Saturday, December 31, 2011

Show Your Constraints

In Revit we can apply constraints (padlock and EQ) using dimensions. These dimensions can get deleted and if the person doing the deleting doesn't respond to the warning well...the constraint remains intact without any obvious visible evidence.

Choosing Unconstrain will eliminate the constraint when the dimension is deleted. Unfortunately many users just click OK, leaving the constraint to come back and bite someone later, maybe themselves.

For example, years ago, a friend started modeling a tall building. He locked the distance between a few different floors and then later deleted the string. Eventually he needed to change the floor to floor height and Revit crashed. I took a look at the model. When I used Zoom to Fit in an elevation view I noticed that a little padlock appeared when I selected a Level. Revit tends to display the icon for a constraint at the opposite end of what is being examined, usually off screen unfortunately (less clutter with other icons is my theory). Using Zoom to Fit meant I could see the whole level, and the constraint icon, like in this image at the far left.

Software programmers "comment their code" so that it is easier to figure out what a section of code is intended to do later. It's etiquette, good practice, nice... Half the time it's self serving too. I've returned to some code I wrote months or years later pleased to find my own comment helping me remember why I did "that".

To mimic this notion of "commenting our code", I frequently suggest that if this sort of constraint is really important then consider making a duplicate view called Level 1 - Constraints (or somesuch). Lock and constrain it there. With this special view any/everyone can see the constraints anytime they want and see why they are there because you can add a note saying so.

1 comment:

Erik said...

What a great way to handle this. I never thought of suggesting that.