January

30

2014

The most rewarding aspect of software development for me is to make things appear simple, even when they are not. Recently, in the 2014.1 version of Ideate BIMLink we implemented a feature that seems like a small thing and often times gets overlooked. The problem was simple: in Autodesk Revit some parameters allow you to pick from a list of choices, but in the export that Ideate BIMLink created our customers were finding a number. Through some trial and error by the user the meaning of the numbers could be deduced, but that was hardly a simple or rewarding task. Some examples had more than one hundred choices and the value '95' did little to inform the user that the space type was 'Operating Room - Hospital/Healthcare'. We strove to do better. 

BIMLink, Ideate, Ideate Software, Condition Type, Space Type, Spaces, Revit MEP, Revit API, Revit Programming, Localized Enumeration, Autodesk Revit
Before BIMLink Update - Coded Space Types

The source of the problem is that Revit is available in several languages. The list of choices changes based on the language that Revit is using. As you can imagine, translation becomes an issue and there needs to be a universal meaning behind each name. To do this Revit uses numbers to store the choice, and that is how Revit shares the choice to us. It is that seemingly arbitrary number that we were then showing.

Space types, Condition Type, Space Type, Spaces, Revit MEP, Revit API, Revit Programming, Localized Enumeration, BIMLink, bim link, Ideate, Ideate Software, Autodesk, Autodesk Revit, Revit help, BIM, BIM Management
After BIMLink Update - Easily Identifiable Space Types

I took on the task of changing that number into the name that our users are more familiar with. It seemed like a simple enough task in English, but that wasn't enough. We needed it to work for all languages of Revit. It was a challenge that I took on with vigor and I am happy is included in the 2014 version of Ideate BIMLink. It may seem like a small thing, but it is the small things that make our more difficult tasks easier to bear. Let us show you how Ideate BIMLink can improve your workflow: download the trial version of Ideate BIMLink.


About the Author

Jesika DiGregorio - Software Team Lead Jesika received her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon in Eugene where she also spent time studying advanced math. Her work experience includes Junior Designer at an award-winning firm specializing in architecture and land planning, and Intern Architect at a firm that provides services in planning, design, construction documents and construction administration for projects of all sizes. After working in architecture design for several years, Jesika decided to pursue her interest in programming and her love of efficient systems. She now serves as a Software Team Lead for Ideate Software.

 

Read More

January

22

2014

 

It seems that more and more the whims of the building department are running headlong into the limitations of the Revit plotting tool and causing WAY too much effort in getting the set out the door. Here's the background on the printing problems causing me headaches:

a) Revit prints the sheets by alpha-numeric order, which isn't always helpful, though re-numbering the Sheets Number with Ideate BIMLink is an easy solution to this problem.

b) The subscription Batch Print tool allows you to change the print order, but it has no concept of saving those settings (huh?).   You can have this tool for free on your Autodesk Subscription site.

c) Quite often building departments are requiring the total number of sheets to be listed on the set (A.K.A. plot stamp) and yet labels in Revit don't supported calculated values; see image

Revit, total number of sheets, permit set, customization
Total Number of Sheets Display

Revit Preparation Work:

  1. Create a Shared Parameter that is text-based.  I am using one called "OneofSheet" which will hold a text string that will print "
  2. 1 of x" where x is the total number of sheets in the set.
    Parameter Properties, One of Sheet, Revit,  Ideate, BIMLink
    Parameter Properties - One of Sheet
     
  3. Open your title block family, create a new label and then load and add the new Shared Parameter to the label.  In the image above the label is shown circled in red.
  4. Save the title block family and then load it into your Revit project.
  5. Within your Revit project, use the Project Parameters dialog to load the new Shared Parameter into your project environment.  If you haven't done so already, edit your sheets to use this updated title block family.  NOTE:  You'll want to do this in your template eventually.

Ideate BIMLink Work:

  1. Load the Sample Link called "Sheets_Review"
  2. Add the new Shared parameter to your link and delete any unnecessary properties; see example, below.
  3. Export the data to Excel.
  4. Sort the file by Sheet Number and then by Appears in Sheet List, by placing your cursor in cell A1 and then from the Data tab, select Sort.
    Sort by, sheet number, sheet set, appears, Excel, BIMLink, Revit, display total number of sheets
  5. Decide which sheets will be part of the set.  You might want to delete all that are identified as "FALSE" for the 'Appears in Sheet List' property.  Delete the row of any sheets that are not part of the set.
  6. Build a formula that combines the increment of the sheet with the total number of sheets.  You can save this Excel file, with the formulas, for re-use for this or other projects, making it easy to update this for future deliverables.  Example:  =COUNTA($B$2:B2)&" of "&COUNTA(B:B).  In this formula the COUNTA counts anything unless it is blank and column B is assumed to be the Sheet Number property.
    Build a formula, Excel, BIMLink, Revit, save for later,
    Build a Formula in Excel
     
  7. Use Ideate BIMLink to import the modified Excel data and now all your sheets are properly 'plot stamped.' Hopefully we've now freed up your afternoon and made your trip to the Building Department a pleasurable one! 

About the Author

Glynnis Patterson, NCARB - Director of Software Development
Glynnis is a Registered Architect and has worked with the BIM industry since 1998. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, she has worked as an architect, educator and construction site manager. Glynnis is currently the Director of Software Development Services at Ideate, Inc. and continues to work with AEC clients across the nation, developing, and implementing best practices solutions. In her spare time Glynnis does volunteer work and builds Lego projects. @GVPinNJ

Read More

January

9

2014

In software development interesting things can happen when you interact with outside sources; Autodesk Revit is no exception. Our senior software developer Ben Bishoff recently spent some time investigating one example involving Microsoft Windows and the Revit Family file. Revit has rules about the naming of families that is enforced when you are working with the software, either as a user or as an add-on software. In particular, it does not allow the following characters to be included in the name: \ : { } [ ] | ; < > ? ' ¶ and unprintable characters (ASCII 0 - 31) For example, while in a Revit project file, if you use the "Rename½" option from the family right-click menu within the Project Browser, and to rename 'Door Tag' to 'Door Tag [New]' you would receive an error.

Ideate Software, Revit, Autodesk, BIM Manager, BIM, Revit to Excel, Excel, Family Name, Type Name, Family and Type, Rename Family, Audit Revit Project, Revit Project Maintenance, Ideate BIMLink
Renaming Revit Families

This is simple enough, but the situation is compounded when Revit uses the file name of a family as the name of the family in the project. Windows, like Revit, also has characters that is doesn't allow in file names, but these characters are not the same ones that Revit excludes. \ / : * ? " < > | As a result there is a small set of characters that, while not valid characters in Revit, can still end up in family names if they are part of the file name. { } [ ] ; ' ¶ To continue the previous example, if you create a new Revit family from the Family Editor, you can save that file with the name 'Door Tag [New].rfa'. When that file is loaded into Revit there will be a family name that Revit would not otherwise permit to occur.

Ideate Software, Revit, Autodesk, BIM Manager, BIM, Revit to Excel, Excel, Family Name, Type Name, Family and Type, Rename Family, Audit Revit Project, Revit Project Maintenance, Ideate BIMLink, door tags
Revit Family Door Tags

This doesn't appear to cause any problems in Revit itself, yet these characters were declared invalid for a reason, even if we do not know what that reason is. Is the use of an invalid characters worth the risk? We strive to avoid anything that would destabilize our customer's file. That is why have taken the time to understand this situation and verify that Ideate BIMLink interacts correctly with these illegally named families. Not only does Ideate BIMLink handle these families carefully you can use it to ensure that none of your family names contain theses illegal characters. We recommend using our 'Project_Stds-Rename_Types' sample link file which will allow you to rename all of the family names and type names within one file.

Ideate Software, Revit, Autodesk, BIM Manager, BIM, Revit to Excel, Excel, Family Name, Type Name, Family and Type, Rename Family, Audit Revit Project, Revit Project Maintenance, Ideate BIMLink, Project Naming Standards
Project Naming Standards in Revit 

If you have a lot of family types in your project you can make it even easier to find these problem families by adding a filter to the link that identifies family or type names that contains an invalid character. In this example we are identifying ones that use a bracket character:

Ideate Software, Revit, Autodesk, BIM Manager, BIM, Revit to Excel, Excel, Family Name, Type Name, Family and Type, Rename Family, Audit Revit Project, Revit Project Maintenance, Ideate BIMLink, Filtering Families in Revit
Filtering Families in Revit

To try it for yourself download the trial version of Ideate BIMLink.


About the Author

Jesika DiGregorio - Software Team Lead Jesika received her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon in Eugene where she also spent time studying advanced math. Her work experience includes Junior Designer at an award-winning firm specializing in architecture and land planning, and Intern Architect at a firm that provides services in planning, design, construction documents and construction administration for projects of all sizes. After working in architecture design for several years, Jesika decided to pursue her interest in programming and her love of efficient systems. She now serves as a Software Team Lead for Ideate Software.

 

Read More

January

8

2014

Join Us in the East Bay

Glynnis Patterson, Ideate Software Director, will be giving a short presentation on Revit Parameters on January 22nd at the AIA offices in Oakland. This is an ideal presentation for Ideate BIMLink users, BIM Managers, and anyone tasked with managing Revit schedule data or Revit family creation. Read on for more information and links to sign up.

A Parameter By Any Other Name

Project parameters, key parameters, family parameters, shared parameters, parameter groups, and GUIDs - it can be overwhelming to dive into the world of Revit data. A well-organized data structure will bring about a higher quality handover document and reduce scheduling headaches down the road. You can't create custom content without first understanding the Revit data structure for each kind of parameter. In this presentation, Glynnis Patterson, Director of Software Development with Ideate, Inc. will shed some light on the world of Revit parameters and present tips and tricks learned from the trenches of software development. Learn when and how to use a shared parameter and when a project parameter would be preferred. View the Full Invitation Here. Register Here Now.


About the Presenter

Glynnis Patterson, NCARB - Director of Software Development Glynnis is a Registered Architect and has worked with the BIM industry since 1998. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, she has worked as an architect, educator and construction site manager. Glynnis is currently the Director of Software Development Services at Ideate, Inc. and continues to work with AEC clients across the nation, developing, and implementing best practices solutions. In her spare time Glynnis does volunteer work and builds Lego projects. @GVPinNJ

Read More

December

5

2013

Be Certain About Your Revit Data

Ideate BIMLink is an information management tool that works on top of Revit and allows data to be exported to Microsoft Excel where it can be easily edited and then pushed back into Revit. It can be used to expedite a variety of data-entry tasks from managing occupancy data to completing room schedule information to organizing sheets and views, and more including:

Pull data out.

Learn how to get more detailed information about your Revit projects and use the data externally with cost estimating, takeoff or analysis tool.

Work the data and push it back.

Discover how to push calculated data such as occupancy loads or duct and pipe lengths into your tags.

The fast, accurate, easy way.

Explore quality control by standardizing measurements, naming conventions and parameter values via Excel then quickly push the data back into Revit. Join Us for the Webinar December 19, 2013 9:30 am - 10:30 am PT View the Recorded Webinar

This post was originally published on the Ideate Solutions Blog
 

Read More