April

7

2021

Every day, our Ideate Software Support team fields all types of questions from AECO professionals all around the world. Here’s information about a topic that comes up occasionally.

Structural engineers frequently perform structural analysis to determine the proper sizing of structural members after a schematic building information model has been developed. The results of the analysis are then used to swap beams, columns and footings from that schematic layout to the accurate sizes. 

Ideate BIMLink supports this process with two important features that all structural designers and engineers should utilize:

  1. The ability to create new types for existing families
  2. The ability to exchange one instance of an element for another, which we call ‘Type Swapping’

Type Creation and Swapping 
Example of an early design with generic foundation sizes

When used in tandem, these two features can be used to transform that early schematic building information model into a mature model with just a few simple steps. We will reference structural foundations in our example, but these same steps apply to any structural element.

  1. Export your schematic design foundation data from Ideate BIMLink to Excel
  2. Perform the structural analysis to define any changes needed to the pre-defined model sizes
  3. Import any new structural foundation types that will be needed. This will update the existing families with new sizes.
  4. Import the modifications to the foundation instances to swap the schematic version for the required family and type to set the correct size per each location.

 Type Creation and Swapping
Revised design with the foundations swapped for the correct sizes

To see a video on this entire process, be sure to follow this link.

Creating new types and type swapping are the key to efficiencies, not only for structural design, but for any design process where you have placed Revit elements early in the design process with the intent of adjusting the size or type later in design development or even during the project handover phase.

Related topics:

Check out the other posts in our Ideate Software Support Series.

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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March

15

2021

Every day, our Ideate Software Support team fields all types of questions from AECO professionals all around the world. 

Recently, one of our Ideate BIMLink customers asked if we could report on the X, Y and Z coordinates of Mechanical Equipment. This is a very important feature of Ideate BIMLink, and I thought it would be nice to review all the different types of coordinates that Ideate BIMLink can report from the Revit model.

Elements that have been placed within the Revit model are considered instances of a specific type or family. When you create an instance-based link definition within Ideate BIMLink, you have the option to select either Internal or Survey Coordinates. Prior to the Ideate BIMLink May 2020 release, users only had the option of a single selection of coordinates. After the Ideate BIMLink May 2020 release, the previous coordinates option was renamed to Survey, and we introduced a new coordinates option of Internal. 

x, y, and Z coordinates

  • Survey: The values returned for the coordinate properties respect the current Shared Project location
  • Internal: The values returned for the coordinate properties respect the current Internal Project location

In the example image above, I’m using the delivered Library link definition for Mechanical Equipment, but I’m adding the X, Y and Z properties for EACH instance of the Mechanical Equipment.

I’m sure you are going to ask, well what exactly is that X, Y and Z point? What is Ideate BIMLink reporting? The answer depends on the type of element you have chosen to report.

This online Help article is a wonderful reference to the four types of coordinate properties that Ideate BIMLink will return for the value depending on the Revit elements being reviewed.

For our Mechanical Equipment example, it would be the insertion point of the Mechanical Equipment Family. 

Now if that’s NOT the exact model point you desire, you can create a Generic Model family that can be either placed inside your model or embedded within your custom families that allows you to report the necessary coordinate information such as hanger locations or top of footing coordinates. We have an excellent online help article for sending coordinate data to the field that you can review. In addition, we have a short video that details the process. This video was created before the option to have either Survey Coordinates or Internal Coordinates, so the single option of coordinates refers to the current Survey Coordinates selection. 

The image below shows another typical example of this method where the connection points of a hanger family can be explicitly reported (click image to enlarge).

x, y, z coordinates

Ideate BIMLink has been providing the ability to access Revit model coordinate data since Revit 2013! This blog article from 2014 is every bit as relevant today, and even more so with the many enhancements to Ideate BIMLink we have made with each release. This blog article on VDC and Ideate BIMLink discusses some of the juicy bits of Revit model coordinate data as it relates to virtual design and construction. For even more detail, we have a 30-minute webinar delivered on the subject as well.

So, the engineering customer that asked our Support Team about reporting Mechanical Equipment instance information was thrilled  to be able to accomplish the task easily and efficiently with Ideate BIMLink.

Check out the other posts in our Ideate Software Support Series.


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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February

16

2021

Every day, our Ideate Software Support team fields all types of questions from AECO professionals all around the world. 

Ideate Explorer has been a Revit user’s best friend for over 10 years! Since the first release of Ideate Explorer, Revit users have been using the application to show model elements that the default Revit Project Browser just does not show. Ideate Explorer is the model browser for almost every element within your Revit model.

One of the most loved features of Ideate Explorer is the ability to show both CAD links and CAD imports within the Ideate Explorer results tree. This feature gives the Revit user instant access to the location of CAD elements, even if they might be hidden within a view. Our built-in <Ideate Audit> filter allows quick access to these elements.

Where is my CAD file
 
Well, you can imagine my surprise when we received a support case that Ideate Explorer was no longer displaying the CAD Links! I had to really think about this one.

CAD files such as MicroStation or AutoCAD can be either linked into Revit or imported. If you import the CAD file, it is the same as copying the file into your project. It becomes an element just like any other element you might place within Revit. Many firms have STRONG policies against importing CAD data because not only does it copy the geometry into your Revit file, it also copies linestyles, text and many other styles you may not want.

Our Ideate StyleManager is the perfect tool to help consolidate or eliminate those unwanted styles that may have come into your Revit project with a CAD import. However, that wasn’t the issue in this specific customer case!

The first thing we had to determine was if this was a CAD Link or CAD Import that was not displaying within Ideate Explorer. Even if the CAD import had been hidden, it would display within Ideate Explorer. If the CAD Import had been partially exploded, it would still show the non-exploded blocks such as this example with the Green Drain: 

where is my cad file

If the CAD file had been selected as a full explode, the lines, arcs, and circles would have become Revit elements. Then, the CAD file would no longer be listed in the Ideate Explorer results tree, because it had basically been disassembled into component parts. So, I thought that might be the issue. The customer said there had been no modifications to the CAD file and it was linked into Revit rather than imported.

That only leaves one other solution.   

As I mentioned earlier, when the CAD file is imported into Revit, it is a copy that exists within the Revit model. When a CAD file is linked into Revit, there is no copy. It only exists as a reference, and it only exists when it is loaded. CAD files can be temporary unloaded to save on display time. When a CAD file is unloaded, the reference to the CAD location is saved, but the actual geometry is NOT displayed or loaded into Revit.

Sure enough, that is what had happened for this specific customer. Ideate Explorer properly showed all the CAD links when the CAD links had been loaded. Another user working on the project had unloaded all the CAD links, and thus Ideate Explorer did NOT show them.

where is my cad file
 

Ideate Explorer is always showing the current elements of the Revit model. So unloaded CAD Links were not shown in the Ideate Explorer results tree. As soon as the CAD Links were loaded via the Manage Links dialog, they properly appeared within the Ideate Explorer results tree.

We have many Help topics related to CAD files. This topic is an excellent guide to removing hidden CAD files with Ideate Explorer. If you’ve already made the mistake of importing CAD files into your Revit project, this topic on Ideate StyleManager can make quick work of cleaning up your model or template.

So, never fear! Whether you link, import, or explode your CAD file, Ideate Software has the tools you need to quickly analyze and view the locations and then perform the cleanup if necessary. Please review this short video on Managing CAD Imports with Ideate Explorer and watch this 30-minute webinar presentation on using Ideate StyleManager to clean up your imported styles.

You never have to worry about your CAD data again!

Check out the other posts in our Ideate Software Support Series.


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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January

18

2021

Every day, our Ideate Software Support team fields all types of questions from AECO professionals all around the world. 

I thought this was an interesting question about using Ideate BIMLink to rename Revit elements versus swapping one element for another. Ideate BIMLink is delivered with over 250 sample link definitions! These are available for use when you browse the library as you create a new link definition within your Revit model. 

This customer was using the “Project_Stds-Rename_Types” sample link. He had five different types of chairs, and he wanted to rename them all to “Chair Student-Medium,” because he ONLY wanted one type of chair within the project. However, when he tried to rename them all to “Chair Student-Medium,” he received error messages saying that Revit couldn’t make the change.

Rename or Swap Revit Elements

The reason he received these errors was because the sample link definition “Project_Stds-Rename_Types” is based on the Type of furniture chairs that are loaded into the project, and Revit requires the name to be unique. Let’s say that Revit would allow the change. He would have five different chair types with the SAME name! That is not what he wanted.

The proper solution in this required workflow would be to swap the five chair types placed within the model for the type he wanted. 

Ideate BIMLink can easily do this!

Instead of a Type Link, he created an instance link that would show the Family and Type of each chair placed within the model. We can easily convert the Project Standards Type link to an Instance link by right-clicking on the link name and choosing “Convert Link.” This little-known short-cut will convert a Type link to an Instance link or an Instance link to a Type link.

Rename or Swap Revit Elements

After converting the Ideate BIMLink link definition, I renamed it to “Swap Chairs.” The key is to make the sure the Ideate BIMLink link definition has the property “Family and Type” and not just “Family Name” or “Type Name.” This will allow Ideate BIMlink to swap one “Family and Type” for another “Family and Type” for every instance within the model.

So, instead of renaming the chairs to the SAME name, what the customer really wanted was to consolidate all the chairs to one single Family and Type for the entire model. This was easily accomplished with Ideate BIMLink. Of course, using Ideate BIMLink to rename all families to a standard project naming convention is also a great use, it just was not the correct way to consolidate all chairs to the same name and definition.

When the Family and Type was changed to “Chair Student-Medium-Chair Student-Medium” for every instance, Ideate BIMLink swapped the correct furniture component for EACH instance of the chair within the project, thus consolidating all the components to one single definition.

Rename or Swap Revit Elements

If you want to rename components or swap components from one definition to another, Ideate BIMLink has the necessary tools to make both happen with ease!

This is a slightly older video on Structural Type Swapping with Ideate BIMLink, but the workflow and concepts are still very much valid for all types of Revit components.

Please be sure to review this important online HELP topic for utilizing Type Swapping with Ideate BIMLink.

Check out the other posts in our Ideate Software Support Series.

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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