Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dept. of Echo - Easier to Determine the Installed Version

I've complained about this in the past so I'm glad to see that it is a little easier to figure out if a version of Revit has had an update applied. Thanks to The Revit Clinic for the alert!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

BIM Analytics @ USC on August 4th, 2010

Karen Kensek with USC sent the following information to me to get the word out.

BIM ANALYTICS: - August 4th, 2010 - FREE

BIM isn’t BIM without Information. For decades, faculty, researchers, and software companies have been developing software tools that are intended predict the performance of a building, for example, energy consumption, day lighting, cost, code compliance, structural analysis, etc. These tools have typically been stand-alone tools that provide a specific analytical capability. The range and depth of these tools has been astonishing, and yet lamentably many of these tools have not been significantly integrated into the design processes of professionals. BIM is a promising technology to encourage improved integration of design analysis into the building model. For the Fourth Annual BIM + Symposium, we will explore the nature of analytical modeling in architecture, engineering, and construction. We will seek opportunities for a more responsive integration of the evidence/simulation based design decision-making. We will have speakers who have integrated simulation and BIM in their design process, a forward looking section on BIM parametrics, and informative presentations on interoperability and standards. More information including a list of speakers and registration information will be available on the web site.

Please reserve your spot soon; BIM CON!FAB filled up last year. Keep checking back on the website as additional information will be updated there.

Current list of confirmed speakers:

Architecture and Engineering
Rachelle Villalon, Jenna Knudsen, and Alex Korter, CO Architects
Erin McConahey + team, ARUP
Mitch Dec, David Summers, Tianxin Xing, Glumac, “Rapid Energy Modeling”

Jim Bedrick, Webcor
Viktor Bullain, Turner Construction, "BIM Execution Plan for Successful Model-based Analysis"
Jonathan Widney, Solibri and Darren Roos, Suffolk Construction Company, "Mining the Model – Analysis of the Model Information, not just the Geometry"

Parametrics / Performance Based or Algorithmic Design
Nathan Miller, NBBJ, "Feedback Cloud: Tactics for Toolset Integration and Design Optimization"
Kurt Komraus, Buro Happold

Integration, Standards, the Big Picture
Richard Nowicki, NTD Architecture and Lance Lareau, San Diego CCD, no title yet
Michael Rendler, LACCD, “BIM /GIS The WHOLE Picture. LACCD e7 System”
Chuck Good-Man, Irwin Partners Architects

For more information about BIM Analytics, please contact Eve Lin (Karen’s assistant) at .

If you really want to get a hold of Karen, email her at .

USC Architecture Event - August 2-3, 2010

This event was sent to me by Karen Kensek with USC to share with readers to get the word out.

August 2-3, 2010

This year, we have launched five course offerings centered on the theme of Los Angeles as a 21st century model of critical urbanism, creativity, and culture. These courses will explore a set of strategically themed topics, connecting over a dozen of the most forward thinking global practitioners, politicians, and urban theorists today with our own faculty.  One of the two-day sessions is themed around building information modeling (BIM).  This is a unique opportunity to interact in a small group (30 maximum attendees) with leaders in the profession, in a session focusing on dialogue and debate.  Please visit the website for further information about this unique event, its distinguished speakers, and registration information.  As only a very limited number of spaces are available, please enroll soon.

Keep checking back on the website as additional information will be updated there.

Current list of speakers:

Keynote speakers:
Phil Bernstein, confirmed
- Vice President, Industry Strategy and Relations, Autodesk AEC Solutions

Ken Sanders, confirmed
- CIO of Gensler

Session leaders:
Cristiano Ceccato, invited
- Associate,  Zaha Hadid Architects, London

Larry Eisenberg, confirmed
- Executive Director, Facilities Planning and Development
- Los Angeles Community College District

Carl Galioto FAIA, invited
- Senior Principal, Managing Principal HOK/New York

Stephen R. Hagan FAIA, confirmed
- U.S. General Services Administration

Atul Khanzode, confirmed
- Director of Virtual Building at DPR Construction, Inc.

David Todd, confirmed
- Executive Vice President National Technical Services
- Bovis Lend Lease, formerly Walt Disney Imagineering for 33 years

Invited instigators:
Jordan Brandt, Horizontall LLC
Marty Doscher, Morphosis
Calvin Kam, CIFE, Stanford University; Optima
Dennis Selden, Gehry Technologies

For more information about the Executive Education sessions, please contact Eric Moore at If you really want to get a hold of Karen, email here via

Monday, June 21, 2010

Web Update for Revit 2011 Posted Tonight

Firing up Revit tonight I received a communication center message that there is an update posted (at 12:01 AM on 6/21/01). I clicked the Update Now button and then fired up Google Reader to catch up with some blogs and Luke posted a note about it tonight as well.

Funny but I was just asking a friend earlier today if he'd heard anything about a new build and tonight there is one!

Revit Architecture 2011 Update (64bit)
Revit Architecture 2011 Update (32bit)

I imagine that there are equivalent updates for Revit Structure and Revit MEP Update but it's late and I'll have to check in the morning. The regular Update website pages for all three haven't been updated yet though. Looks like the communication center is "the way" to get them at the moment.

Edit: Definitely one for RME...tomorrow morning... must sleep!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dept. of Subtle - Selection Ceiling

This is technically a Dept. of Echo post too. I love it when the factory shares insider information like this. Harlan wrote the other day on the The Revit Clinic blog that Revit won't let us select more than 16,383 elements in a single selection effort. We can select more but not with one wave of our mouse.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Dept. of Subtle - You Didn't Ask!

Ever since it became possible to initiate editing a family from within the project Revit has stopped us to ask if we are really sure we want to open the file for editing.

No more!

Revit 2011 designers and developers united in an effort to cut one more warning dialog from their inventory! Sad thing is that I'm so used to getting asked that I'm still occasionally starting to tell students to "click Yes" to accept the second guessing dialog. Happened again today...

I propose a new dialog in its place, something like this?

Thanks for the little stuff!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Dept. of Off Topic - Kuwait Sights

I'm currently on my second of two weeks in Kuwait working with ARETAS and their client here. We ventured out a bit on Friday (first day of the weekend here) to see a bit more of the city than the routine of the inside of the car to the office, the office, the car and the hotel each day.

We started out with a stop at The Scientific Center, a museum that features a dinosaur exhibit and IMAX theater among other things. We saw The Fires of Kuwait, a IMAX documentary about putting out the oil field fires that raged after the war. They expected it to take four years or more to put them all out but they ended up getting the job done in just nine months. Pretty impressive!

For me, it's a tie for the coolest (pun intended) techniques they used to put out the fires. A tie between using explosives (C4) in a barrel and the pair of Soviet jet engines used to "blow" the fire out. They mixed water into the stream of air generated by the engines. They created the contraption on the chassis of a tank. Pretty amazing images, you could almost feel the heat from the fires. The velocity and force of the oil spewing from the pipes and the intensity of the fire was incredible. I can only imagine what the teams felt right there. The narrator, Rip Torn, said that they'd sweat out 12 liters of water per shift.

After the movie we walked around a bit and then caught a ride to the Kuwaiti Towers. They are one of the more recognizable landmarks of Kuwait City naturally.

Great views of the city from the observation level at 120 meters (at least that's what the elevation read out when we got to that floor). There is the new Al Hamra 74 story tower rising, nearly topped out, designed by SOM. This is it, but not the interesting twisty side of it though.

Dan and Haitham walking along the path around the Kuwaiti Towers, the SOM building under construction in the distance.

Another twisty tower (Al Tijaria Tower) on the way out of the city heading back to the hotel that was done by KEO. You can just see it in the previous image at the left side.

This is my view from the hotel room, made me a bit nervous about construction noise but there hasn't been much activity while I'm in the room.

I used AutoStitch to create the image above. It's an iPhone app that Phil Read sold me on while riding the ferry back to Manly (when we were in Sydney). He stitched together a nice panorama of the harbor as we left. (used Autostitch to do it)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Dropbox and Project Sharing

I was trading messages with Martin Taurer today regarding WAFS (wide area file services). His firm has been exploring the use of Globalscape's WAFS product that I mentioned in a post recently. While we were both in Sydney attending the Revit Technology Conference Phil Read frequently extolled the virtues of Dropbox.

He (Martin) mentioned that it seemed to him that Dropbox is doing much the same thing as Globalscape's product which prompted a test. The results working with three users were interesting.

  • Paths to central file must be identical (may need to use dos command "subst" to map a location)
  • Initial synchronization of files took quite awhile
  • Subsequent synchronization was quite fast
  • Worked quite well while adding new elements
  • It was possible to select and borrow the same element at the same time (BAD) First person to Synchronize won, the other "lost".
  • The user permission files (eperms) don't update quickly enough at times

Conclusion? For a few power users who are very diligent it is a very inexpensive solution (free 2gb account). For users that are following the sun and not working at the same time it would be an excellent way to permit sharing and working using the same central file. Globalscape's solution seems to have solved preventing users from editing the same element at the same time and for that they can demand their fee.

Try it out but just be careful and test thoroughly to make sure it works for your conditions.

[Added 6/7/10] A friend wrote to say that WAFS is a bad idea whether Dropbox or Globalscape. His comment was, "good luck getting support from Autodesk using that setup". Perhaps he's correct at the moment. But Riverbed devices weren't a proven concept at first, Revit on a MAC using Parallels wasn't supported, running Revit on Win7 beta wasn't... nothing that is a stretch initially is a good idea until it becomes the norm (assuming "they" develop into reliable workable processes). That said, please please do be careful before launching into production mode with either!!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Guide Grids

Robert Manna recently posted some observations about the new Guide Grid feature that arrived with Revit 2011. It is intended to provide a bit more control over the view alignment between sheets. I complained about this process in an earlier post. It was only a month or so later that I saw a sneak peak of the Guide Grid concept.

It's probably simplistic of me to say so but it seems to me that it is an expansion of the existing Show Work Plane feature present for model views. I came to that conclusion because it shares the exasperating limitation of only allowing one dimension value to control the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the grid.

If you are interested in a little deeper commentary just read Robert's post. For now, if you use this new feature, just remember:

Don't DELETE a grid in the sheet view if you don't want to see it anymore. Set the Guide Grid value to none for the sheet or use Visibility/Graphics in the sheet view to turn it off.

If you delete a guide grid you'll remove it for all the sheets. You should get this warning though in an attempt by Revit to save you from yourself.

Earlier posts:
Align Views on Sheets
Aligning Views Between Sheets
Dept. of Wishes - Aligning Views on Sheets

Friday, June 04, 2010

Dept. of Errors - Invalid Duct or Pipe K-Factor Database

I've received both errors over the last couple years using Revit MEP. This error can occur when the supporting files it uses are corrupted somehow. The Factory recommends reinstalling (or using Repair for example) Revit to resolve the issue because this ensures uncorrupted files are installed.

On the other hand if you have access to a working installation you can try the following to resolve the Duct K-Factor error:

On a working PC COPY all the files (to a thumb drive or shared folder) in the ASHRAE folder under Program where Revit is installed. Replace (overwrite) the files that are in the "broken" computer with the "good" files. Try again. This approach using files from a working PC should work. If it doesn't then you'll need to go the repair/reinstall route.

Fwiw, for the Pipe K-Factor error if that occurs you need to replace the PipeKFactors.xml file. It is found in the Program folder (under the installation location for Revit).

The Knowledge Base at Autodesk and the blog post at Revit Clinic attribute the issue to user permissions. While this may be true in some cases it certainly wasn't for me since my computer hasn't changed its permission structure or accounts. Or at least I don't remember doing it...and since I'm the only one using it...hopefully I'd know?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Stairs in the Wild

Revit stairs and railings are long overdue for some serious development time and effort. It's underway if you can read the stars. I was recently in Sydney to attend the Revit Technology Conference 2010. Phil Read attended as well and we both shared the same plane back to Los Angeles. On our way to the Air New Zealand lounge (as Phil's guest) we stopped to admire this stair. The glazing railing is not attainable with the current railing feature set. It's off to in-place modeling. I'll leave it to Phil to get around to discussing how he'd tackle this one on his own blog in his own time if he chooses.

This next one is at the current hotel in Kuwait City. The Crowne Plaza has been restored to its former glory after the damage it suffered during the Iraq invasion. This stair was present then but it is in much better shape. Again the railing features a bottom edge detail that the current features don't support (okay...without fussing a bit).

By the way, planning is under way to bring the Revit Technology Conference to the USA for late spring to early summer of 2011. If you're interested in attending it will be held in Southern California. Check out the Revit Technology Conference 2011 website for further details as they develop.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Dept. of Subtle - No Edit Family Option?

Received a query today about a project that wouldn't offer their users the Edit Family option when they selected a window or door tag family. Turns out that the project file in use was a pretty old file that had been upgraded for many releases of Revit. The option to initiate editing a family from within the project hasn't always been available to us.

When it did become available there was a requirement that any families created in earlier releases had to be upgraded to the current release before the Edit Family feature would become available. The issue was that the window and door tags had never been upgraded and reloaded. When newer versions were loaded to replace the existing ones the good old Edit Family button returned!