Thursday, November 8, 2012

Govt Construction Strategy One Year On

The cabinet office has published a report giving an update on the construction strategy one year on, the report can be downloaded here


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Revit & Robot Link–Problems

I have spent a few days exploring the link between Revit and Robot. Started out building a model in Revit, setting up a central file so the Engineer always has a local copy of the Revit model which they work with when importing / exporting with Robot, and the Revit operator having a local copy of the model. We tried passing that information from Revit through to Robot, making a change to the model within Robot and passing the information back to Revit.

That works perfect.

The next step was to make a change to this model in Revit and pass that model back to Robot.

That works perfect.

We then thought about workflow, it isn't practical having the Revit operator sit waiting for the engineer to finish, so we tried passing the Revit model back into Robot, then simultaneously work in Revit making annotations, setting up views, etc. whilst the engineer was making updates to the model in Robot. We faced a few worksharing issues but once the saves / relinquishes were done this worked perfect. I was able to annotate the model whilst the engineer made design changes.

The next step was to make simultaneous changes within the Revit and Robot environment to the model elements, so for example the engineer changed the size of a beam, and I changed the size of a specific column, when we pushed and pulled this information back into Revit and Robot the model updated perfectly.

Here's where the problem comes.

The members that Robot pushes into Revit are specific to Robot. We obviously have our own libraries set up with object styles etc. so from a documentation point of view, we need to make sure we use our own in house families.

When I change one of the robot members to be one of our in house Revit members as the engineer simultaneously changes something within Robot it seems to fall down, without even syncing the model, when we try push the Robot info back into Revit we get the error message that the Robot model was created from a different Revit file, and Robot basically copies the whole model into Revit and we finish up with duplicate members in the same planes. Not to mention members ending up off axis.

So it would appear the issue lies with changing a family from the Robot specific element that was pushed into Revit, to one of our own. Which I will add are simply an amended version of the out of the box Revit content delivered by Autodesk.

I don’t yet have a solution for this problem, but thought it was worth pointing out.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Autodesk AEC Newsletter Interview


I gave an interview for the July 2012 Autodesk AEC Newsletter, the text from the article is copied below, and the whole article including images can be seen here

1) Introduction and positioning

How would you describe your company, capabilities and what differentiates your company?
Opus is a leading international multidisciplinary consultancy offering a full range of engineering and architectural services for the built environment including; civil, structural and infrastructure engineering, water, geotechnical and environmental engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, architecture and interior design and project and asset management. With such a portfolio of services, Opus can offer truly collaborative solutions to our clients.

Are you a local, regional, national, international or global company?
We have a network of 76 offices throughout Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Our teams work not only within our five primary markets but we actively share and foster co-operation and knowledge among all our offices worldwide. We have a global reach whilst maintaining a local identity in the countries we operate.

What sectors do you specialise in?
We work closely with an increasingly diverse range of clients to help visualise and achieve their goals with commitment, integrity and innovation. Whilst we specialise in a vast array of sectors throughout our global business, we think it is important to apply our core values to each project, these include; strong client relationships, excellent service delivery, respect for and sharing of knowledge, urgency through empowerment, and sharing and enjoying success. Our values reflect the way we operate, our philosophy and our attitude to business, providing clients with value added solutions.

How many employees do you have?
Opus is a company that is on the move, both through the expansion of our services and through acquisition growth. We have developed rapidly since becoming a private company, and we now have some 2,400 employees worldwide.

2) Industry

What have been the major changes in the industry in recent years, and how have you coped with those changes?
In recent years, the most dominant factor influencing all markets has been the Global Financial Crisis. Like 99% of companies in the construction industry, this has obviously had an impact on parts of our business. Because we are a diverse, international company we have been able to cope with difficult market conditions in certain countries and sectors by developing our Global Projects Initiative (GPI.)

This initiative has demonstrated Opus’ agility and ability to respond to the ever changing market conditions by allowing the company to provide international resources to the more prosperous markets we operate in; this enabled the sharing of knowledge among our offices across our international markets to bring a global best practice approach to problem solving.

What emerging trends do you see that will affect the industry in the future, and how?
BIM is the most obvious answer; the number of BIM related conferences that have taken place in the UK over the last 12 months certainly supports that statement. With the UK government looking to mandate BIM, and “Level 2 BIM” set to become a minimum requirement for all public sector projects by 2016, this ‘trend’ is fast becoming the norm for project procurement and delivery. 

How does the industry need to change to improve the delivery of projects to clients?
Project delivery could be improved by encouraging all professions to embrace the move towards collaborative working, by removing the ‘SILO’ mentality and engaging with clients and supply chains in open discussions and information sharing to identify best practices and collectively learn from bad (and good) experiences.

The use of ‘BIM’ platforms such as Autodesk® Revit®  and Autodesk® Navisworks® will help to foster this sense of collaboration and lead to a more integrated design approach with significant benefits to clients. Project deliveries will be improved through fewer abortive costs (both during design and construction), less waste on site and improved (shortened) construction periods delivering cost savings to the client whilst improving product quality.

How has the 'sustainability' debate impacted recent projects or views of clients?
Only the most forward thinking have embraced this currently, and they tend to be the contractors working on local authority projects. Whilst acknowledging the increasing pressure to develop ‘environmentally friendly’ solutions, a large proportion of private clients are mainly focused on financial cost, and not necessarily environmental impact.

However, as technologies improve and new methods of working are developed (such as the move into BIM), design teams are able to consider alternative solutions in a more thorough and integrated manner helping to identify sustainability benefits through reduced wastage etc that might otherwise have been ignored / missed.

Clients are also much more amenable to the possibilities of considering changes of use of buildings to allow reuse of existing building stock as opposed to automatically assuming that new build is the only solution. Advancement in technologies such as laser scanning have now enabled refurbishment projects to be treated in a BIM environment with the same level of design consideration as would previously only been available to new build options. Again this can often lead to sustainability benefits for the reasons identified above.

3) Technology

Which Autodesk solutions do you use?
In total we use 18 different Autodesk® Software solutions throughout the global business. Our Architecture teams use Autodesk® Revit® Architecture as their primary design tool, with Autodesk® 3Ds Max® Design for the production of high resolution renders and animations, as well as Autodesk® Ecotect® Analysis for sustainable design. For structural design Autodesk® Revit ® Structure is again our main modelling tool, with the use of Robot Structural Analysis in our UK offices for design. M&E design follows on with that trend, Autodesk® Revit® MEP being the primary design package.

Our Landscape Architecture and Civil Engineering disciplines use a combination of Autodesk Revit Architecture, Autodesk Revit Structure, AutoCAD®, AutoCAD® Map 3D and AutoCAD® Civil 3D. Autodesk® 3Ds Max Design is also used by our graphic design teams, as well as Autodesk® Stitcher. Autodesk Navisworks is a package that we are currently investigating with the ability to produce 4D construction sequences being of particular interest to us.

How do they fit into your design process?
Each discipline within Opus utilises specific Autodesk® products chosen for their ability to enhance the service offered to our clients on a daily basis. Products such as Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Navisworks increase the effectiveness of our service delivery by allowing multiple disciplines to be coordinated providing a fully integrated solution.

Do you think that your Autodesk solutions provide you with any competitive advantage, and if so, how?
Our Autodesk® solutions provide us with the opportunity to produce high quality products quickly and efficiently, thereby maximising our competitiveness within the marketplace and increasing Opus’ attractiveness to prospective clients.

What technologies are you aware of that you would like to try, and what benefits do you think they would bring?
Technology is a key part of our business, as a company we have over 550 different software packages, albeit not all of these are directly related to design. We have gone through a staged implementation process for new design software, our architecture business in New Zealand made the transition from traditional CAD packages into Autodesk Revit a number of years ago, and by 2008 this move filtered through our Structural and M&E Engineering disciplines.

We are beyond the information production stage, and having all three disciplines in house allowed us to easily get to grips with the collaboration aspect of 3D design. The use of schedules for quantities ran parallel with information production for architecture, and certainly from a structural design point of view, we have systems in place for things such as scheduling steel weights, right down to being able to schedule the total length of slab joints. Moving forward from a structural design point of view we are exploring the links between Autodesk Revit and the analysis packages that we use.

We also have a dedicated survey team within the company who specialise in laser scanning; currently we are exploring the best methods for integrating point cloud files into our design process.

4) People:

What attracts people to work for your company?
It is people who drive excellence – and it’s by investing in our people that we’ve built a reputation for excellence.

Our continued success begins and ends with the investment we make in our own people. This starts with a very strong set of company values that are at the very heart of what we do and how we work together. We are a global company that thrives on working together as one team, yet we still maintain a strong local identity and character.

Many of our team are globally recognised leaders in their respective fields, giving you the opportunity to work with and learn from only the best professionals in the business.

What’s more, the Opus International Consultants brand is built to last. Many projects and assets we design, construct and then manage around the world go to the very core of a country’s ability to develop, function and communicate. In New Zealand alone we are responsible for much of the nation’s public infrastructure including roading, railways, airports, hydro-dams and telecommunications networks.

We are a 2,400 strong team with 76 offices in five markets including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and United States of America. In short, we can develop a career path across a wide range of roles, sectors and global locations.

What motivates your staff to learn about or evaluate new technology, materials or methods?
One of Opus’ company values is to develop staff to reach their full potential, and this is encouraged through the adoption of new technologies and techniques. Opus have significant resources on a global scale, but recognise the need to share information across the company to promote best practice and deliver continuous improvement in our service offering to clients.

Staff are encouraged to actively participate in the internal Practice Interest Networks (PIN’s)  which are established within the various disciplines in Opus to share knowledge and experiences, and to act as ‘Champions’ within their offices.

Through a comprehensive staff development programme, Opus personnel are also motivated to learn about / evaluate new technologies, materials and / or methods through their personal appraisals and the promotion of internal Opus awards rewarding / recognising individual and project level successes.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Building Design Suite 2013 - FAQ


1. General Product Information

1.1 What is the Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013?

Standard Suite – Autodesk® Building Design Suite 2013 Standard Edition is for building designers, drafters, and detailers who need a foundational set of tools to efficiently design, document, and share drawings in the DWG™ file format.

Building Design Suite Standard includes:

AutoCAD® 2013, AutoCAD® Architecture 2013, AutoCAD® MEP 2013, AutoCAD® Structural Detailing 2013, Autodesk® Sketchbook® Designer 2013 and Autodesk® Showcase® 2013 software

Premium Suite – Autodesk® Building Design Suite 2013 Premium Edition is for architects, MEP and structural engineers who need an optimized set of tools including the power of Building Information Modeling (BIM) with Autodesk® Revit® software , the familiarity of AutoCAD software applications for efficient documentation, and Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design software for compelling visualizations.

Building Design Suite Premium includes:

Autodesk® Building Design Suite 2013 Standard Edition + Autodesk® Revit® 2013, Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design 2013 and Autodesk® Navisworks® Simulate 2013 software

Ultimate Suite – Autodesk® Building Design Suite 2013 Ultimate Edition is for architecture, engineering, and construction professionals who need the power of BIM and an advanced set of comprehensive tools for design and construction.

Building Design Suite Ultimate includes:

Autodesk® Building Design Suite 2013 Premium Edition + Autodesk® Quantity Takeoff 2013, Autodesk® Navisworks® Manage 2013*, Autodesk® Inventor® 2013, Autodesk® Infrastructure Modeler 2013 and Autodesk® Robot Structural Analysis 2013 software

1.2 What are the benefits of Autodesk Building Design Suites?

Autodesk Building Design Suite Standard

For designers, drafters and detailers who need to:

· Design, document, and share drawings in the DWG format.

· Take advantage of versions of AutoCAD® software specifically for the building industry.

· Show your ideas more effectively with tools for design illustration and graphic communication.

Autodesk Building Design Suite Premium

For architects and engineers who need to:

· Create better buildings with intelligent 3D model–based design.

· Produce compelling visualizations to market ideas more successfully.

· Use integrated simulation and analysis to help inform design and construction decisions.

Autodesk Building Design Suite Ultimate

Ideally suited for architecture, engineering and construction professionals who need to:

· Improve control over project outcomes.

· Create more consistent, higher-quality construction documentation.

· Create more accurate models with constructability in mind.

· More efficiently perform building material quantifications.

· Collaborate more effectively with manufacturers and fabricators.

· Efficiently perform advanced analysis on building structures

1.3 What products are in the Autodesk Buidling Design Suite?

Included Software Products

Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Standard Edition

Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Premium Edition

Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Ultimate Edition

AutoCAD 2013

AutoCAD Architecture 2013

AutoCAD MEP 2013

AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2013

Autodesk Showcase 2013

Autodesk SketchBook Designer 2013

Autodesk Revit 2013


Autodesk Navisworks Simulate 2013


Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2013


Autodesk Navisworks Manage 2013


Autodesk Quantity Takeoff 2013


Autodesk Inventor 2013


Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler 2013


Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional 2013


1.4 What new software products are in Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013?

Autodesk® Revit® 2013

Autodesk Building Design Suite Premium and Ultimate Editions now include a new version of Autodesk Revit software that combines tools for architectural design, MEP engineering, and structural engineering in a single, comprehensive application. Gain access to a broader set of tools to streamline your workflows and collaborate more effectively with other building design disciplines on the Revit® platform.

Autodesk® Navisworks® Simulate 2013

The Premium Edition of the Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 now includes Autodesk Navisworks Simulate 2013 project review software which supports intelligent 3D model-based designs with advanced scheduling and visualization capabilities.

Autodesk® Robot Structural Analysis Professional 2013

The Ultimate Edition of the Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 now includes Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional software which enables structural engineers to efficiently perform advanced analysis on large and complex building structures

Autodesk® Infrastructure Modeler 2013

The Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 Ultimate Edition now enables users to take advantage of Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler 2013 conceptual design software which can help you to more easily create, evaluate, and communicate convincing site plan proposals for faster stakeholder buy-in and more confident decision making.

1.5 Are cross grades from standalone products to the Autodesk Building Design Suite available?

Cross grades are available for some standalone Autodesk products. Please contact your reseller to see if your current products are eligible.

1.6 Will there be cross grades available for purchase from my existing suite to the Autodesk Building Design Suite?

There are options to cross grade to the Autodesk Building Design Suite from some existing Autodesk Suites. Please contact your reseller to see if your current Autodesk suites are eligible.

1.7 How do I know which Autodesk Building Design Suite is right for me?

The Building Design Suite is available in three different editions, providing the flexibility to choose the edition that fits your particular workflow needs best. To choose which edition is right for you, please visit for more detailed information.

1.8 What is the cost a license to Autodesk Building Design Suites and how do I buy a license?

All three editions of Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 are available through Autodesk-authorized resellers, who are certified to provide the highest level of customer service, including product training, implementation services, and support. Find one near you at

2. Technology

2.1 What are the key capabilities of the Autodesk Building Design Suite?





Design, document, and share drawings in the DWG format

Market and present designs with near-photorealistic imagery and interactive presentations

Show your ideas more effectively with tools for design illustration and graphic communication

Create better buildings with intelligent 3D model-based design


Produce compelling visualizations to market ideas more successfully


Use integrated analysis to help inform design and construction decisions


Create consistent, higher quality construction documentation


Improve control over project outcomes


Perform building material quantifications more efficiently


Collaborate more effectively with manufacturers and fabricators


Create, evaluate, and communicate convincing site plan proposals


Efficiently perform advanced analysis on large and complex building structures


2.2 What are the system requirements for Autodesk Building Design Suite?

For a complete list of system requirements for the Autodesk Building Design Suite please refer to:

2.3 Is the Autodesk Building Design Suite supported on Windows 7?

Yes, please see the system requirement link above.

3. Installation, Configuration, and Licensing

3.1 Is the Autodesk Building Design Suite available for both standalone and network licensing?

Yes, Autodesk Building Design Suite is available for both stand-alone and network licensing. Licensing is handled through standard Autodesk licensing processes using Autodesk Licensing Manager (ADLM). Customers who purchase multiple network licenses for suites that have common products and are only able to access a subset of prior version copies can get their full prior version entitlement by contacting their reseller or visiting to have the licenses reissued.

3.2 Do all products in the Building Design Suite need to be used on the same workstation?

Yes, the software applications within an Autodesk Building Design Suite license can only be installed on a single computer. They cannot be split across multiple workstations.

3.3 How do I activate my software?

Through the activation and registration interface, you can activate your product 24 hours a day, seven days a week, over the Internet or via email. Either option takes only a few steps to complete and requires your product serial number and registration information.

3.4 What if I have more than one computer? Can I use my software on multiple machines?

Autodesk recognizes that some users may need to operate the software when they are away from their usual work location. To accommodate this need, the product activation technology allows an employee to install the software on a second computer owned by the employee’s company, provided it is for use away from the employee’s usual work location, the software is used only by that employee and no other, and only one of the two copies of the software is ever in use at any one time. Consult the Autodesk Software License Agreement for details about using the software on a second computer.

3.5 Where can I find more information about software activation?

More information on product activation can be found at

4. Compatibility and Interoperability

4.1 How do the products within the Autodesk Building Design Suite work together?

The products in the Autodesk Building Design Suite provide comprehensive workflows throughout the design, visualize, simulate, document and build process. The Building Design Suite contains workflows unique to the suite that can help customer do more and achieve better results and collaborate more effectively. The suite contains specific workflows not feasible with individual products alone such and can help to optimize your work process by:

· Providing products in the suite which are connected more seamlessly through better interoperability.

· Extending your capabilities by connecting products in the Building Design Suite to mobile devices and Autodesk 360.

· Leveraging Autodesk 360 to help connect users with each other more effectively

4.1 What is Autodesk® 360?

Autodesk® 360 is a cloud computing platform for delivering web-based products and services. With Autodesk 360, customers gain a workflow advantage by connecting products on the desktop to secure and ubiquitous computing in the cloud, helping them rapidly design, visualize, simulate and share their ideas anywhere, anytime and from any device. Customers using the Building Design Suite have access to broader cloud-based capabilities and capacity than they would with individual products alone.

· Autodesk 360 helps customers to work wherever their jobs take them by connecting their workflow with software on the desktop to services in the cloud and mobile devices for design, analysis, and optimization. Cloud computing connects extended team members with each other effectively and efficiently, fostering better collaboration.

· With Autodesk® Subscription, Building Design Suite customers have access to more cloud computing capabilities and capacity. For more information visit

5. Training and Support

5.1 How do I obtain technical support?

Technical support is available from both Autodesk and Autodesk Authorized Resellers.

Furthermore, Autodesk® Subscription is comprehensive software, support, and training package that can simplify your technology upgrades and boosts your design productivity. Purchase of Autodesk Subscription includes web support from Autodesk technical experts for all your installation, configuration, and troubleshooting questions.

To learn more about Autodesk Subscription, contact your Autodesk Account Executive or your Autodesk Authorized Reseller or visit

5.2 How do I get training and learn more about Autodesk Buildin Design Suite?

There are multiple ways you can get additional information and training on Building Design Suite:

· Please visit the Autodesk Services and Support page on for more information regarding training tools and resources as well as finding an Autodesk Authorized Training Center near you.

· Check out the product overview and demonstration videos on YouTube, search using “Autodesk Building Design Suite” as the keyword.

· Watch videos, engage in discussions and learn tips and tricks on, a site focused on a collaborative learning community for users.

· For additional information you can check out the product overview, download a brochure and watch demonstration videos on the Autodesk web site by accessing or by contacting an Autodesk Authorized Reseller

5.4 Can I try Autodesk Building Design Suite before I buy a license to it?

Yes, you can try it out by downloading Autodesk Building Design Suite software trial version. This fully functioning version is available as a free* 30-day trial. Simply download the trial version at

6. Subscription

6.1 Is Subscription available for purchase with Autodesk Building Design Suite?

Autodesk Subscription, Autodesk Gold Subscription are available for purchase with all editions of the Autodesk Building Design Suite. 

6.2 What benefits does Subscription offer?

Autodesk® Subscription gives Building Design Suite customers a workflow advantage by providing more cloud computing capabilities and capacity with Autodesk 360 cloud services, upgrades to the latest software releases and workflows, online technical support, and flexible licensing privileges.

· The Latest Software Releases and Suites Workflows
Autodesk Building Design Suite customers receive the latest software product releases included with their suite, which may feature valuable new workflow functionality unique to suites. This helps customers always to have access to the most up-to-date toolset that can give them the competitive edge they need to better respond to changing business requirements.

· More Cloud Computing Capabilities and Capacity
Autodesk Building Design Suite customers on Subscription have greater cloud computing capabilities and more storage capacity with Autodesk 360. As a result, they can better connect their workflows by viewing and sharing more design files on web or mobile devices, simulating and visualizing more design options, and improving project results with web-based collaboration.

· Online Technical Support
Online technical support helps Subscription customers to quickly resolve issues and get back to work. Subscription customers also have the option to purchase higher levels of Autodesk technical support if needed.

· Flexible Licensing Privileges
Subscription customers have flexible licensing privileges that enable them to use both previous and current versions of their software, install the software on both home and office computers, and use it at multiple locations.

6.2 What is the benefit of Gold support?

All standard Autodesk Subscription benefits plus the following:

§ Phone support for up to four authorized callers

§ More aggressive initial response target

§ API support

6.3  How can I access my Subscription benefits?

Simply log in to the Subscription Center at to begin accessing your Subscription benefits.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ideate BIMLink 2013–Preview

BIMLink by Ideate is a tool I would recommend every company that is serious about BIM has in their suite of software packages.

Ideate BIMLink lets you pull data from an Autodesk Revit file into user-friendly Microsoft Excel and push Excel data into Revit with equal ease. This indispensable tool gives you unprecedented access to Revit data – the I – in Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Below is a sneak peak at the 2013 release.

Ideate BIMLink 2013 Preview

Revit 2013 Wiki Help



Revit 2013 wiki help is now live

Currently the Wiki only shows ‘Whats New in Revit 2013’

  • General Enhancements
  • Features of Revit in the Autodesk Building Design Suite
  • Architectural Enhancements
  • MEP Enhancements
  • Structural Enhancements
  • Administration Enhancements

Click here for more information.

Revit 2013 – New Features (All Platforms)

View Template Changes

Whilst Revit 2013 still supports doing a one-time application of the template properties to the view through the ribbon or through the right-click menu, a feature has been added to allow users to assign a view template to a view through the view properties.

View Templates
When you assign a view template to a view, the view will now update automatically when you change the view template. If a view property is controlled by a view template, the view will be locked to that template and the property will be disabled. You can control which properties are applied in the view template.
You can still choose to do a “one time” application of a template’s properties to a view (either through the ribbon or through right-click in the project browser).

The “View template” property schedules and is also available to Project Browser organizations.

You can now duplicate types for most view types (such as floor plans). You can choose to associate a view template with a view type. If there is a template associated with the type, you can choose to make new views of this type dependent on the template. View types and templates can be managed by creating a view list.

View Templates_2

Construction Modelling – Merging Parts

Merge Parts will conjoin two or more parts (with overlapping geometry and identical materials) into a single part. For example, you’ve divided these pre-cast concrete panels and would like to merge the corner into a single part:

PC 1








1. Select each of the parts.
2. Click the Merge Parts button (which is now active in the contextual ribbon).
3. The two parts are then combined into a single part.


A Part can be added or removed from a Merged Part:

1. Select the Merged Part.
2. Click the Edit Merged button in the ribbon.
3. To add a Part, click the Add button. To remove a Part, click the Remove button.
4. Click on the Part you wish to add or remove. Click Finish.


Exclude Parts

Exclude Parts will remove (not simply affect the visiblity of) Parts from the project. In this example, you want to remove the upper panel of the wall on the left:


1. Select the panel.
2. Click the Exclude Parts button (which is now active in the contextual ribbon).
3. The Part is now not visible and will not participate in Parts Schedules or Lists.


It is worth noting that excluded parts can be restored later.

Dividing Parts with a custom profile.

When dividing Parts you can now specify a profile family that will change the geometric condition at the division. This is a new type of profile family that is composed on a single curve chain that works in conjunction with the Divider Gap parameter to create geometrically complex join conditions. A single profile is applied to the entire division. To create different profiles for vertical and horizontal conditions, you will need to create separate divisions.

Divide with Profile

IFC Export

Coordination View 2.0 (CV2) improvements

IFC export has added a number of improvements for Coordination View 2.0. These include:

• Coordination View 2.0 added as an export type

• Use separate IfcGeometricRepresentationSubContexts for 'Axis', 'Body', 'FootPrint', 'Profile'

• Material definitions moved to element level, and MaterialLayerSetUsage restricted to WallStandardCase.

• IfcColumnType properly formatted.

• 2D information, space boundary information and Internal Revit property sets not exported by default when exporting to CV2

2D Plan view export no longer offset from 3D Geometry

Families that export a 2D representation in addition to the 3D representation will have the 2D origin offset correctly synched to the 3D origin offset.

Always export True North to IFC

True North will always be exported to the IFC file, even if True North is the same as Project North. In Revit 2012 and before, True North was only exported if it differed from Project North.

Beams never extruded upwards

For certain beam shapes, Revit would extrude the beam vertically. This has been fixed to disallow this case

Beam Length fixed for certain beams on export

Straight beams with square profiles whose axis lined up with the Y direction had their length and width parameters reversed. This has been fixed.

Better Geometry splitting for elements allows for fewer surface models

Previously, openings and other elements that had multiple pieces would export as one surface model. In many cases, they now correctly export as multiple extrusions

Coarse tessellation for some element types

Floors, Railings, and Room geometry exported as solids or surfaces (not extrusions) will have a coarser geometry than default. This creates smaller and more useable files, and increases export speed.

"Current View Only" export now works in any model view

IFC export no longer temporarily switches to or creates a 3D view on export. As a result, the "Current View Only" option will work on any model view, not just a 3D view. Also, the phase of the selected view determines which phase is used on export.

Doors with nested openings export opening

Previously, a door with multiple openings would only have the opening exported if the openings could be stitched together into one solid. Now, we also support cases where there are nested openings in the family file. In this case, only the outermost opening is exported in the IFC file.

Export Assemblies

Assemblies will now export as IfcElementAssembly, with all exported elements associated to the IfcElementAssembly directly (instead of the Level). Assembly elements will be re-imported, but there is no support for creating new AssemblyInstances on import yet.

Export Files with multi-byte characters

IFC export will no longer silently fail when a filename with multi-byte characters (e.g. Chinese characters) is used.

Export PSet_BuildingCommon

If any of the PSet_BuildingCommon parameters are in the Project Information, we will export the standard IFC property set "PSet_BuildingCommon".

Export Parts

If "Current View Only" export is chosen, and the view has Parts visibility on, then parts will be exported instead of the original element geometry. If the "Split Walls and Columns By Level" option is chosen, then wall parts will be assigned to the appropriate level as determined by their spatial position.

Export Uniformat information as IfcClassification and IfcClassificationReference

IFC export now exports the UniFormat information found in many Revit families as an IfcClassificationReference, with a corresponding IfcClassification.

General optimizations to reduce IFC export file size

Some redundancies have been removed from IFC files. These include:

Increased caching of IFCPROPERTYSINGLEVALUE, resulting in more shared Revit internal properties.


Reusing the first IFCCARTESIANPOINT in IFCPOLYLOOP for closed loops.

IFC Import

Better wall joins

IFC import handles some simple butt, mitre and square-off cases between joined walls in the IFC file, even if no connection geometry is provided. It is still a work in progress.

Different representations have their own elements and sub-categories

Different representations for entities (e.g. wall axis and body, stairs body and boundary) now get imported as separate elements in their own sub-categories (e.g. "Axis" sub-category for walls). This allows for these 2D representations to be hidden or deleted.

Fix normal of slightly non-planar faces

IFC import now properly handles faces that are almost planar. These faces will be faceted so that each triangular facet is (necessarily) planar. This especially affects Tekla files.

More materials imported

Extraneous joining of extrusions in import caused some sub-components to lose their associated material. This has been fixed by reducing the number of joined geometry operations.

Prevent creation of illegal faces in imported geometry

IFC import now does more checks to ensure that illegal faces do not get created on import. This includes, but is not limited to, faces whose outer and inner boundaries coincide (therefore, having no surface area at all).

Space geometry not imported as in-place family solid

If an IFCSPACE can't be imported from a file, we no longer create an in-place family with a solid representation of the space volume, if it is in the file.

Text Font now set correctly

The text font could incorrectly reset to the template default after the first text note is imported.


  • New Materials Data model – Incorporates an extended set of material assets now including appearance plus structural and thermal performance properties which can be applied to projects in logical combinations for a range of different purposes e.g. appearance for rendering, thermal for whole building energy analysis.
  • New Materials User Interface – Designed to leverage the new data model and provide consistency across a number of Autodesk products (Revit, AutoCAD and Inventor)
  • Thermal Properties Data – Added to facilitate easier / faster heating and cooling load calculations, energy analysis and gbXML support.
  • Structural Properties Data – Extended to facilitate easier / faster structural analysis

Multi-segmented Grid Lines

It is now possible to create multi-segmented gridlines. During the grid line creation, select the Multi-segment option on the Place Grid contextual tab. This takes you into a sketch mode so you can draw the grid line.

I have to give a big shout out to Dave Light, be sure to check out his blog for another excellent summary of the latest release of Revit.

Revit Structure 2013 – New Features

In this post I am going to concentrate on the new features that are specific / beneficial to Revit Structure users.

Reinforcement – Snapping to Fillets and Hooks


Structural Wire Fabric

Structural Fabric Reinforcement can be hosted in Structural Floors, Foundation Slabs and Structural Walls. A Structural Fabric Reinforcement element is made up of 2 element types, Fabric Wire and Fabric Sheets.

Fabric Wire is used to define the reinforcing wire, which is used to create the Fabric Sheets. Both of these elements are system families. The templates will be populated with Wires and Sheets that are common in the locality of the template.

Fabric Wire Reo

Structural Units

Several new unit types have been created:

Reinforcement Area, displayed in:

  • Square feet (SF, ft2)
  • Square Inches (in2)
  • Square millimeters (mm2)
  • Square centimeters (cm2)
  • Square meters (m2)

Reinforcement Area per Unit Length, displayed in:

  • Square Feet per foot (ft2/ft)
  • Square inches per foot (in2/ft)
  • Square millimeters per meter (mm2/m)
  • Square centimeters per meter (cm2/m)
  • Square meters per meter (m2/m)

Reinforcement Spacing, displayed in:

  • Decimal feet (’ , LF)
  • Feet and fractional inches (X’ XX”)
  • Decimal inches (“)
  • Fractional inches (“)
  • Meters (m)
  • Centimeters (cm)
  • Millimeters (mm)
  • Meters and centimeters(m cm)

Reinforcement Cover, displayed in:

  • Decimal feet (’ , LF)
  • Feet and fractional inches (X’ XX”)
  • Decimal inches (“)
  • Fractional inches (“)
  • Meters (m)
  • Centimeters (cm)
  • Millimeters (mm)

Bar Diameter, displayed in:

  • Decimal feet (’ , LF)
  • Feet and fractional inches (X’ XX”)
  • Decimal inches (“)
  • Fractional inches (“)
  • Meters (m)
  • Centimeters (cm)
  • Millimeters (mm)

Crack Width, displayed in:

  • Decimal feet (’ , LF)
  • Feet and fractional inches (X’ XX”)
  • Decimal inches (“)
  • Fractional inches (“)
  • Meters (m)
  • Centimeters (cm)
  • Millimeters (mm)

Additional units:

  • Mass per Area (ex. kg/m2)
  • Mass per Volume (ex. kg/m3)

A number of new unit types have also been added to support other Structural features.

General Structural: Weight, Mass, Displacement/Deflection, Rotation, Period, Frequency, Pulsation, Velocity, Acceleration, Energy

Section Properties: Section Dimension, Section Property, Section Area, Section Modulus, Moment of Inertia, Warping Constant, Mass per Unit Length, Weight per Unit Length and Surface Area

Analytical Model Enhancements

New Analytical Links (formerly known as a Rigid Link)

  • The previous (R2012 and earlier) Rigid link has been replaced with a new Analytical Link Element. In all places where automatic Rigid Links would previously have been generated, now new Analytical Link elements will be generated. These may be selected, deleted and will be restored (if previously deleted) by clicking “restore links” on the analytical adjust toolbar.
  • Analytical Links can now be created manually in places where you need them. In Analytical Adjust mode (Analyze>Analytical Adjust), select Analytical Link. The placement editor will allow you to select 2 nodes between which a new analytical link will be created.
  • Analytical Links have types which allow the user to configure link release conditions.

Physical Material Asset reporting in Analytical Model

Analytical Material

  • The name of the physical asset assigned to the selected physical beam material will be reported in the analytical model properties for quick verification of proper physical material properties.
  • In the Beam (Structural Framing) element the material parameter has been renamed “Structural Material”. Selecting the ellipsis button next to the material name will take you to the materials dialog where you may edit the physical asset of the current beam material or assign a different material.
  • In layered elements e.g., floors, walls the user may elect the material assigned to one of the layers to represent the structural material for the layered element. In the “edit structure” dialog, you will find a new column labeled “structural material”. Check the row which will represent the structural material (to be used for analysis) for this layered element.

Analytical Element and Analytical Node Identification

Analytical elements and analytical nodes now offer Comments and numbering parameters that may be used for identifying these elements in analysis results.

Revit 2013 –‘OneBox’

The Quasar is here.

Revit Quasar

Perhaps as much as 50% of the EM radiation in the Universe is related to Quasars around Black Holes. The Quasars result from material being pulled off nearby star(s), transferred as stellar winds along magnetic lines from the stars, and accumulating in a disk around the Black Hole.

Finally, with the release of Revit 2013, all three disciplines are combined into one package ‘one box.’ We will still have the traditional releases of Revit: ‘Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP’ 

In Revit 2013, you have access to all of the tools and functionality from all of the Revit products. You can turn on or off disciplines based on what you typically use via the options button. This updates the user interface and the behaviour of the software to add or remove items that are specific to your needs.rac2013_img2

Revit 2013 – Comparison Matrix

Thanks to Luke Johnson at What Revit Wants for sharing this one with us, this is the start of what will be no doubt a tsunami of information about to be released on the 2013 Autodesk products.

I for one am excited that the NDA will soon be lifted.

Follow this link to open up a pdf showing the comparison matrix for Revit Architecture 2013, Revit Structure 2013, Revit MEP 2013 and Revit 2013 (One Box)


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

PK Nail Pro for Revit

PKNail Pro is a commercial grade application built through field testing and surveying experience to allow a user to quickly and accurately capture building information. Laser to BIM technology allows a user to translate measurements directly from wireless laser range finders into a BIM workstation massively reducing data collection time, rework and increasing accuracy.  

PKNail provides not only experienced surveyors but new users a solution that makes them more productive right out of the box.  Their patent pending work flow and real time data capture methods utilizing point-to-point laser technology (PPLT) allow users to capture critical data and building geometry allowing them create Building Information Models on site and in real time.

More information can be found here

Below are a series of PK Nail Videos.

PK Nail – Autodesk University Welcome


PK Nail Chapter 1 – Adding Levels


PK Nail Chapter 2 – Adding Window Information


PK Nail Chapter 3 – Adding the First Walls, Windows and Doors


PK Nail Chapter 4 – Closing the Exterior Shell


PK Nail Chapter 5 – Copying Walls to Other Levels


PK Nail Chapter 6 – Activating Walls and Adding Features


PK Nail Chapter 7 – Activating and Adding Interior fit outs

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

NBS National BIM Report

The NBS National BIM Report is now available for download here

A few words from the NBS Website

....."We are pleased to say the results for the latest National BIM Survey are now available. The annual industry wide survey, carried out by NBS, provides the most comprehensive and accurate picture of UK BIM (Building Information Modelling) and its growing influence within the built environment industry.

NBS's National BIM Survey was completed in late 2011 by nearly 1,000 construction professionals representing a range of business sizes and disciplines from across the industry including architecture, engineering and surveying. Over 200 RIBA members took were among the participants, making sure the views of the membership came across.

Highlights of the findings include:

•78% agree the BIM is the future of project information, though how that future will look is uncertain, with 4 out of five agreeing that the industry is not yet clear enough of what BIM actually is

•Almost a third (31%) of construction professionals are now using BIM – up from 13% in 2010

•Three quarters of those construction professionals currently aware of BIM predict they will be using it on some projects by the end of 2012, and almost 19 out of 20 people expect to be using it in five years' time

•More than 80% agreed BIM increases the coordination of construction documents, with 65% of those using the technology saying BIM delivered cost efficiencies.
The report also features several articles form leaders in BIM developments, including:

•BIM and the UK Construction Strategy from David Philp. Head of BIM Implementation, UK Government Cabinet Office

•BIM from the point of view of a small practice from David Miller. Director and Principal Architect, David Miller Architects

•What will BIM mean for design fees? from Stephen Hamil. Director of Design and Innovation, NBS....."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Revit Inconsistent Units

Whilst searching the forums trying to get my head around why Revit is always telling me I have inconsistent units in the calculated values in my schedules, I came across this little beauty on the Revit Forum

It really does hit the nail on the head, and is well worth printing out and keeping hold of, thanks to Klaus Munkholm for sharing this one!

....."Inconsistent Units ! Probably THE error box in Revit that have caused me the most grief, over the years I´ve spent hours and hours on trying to work around it. But once I got the hang of it, and not least once I understood WHY Revit would throw that error box at me, it´s not that bad. Hope some of you will find this helpful.

Let´s begin with some basic algebra:

<100 mm * 100 mm = 10,000 mm²>

So if you have a Length parameter, and try to use a (Length * Length) formula, you´ll get the " Inconsistent Units" error, because (Length * Length = Length Squared). Only way around is to neutralize the units on at least one of the parameters in the formula. The easiest way to neutralize a unit is by dividing by 1 (one):

<100 mm * (100 mm / 1 mm) = 10,000 mm>

Why? Because <100 mm / 1 mm = 100> (unit less) and <100 mm * 100 = 10,000 mm>

And another example:

<100 mm * 100 mm * 100 mm = 1,000,000 mm³>

So again, if you need to multiply 3 length units in a Area or Length parameter, you´ll need to neutralize the units as above.

<100 mm * 100 mm * (100 mm / 1) = 1,000,000 mm²>
<100 mm * (100 mm / 1) * (100 mm / 1) = 1,000,000 mm>

So far, dividing by 1 (one) have been a success, but in some cases it´s necessary to multiply by 1 (one) instead. An example: You want to multiply two Number parameters into a Length parameter:

<100.0 * (100.0 * 1) = 10,000 mm>

Another common situation for the "Inconsistent Units" error, is when quantifying costs in schedules

In the schedule you already have "Area" and "Cost" but want to add a Calculated Value "Total Cost":

<(Area / 1) * Cost = Total Cost>

There´s probably a gazillion other possibilities, but I hope that this explains why we are getting the Inconsistent Units Error, and how to work around it...."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Revit Structure Schedules: The Basics and Beyond

The aim of this post is to highlight the benefits that can be gained from leveraging the information held within the database of a Revit Structure model. Using the intelligence of the software to provide quantitative information about a building’s design using Revit’s scheduling capability can provide invaluable assistance to clients and contractors alike, allowing much tighter control of project budgets when considering scheme costs and allowing tenders to be much more accurate and thus competitive in difficult market conditions.

The Basics
Most Revit users reading this article will by now be familiar with the basic scheduling tools within the software. The ability to automate the scheduling process for elements such as columns, beams and foundations; tagging the elements and scheduling the mark, type, count, etc. considerably speeds up the traditional ‘draughting process.’

Using the parameters that are already embedded in the system, additional information can be added to schedules to further add value to your documents (when using Revit for information production). Concrete volumes can be added to foundation, column, beam and floor schedules.

This information can be further broken down within the schedule using the sorting / grouping tab of the schedule properties, enabling the user to easily schedule concrete volumes by floor level within a building for example, or the concrete volume of columns by storey, rather than providing just an overall total.

Concrete Volume Schedule Cautions
There are some basic modeling principles that users need to be aware of when scheduling concrete volumes within Revit. It is easy for the inexperienced to model elements in a ‘lazy’ manner that causes them to intersect each other as opposed to forming neat geometric joints.

On paper this method of assembly may appear to be satisfactory, however, when you start to interrogate the reported volumes within the schedule, discrepancies are found if the model has been constructed in this manner. The concrete volumes reported in FIG04 are incorrect, and should actually be showing the values shown in FIG05.

The reason for this is because the concrete wall is intersecting the column and the geometry has automatically joined. This has resulted in a miscalculation of concrete volume for the individual elements. Whilst the reported overall concrete volume of the structure will be the same, the breakdown of the various elements to show different grades of concrete is where the problem will arise. The solution sounds simple; model each element correctly! However, in practice this might prove to be harder than it seems.

Beyond the Basics - Parameters
There are two types of parameters that can be added to schedules; ‘Project parameters’ which can be added within the project environment and appear in schedules but cannot be tagged, and ‘shared parameters’ which are built into the families and can be scheduled and tagged.

In the example below, project parameters have been added to the family allowing the column schedule to show the various loads on each column: Dead, Imposed, Wind, Shear Major and Shear Minor. Using an external plug in programme, Microsoft Excel files can be imported and exported. This enables the user to easily update the loads in the Revit schedule, using values exported from the analysis package, resulting in all the information being stored within the Revit database.

Shared parameters could be considered to be the back bone of the Revit platform and the key to producing data rich Building Information Models. Shared parameters are stored independent of the family or project environment, and can be used in all families (standardizing the naming of parameters within your library). Once added to families, these can be called up in tags and schedules (speeding up the information production process).

In the example below, shared parameters have been built into a parametric base plate family. These parameters have been scheduled to call out the base plate dimensions, No of bolts, bolt size and dry pack thickness. Additional parameters could be added to the bolt family and shared to the baseplate family to include additional data such as bolt lengths.

Beyond the Basics – Reinforcement Estimates
The default fields available within the Revit schedules (for concrete) allow for the scheduling of estimated reinforcement volumes assuming the reinforcement has been modeled in the project. This figure can be converted into an estimated reinforcement weight by using a calculated value in the schedule.

The idea of using Revit to provide accurate reinforcement estimates could be viewed by the user to be quite a labor intensive process, requiring all elements within the model to have the reinforcement modeled to suit the preliminary reinforcement design.

However, the use of the reinforcement extensions provided by Autodesk as part of the subscription advantage pack will speed up this whole process. Using this extension columns, beams, foundations and walls can be quickly and accurately detailed with the designed reinforcement, producing accurate schedules to assist with pricing.

Beyond the Basics – Steel Tonnage
The ability to calculate steel tonnages from a Building Information Model not only assists the tender process but in such a competitive market can prove invaluable when undertaking value engineering on a scheme.

By adding a shared parameter into the steelwork families to allow the W value (Mass per metre kg/m) to be scheduled, the member’s tonnage can be easily calculated using the basic formula; Mass per metre * Cut Length / 1000 (for metric tonnes)

This method is applicable to all steelwork, although it is worth noting with column schedules there is no ‘cut length’ field, so the parameter to use in this instance is length.

Tonnage schedules can be broken down by element, by floor level, etc. using the sorting / grouping tab in the schedules dialogue box. It is often worth sorting the elements by type mark and having this field set as a ‘hidden field’ under the formatting tab of the schedule properties.

Custom framing members such as cell beams with different top and bottom web and flange sizes can also be scheduled, providing you have the relevant information relating to its mass, and add that information into the family as a shared parameter.

Being able to accurately schedule the steel weights alongside the member utilisation ratios can help to identify inefficiencies in the frame design and provide an opportunity to refine the design and make savings. In today’s highly competitive market, innovative use of the software in this manner may just provide the cutting edge that results in a winning tender for the team.

Moving Forward
Structural analysis and design packages have the ability to export plans, elevations, sections and 3D views showing the utilization of members such as framing. Traditionally any members with a utilisation ratio greater than 1.0 would be shown red, whilst members with utilisations less than or equal to 1.0 would be coloured according to their actual utilisation based on a graduated colour chart typically turning deeper shades of blue as the members become increasingly redundant. These colours are usually set within the program and cannot be changed.

In order to promote efficiency in design, clients are beginning to request graphical confirmation of the structural utilisation of the design detailed on the construction issue drawings. Through the application of colours to the individual members (based on their level of structural usage), any areas of excessive structural redundancy in the frame will be apparent and allow clients to consider design modifications to improve efficiency of use.

Through the intelligent use of schedules and filters within Revit, structural members can be highlighted using any chosen colour scheme based on their levels of utilisation stored as parameters within the families.

Using an external plug in program to manipulate data transfer between the design package and Revit, utilisation parameters in the member families can be populated at the click of a button based on the results of the structural design. Thus construction drawings can be easily and quickly ‘converted’ into structural efficiency drawings following each design revision, until such time as the client is satisfied and the design frozen.

This method provides clients with a means checking that they are not paying for an inefficient design, and because they are able to visualize this in a 3D environment, they can gain a better understanding compared with traditional 2D.

In summary, schedules should be considered as;

- an extremely valuable and powerful feature of Revit.
- a way of providing additional (quantitative) information at little extra effort.
- an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage to tendering and value engineering.

To gain most benefit from scheduling, careful consideration needs to be given to;

- the information required and parameters added to families accordingly.
- sorting / grouping data in a logical way.
- the way your Revit model is constructed

Finally, not only are schedules useful for quantification purposes, they provide a powerful way of linking Revit to external software packages.