Thursday, January 27, 2011

goBIM - Revit models on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

goBIM is an iPhone, iPod, and iPad application for navigating 3D BIM models and their associated data.

Designer Ian Keough, a Senior Technical Designer with Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, in New York, independently developed the application to solve the problem of transferring 3D BIM models from the desktop to an accessible format for real-time review on the job site.

goBIM employs a two part process for designers to export their 3D model from their modeling application onto the iPhone. Users first export their 3D model into a “.gbm” file through a file exporter, then upload the files to their web server for use with goBIM. There is an exporter for Autodesk Revit available on the
goBIM website

You can load the model through iTunes file sharing or post the file onto a web server and you have your models whenever, wherever you want them.

What size models can goBIM handle?

The size of model that goBIM can handle is dependent on three factors, number of triangles, number of parameters, and number of materials.

◦Triangles are the mesh faces that are pushed to the GPU and are used to calculate how your model looks on screen. More triangles = slower performance. Unfortunately, many BIM models have highly detailed components with lots of faces. Try and limit the complexity of your exported geometry.

◦Parameters are the fields that store information about the elements in your goBIM model. Each parameter name and value take up memory when your goBIM file is uncompressed.

◦Models with more materials affect performance. goBIM uses a batching methodology that groups together geometries with the same material before sending them through the graphics pipeline. This is referred to as a “draw call”. Less materials =less draw calls. Try to limit the number of materials that are used on your goBIM models.

The best advice that is to start with a small model, a few elements, to make sure that goBIM works for you. Then work your way up in model size until you reach the limits of acceptable performance.

For more information, visit the
goBIM website

Revit Keys - App for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

REVITkeys is a list of 154 keyboard combinations for AutoDesk Revit Architecture 2011. Arranged in 14 categories this tool makes it easy to find the keyboard shortcut you are looking for or learn new ones.

Categories include: Project, Model Family Editor, Profile Family Editor, Truss Family Editor, Rebar Family Editor, Mass Family Editor, Conceptual Mass Editor, Detail Family Editor, Contextual Tab, Snap Overrides, View Control Bar, Context Menu, Navigation Bar, and Alternates with Closer Keys.

I am yet to download this app for my iPhone, and it remains to be seen what happens when you have custom shortcut keys... Can the shortcuts in this app be edited?

On the face of things, it looks like a tidy application to help a new user come to grips with Revit shortcuts.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Filtering Reference Planes

Recently I have been involved in a discussion on The Revit Forum regarding the filtering of reference planes within Revit.

I was surprised to see a quote from the Revit help file that states "Note: If you open a Revit project that was created in Revit Structure, you may see in the list of available filters Selection Filters and Rule-based filters. You can modify and apply rule-based filters in Revit Architecture. You can also apply selection filters in Revit Architecture, but selection filters can only be modified in Revit Structure"

Why would Autodesk not allow Revit Architecture users to filter elements by selection??

Nevertheless, here is the process to follow for Revit Structure users to filter reference planes within a project.

Step 1.

Under the view tab, select the filters button.

Step 2.

You will now see the filters dialogue box, click new.

Step 3.

You will now see the filter name dialogue box, type in a name for the filter, and make sure 'select' is clicked as your option for adding elements to this filter.

Step 4.

You will now see the selection tools for filters, click add to selection, and tick multiple if you want to add more than one reference plane, begin selecting or boxing the reference planes you want to add to this filter.

Step 5.

Go to the VG dialogue box, click on the filters tab and select add.

Step 6.

Highlight the filter you have just created and click ok.

The filter is now visible in the VG overrides filter tab, and all the elements you have added to that filter can be controlled from here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Revit Key Plans

Recently a friend of mine asked me how to do a key plan in Revit, I thought about it and decided that because Revit doesn't currently have any key plan capabilities, the best option would be to create a detail component that is placed into a legend.

1. Export your plan to a DWG file

2. Create a Metric Detail Component. File > New > Family > Metric Detail Component.rft

3. Import your DWG file.

4. Add a Yes/No Parameter for each area. Types > Add Parameters > Type Yes/No. Set this as an Instance Parameter and give the area or filled region type a name.

You now need to add this parameter to your filled regions, once a filled region is drawn, go to the instance properties, and under the graphics title, select the = symbol at the right hand side of the word visible, this will allow you to associate a family parameter with this type of shade, select a name from the list and click ok.

5. Now you can load this Detail Component into your project and create a new legend view that will be called key plan (or something similar to suit your requirements) place this detail component into the legend view, and manipulate the yes / no parameters as required in the family files element properties.

There you have it, a simple work around for key plans in Revit.

Monday, January 10, 2011

AUGI is back online!

As reported on BLAUGI the old AUGI forum is back online, with all the legacy data restored to its original state.

....The website has been restored with the "old" vBulletin forum system as well. Close to 1million posts are back, exactly where they were, and any and all posts referencing them since the beginning in 2003 should hit their mark.

For the moment the URL to the ExpressionEngine forums can still be found if you need. You cannot post there anymore. In short order the content will be migrated and merged with the vB forums.

It should be noted that you are encouraged to totally clean your AUGI related "cookies" to aid in a successful login....

I for one am happy to have the old forum back, and happy to see all the legacy data is restored, as well as user ratings. Although I still have some way to go, with only 3 green lights!

Revit - Vertical Bracing Plan Representation

Today I read an interesting post about Revit and the Vertical Bracing Plan Representation not Showing on Revit Fox, this is something I have struggled with in the past, so I wanted to share Mark Fox's post with you.

Adding a couple of images along the way!

1. Open up the family you are using as a bracing member in the family editor.

2. Click on Home>Properties>Family Category and Parameters from the ribbon.

3. Under the ‘Family Parameters’ section of the dialogue, change the value of the ‘Symbolic Representation’ parameter to ‘From Project Settings’.

4. Save you family, reload it back into your project, and your the vertical bracing should now show in plan view as per your project settings.

Thanks to Mark Fox, author of Revit Fox for sharing this!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

AUGI set to rise from the dead.

As reported on BLAUGI the old AUGI forums are set to rise again.

"The old vBulletin based AUGI Forums are poised to come back online! In order to properly ensure all functionality and system controls are in place we will be doing this via a “beta” rollout. Just as with any other beta, you may find bugs which should be referred to as quickly as possible.

A few notes about the “beta” period: - We are planning to enable the beta forums on Monday, Jan 10th, 2010. The time has not been set. When the “beta” forums go live, the EE forums will be closed for new posts/replies.

- The forum location will be found as before at

- Due to changes in the login credentials you may need to clear your browser “cookies” and “cache” or “temporary internet files” to login successfully.

- website and forum logins are now unified and you may be required to logout and login at All other forms of access such as favorites or search results should not be used as they may not log you in.

- The primary purpose for designating this as “beta” is to validate functionality, sync login/password and merge the existing ExpressionEngine forum content into vBulletin. Therefore, you will not notice a “final” version rollout, just improvements being made.

PS: Although the AUGI webteam and moderators felt we could have gone live Jan 7th, as originally posted, doing so on a Friday just didn’t make a lot of sense. Everyone is better served by waiting until Monday when technical staff can be at the ready for any problems that may arise."

Friday, January 7, 2011

The 'I' in BIM - Steel Tonnage

This is the first post of 2011 of my series The 'I' in BIM, this post will focus on calculating steel tonnage with Revit Structure. Revit can be used to calculate steel tonnage, the beam section weight is already defined within the type properties of each family, the only problem is it isn't a parameter that can be scheduled, that is an easy fix though, it requires a simple modification to the family file, the addition of a shared parameter that looks for the weight (W) parameter in the family type properties. Step one is to edit the family, and add a new parameter.

Create a shared parameter that will represent the beam / column "Mass per metre - kg/m", and set the parameter type to number. In this instance I named the parameter Wtkg.

The next step is to make sure the parameter you have just added has a formula to make it equal the beam weight (W) this is simply done by clicking family types and adding the letter W in the formula column. In this example it means that Wtkg = W

The family can now be saved and loaded into your project. It is time to create your schedule. Add the usual parameters to your schedule such as type mark or type, you will also have to add the length and your newly created parameter, in this example that is Wtkg.

Now it is time for the mathematical part, you need to create a calculated value. Click the calculated value tab and you will see the window below. Set the discipline to common, set the type to number and add a formula. The beam weight (W) multiplied by the beam length, this is then divided by 1000 to convert the final value into tonnes.

Once you have set the schedule sorting, grouping, and filters, you will have something along the lines of the image below.

Note - Be cautious when scheduling the tonnage for anything that is not a UB or a UC section. The out of the box families for Angles, SHS and RHS sections have incorrect properties for the beam weight (mass per m) so it would be wise to check the steel weight properties in the families with a steel stock book, and make the changes as required.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Structural Analysis Interoperability

I am interested in hearing other peoples experiences with Revit Structure and Structural Analysis packages.

In the past I have trialled E-Tabs, and found that the interoperability wasn't great, whilst we could import an E-Tabs model into Revit, the member sizes did not come through correct, and vice verca.
I have had some very good feedback regarding the use of Robot, although I understand that Robot does not do certain analysis that is required on some projects. Obviously being diverse with your choice of analysis software is critical.

I have used CSC Fastrak successfully to create a very 'rough and ready' set of documents for value engineering.

The model was constructed in Fastrak, and exported into Revit, all members came through into Revit correct, and it meant we were able to value engineer a 6 storey steel frame with a turn around of maybe 1 days work for the engineer and half a day for the Revit modeller.

One problem I can see with using analysis packages as an interoperable solution is the requirements for each model.

A structural engineer needs to produce a 'rough' model for structural analysis, maybe with an accuracy of 100mm... or more? The analysis model doesn't need to be as accurate as the Revit model.

Another problem is the Revit modeller will need to have an understanding of how an analytical model needs to be constructed, and be aware that by doing things such as running a concrete beam past another concrete beam, then using an opening by face to tidy the beam join up, could have an impact on the analytical model, if this process isn't done correctly.

I would propose that if the time constraints permit, the analytical model is produced first in design stages and an export to Revit is used for preliminary documents, until the Architects design is set.

Once there is a requirement for Construction documents, the Revit model should be constructed in parallel with the analytical model, given the tolerance required for each model, I don't think it is practical to use an 'interoperable / bi-directional' model for analysis and documentation.

I would be interested to hear other peoples thoughts on this subject.

Monday, January 3, 2011

AUGI AEC Edge Fall 2010 available online now.

The latest release of AUGI AEC Edge is available

AUGI AEC Edge is now published every two months and is made available free of charge to all AUGI members.

The content includes:

•Tutorials articles on Revit, the fastest growing A/E/C design application

•BIM and CAD management trends and issues

•Industry articles and tips & tricks

•Resource and Training advice

•A/E/C industry observations

AEC Edge is an excellent publication, packed with tips and tricks from real Revit users in the real world, a must have for all Revit users.