September

28

2020

This article was submitted by Shanoc Halliday, a friend of Ideate Software and the author of the blog, Captain Bimcad. Captain Bimcad is a collection of Shanoc’s thoughts on building information modeling as well as great technical blog posts created by other parties. His goal is to give readers robust workflows to improve their ROI on BIM software while enhancing drawing and model quality.

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Well, that’s something I have not done before.

An interesting project came across my COVID 19 lockdown work-from-home desk about a month ago. I had to translate a client's APAC (Asia Pacific region) sample drawings from Swedish to English. They were of an office building with seven levels. (Architectural, Structural and MEP plans, with a primary focus on Level 2.) I think I was a little naive to think with a translation guide I could smash this out in no time. 

Shanoc Halliday
 
I went through my options.

Option No. 1: I cracked open the file and started editing the text one at a time, but that was not quick at all. 

Option No. 2: I thought about creating a Revit Schedule, and let's be honest, until Revit can behave more like Excel and we can drag data down a column, this process takes way too long. 

Option No. 3: A better option could be to use Dynamo; I did teach Dynamo across Australia for over two years, but you know what?

  1. I could not be bothered creating a heap of graphs as one-offs.
  2. Then there is the, "Oh wait, that is a better Node, where is that again?"
  3. And the frustrating, "No, I don't want that data, what did I do wrong?"
  4. So I thought instead of the graph extracting and producing the update, "How about I send it to Excel," without the hassle to create the graphs.

No thanks, I was on an hourly rate, but not to experiment.

The battle of options in my head went on for a while; I can overthink things. Then, lo and behold, a Revit add-in found a gap in my deliberation and took over my train of thought… Ideate BIMLink! You see I live by the idea that I don't want to reinvent the wheel, I prefer to evolve it. All the smarts of exporting data from Revit to Excel via Ideate BIMLink hit this workflow for a 6! (cricket anyone?)  The trick is to recognize the array of Revit elements that represent “text” within a Revit Project. Text can appear within Views/Sheets, Text, Schedule Data and Annotation objects such as Rooms within a Revit project. Ideate BIMLink has access to all this text information.

I think that it is important that I put in a bit of a disclaimer in at this point; I am a big fan of Ideate Software tools. I started using them over six years ago on projects and I know from personal experience, Ideate BIMLink saves me hours and hours every month. So if I come across as a bit of a fan, well I am. And that's simply because I know how much my time is worth and I don’t have to learn new software or run complicated add-ins that are a little fragile. So if I can use a tool that saves me time, I go that route.

Step 1 - Everyone to the konferensrum

My first task was to update all the Room Names on all the floor plans for the entire building, which was an easy task with Ideate BIMLink. For example, I had to convert KONFERNSRUM to CONFERENCE ROOM. Ideate BIMLink allowed me to filter Revit's Categories, including Rooms, to pre-made Excel export configurations that are easy to tweak.

Shanoc Halliday - Ideate BIMLink Screenshot

Step 2 - Projeckt filter and sortering

Shanoc Halliday - Translation Screenshot

Ideate BIMLink ScreenshotMy next step was to customize some of the existing filters to suit my project. If I had built this Revit file, I could have quickly narrowed down to specific levels, back of house, floor plan areas, etc. If you have read my past blog posts, you know that I bang on about Naming Conventions; they are your best buddy when it comes to BIM. 

In this project, I did have a little play with Sorting. My thinking was that it would be easier for me to find problem areas if my data dump was in the same order as my Project Browser. I typically sort Views by Associated Level. I did blog post about that some time ago; here's a link.

I did something similar for the Door Schedule; the difference was that I based the export on the existing Revit Schedule that was used on the drawing sheets. This is such a simple, clever feature in that the Schedule parameters are narrowed down, filters have been set up to isolate elements take advantage of something already built. 

Step 3 – Keeping everything in order

Once I exported the data to Excel, I wanted to make sure that it stayed in order. An easy way to do that is to make the data-dump into a Table. To do this, select anywhere inside the dataset and hit Ctrl-T to turn your data into a Table. Make sure that you let Excel know that your data has headings or it will add in its own, which will continue throughout Ideate BIMLink when you load the edited data back in. Here is a link to Leila Gharani's YouTube video on Excel shortcut keys you SHOULD know. She is my Excel mentor.

Shanoc Halliday
  
Tip #1

By using Excel’s Sort and Filter options, it was straightforward to isolate the Swedish words, copy and paste them into Google Translate and copy the answer back again. And unlike Revit, it's so easy to copy data to the bottom of a column. 

Shanoc Halliday - Sort and Filter
 
Tip #2

Bringing back the data is a click away, and the dialog box shows transparency in what is about to change, what its value was and will be. When all the elements in a drawing need to be 100% correct and our drawings are now data-driven, workflows like this create more trust in what's going on in the "background."

Background
 
Tip #3

Lastly, whenever you edit any of the cells in Excel, there is nothing worse than strange things happening back in Revit when you send the data back in, so I always turn an edited cell green to know where I have been, or more importantly, what I messed up.

Which is not to say that you can’t by existing Schedules in the project, because you have spent the time creating, ordering and filtering them for drawing production, they are perfect for sending out to Excel.

Summary – Ideate Software tools make data management easier.

In summary, with Ideate BIMLink, I was able to knock out the project so much quicker than if I had used any of the methods I mentioned at the start of this post. Globally as regions reopen and thinking to when we are all back in the office again, these are tools that you can put in the hands the masses and know with confidence that they are stable, quick to learn, and can be easily edited to suit different needs. With the AEC industry improving due to BIM and its adoption becoming more the norm every day, look for tools that make data management easier.

Another shout out, this time to Ryan Lenihan for setting up a Revit Server at his home, to share this model on the cloud. Catch him on his blog https://www.revit.com.au/

This post is an abbreviated version of the post on Shanoc Halliday’s post on Captain Bimcad.
 

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September

24

2020

On July 22, 2020, we published a blog post on how much time our clients reported saving by using Ideate BIMLink to complete certain general Revit data management tasks. This post provides the same information on additional general tasks. With Ideate BIMLink, tasks are completed faster because users, including those who are not Revit users, use the software to pull Revit model data into Excel for easy editing, and then push the corrected data back into Revit to update the model. 

Below is information on how much time our users reported saving. 

Tasks: General Data Management 

Ideate BIMLink ROI

Calculate Your Return on Investment  

To figure out how much money your company can save by reducing time spent on Revit tasks with Ideate BIMLink:  

  1. Review the chart above as well as related data to learn how much time can be saved by using Ideate BIMLink for various tasks
  2. Compare that amount of time to your number of projects and your software purchase price

Two ROI Examples

Both examples below assume you will save four hours per project. Because our customers reported an average savings of 78 hours per project on the tasks featured in this blog post alone, your payback will likely be much higher.

  • A single standalone license of Ideate BIMLink costs approximately US$795. If you have 20 projects per year and save four hours per project, you’ll save 80 hours each year. The 2018 AIA Small Firm Compensation Report reports that the average designer salary is about $60K per year. Assuming a corresponding hourly rate of $29 (which would exclude overhead), you will have a payback (over covering software costs) of more than US$1500 each year. 
  • If you are a larger firm with network licensing, you can experience an even higher return on investment. For example, the cost of a single seat is about $2,000 per year. Assuming you save four hours per project, pay a higher burdened salary rate of $50, and have 50 projects a year, you will have a payback of more than $8,000 per year. 

Learn More  

We have several resources available online that can help you get the most out of Ideate BIMLink:

Similar Posts

This is the 13th and final post in a series related to the results of our survey of architecture, engineering, construction, and building-owner companies using Ideate BIMLink. Our previous posts covered the time savings possible by using Ideate BIMLink to:

  1.  Manage Revit sheets 
  2. Create and modify rooms and areas
  3. Swap structural framing instances
  4. Coordinate spaces & rooms and audit & fix device elevation
  5. Compile quantity takeoffs, assign assembly codes, and swap types
  6. View and revise tasks
  7. QA/QC doors, hardware, and other elements
  8. Extract/Import coordinate data and confirm level and grid information
  9. Perform general data management tasks
  10. Manage Interior Finish Data and Generate Plumbing Fixture Counts
  11. Audit Analytical Columns, Structural Framing, and Rebar Shape Data
  12. Gather and Edit Data for Facilities Management Software

Check out our Ideate BIMLink ROI web page, where we separated the all the time-savings data by discipline.

Contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Browse our website for more information on our Revit productivity tools. Give them a try with a free trial version, or subscribe today


About the Author

Sash Kazeminejad - AIA, LEED AP - Customer Success Manager
Sash earned his Master of Architecture from Montana State University and is a California registered architect, LEED Accredited Professional. He has extensive experience in project management; BIM management; design for architectural firms in California, Montana, and Oregon; and leading classroom and online BIM training. He provides consulting, sales, support, and training solutions to AECO customers around the globe. Find Sash on LinkedIn.

 

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September

21

2020

Watch the recording of this 30-minute webinar to learn how to leverage coordinate data to bring new levels of control and efficiency to your building information model with Ideate BIMLink. Ideate BIMLink is one of our five Revit applications that simplify data challenges. It allows you to send all the robust data within your Revit model to Microsoft Excel for review and manipulation, and then pull the data back into the Revit model. It also allows you to:

  • Easily access data that is hard to review in a Schedule format
  • Edit Parameter data quickly
  • Rename Families and Types – Important for COBie data
  • Manage non-Schedule data with Beyond Schedule Library Links
  • Create elements, including key schedule data, levels, types per existing family, and views to name just a few. (Please see Project Setup with Ideate BIMLink for an in depth look at laying out a new project)

In this recording, you will see demonstrations of how to use Ideate BIMLink to simplify three construction tasks:

  1. QTO (Quantity Takeoff)
  2. Sending Coordinate Data for Revit Modeling to the Field with Ideate BIMLink
  3. Receiving Field Coordinate Point Data into Revit with Ideate BIMLink

Additional information about these three construction workflows can be found within our online HELP system. You can also review a wonderful summary video of Ideate BIMLink and Coordinate Data for VDC on our website.

Browse our website for more information on our Revit productivity tools. Give them a try with a free trial version, or subscribe today


About the Author

Richard W. Taylor, Associate AIA – Technical Evangelist 
Richard has more than 30 years of experience working for companies that develop architectural and engineering software solutions, such as Intergraph, Bentley, and Autodesk. He has over 20 years of Revit experience, and he was part of the original development of Revit while at Revit Technology Corporation. He worked for 12 years at Autodesk, where he presented, taught, and worked to improve features in Revit. Richard holds both a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and Master of Architecture from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. As Technical Evangelist, Richard works with AECO clients worldwide, developing and consulting on BIM solutions. Find Richard on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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September

10

2020

Renaming or renumbering elements is one of the most tedious and labor-intensive BIM tasks confronting architects and engineers. Many factors can contribute to the need to edit element names and numbers, including complying with external facilities management (FM) database requirements, such AiM, SPIE, and COBie. 

The good news is that Ideate BIMLink makes this task painless. Users, including those who are not Revit users, use the software to pull Revit model data into Excel for easy editing, and then push the corrected data back into Revit to update the model. 

Below is information on how much time our users reported saving. 

Task: Gathering Data for External Facilities Management Software 
Ideate BIMLink ROI

Calculate Your Return on Investment

If you’d like to figure out the value of Ideate BIMLink to your company, simply:  

  1. Review the chart above as well as additional related data to learn how much time can be saved by using Ideate BIMLink for various tasks
  2. Compare that amount of time to your number of projects and your software purchase price

Two ROI Examples

For simplicity’s sake, both these examples assume you will save four hours per project. Because our customers reported an average savings of 20 hours per project on the task featured in this blog post alone, your payback will likely be much higher.

  • A single standalone license of Ideate BIMLink costs approximately US$795. If you have 20 projects per year and save four hours per project, you’ll save 80 hours per year. According to the 2018 AIA Small Firm Compensation Report, the average designer salary is about $60K per year. Assuming a corresponding hourly rate of $29 (which would exclude overhead), you will have a payback (over covering software costs) of more than US$1500 each year. 
  • For larger firms, network licensing can experience an even higher return on investment. For example, the cost of a single seat is about $2,000 per year. Assuming that you save four hours per project, pay a higher burdened salary rate of $50, and have 50 projects, you will have a payback of more than $8,000 per year. 

Learn More

We have several resources available online that can help you get the most out of Ideate BIMLink:

Similar Posts

This post is the 12th in a series related to the results of our survey of architecture, engineering, construction, and building-owner companies. Our previous posts covered the time savings reported by using Ideate BIMLink to:

  1.  Manage Revit sheets 
  2. Create and modify rooms and areas
  3. Swap structural framing instances
  4. Coordinate spaces & rooms and audit & fix device elevation
  5. Compile quantity takeoffs, assign assembly codes, and swap types
  6. View and revise tasks
  7. QA/QC doors, hardware, and other elements
  8. Extract/Import coordinate data and confirm level and grid information
  9. Perform general data management tasks
  10. Manage Interior Finish Data and Generate Plumbing Fixture Counts
  11. Audit Analytical Columns, Structural Framing, and Rebar Shape Data

Keep an eye out for our next blog post, and check out our Ideate BIMLink ROI web page, where we separated the all the time-savings data by discipline.

Contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Browse our website for more information on our Revit productivity tools. Give them a try with a free trial version, or subscribe today


About the Author

Sash Kazeminejad - AIA, LEED AP - Customer Success Manager
Sash earned his Master of Architecture from Montana State University and is a California registered architect, LEED Accredited Professional. He has extensive experience in project management; BIM management; design for architectural firms in California, Montana, and Oregon; and leading classroom and online BIM training. He provides consulting, sales, support, and training solutions to AECO customers around the globe. Find Sash on LinkedIn.

 

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September

9

2020

Unfortunately, Revit does not have an easy way to create new View Types. Users must tediously create new View Types one by one. To complicate matters even further, copying and transferring View Types to other projects is difficult, since this is not a feature that is available through Transfer Project Standards (TPS).

A Better Solution: Use Ideate BIMLink

Thankfully, we have Ideate BIMLink to assist us with this challenge. In an earlier blog post, I discussed how we can easily create new View Types in Revit from an Excel list via Ideate BIMLink. In this post, we’ll take this idea one step further and review how to use that same process as a way of addressing the need to transfer View Types from one project to another.

Using Ideate BIMLink to export existing View Type information and to create NEW View Types in other models (or your template) will help bring project standards into alignment and save users many hours and the hassles that come along with doing things manually in Revit.

Standardize View Types in Model #1

Begin by ensuring you have a model with your ideal view types in-place.

  1. Review my earlier blog titled Creating new View Types in Revit using Ideate BIMLink for instructions on creating new View Types in your current Revit model.
  2. Once you have successfully created new View Types, export the View_Types-Create_New link if you have made any changes to it, such as adding, removing, or re-arranging any of the column data. This link will be used in the other Revit models that require the same View Types.

Prep Model #2 

  1. In the Revit models that are to use the same View Types as your Project or Template files, launch Ideate BIMLink and load the exported link. This will ensure that the data columns are the same, both in naming, parameter usage, and same order of data.
  2. OPTIONAL: If your projects require that you use the same View Template, Elevation, and Section Tag naming and standards, ensure all projects are using the same names and settings first. If they are not, you will need to use Transfer Project Standards to copy that data into your Revit models. For this example, we used TPS to copy in Elevation Tag Types, Section Tag Types, View Reference Types, and View Templates. When you generate the new View Types, you can either ignore the View Template assignment, Callout Tag, Section Tag, and Elevation Tag assignments or use your own from the project that you are creating the new View Types in.

Create Data Exports from both Models

  1. Launch Ideate BIMLink and export the View Type information from the View_Types-Create_New link. When prompted to either open the file or done, select done.
  2. Switch over to the Revit file that you will copy the View Type information from. Launch Ideate BIMLink.
  3. If the link is called View_Types-Create_New, either rename this link or duplicate the link and call is View_Types-Export. This will allow you to export this data into the same Excel file export from the previously mentioned file, without overwriting the entire worksheet.
  4. When prompted to either Open File or Done, Open File.
  5. You should now see two worksheets. One from the model with the View Types you want to copy over and one from the model that you want to copy the data into.

Transfer View Type Data Between both Models

  1. In the worksheet that has the View Types you want to copy over, copy to clipboard the data you need. At a minimum, you want the Family Name and Type Name. If you plan on using the same View Templates and tags, copy this data as well.
  2. In the worksheet from the model that this data will be copied into, paste this information so it aligns with the correct columns.
  3. Remove any duplicate rows of data, such as Type Names. This way you avoid any errors or duplication of information upon import. 
  4. Edit any existing data that needs to be edited.
  5. Under the Element ID column, be sure to type in the word NEW. This will instruct Ideate BIMLink to generate the NEW View Types. 
  6. Once the Excel file is completed, save your work.
  7. In Ideate BIMLink, select the IMPORT button and browse for the recently completed Excel file. 
  8. Review the results in Ideate BIMLink. Check for items that have been edited, created as new, and any errors and warnings you may receive. Export any errors and warnings to Excel for review.
  9. Once complete, review the results in Revit. Verify that the View Types have been created and that settings, such as View Template assignments, have also been applied.

** Note: if you do not see the link called View_Types-Create_New, you can start with the link called Project_Stds-View_Types and modify the link to match the one seen in the corresponding video. You can also reach out to [email protected] to request a copy of this link.

To learn more about this process, be sure to watch this video


 

For a related blog post and video, be sure to review Creating new View Types in Revit using Ideate BIMLink, which demonstrates how you can create new View Types in your Revit models with speed, ease, and accuracy.

Be sure to browse our website for more information on our Revit productivity tools. Give them a try with a free trial version, or subscribe today


About the Author

Sash Kazeminejad - AIA, LEED AP - Customer Success Manager
Sash earned his Master of Architecture from Montana State University and is a California registered architect, LEED Accredited Professional. He has extensive experience in project management; BIM management; design for architectural firms in California, Montana, and Oregon; and leading classroom and online BIM training. He provides consulting, sales, support, and training solutions to AECO customers around the globe. Find Sash on LinkedIn.

 

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