I’m not that bothered’ category. Mr Engineer is often ‘not that bothered’ if members they model are 100mm one way or the other. Analytically and from a design POV it generally makes very little difference to them. So why let them start the model and then give it to Mr Technician who then spends hours correcting it? Just start in Revit in the first place right?....

This has led me to think about a second step in the process I follow, combining both of the above points into one approach.

Once the tender documents are produced and the tender model is 'binned,' the construction model can start to take shape, and can be exported to the analysis package.

Whilst this is not a true bi-directional link, it would mean both technician and engineer are working on models that are more or less exactly the same.

Like all of these things, time is always a problem, so the workflow would have to be set up early on, but I do think this approach could work quite well.

STRATUS - Cloud Technology

Here is part of an article posted on
AEC Bytes that I think is well worth reposting.

The full article can be read

....Stephenson & Turner New Zealand Ltd have developed and implemented a Private Cloud-based technology named STRATUS for the delivery of Autodesk Revit as an online service. STRATUS has been operational for the past 12 months, with immediate and tangible benefits for the company and its clients. This article describes the background and rationale for S&T’s STRATUS development, and discusses additional details including the technology’s features and the benefits afforded by STRATUS to the firm.

The development of STRATUS can be traced back to 2006, when S&T successfully applied to the New Zealand government for a “Foundation for Research, Science and Technology” funding grant. This funding module enabled the company to embark upon a research program that was focused on supporting S&T’s implementation of BIM. This research included the evaluation of remote computing technologies to assist with the rapid deployment of Autodesk Revit over LAN and WAN connections. The company’s 2006 studies highlighted that 3D-Graphics remote computing was not a feasible option due to the relatively poor performance of remoting protocols available at that time. The company made the decision to shelve further research in this area until these technology barriers could be overcome at some point in the future.

In 2009, the company’s remote computing initiative was reinstated. Various emerging developments in 3D-Graphics remote computing technologies prompted this move, including developments by Calista Technologies (since acquired by Microsoft) and Teradici (now in a co-development agreement with VMware). The options explored included technology packages from VMware, Citrix, Quest, HP and Microsoft. The technology from Microsoft soon emerged as the leading contender and was promoted to the level of a proof-of-concept study, at the conclusion of which the firm’s owners decided to invest in the development of STRATUS to support the Revit team production environment.

Within a few weeks following the implementation of STRATUS, it was driving all of S&T’s active Revit projects. The STRATUS deployment quickly expanded to include a number of multi-office collaborative Revit-based projects being run over WAN links. Early 2011 saw a quadrupling of the company’s STRATUS capability in order to address the burgeoning increase in S&T’s demand for Revit-based remote computing.

Geographically distributed Revit user teams can easily and securely collaborate over the public Internet using the STRATUS Private Cloud. The available bandwidth and latency of a remote user’s WAN connection will dictate the number of concurrent STRATUS users at the remote office. S&T has found that 100-400 kbs of bandwidth is required for each connection depending upon the specific activity of the remote Revit user. Latency between the remote user’s office and the STRATUS data center should ideally be less than 50ms to ensure that the Revit remote-application response time remains unobtrusive to the remote user’s experience.

Australian-based STRATUS test sessions have been conducted back to the New Zealand-based STRATUS Cloud without any significant performance degradation. STRATUS has demonstrated the capability to deliver Revit modeling access to a geographically distributed and mobile Revit-based workforce.

With S&T’s STRATUS Cloud, the Revit application and the Revit files both reside in the STRATUS Cloud data center. Remote Revit users connect to the STRATUS Cloud to access their Revit applications and Revit files, irrespective of their physical location, assuming the minimum requirements for WAN bandwidth and latency are met. The STRATUS-based Revit applications consume the system resource of the STRATUS Cloud servers, which far exceed those of any typical personal computing hardware. The Revit files remain secure in one location, supported by a comprehensive disaster recovery plan with fully redundant failover systems.

In contrast, Autodesk’s newly introduced Revit Server uses Revit applications installed on the Revit user’s personal computer, consuming the relatively finite system resources of the user’s local machine. The Revit model files do not reside on one file server; rather, with Revit Server, several offices are connected together with Revit Server responsible for replicating central files to each office and keeping them coordinated.

Well before Autodesk released Revit Server, S&T had already deployed STRATUS Private Cloud for Revit. While S&T had 2 offices that needed to access the same Revit models, their needs had also evolved to remote and mobile access for S&T staff, consultant access, and several other situations where access to Revit files was needed by people in all kinds of locations. Now, any of S&T’s STRATUS users can access their Revit application and Revit models from any device that is connected to the Internet. The author has personally accessed 500+MB Revit models from a laptop, iPad and even an iPhone. The challenge is that the needs of S&T’s Revit users keep evolving, so the agile technology of the STRATUS Private Revit Cloud enabling a remote and mobile Revit workforce is a significant advantage.

Depending on your company’s situation, Autodesk’s Revit Server may very well cover your requirements. If your requirements go beyond Revit Server, then a Private Revit Cloud project like STRATUS might well be on your company’s IT strategy roadmap....

Extinction Awaits Firms who Ignore BIM

I read an article this morning on New Civil Engineer titled "Extinction awaits those firms who ignore BIM"

Due to NCE been a subscription only website it wouldn't be wise of me to re-post the article here, but I will share some parts with you.

....Government efficiency mandarins this week fired a wake-up call at the construction industry with news that from 2016 building information modelling (BIM) will be used for every single publicly funded building and infrastructure project. The move is a core part of the new Government Construction Strategy....

....Last month chief construction advisor Paul Morrell said that firms who failed to adopt BIM risked being “Betamaxed out” of existence.

Morrell was speaking at an event convened by Riba commercial arm NBS after an industry-wide survey revealed alarming ignorance over BIM. NBS’s survey found that just 13% of those working in the industry were aware of BIM and currently using it. More than four in 10 had never heard of it....

....Autodesk’s own survey – albeit of delegates at its own user conferences in London, Munich and Milan towards the end of last year – found that the vast majority of firms expected to be using BIM by 2013.

Of those polled, 60% in the UK, 57% in Germany and 55% in Italy were already using BIM methods. But of those respondents not already using BIM, 82% in the UK, 85% in Germany and 42% in Italy expect to do so within the next two years....

It appears the slow uptake of BIM in the UK is going to have to change, the government are going to force this change on consultants and contractors, in an attempt to streamline the industry, and bring it into the 21st century.

The transition from 2D to BIM is on a comparative scale to the transition from pen and ink to CAD.

The industry faces some tough times in the current economy, it will be interesting to see how the companies that don't take up BIM stand when we finally reach that light at the end of the tunnel.

The full article can be read here

NCE BIM Article

NCE is an excellent publication, one well worth signing up for.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Revit ST: One Year On (Off Topic)

So, the blog becomes one year old later this month, I have made 76 posts in the last 12 months and had over 20,000 hits. When I started this page I didn't think I would ever get to 10,000 hits, so my expectations have been far surpassed.

It has been a difficult year for me on a personal level; I have lived in 5 houses, in 3 different countries, and had 4 different jobs, not to mention having over $10,000 worth of belongings stolen from my house after a break in.

To top that off, I sadly watched a family member pass away in January. RIP. (If anybody wants to help my fiancé raise money for Cancer Research UK, please, follow the link at the right of the blog, it is a great cause, and every little helps)

On a positive note, the blog has clearly been a success, and I have also helped found RUGLeeds (The Revit User Group Leeds,) which was a massive success.

To top that off, I have also been busy planning my wedding! (November the 26th 2011) So I guess life could be worse.

I have had the chance to work on an amazing project, as the lead (or should I say the only) Revit modeller for a multimillion pound theatre development in the UK, and I am now back with my old company, Opus International Consultants, heading up our on-going Revit development in the UK business.

I just want to thank everyone who follows the blog, and thank those of you that leave me comments, I don't get chance to reply to all of them, but I do make an effort.

Hopefully we can hit the 50,000 mark by this time next year!

Friday, June 3, 2011

UK Terminology - Hotfix

I have just received an email from Ralph Pullinger at Autodesk to confirm the hotfix for Revit 2012 UK terminology is now available.

Follow this
link to download.

This hotfix addresses issues related to UK specific terminology not being present in the User Interface after default installation.

Monday, May 23, 2011

RUGLeeds, Meeting No.2 July 12th

We require ALL delegates to confirm their attendance. Please RSVP by email to

Places are limited so please confirm ASAP!

The next RUG Leeds event has been scheduled for


12th July 2011, 6 for 6:30pm start


Mott MacDonald, 2 Brewery Wharf, Kendell Street, Leeds, LS10 1JR



6:00pm – 6:30pm:
Arrive, refreshments


6:30pm – 6:45pm:
Welcome and Introduction


6:45pm – 7:30pm: Neil Munro, Opus International Consultants, New Zealand – presenting -
Protocols & Standards where do I start?

This presentation will help highlight some of the important protocols & standards that all practices using Revit should have in place, these will help guide your Revit users into your company standards and best practice methods.


7:30 – 7:45pm: Break


7:45pm – 8:30pm: Chris Senior, Revit Factory, UK - demonstrating –
Content Studio Software for Revit Family Management

Content Studio is a new software application for managing Revit files. The demonstration begins with an introduction to Best Practice Content Creation along with some tips and tricks. Methods for establishing a company-wide libraries will be demonstrated along with the benefits Content Studio brings for creating, managing, sharing and using content on a daily basis.


Wrap-up & Evening Drinks/Networking

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Revit 2012 - Country Specific Terms

It has been brought to my attention that in the 2012 release of Revit, Autodesk, in their wisdom, decided to remove the much hyped localisation enhancements. (Country specific terms)

See the example below. (From the Revit Structure Learning Curve)

USA Term ......................UK Term

Joist ................................Secondary
Horizontal Brace ............Plan Brace
Purlin ..........................Tertiary (I am actually quite happy with Purlin)
Coping ........................ ....Notching
Coping Distance ............Notching Distance
Remove Coping .............Remove Notching
Coped ......................... ....Notched

It seems there is a "revolt" against Autodesk, and I have been asked to post this to generate support, and exercise UK Revit User Power on the Revit Development Team in the USA.

Ralph Pullinger's email has cropped up amongst all of this, I can only assume he is in support of the UK Specific terms, and is looking out for our feedback. (Don't quote me on that)

This Link to email Ralph.

The link generates a subject matter that Ralph can harvest and then if he gets enough he can submit the emails as proof that UK users are not happy.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

ABC+D BIM Article

Our copy of Architect-Builder-Contractor+Developer came through the post this morning, on page 4, titled 'Hot Topic' there is an article by Mark Lewis of Autodesk discussing why he thinks BIM will change the construction industry.

Here is a great quote from the article;

"Adopting BIM can be a climb.But the view from the top when you get there is more than worth the effort."

For those who don't subscribe, follow this
Link to read the article online.

Monday, May 9, 2011

UK BIM Report

This morning I read over at
Revit Structure Learning Curve about a BIM report released by NBS, Alan host's a link to the pdf which upon reading, I found very interesting.

Below is what is says on the
NBS Website

"......Richard Waterhouse, Chief Executive of RIBA Enterprises, introduces the Building Information Modelling Report March 2011. This in-depth research was conducted by NBS to discover the extent to which BIM is already used within the UK construction industry, what people think of it, and its future development and use.

This is the first 'NBS BIM Report' in what will be a series of reports on the adoption of what we currently call 'BIM' or Building Information Modelling. These reports will track changes in attitudes towards BIM as well as implementation within the industry. They will act as a reference point for the industry to share success and to highlight areas of developmental need. Ultimately, they will also strip away much of the hype and hysteria around BIM to provide detailed answers to important issues including Return on Investment.

Searching for a definition of BIM, it is clear that there are many views as to what BIM is. Incorrectly seen as a technological solution to CAD integration, BIM places the effective use and exchange of 'Information' at its heart. As a result, BIM will have an impact on most areas of business management and operation. It will revolutionise methods of working and fundamentally redefine the relationships between construction professionals. It will challenge current thinking on contracts and insurance and most importantly, it will support the integration of the design and construction teams.

Whilst such fundamental changes should be high on the agenda for all professionals, the NBS research indicates that this is not the case. There are distinct areas of expertise developing in many organisations and they are already challenging current methods of working. However, there is a risk that many others will be left behind as other organisations fail to achieve the returns required for investment in both technology and training.

For organisations looking to justify investment in this area, they would be well served by looking beyond their own systems to those of their partners. As the sharing of data increases, standardisation of systems and processes will become more important. They should also look at the services they can offer. Costs of investment could be more than covered as the information systems allow for other new service options to be provided. The latter issue on training has been covered by a small number of forward thinking universities. These agile academic institutions will provide many of the experts that the industry will need to evolve.

So where does NBS fit into this new world? Our aim is to focus on the centre of BIM, placing 'Information' at the heart of the construction process. We will show that there is much more to BIM than enhanced visualisation and automatic scheduling! We will provide the information needed to improve decision making at each stage of the construction and operation process, as well as developing libraries of data that will support this information revolution. We will also be providing guidance and links to other published sources of knowledge that will support the idea of 'getting it right first time'. In all its forms, both graphical and textual, information will be central to the new models of building!......"

You can download the pdf

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

UK Government - BIM

Towards the back end of last year I read a post at
Revit Structure Learning Curve about the U.K government planning on following in the footsteps of the U.S with regards to BIM and IPD.

I also read a similar story at
BD Online

So, I have been keeping my eyes open since March for the outcome of this report, and any public announcements.

I have since read that there will be a 3 month delay in this process, taking us back to at least June.

Once again thanks to Alan at Revit Structure Learning Curve

Here is what Alan writes.

"........The roll-out of Building Information Modelling across all public projects has met with difficulties after a government response to a report on its effectiveness has been delayed by three months. Paul Morrell, OBE FRICS HonFRIBA, UK Chief Construction Advisor to the UK Government, has confirmed it will be released in June........."

We all know what the U.K government is like, if we are lucky we might see the findings of this report this side of Christmas.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

(not so) New Job.

So, my blog posts have been few and far between in recent weeks, I have been busy with RUGLeeds, securing venues and speakers, as well as finishing up at my previous employer, and returning to a not so new job.

My contract was coming to an end, having been taken on primarily to complete a 650 tonne steel framed building, modelling both primary and secondary steelwork. I was contacted by my ex employer, an international multi-discipline consultancy, who's head office is in New Zealand, and asked to come on board in the U.K, and head up the Revit use in the U.K business.

My role will involve working on projects that are both in the U.K and in New Zealand, as well as supporting and facilitating the growth and development of Revit Structure within the U.K business.

Exciting times ahead, this is a challenge I am looking forward to, and it is surely a step in the right direction.

I will shortly be back on track with the blog posts.

Revit 3D Detailing - Video

In response to a number of requests in recent weeks, here is a very short video, showing a very simple beam to column connection and how I go about detailing steelwork in 3D.

This relates to the following posts.

3D Detailing Final Images

3D Detailing for Chris

Apologies for the watermark, I had to use a free video converter to compress the file.

I haven't annotated the beam in this video, the file size was big enough as it is. With the release of Revit 2012, and 3D tagging, this makes annotating these types of detais much easier.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Revit 2012 - Download now.

Here it is, the 2012 Revit Suite packages are available to download now via the subscription centre.

Keep an eye open in your local regions, this should be rolled out wordwide soon, if it isn't already.

Revit 2012 Available Now - Update

The Revit 2012 Extensions are now available for download: Autodesk Revit model review 2012 Space Naming utility for Revit MEP 2012 Globe link for Autodesk Revit 2012 Autodesk Revit DB link 2012 Worksharing monitor for Autodesk Revit 2012

Unfortunately Revit 2012 is still not available in my location, it is rumoured to be available in parts of Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

However, Revit 2011 is now listed as a previous release, meaning 2012 will be available for download imminently.

Revit 2012 Available Now.

I am hearing that Revit 2012 is available now via the Autodesk Subscription centre.

However, every time I try to log into the subscription centre, internet explorer fails...

Suggesting the servers are busy....

Which would suggest that 2012 is available, online, now.

Watch this space... I will keep you posted.


I can confirm that Revit Architecture 2012 is available in New Zealand, as stated on the Revit Forum.

2012 Product Launch - Virtual Event

Autodesk are running an online virtual event for the 2012 product releases, the event will showcase new features, as well as promoting the new product line.

The Revit event is on April 20th

Start: 8.00am PT
Finish: 2.00pm PT

this link to go to the Revit 2012 registration page.

See how the newest Autodesk releases can help you create and deliver your most innovative work. Autodesk Revit 2012 software for Building Information Modeling (BIM) provides powerful tools for design, analysis, and documentation – enabling you to deliver more efficient buildings. At the Autodesk Virtual Event, you attend sessions right from your desktop. These presentations will help you: Better visualize your building before construction begins Design, analyze, document, and deliver efficient and sustainable buildings Improve communication and collaboration among all stakeholders

The event will inlcude the following presentations:

BIM for Buildings Design, Engineering and Construction
Conceptual Energy Analysis in Autodesk Revit Architecture
Optimizing Building Designs with Revit MEP and 3ds Max Design
Autodesk Revit for BIM-Enabled Sustainable Design
Explore the World of AutoCAD 2012
Winning with HP and Autodesk in the AEC Market
AMD and Autodesk: Why Professional Graphics Matter

In addition to the live and on-demand sessions offered above, there will be Spanish and Portuguese on-demand webcasts at the Virtual Event.

here for session descriptions.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Revit - Understanding Parameters

I recently replied to a post on AUGI regarding parameters in Revit and the difference between the types, I realised I was yet to write about this and as a result, I bring you the post below. Hopefully after reading, you will have a better understanding of parameters, and how you can gain from the use of shared parameters in your projects.



Is a setting that determines the appearance or behaviour of an element, type, or view.

Project Parameters
Are user-defined fields that you add to multiple categories of elements, sheets, or views in a project. These parameters are specific to the project and cannot be shared with other projects. For example: You can create a project parameter named “Approved By” for views. In the properties for each view you can enter a value for this parameter to indicate who approved the view. You can use a project parameter in multi-category or single-category schedules. However, you cannot use project parameters in tags for model elements.

Family Parameters

Are user-defined fields that you add to families. They are stored in the family file, and cannot be used in any other element or environment apart from the family it was created in.

Shared Parameters

Are user-defined fields that you add to families or projects and then share with other families and projects. They are stored in a file independently of the family file or Revit project; this allows you to access the file from different families or projects. In addition, shared parameters can be used in tags for model elements, and they can display in schedules.

Type Parameters

Are settings that control the appearance or behaviour of all elements of a particular family type. Type parameters are common to many elements in a family. A type parameter affects all instances (individual elements) of that family in the project and any future instances that you place in the project.

Instance Parameters

Are settings that control the appearance or behaviour of an individual element in a project. The instance parameters and type parameters of an element combine to establish its element properties. Instance parameters can vary with the location of an element in a building or project. An instance property affects only one selected element, or the element that you are about to place. For example: Suppose that you select a beam and click (Element Properties). You change one of the instance parameters and click OK. Only that beam is affected, even if the project contains other instances (individual beams) of the same type.

Another example: The dimensions of a window are type parameters, while its elevation from the level is an instance parameter. Similarly, cross-sectional dimensions of a beam are type parameter, while beam length is an instance parameter.

In terms of what type of parameter to use when, that all comes down to what you want to use that parameter for.

For example: If you are creating a structural connection family, let's say a simple face based plate, you will add parameters for the dimensions of the plate, length, width, thickness. If you use a family parameter for this, the parameters will flex, and do everything that a shared parameter will do apart from one key thing, a family parameter cannot be used anywhere else but in the family where it is created. If you were to use a shared parameter instead, these parameters can be scheduled, and because the parameters are stored in your company shared parameter .txt file, they can be used on future structural connection families you create. You can now create a structural connection schedule and add these shared parameters to the schedule.

You can also add these to a custom made structural connection tag. The tag will automatically read the dimensions of the plate, and with appropriate prefix / suffix details in the tag, this can make annotating steelwork details extremely quick.

Below - The element properties for the plate above, showing the information the tag is using from the model element.

Below - the shared parameters added to the label in the structural connection tag, with appropriate prefix / suffix where required.

Shared parameters are powerful, and part of the concept of using the 'information' from the Revit model.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Revit Structure 2012 New Features Videos.

I have found some videos on YouTube for Revit Structure 2012 new features. Below are videos that show;

  • Revit Structure 2012 - New Features

  • Revit Structure 2012 - Reinforcement placement and enhancements

  • Revit 2012 - Construction modeling and assemblies

Revit Structure 2012 - New Features

Revit Structure 2012 - Reinforcement placement

Revit 2012 - Construction modeling and assemblies

Thursday, March 24, 2011

RUGLeeds Meeting No.1

What a way to kick off RUGLeeds, last night was the first Revit User Group meeting in Leeds, UK. After 4 months of planning with Chris Senior of Revit Elemental the time had arrived to launch the user group. We had almost 50 attendees with people travelling from far and wide to see what we were doing.

We had a number of people make the short 10 or so mile trip across West Yorkshire from places such as Wakefield and Bradford, a couple of people travelled 40 miles from Sheffield, and one guy travelled 42 miles from Manchester.

We had a group of attendees who travelled 72 miles from Nottingham, and the guys from _Space travelled a massive 97 miles from Newcastle to present at the opening meeting!

RUGLeeds managed to cover a wide area in the opening meeting, and if we are honest, we were quite surprised by the turn out.

The night started with an introduction from myself and Chris Senior, we gave a summary of our background, and why we formed RUGLeeds.

Moving on to an open floor discussion - 'What do YOU Want from RUGLeeds?'

The main talking points were sharing best practice, collaboration and setting up a wish list, something that could perhaps be done in conjunction with the other UK user groups, so we become a UK voice and try to build a relationship with Autodesk.

That was followed by an overview of Revit Architecture 2012 by Simon Dickinson of MicroCAD.

Simon covered the key improvements that have been doing the rounds since Autodesk lifted the NDA on Revit 2012.

The grand finale was excellent, James Austin and Adam Ward from _Space Architecture gave us all an insight into their BigBim approach in designing, manufacturing and constructing the _spachus modular eco home. Focusing on how parametric modelling techniques have enabled the process.

The detail that went into some of the nested families used in this process is nothing short of incredible, and the formulas built into the families were very clever, a simple example is a timber beam that would increase it's size relative to the distance it was spanning. The concept of using Revit in for manufacturing, paying special attention to the process involved was fascinating, and issuing information to site in a set of 'ikea' style animated assembly instructions that were viewed on an iPad or iPhone is a different level of thinking.

For more information about what _Space are doing with BigBim visit the Big Bim Website

The night finished in the Adelphi pub in Leeds, with a few people (myself included) staying until closing. I eventually made it home at around 1am. (That is what I call networking!)

I would like to thank Buro Happold for providing the venue and refreshments, as well as everyone who attended and had some input into the evening, and a big thank you to the speakers, and a pat on the back for myself and Chris for making this happen.

We have certainly set the bench mark high with the first meeting, the standard of presentations were excellent, and the number and variety of attendees was perfect. The challenge now is to continue in the right direction.

In the coming weeks me and Chris will be looking at the formation of a committee, I will keep you posted.

A testimonial from one of the attendees is below

"That came together very well last night. It was well organised, focused and gave everyone quite a lot to take away. Thank You."

Remember to search RUGLeeds of Linkedin or Facebook to join the group.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011