Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Copy Monitor - A Different Way?

Morning musing...

It's my observation that there is a prevailing mostly ambivalent attitude toward the Copy/Monitor (C/M) features. I've said before that I think the order of the tabs in the Options dialog are based on the likelihood that we'll use them. Specifically they are listed left to right: Levels, Grids, Columns, Walls and Floors.

C/M isn't hard to use but once it is in play we've got some new rules and warnings to contend with. The process depends on us identifying the elements we want to live in the C/M system. I understand the logic of that choice. Revit asks us to tell it what is important enough to us to engage the system.

Perhaps we need a completely different way to attack the problem? One that doesn't require the advance work. One that is more a reaction to work as it is created and shared, that merely exists.

I wonder if it would be more betterer if we could run a Level or Grid check as a process. The application would compare elements and compile a report, observations and differences. It could be something we read afterward or presented in a dialog for immediate action.

For example, it could just start with: "Hey Steve, there are 27 grids in your model and 30 in theirs. You should look at them." Take it slightly deeper, "Hey Steve, there are three grids that share the same name but are not in the same location."

Does it matter that they used to be in the same location and they aren't now? The application would have to start storing records for past results to do that but it could be useful to determine when or how things got off track. The rules or conditions that are interesting need to be defined.

This sort of element review and comparison doesn't have to be limited to the five that Copy/Monitor were designed for originally (overlooking the MEP elements that have been added in some fashion). It still requires two or more elements though; mine, yours and theirs. The redundancy is annoying but it does provide us with flexibility within our own models.

I imagine much of what I'm describing (and more) is possible via the API and Dynamo. It just needs someone to decide it is an interesting enough thing to do.


Andy Milburn said...

I'll add my vote to that Steve. Would be a very useful thing to put in the public domain (assuming it's not there already, how would I know?) I would add that, the way we work. the architect takes the lead on grids/levels and the other consultants just need to follow what we say (maybe occasionally submit a request for an extra grid) So engineers could just set this to run every time they receive a new model from us and fire off an email saying: "we note the following changes and will update our model accordingly, unless we here otherwise."

Of course we should have told them we made a change but hey, we're architects

David Knight said...

I'm curious... how do you handle walls that are controlled by structural with copy/monitor. A recent project we did, we placed a wall on the outside, and a separate wall on the inside. I'm not sure it was the best method.

So for the Flood wall, it was composed of 3 different walls. A brick, air cavity, and insulation wall. A "Structural" copy/monitor wall. And on the inside, a 1/2" air gap, metal stud, and layer of gyp. It was complicated and the wall types were as well.

Also when it comes to copy/monitor do you break them at some point? We has a rough go at it when our structural engineer decided to switch from individual columns at each floor to a single column that ran up 13 stories. Lots of problems occurred when that column was removed due to copy/monitor updates.

Copy/Monitor def could use some attention. :|

Steve said...

David - Separate walls is more realistic but it can be tricky as you've noted. You could also place a composite wall that includes the structural layer and use Monitor to manage their relationship, well warn you if one is moved away at least (now that we can choose the Location Line relationship).

To some degree we might as well accept some redundancy if we're going to be able to produce acceptable documents (drawings) and manage our own scope properly. Communication and cooperation between the disciplines can help make it a little easier to turn on/off each other's elements for that purpose. It isn't simple as you're well aware.

If there are some major changes it makes sense to use Stop Monitoring to avoid lots of warnings while you cope with the changes. You can also elect to Stop Monitoring things that have settled down (or so you think). Many things are clearly observable as wrong while working on the model so getting yelled at by Revit is just one more source of aggravation.

Good luck!

Sam said...

In my experience, using Copy/Monitor for walls and physical elements is a disaster.

What I would want is the tool that Steve is talking about for Levels and Grids. For anything physical, we just need to be able to join to the linked models. THAT'S ALL. The current C/M tools are not able to provide me with the same wall shapes they monitor, making the process useless and dangerous.

We need to be able to join our walls to the linked floors and the linked walls.

It would be nice to also be able to query the changes between model, like BIM 360 Docs and Teams allows us to do.

Most of the Copy Monitor tool is broken or useless. If the functionalities above were met, we would not really need the broken Copy/Monitor tool.