Friday, October 22, 2010

Data Embedded in Revit

Carl Kilgore asked a question at AUGI.
Beyond assigning parameters to the various families and components of the Revit Model or placing a link to a web site, what is the prescribe methodology for embedding data into the Revit Model for downstream use by FM software.
For instance I have a cut sheet on a piece of equipment in a pdf format that is being used on the project how do I attach it to the Revit model and force a link within a parameter of the equipment to look internally at the model data files?
Is this possible or am I looking at this all wrong? This doesn't seem to be possible within Revit and I'm hearing so much chatter about the 3D B.I.M. being a data repository. Seems like Revit should have a data folder into which I can put such information.
Here's my reaction, stream of consciousness reply:

The germ of what he wrote would be cool, that an external file could somehow be tied to data in the family itself. That is essentially a Type Catalog except that we have to create them and fill in the data. There is no mechanism to automagically (my friend Bill's term) extract values from a manufacturer's document.

Something I imagined when I first started to use Revit way baaack was manufacturer's providing content and type catalogs. When the product's data changed they just issued updated Type Catalogs. Looking beyond if everyone could agree on common language for parameters a family could just point to a web based repository for the information. Although...imagine waiting for a family to update if it relies on a manufacturer's server to retrieve the information just as it goes down for maintenance, your ISP cuts you off or a car takes out the wiring closet for your service area.

Getting to the question though, Codebook (and others like Archibus and Artra) attempt to work as middlemen between the Revit model data and external data that doesn't really need to be inside the Revit model.

The difficulty with FM (facilities management) is nobody (vendors are, I mean arch/eng professionals) is really asking the people that do this work what they really want from a BIM. An owner may insist on a BIM but for the most part they are really interested in a better coordinated construction project that gets done on time with as few cost issues as possible. They want to get open so they can start generating income. The long term issues of design tend to lose out to immediacy. I've heard of more projects that start out really "LEED" only to end up "wishing they were LEED" than actually get there. Whether LEED is part of the problem itself is another subject perhaps.

It isn't really practical to expect that a building manager will hire a BIM expert to manage their model. More likely they'll revert to old school measures like walking or riding over to that other building to go count chairs.

Managing inventory isn't really something Revit is cut out for unless you are going to move chairs around in the model to match where they really are in the building. I'm imagining; "Oh, the science professor borrowed ten chairs yesterday? Why didn't he get permission from the BIM manager first??" Wait we could put a GPS tag on each item and let it update the model for us!! Well, maybe not today for a reason ROI (return on investment).

One other item in Carl's post had to do with providing a link. We can create our own Catalog Cut URL parameter and store the web address for the catalog cut. This allows anyone who touches the model later to review the data that inspired the family they are seeing. A printed schedule can include the parameter too so it can be used downstream.

The Revit database can/will store a lot of information. The question is does it really need to be there? Will the person who really needs it be likely to rely on a Revit model or something else for it?

1 comment:

rchisholm said...

We have provided url links in our models to information on our public website. As a manufacturer, it is in our best interest to have some sort of revision control.