Friday, September 29, 2017

Phases are Deleted - Electrical Issue - Cancel placing a wire

A client shared this issue with me a couple of weeks ago and Autodesk has acknowledged it as a bug. If you've already installed 2018.1 it has been patched, so the scary bit that follows has been dealt with.

The issue: Place the first node of a wire and then cancel (press ESC key for example) before placing the second node. Afterward, people find that their project's Phases are no longer available. In other words, the phases are not listed in the Phasing dialog box nor in the Phase parameter for elements, when examining the Properties palette. Also, the buttons that allow us to create new phases are disabled in the Phases dialog.

Bad bug! Fixed in version 2018.1.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fixture Units don't Update

I read a post at RFO that said the value for Fixture Units added up along a pipe run were correct at the pipe (in properties) but that tags attached to those pipes did not report a matching value. My first thought was that the system's Calculations parameter was assigned to something other than Flow. So I mocked up a quick test (using version - 20170907_2315(x64) - 2018.1.1). Three families, two with the same Fixture Units assigned and one rogue.

I changed the middle fixture to be the same as the outer two and the pipe properties responded, the tag didn't (2nd from left). I took a look at the Calculations parameter for the Sanitary Piping System. This is using a stock Imperial Plumbing template. It's already set to Flow.

I switched it to None, clicked Apply, and the tags responded with this (Performance does the same).

I changed it back to Flow, clicked Apply, and the tags responded again but now they report the correct values.

I thought that there might have been a subtle change within the Mechanical and/or Piping settings that I missed when Revit 2018 arrived. I don't think there is though.

If you're counting on Fixture Units being added up and reported correctly in tags, you'll need to keep an eye on this. I've been able to wake up the tags by toggling between Calculation Settings for the Pipe System.

Added: Temporarily adding a pipe or altering the connected pipes also cause the tags to wake up. Also, just to make things stranger, changing the fixtures again I find the information displayed in properties of the pipe does not respond either, nor does a schedule of Pipes. However, if I have a Piping Systems schedule that does update as changes to fixtures are made.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

New Book - Delivering COBie Using Autodesk Revit

A team of authors led by Bill East (COBie inventor) has finished a book dedicated to COBie and Revit. His team consists of: Shawn O'Keeffe, Richard Kenna and Emma Hooper.

Bill writes:
"This is the first comprehensive COBie How-To Guide! We explain the implications of COBie requirements on your professional standard-of-care. Next, we describe the architectural and engineering design best-practices we adopted to help us capture COBie as part of our standard design process. We show you how to unlock the power of the Revit COBie Extension and Classification Manager Add-Ins to automate COBie file production details. And we show you how to share your new found knowledge with your team, company, and stakeholders."
David Philp, Global BIM Director, AECOM reviewed the book and had this to say:
"This book offers a comprehensive and real-world insight to the COBie value proposition but most importantly it demonstrates HOW this can be practically achieved. This book is an essential read for anyone that is interested in effectively capturing and using project information. If you want to better understand how to deliver COBie from a Revit environment then this book is a must.”
David Light, Autodesk Senior Customer Success Manager also reviewed the book and said this:
"Finally, the AEC industry and the Revit user has an unparalleled guide for helping you understand, as well as deliver COBie from Autodesk Revit!

Delivering COBie should not be scary, as noted, the guidance provided in “Delivering COBie Using Autodesk Revit'” is designed to help AEC industry deliver COBie on any building, as easily as possible.

East and the authoring team provide a detailed history of COBie, so you understand the background of why COBie? It helps demystify some urban myths around COBie, allowing you to better understand the value of this industry standard digital exchange format. The book runs through best practice tips for model development, model configuration and data preparation for Autodesk Revit.

The guide leads the user onto the configuration of the free Classification Manager and the COBie Extension. Lastly, 'Delivering COBie Using Autodesk Revit' teaches the reader how to apply various concepts on a Dormitory Project example, through shared best practice from recognized industry experts, explaining how to prepare the Revit model for repeatable COBie deliverables."
The authors of “Delivering COBie Using Autodesk Revit,” Dr. Bill East, Dr. Shawn O’Keeffe, Richard Kenna, and Emma Hooper look forward to showing you how to make COBie an integral part of the standard design process for yourself and your team, company, and stakeholders. The pre-release spiral-bound “workbook edition” is now available for individual Revit users. The version for purchase by libraries, institutes, and companies available 15-Sep-17.

You can Order your Copy HERE.

Friday, September 15, 2017

My Kingdom for a Dimension...or Two...Three

A Friday thought...

I've spent the last couple years doing a lot more modelling work than I expected to do. If you asked me in years before I'd have told you 80-90% percent of my time was dedicated to training and implementation activities.

Much of the modelling I do these days is from the contractor's point of view, for them. I quite enjoy it. I learn a lot and it keeps me on my toes.

This work is requested often because the documents they are using are not created from models to begin with. Sometimes they are but they (the contractor) have to build based on drawings so they find it informative to attempt to build things in the computer before doing it in the field. Where have I heard that notion before?

Chief among the things that trouble me doing so is the lack of dimensions. If there are lots of dimensions then the issue is their message or rather the lack of clear intent.

All too often I find a slab edge plan is lacking that one dimension, between adjacent slabs for example, that I could really use. In other instances the decision to start plotting the dimensions is based on a datum that involves a fussy site related angle (like based on a property line); when other orthogonal options are available.

I've also seen far more effort and devotion applied to dimensions for parking stripes in a parking garage than for the structural elements that make it possible to paint those stripes eventually. Then you have the dimension value bust. Such as, setting out the building grids reveals a subtle mathematical inconsistency or outright typographical error or override.

Then there are the dimensions that describe how to place something relative to other elements that get installed later during construction. How do we place a concrete column by referencing interior partitions...when those dimensions don't relate back to grids or structural elements? That issue is both missing dimensions and logical progression.

Often I have to endure the game of look over there, as if a hockey puck is getting smacked back and forth, when one says look at those guy's drawing for more information and then the other says the reverse. Slab edges that are required to overlap (per nearly matching details) are a real chore to sort out when you have to flip back and forth constantly and double check against the reflected ceiling plans...oops they're inconsistent with the plans...note to generate an email...

Then there are arcs. Thanks for all the radius and diameter information. Could I get dimensions for their endpoint locations and chord height/width? Better still, could I get something that tells me where their origins are supposed to be? Yes I do realize that one or two might be located somewhere on the outskirts of town. Then again if doing so exposes that issue up front when they are sketched, maybe we could get some other localized notion of how to place them on site too?

Though I've rarely encountered it in real life, I've really learned to appreciate the my documents stand on their own philosophy. In other words, a structural set of documents could be used in isolation to build all the the structural elements required, correctly, even if the rest of the work never got funded. It IS harder to do because it requires concerted effort to coordinate the disciplines well.

Yes I know, it's complicated, building stuff is messy. Now that I mention it, have you noticed, like me, that those ugly fractions people don't like seeing on drawings still crop up everywhere in real life.

Ah well, enough complaining. I've got some slab edges to reconcile. Back to grumbling to myself again. May we all enjoy a dimensionally accurate weekend!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Clipped or Un-clipped - That is the Question

The question asked: "Steve, should we leave our coordinate system icons clipped or un-clipped?"

My Answer: As we know, the Project Base Point (PBP) and Survey Point (SP) can be un-clipped. If they are untouched we'll find them clipped.

When these are clipped the symbols for each of these are attached to the coordinate systems they belong to. That means moving either while clipped will alter the coordinate system. If this is done unintentionally, or by someone who does not realize they have been adjusted intentionally already, the coordinate system(s) will be changed.

Therefore I'd say it is not unreasonable to leave these in their NOT clipped or un-clipped state at all times, especially after they have been adjusted intentionally to align models or survey data. If they are not clipped then accidental movement of these icons do not alter their related coordinate systems. It merely changes the symbol's position relative to their coordinate systems.

I regard these symbols as markers or annotation when they are not clipped. In this state they are harmless to our coordinate machinations. Clipped they pose a danger to our careful adjustments to align models and site information.

My opinion: Keep them Not clipped, un-clipped.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Shared Coordinates - Autodesk Reference Information

It's September posts in August...time flies.

This post is brief, merely a referral. If you struggle with understanding Revit's coordinate system then THIS LINK, at Autodesk's Knowledge Base (KB) site for this subject might be helpful. I like the images and some of explanations or interpretations it offers.

Check it out, it may help!

Edit: I wrote this on Sept. 7th originally, received an unflattering comment about it, returned it to draft, revised it, and restored it to published on Sept. 14th.

I was lazy. I thought the information was an addition to their formal help documentation. When I saw the comment I read through the KB article again and realized that it was written by an Autodesk User Group member and submitted to their Knowledge Base system, which happens to be curated by different people than the product documentation group. I might quibble with some subtlety of it here or there but its approach may help someone get a grasp on the bigger picture. Just keep in mind that its claims are not gospel, nor written by Autodesk's own people.