Thank you Laura Kay Smith - BIM Manager Lead, Buildings and Facilities Western Canada, SNC Lavalin, for contributing the following post.

I want to thank Ideate Software for giving me the opportunity to write a blog post, so I can share how BIM is simplified by good tools. My main tool pallet has always involved Ideate Software, and I would like to share with you some of my processes and tips for successful implementation and usage.

I have previously discussed how BIM failure is due to complexity and lack of education (see my article, BIM is Simple), suggesting that BIM is most successful in companies that understand the value it provides. In this article, I provide some tips and tricks to get your firm’s BIM implementation and usage on the right track.

You will need buy-in from your whole team to keep the BIM process simple. The buy-in starts by making things easy to use. Here are some useful workflows that incorporate quality BIM tools I found to be useful:

Ideate BIMLink

My first major success in moving BIM forward in a firm came in 2013 when I stumbled  across Ideate BIMLink (Kasian Sets a New Facilities Planning Standard Using Ideate BIMLink). This is where I had an epiphany on the importance of BIM tools paving the way to success in BIM processes.

Ideate BIMLink allows everyone on a project to be involved with the data input of Revit. It’s a tool that allows the push and pull of data between Excel and Revit.

My main workflow for this tool is in health care. Because health care requirements are strict, it’s important to minimize the places that information must be corrected when projects change: if you ignore this, your project can spiral into endless rework cycles.

For example, each room in a hospital has a specific purpose and needs, size, equipment, location and finishes. You can track and update this information without manual entry by using Ideate BIMLink:

  1. Set up your template file for health care with standard parameters used for operations and requiring checks.
  2. Create an Ideate BIMLink link with those parameters.
  3. Transition the received requirements onto the Ideate BIMlink Excel export and import into your project.
  4. Pull the room sizes and requirements back into your Excel requirement check. Here you can set formulas to verify and check the numbers. You can also set up a parameter to color your rooms to make the requirements visual.
  5. Organize your Ideate BIMLink data to produce Room Data Sheets.

Laura Kay Smith
Snapshot of Excel worksheet showing data extracted from Revit

Laura Kay Smith
Snapshot of Excel worksheet showing data extracted from Revit with color-coding added to emphasize variances

Ideate Sticky

The Ideate BIMLink tool is very powerful, but it only helps you manipulate information that is already in your model. If you need information on your pages that is not part of your file, you can use Ideate Sticky to ‘stick’ the data on a sheet.

Ideate Sticky allows users to show Excel in Revit without the additional parameter inputs. For example, your project may need you to include electrical conduit schedules. To add these to a page using Ideate Sticky, you can select the print area of a sheet and place it directly into your Revit sheet. This can be a live link, meaning any changes to the spreadsheet will also update in the BIM model. All the information in the original sheet, including equations, graphics, layout and coloring will translate to the print sheet. You can use this setup for those engineers that do not work inside the model.

If the project needs both the push and pull of data and the simple sticking of information on a sheet, both Ideate BIMLink and Ideate Sticky can be used in the same document.

Ideate Explorer

One of the most important parts of BIM management on a project is model maintenance and verifications. Ideate Explorer is a simple checkup tool for your model.

Ideate Explorer allows the model coordinator to accurately fill out the required Model Review checklist. Component and Subcomponent checks on Naming, Level Naming, Proper Dimension and Text styles used. The Warning checks inside of Ideate Explorer are also easier to understand and help you find the offending components.

Using BIM tools that are simple and allow the team to focus on the actual BIM data rather than model maintenance will help in the simplification of BIM. Ideate Software offers a great tool base for that step into 3D modeling. 

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San Francisco, CA, 12/10/2019 – Ideate Software, a veteran Autodesk Developer Network member, is pleased to be associated with companies recognized for excellence

“As a developer of software that helps companies that design, build and operate built environments focus on their core strengths, we love to learn of their successes,” said Glynnis Patterson, Director of Software Development. 

“BIM professionals who are passionate about integrating innovation into design, enhancing communities, and collaborating across disciplines work countless hours on everything from the big picture to tiny details. It is both humbling and energizing to know that our products eliminate some of the drudgery.”

One Ideate Software product used by award-winning companies is Ideate Sticky, which enhances cross-team workflows by elegantly connecting non-BIM data from an Excel file into a Revit project.

“The lack of a text editor in Autodesk® Revit® software makes organizing and formatting non-BIM data frustrating and time consuming,” said Glynnis “Ideate Sticky solves this by enabling users to edit data in Excel and ‘stick’ spreadsheets on Revit files.” 

Here are some quotes about Ideate Sticky from companies that have won awards for innovation, sustainability, historic preservation, tenant improvements and even the “coolest office.” 

    Ideate Sticky enhances collaboration by streamlining the process of disseminating non-BIM data. What used to be a tedious, time-consuming task is now done in just minutes.”
    ~Evelyn Peterson, CSHQA
  • Eppstein Uhen Architects
    “Equipment planners will develop a list by room that owners want on the architectural drawings. To recreate this schedule in Revit would mean modeling the equipment and creating an element schedule. Ideate Sticky allows us to use the consultant list with minimal editing and a few minutes of effort.”
    ~Phyllis Robbins, Eppstein Uhen Architects
  • Mead & Hunt
    “Ideate Sticky makes a picture of the Excel file so you can view it phenomenally quickly. It seems transparent to its users, and most importantly, it is trusted by users.”
    ~Dan Dankert, Mead & Hunt
  • AC Martin
    “If our project managers or project architects need to access or update the information on the Ideate Sticky schedule, they don’t have to go into the Revit model to check on files. That’s extremely important to our workflow, because not all project architects are Revit-savvy.”
    ~Elisa de Dios, AC Martin

Visit the Ideate Software website to learn more about how these companies use Ideate Sticky.

About Ideate Software
Ideate Software empowers Revit users to gain unprecedented control over their data. Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, IdeateApps, and Ideate StyleManager were all developed to solve persistent problems in architecture, engineering, construction, and owner (AECO) workflows. Ideate Software solutions enable Revit users to save time, increase accuracy, improve project deliverables, and elevate design.

Microsoft Excel is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders.

Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, ATC, and Revit are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries.


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We often get asked a variety of questions about streamlining electrical workflows using Ideate Software. So, I’ll address a few electrical and equipment workflows in two parts, or should I say two circuits? Let’s start with Ideate BIMLink and Ideate Sticky.

Can I use Ideate BIMLink to edit my Revit Electrical Panel Schedule?

Ideate BIMLink allows Revit users to pull information from a Revit model into Microsoft Excel and push volumes of precise, consequential BIM data back into their Revit model with speed, ease and accuracy.
Revit electrical panel data is an aggregate of information coming from these sources: 

  • Electrical Panel Element (Electrical Equipment)
  • Electrical Circuit Elements
  • Location Data (Spaces)
  • ‘Calculated’ Data (This is everything from the Panel ‘location,’ which is the Space Name+Number to the Apparent Load, etc.) 

Because Ideate BIMLink is designed to export data such that it can be edited in Excel and then re-imported into Revit, the format of this electrical panel data needs to be broken down into each of these unique data sources.  

Ideate BIMLink ships with many pre-configured Electrical Link Definitions.  Please review the Sample Link Definitions under MEP Links\Electrical  (Please refer to the image below.)

This specific question about Ideate BIMLink as well as many others are detailed in our FAQ Online Help.

You can review all the pre-configured Electrical Links under our Ideate BIMLink Sample Content for Electrical, which is located under the MEP heading and folder. Any of these pre-configured links can be customized to your own preferences, and you can easily add or remove relevant parameters.

Can I integrate non-BIM Panel Schedules created within Excel to my Revit model?

Ideate Sticky for Revit embeds existing Excel documents into Revit by rendering spreadsheets as native Revit schedules; the ease and flexibility of Excel spreadsheet editing is married with the power and integration of Revit schedules. Ideate Sticky for Revit connects and formats non-BIM data. If you have existing panel schedule information that was created in Excel, Ideate Sticky is a great way to integrate that non-BIM data into your Revit model. In fact, many electrical engineers and designers use Excel for the creation and calculation of the data, and then use Ideate Sticky to place or link that information into the Revit model via a native Revit schedule.

We even include a Panel Schedule in our sample Excel files that come with Ideate Sticky. Please review this list to see all our engineering delivered content.

Non-BIM panel schedules created within Excel can easily be integrated onto a Revit drawing sheet using Ideate Sticky.

These are just two highlights out of the hundreds of supported workflows from Ideate Software that might appeal to electrical engineers. Check out our Video Library to learn more.

[UPDATE: Here’s a link to the second post in this series, Circuit #2]

Visit 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 18 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.

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Are you curious to see how companies use Ideate Software tools? Want to watch one of our customer-focused webinars again? Would you like a colleague to watch one? 

We make it easy with the Customer Webinars Playlist on our YouTube channel.
These customer-focused webinars are well-attended and often spark interesting discussions on how to use our Revit productivity solutions to streamline workflows, enhance productivity, save time and demonstrate ROI. 

We will continue to add recordings as they become available. Here’s what you will find there now:

CBT Architects – The ‘I’ in BIM – How to Transfer Data to and from Revit

Payette – BIM Managers Set the Stage for Increased Knowledge and Productivity

BD Mackey Consulting – Hitting a High Note: Tuning your Revit Template

Steinberg Hart – Developing Efficient Processes

If you are interested in showcasing your company, BIM management best practices and use of Ideate Software solutions in an upcoming webinar, please don’t hesitate contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

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Companies with one person using Ideate Software tools see that person move away from tedious, time-consuming Revit tasks to more interesting, creative work. That person is happier because he/she can focus on what matters most, and clients are happier because they get more innovative and accurate designs, quicker.

Now imagine the sweeping changes that would occur if your whole team used all the Ideate Software tools.

Making these changes is easier than you think with savings available through multi-product and multi-user pricing:

  • Single-user, stand-alone license annual subscription
  • Multi-user, network license annual subscription
    • All five Ideate Software solutions for one person at a time on the network – US$2,495
    • All five Ideate Software solutions for five people at a time on the network – US$7,000
    • All five Ideate Software solutions for 25 people at a time on the network – US$10,000
  • Enterprise, multi-user network license annual subscription
    • All five Ideate Software solutions to all Revit users in your company – US$20,000
  • Instructor-led online training and access to recorded webinars, how-to videos, and robust Help files 
  • Support from technical experts 
  • Software that works with the current and previous three versions of Revit
  • New Ideate Software releases for subscribed titles within the subscription period
  • International license use (network; no additional fees) 

More and more of our customers around the world take advantage of the bundles. So don’t put it off any longer. Join hundreds of satisfied Ideate Software customers all over the globe and opt for a bundle today. Not sure which pricing option is right for you? Contact us to discuss your current situation, and we will help you discover the appropriate solution for your firm. 

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