Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Revision Numbering

A month or so ago I received an email from a friend asking about dealing with revision numbering in Revit. Apparently the project team is expecting some specific habits to be followed that Revit doesn't support adequately. My response to him was much calmer than the curse words I muttered to myself. I wrote this post then and let it simmer till now. I'm all for Revit being better. It's just that I think sometimes we get a bit carried away with "our" methods or systems.

In California (where I live), and most any other for that matter, they manage to uniquely identify millions of cars with 8 characters (yes I admit, a combination of letters and numbers). In Revit we can choose between Numeric or Alphabetical (or no numbering), not a combination of them. Let's say for example we could live with Numeric. That means every revision will get a unique number starting with 1 or a letter like A.

But Steve we want the revisions to be like this: 01, 02, 03 (those first nine numbers should start with 0), or we want 1A, 1B, and then to start again with 2A, 2B, or we want architecture revisions to be A1 and structural revisions to be S1 and so on and so on.

    It takes effort to resist the urge to be unpleasant...

1,2,3,4,5,6... aren't those bloody unique enough! Just say'n...

Let's not kid ourselves, it really does cost money to "do" things, especially things that a given (Revit) software doesn't support. Does providing the fussier nicer numbering scheme make the project recover money lost to a revision? Does it prevent the expense in the first place? Does it save "man hours"? How many man hours does it actually cost to do what "they want"?

I'd rather use the feature as intended, live with the limited sequence of numbers or letters, than put more energy into creating additional bureaucracy for a team to deal with (and yes cost "us and them" money). Working within the Revit system, however flawed we view it to be, will at least ensure that our documents are consistent, predictable.

Creating and applying workarounds opens the door to the very circumstances we hope to avoid in the first place. We aren't just typing "dead data" into text or attributes like drawings completed by hand or with CAD. The clouds, tags, sheets, views, schedules and revision dialog are all working together to organize them into something we can rely on (assuming we know how to use the tool at all).

Failing that, I sure hope we'll be compensated for the hassle of dealing with it in some other way. If not I hope we'll keep track of the time and effort so next time we'll know how much it really cost?

Perhaps the time and money could be put to better use to avoiding the circumstances that created the need for them (revisions) in the first place?


Matthew said...

Hah! Agreed! Don't make mistakes and you don't have revisions. :)

I think the tough part of Revisions is how absolutely inflexible they are compared to almost everything else. We can add parameters to just about every other aspect of Revit except for the Revision system. And that's dumb because in the end it's simply an intelligent scheduler.

We should be able to expand the base functionality by adding any parameter we want to a Revisions Information category and schedule that freely. Then export the schedule to Excel and/or generate reports of project revisions and overall project progress.

Patrick Davis said...

Great post.

Anonymous said...

Amen! Just had this question come up in the past week. Drives me insane! Need to have this printed out and just hand over to be read the next time it comes up!

Anonymous said...

I do agree however there's a hint to crack it to A1,A2, etc in the revision. Autodesk Revit won't allow it however use the "issued by" as the alphabet and put that "issued by" next to the numberic on the title sheet. Problem solved for those who don't use "issued by".

Dan Morrison said...

I agree with the overall message here - especially if you expand it to the look of drawings (single line pipework with different linetypes to differentiate instead of just using colour!), but revision methods are quite often a client requirement. Mining companies quite often require intermediate revisions for review before they will release the documents at the next real revision (ie. 1a, 1b etc before releasing rev 2) and there are some good reasons for this. Greater fulexibility of the revisions in Revit is definitely needed.

FWIW the RTV Drawing Manager add in will provide this functionality (as will, I think, the X-Rev version)otherwise people will have to continue with other workarounds.

kubs!x said...

Couldn't agree more. Utilize the description to your heart's content.

AnthonyB said...

Good post.
In you second paragraph you stated "In Revit we can choose between Numeric or Alphabetical (or no numbering), not a combination of them." We have Revision lists with a combination of letters and numbers. An example is A B C 1 D 2 3 4 E 5. Like Dan above, we have information issues (our alpha chars) interspersed with construction issues (numeric chars). This system works well for us.

Chris Bearden said...

I wrok for an MEP firm and we have to match the revision number to the architect's on most jobs. This can be quite cumbersome, especially when we don't know the actual revision number until we are actually ready to issue or we wroking on two or three revisions at a time. We use the Issued To and Issued By parameters in the revision schedule and delta. This allows us to number exactly the way we want to and still keep track of all the revisions during a project.