January

12

2023

Autodesk Desktop Connector Version 16.0 Impacts Ideate Sticky

A recent change to the Autodesk Desktop Connector includes new file path locations for all local files. This change is described in the recent Desktop Connector Release Notes. While this is a deja-vu-all-over-again situation, we hope the information below will be useful in weathering this change. In a future blog post, we will discuss some of the positive impacts of the newer version, but for now, please review the information below to prepare for the risks.

Autodesk Desktop Connector
 
AUTODESK CHANGE - New Workspace Location

  • This release has temporarily removed the Change Workspace command
  • The workspace has been moved to a new location under %userprofile%\DC\

Example of the change:

  • Old path using Desktop Connector 15.8 or earlier: “C:\Users\[user name]\ACCDocs” 
  • New path using Desktop Connector 16.0: “C:\Users\[user name]\DC\ACCDocs.” 

This change may impact Ideate Software customers. Please read below for per-product implications.

Ideate Sticky

For those of you using Ideate Sticky and storing your Excel, Word, or PDF files on BIM 360/ACC, you will find that this change will result in broken file paths for Ideate Sticky. We recommend the following steps, in order of importance:

  1. Avoid updating to Desktop Connector 16.0 for now, if possible. We will re-code Ideate Sticky to support this change in the future and hope to release Ideate Sticky within 30 days of the Revit 2024 release.
  2. If access to a shared network location is available, you can use the “Update From” function to batch re-path to the new location.
  3. If you do not have access to a shared network location, then you can use the “Update From” function to batch re-path to the new Autodesk Docs location. This workaround will resolve the pathing for one user only.  

Ideate Automation

Ideate Automation will work fine with the file path change. However, if you have customized your Ideate Automation scripts and those scripts are writing file content to a BIM 360/ACC path, you will need to adjust your script to use the new file path. Using find and replace for “\ACCDocs” to “\DC\ACCDocs” for script should do the trick.

Additionally, you can use the %userprofile% syntax to reference not only the sub-path to these Autodesk Docs files, but also to other folder path locations, such as One Drive that support local user desktop file storage.

Help us Improve

We strive to integrate our solutions into the Autodesk eco-system wherever possible. In this case, our ability to handle this change is limited by the lack of a formal Application Programmer Interface (API) for the Autodesk Desktop Connector. You can let Autodesk know this is important by voting for this idea on the BIM 360 API forum.

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December

29

2022

People often think of Revit for architects and engineers who use it to test design ideas, translate conceptual designs into BIM data, optimize building efficiency, create realistic renderings, and prepare documentation with the details needed for construction teams to build the designs. 

The benefits don’t end when the documents are passed from the architects to the contractors. In fact, the benefits of having Revit models of planned buildings or structures continue through the construction phase and even through the owner-operator phase. 

In this blog post, we focus on Revit and the construction industry. We will address how it is used by owner-operators in a future post.

Because the BIM process automates many challenges faced by companies in the construction industry, several governments have mandated the use of BIM for government projects to save time and money through better planning, designing, and management of buildings and infrastructure. In countries where BIM is not mandated, many construction companies are choosing to implement BIM anyway, because they are watching their competitors who follow BIM processes automate activities that help them gain competitive advantages in terms of win rates and successful project completions. 

Revit and the Construction Industry

Because Revit is the most popular BIM tool in the world, it is safe to say that as BIM usage spreads throughout the construction industry, the use of Revit will increase as well. Construction companies that use Revit will realize several advantages, including:

  • Ideate Software for the Construction IndustryClearer Communications with Architects
    Realistic 3D models created in Revit dramatically reduce any delays caused by misunderstandings about the architect’s design. The documentation includes all the parameters and shapes of the structural elements, part details, and systems such as plumbing, electrical, and HVAC, which the contractors can reference throughout the construction project.
     
  • Better Stakeholder Communications
    With the integration of cloud technology, project data can be accessed from anywhere, allowing project managers to keep their teams and other stakeholders current on project status.
     
  • Revision Management
    Change happens, even when the architectural drawings have bene finalized. The client may have a new idea, supply chain issues may impact product availability, or manufacturers may make changes that need to be addressed in the design. Contractors that use Revit can make changes in the existing model, recalculate parameters, and confirm that the new designs don’t negatively impact other elements. 
     
  • Accurate Materials Lists
    Ordering too much material, not ordering enough, or ordering the wrong material are common problems with construction teams that cause cost overruns, delays, and frustrated teams and clients. Construction companies that use Revit can minimize waste and reduce costs by using Revit to automatically calculate the required amount of resources and the budget.
     
  • Stability Testing
    Revit software can be used by contractors to detect structural flaws by assessing the stability of foundations, systems, fixtures, materials, and more. This pre-construction step helps confirm that an architect’s design can be successfully and safely built, potentially saving a tremendous amount of time and money. 
     
  • Clash Detection
    As designs change, the risk of clashes increases. Hard clashes, when two components occupy the same space, and soft clashes, when an object encroaches into the tolerance space of another object, can create a huge amount of rework if not found until after construction has started. Revit users can easily detect clashes in designs and generate clash reports that engineers can use to fix the problems, saving time, money, and the contractor’s reputation. 

Ideate Software Add-ins for Revit and the Construction Industry

We develop Revit plugins for architecture, engineering, construction, and owner-operator companies around the world:

Here are some videos with demonstrations of how to use our software for specific construction workflows:

  1. Leverage Revit coordinate data for VDC to bring new levels of quality control and efficiency
    See three examples of how Revit coordinate data can support both pre-construction and construction tasks to improve your project’s bottom line.


     
  2. Streamline VDC Tasks
    Dive deeper into methods of streamlining VDC tasks by watching the recording of this 30-minute webinar.


     
  3. Review issues with construction sequencing 
    Watch this four-minute video to see how a project scheduler, who doesn’t know how to use Revit, can use Ideate BIMLink to export Revit data into Excel to enter or edit data, and then import the updated data back to Revit, which can create 4D models that construction teams can review for issues and opportunities. The video includes final steps for Navisworks users.


     
  4. Get comprehensive quantity data with a 2-step quantity takeoff 
    Watch this three-minute video to learn how to harness the power of pivot tables and Microsoft Excel when performing quantity takeoff tasks in Revit. Also learn how to expedite the creation of a formatted quantity takeoff. The example in the video show how to use the Ideate BIMLink sample file template, created in Excel, to get comprehensive quantity data in two easy steps.



    For a FULL list of Ideate BIMLink videos for Construction and Facilities, please see the following link:  Ideate BIMLink for Construction and Facilities
     
  5. Keep all team members up to date on critical ancillary information
    See how live-linking important Excel, Word, or PDF documents, such as work orders, safety reports, and insurance certificates can ensure your team has quick access to current information, so they can respond to requests quickly and correctly.



     
  6. Publish project PDF information on a consistent and repeatable basis
    Ideate Automation is a scripting solution that is designed for use with Ideate software solutions such as Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Apps, and  Ideate StyleManager. It can also be used without Ideate Software solutions to report on Family information or publish information from a series of Revit models.

Learn More

Visit www.ideatesoftware.com to learn how Ideate Software Revit plugins for architecture, engineering, construction, and owner-operators help users save time, increase model accuracy, improve deliverables, and elevate design. Give them a dry by downloading trial versions or purchasing the “get to know us” bundle for access to Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, IdeateApps, and Ideate StyleManager for six months.

Stay Connected

Check us out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

If you have any questions, reach out to us. We are here to help you understand and use our Revit plugin solutions. 

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December

22

2022

Every day, our Ideate Software Support team fields all types of questions from AECO professionals all around the world. You can review some of these recent question and answers via our Ideate Software support series blog category.

It seems like we’ve received a fair number of support cases recently around this strange warning message concerning Ideate Sticky. So, I wanted to explain it in detail and offer a quick fix.

Unexpected Future Version of Ideate Sticky

Unexpected future version?  What’s going on here?

Ideate Sticky customers might see this message when someone on the project team has upgraded to the latest version of Ideate Sticky and the rest of the team has not. When that specific person updated the stickies in the project with their latest Ideate Sticky version, this upgraded the settings format, causing the warning to show up for everyone on an older release. When the person with the latest release of Ideate Sticky opens another project and updates the stickies, the warning will start to show up there as well.

The solution is to update everyone to the latest release.

The reason this change was made in the latest release is the display scaling calculation. You can read more about that specific setting in this blog article.

The EASIEST and fastest way to update the whole office to the latest release of Ideate Sticky or the entire software bundle is to use our Ideate Software Installer. I mentioned it recently within this blog post ensuring you have the latest release of IdeateApps.

Ideate Software Installer 
 
The Ideate Software Installer is the best way to update all your Ideate Software tools in a snap!

Now that you know about the Ideate Software installer, I hope the road ahead is smooth sailing! Wait, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

Keep those amazing questions coming to [email protected]. We are always happy to assist our customers with their Ideate Software solutions.


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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December

2

2022

As a company that develops Revit software plugins, we love Revit. We think you should too.

BIM is Awesome

Many Ideate Software employees have been involved in architecture and engineering for several decades, so they remember the days of creating designs with pencil and paper. 

The move from there to BIM within a career is almost overwhelming; seeing what used to take days come to life within hours really can seem like magic to those of us who have been around for a while. And our newer staff members are just as enthusiastic about where BIM is going as the more experienced ones are about where it has been. 

Revit is the Best BIM Tool

While you may know that Revit is one of the top BIM tools in the world, you may not know why it is better than all the rest. Here are a few reasons:

  1. Unified Database
    All the data needed to generate a Revit model is kept in the same database, and that database is updated anytime the model is modified. No longer do team members need to search for data through numerous project files.
     
  2. Scheduling
    Revit schedules are used to report the information in the model in a tabular format. Scheduling, which can be one of the more time-consuming tasks in the architectural design process, is greatly simplified with Revit because the schedules automatically update as changes are made to the model, ensuring they are always in alignment.
     
  3. Collaboration
    With Revit, several users can work on the model at the same time. Users push the work they do to the central model while pulling changes made by colleagues into their local copy. This not only speeds the process, it also exposes clashes that can be mitigated in the design phase rather than when the structure is being built.


     
  4. 3D Renderings
    There are a lot of programs available that provide 3D visualization outputs, but those from Revit are truly realistic. With views from any angle or perspective, architects can “walk” customers through early designs to point out large and small details, incorporate customer feedback into the next version, and quickly iterate until the customer sees that their vision is accurately reflected in the design. Design options can also be easily explored. 
     
  5. Parametric Modeling
    Parametric modeling lets you specify the key parameters of your project and make changes interactively, with the model automatically updating. Revit employs parametric modeling in the form of families. Everything in Revit is part of a family; some are integrated into the software, others are accessible through libraries, and others are created from scratch.
     
  6. Cost Estimating
    Accurate cost estimating is vital to the success of a project. Revit can be used to develop a detailed construction cost estimate in various ways. 
     
  7. Consistent Documentation
    Using templates that come with Revit or storing custom templates within Revit means you can deliver consistent construction paperwork across all your projects. Consistency contributes to clarity, which helps eliminate frustration caused by confusion. 

Ideate Software is the Best Revit Software Plugin

You may say we are biased, but we’re not the only ones saying that our products are great. Here are a few examples:

Customer Reviews on the Autodesk App Store

  1. “Why these application functions haven't been replicated, bundled or brought out into Revit itself astounds me. They simply transform the process of using Revit from a data perspective entirely into one that is 100% more automated, feasible and enjoyable.”
     
  2. “Ideate's suite of tools is indispensable at our firm. There are so many tasks that are made more efficient, and many tasks that would just be flat out impossible without these tools. Ideate does a fantastic job at listening to their customers and they implement suggestions and feature requests quite rapidly. I have been using their products for more than 6 years and highly recommend all of them.”
     
  3. “The Ideate suite of tools are one of very few tools I've come across for Revit that do exactly what they're supposed to, without spamming your toolbars with useless gizmos.”
     
  4. “I recommend every firm within AECO that uses Revit to invest in the Ideate Software Bundle.  Not only does the software make Revit users more efficient within the program, allowing for advanced communication with Revit itself, it also has a user interface that is second to none.  All Ideate applications are essential for every Revit user to be able to utilize on a daily basis - BIMLink for interaction with Revit data through Excel, Sticky to bring in static Excel data to a Revit sheet, Explorer to analyze the model in an advanced way, etc.”

Success Stories

We are pleased that companies in all disciplines and across the world have taken the time to share their experiences with Ideate Software through success stories, blog posts, and webinars. Access information about them all via the Case Studies filter on our blog posts

Our most recent success story is about Evolve Consultancy, one of the UK’s premier BIM and design consultancies. Evolve uses Ideate BIMLink to populate Revit models with COBie (Construction to Operations Building information exchange) data to satisfy ISO 19650-2 requirements. Read more and see screen shots here

Here’s a short video about another company, HLW, and why they recommend Ideate Software tools:


 

The Ideate Software Difference

Visit our website for details of each of our products. Here are highlights:

Ideate Explorer – Dramatically decrease the amount of time spent on model management and enhance model performance with this Revit software plugin. Use it to quickly find and delete incorrect, obsolete, and hidden problem items—including imported or linked DWG drawings—as well as to find, refine, and revise elements, even those not included in the Revit project browser. Included with Ideate Explorer are three features that also help you keep your models in top working order:

  • Warnings Manager – Audit and address Revit warnings ranked by importance and fix problems using tools in Revit while the Warnings Manager dialog box is open
  • Navigate – Navigate through view-based elements to find unused sheets and views; find and filter legends, schedules, sheets, or views by category and/or keyword; and customize work environments without altering the project browser 
  • Query – Search within set parameters for elements like unused annotations, design options, in-place usage, structure usage/area scheme, and revisions

Ideate BIMLink – Instead of working inside of Revit to verify and/or edit data one element at a time, you can use Ideate BIMLink for Revit. Import to Excel where you can easily view and manipulate large amounts. Once the data is updated, you can then use Ideate BIMLink for Revit to import Excel data back into Revit, and the model will immediately update.  

Ideate Sticky – Share accurate and nicely formatted non-BIM data with Revit teams by live-linking a Revit file to Excel, Word, and PDF documents. These “stickies” look nice, are easy to read, and can be easily updated when changes are made to the original file.     

Ideate StyleManager – Problems frequently occur when data is pasted from one Revit file to another and the styles associated with the original file get copied along with the data. This can clog up the model with incorrect information that can take a long time to remove if working in Revit. It’s important to remove that data, otherwise it can cause model performance problems. With Ideate StyleManager you can quickly and easily analyze, merge, or delete non-standard Revit styles. You can also use Ideate StyleManager to see the view filters applied to views and to clean object and line styles and patterns, text, fonts, parameters, and more. 

IdeateApps – Repetitive Revit tasks performed on large complex models can contribute to mistakes, rework, and frustrations. The 10 tools that come in the IdeateApps collection streamline hundreds of common tasks. Descriptions of their functions are in their names: Ideate SpellCheck, Ideate Align, Ideate Clone, Ideate ViewCreator, Ideate SheetManager, Ideate Annotate, Ideate XRay, Ideate ReNumber, Ideate SmartDelete, and Ideate QuickSelect

Ideate Automation – Run time-intensive BIM tasks silently in the background while

Stay Connected

Check us out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

If you have any questions, reach out to us. We are here to help you understand and use our Revit plugin solutions. 

Browse our website to learn more about how Ideate Software add-on products help Revit users save time, increase model accuracy, improve deliverables and elevate design. You can give them a try by downloading trial versions or purchasing the bundle for access to the Revit plugin solutions Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, Ideate StyleManager, and IdeateApps for six months.

 

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October

31

2022

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a collaborative process that allows architects, engineers, contractors, and other construction professionals to plan, design, and construct structures within a single 3D model. It also supports owner-operators in building maintenance and management processes. 

The Road to BIM

The road to BIMInitially, designers, architects, and engineers created drawings and blueprints to express their visions and information about building plans. Then, computer aided design (CAD) brought the plans into a digital environment. Next, CAD evolved to 3D, enabling more realistic illustrations. The concept of BIM came around in the 1970s, and today it is the standard and increasingly becoming a mandated process to ensure that the planning, design, and construction of buildings are efficient.

The Power of BIM

The power of BIM is the information, or the “I” in BIM, because it is actionable; BIM components are intelligent, have geometry, and store data, and when they are changed, the BIM software updates the model to reflect that change. These automatic and instant updates dramatically reduce the chance of problems associated with outdated information and version control. 

Structural engineers, architects, MEP engineers, civil engineers, designers, project managers, contractors, and owner-operators can all access the information in a BIM model through a common data environment, and it can be used in all stages of a structure’s life, from inception through operation and even renovations.

The 4-Step BIM Process

Plan  Design  Build  Operate
Generate context models of the existing built and natural environment Perform conceptual design, analysis, detailing, and documentation Begin fabrication using BIM specifications; share construction logistics with trades and contractors  Strip unneeded data from models; leverage remaining data for operations, maintenance, and renovations

BIM Tools

BIM is a process, not a tool. There are several tools available that support the BIM process, and Autodesk leads the pack with:

  • Revit – One of the industry’s most popular BIM authoring tools used by architects, designers, engineers, contractors, and others 
     
  • Navisworks – More of a project review solution for AEC professionals than an authoring tool like Revit
     
  • BIM 360/Autodesk Construction Cloud – Unifies the design, project, and construction processes into a single process
     
  • Civil 3D – Designed on top of AutoCAD for civil engineers; typically broken up in to separate pieces, like grading, alignments, and pipe networks 

User Requests

As powerful as Autodesk software is, it does have limitations. And even though Revit is the leading BIM tool for architects, engineers, and construction teams in the world, users need more. Anyone who checks out the Autodesk Revit Forums can read feature requests submitted through various channels, including Revit Architecture Forum, Revit MEP Forum, Revit Structure Forum, Revit API Forum, and Revit Ideas. Autodesk created Revit Ideas as a way for users to communicate their frustrations with the software, including what they wish the software could do and how existing features can be improved. Other users can give “kudos” to ideas they also deem important. There are also independent Revit forums, such as www.RevitForum.org, where people post questions, share knowledge, and discuss Revit software. 

Ideate Software Responds

Regularly reviewing these public channels is just one of the ways the professionals at Ideate Software remain aware of the needs of the Revit community and able to develop Revit tools that address the needs expressed by Revit users. We also sponsor and participate in industry events, host webinars, lead virtual and in-person user group meetings, attend Autodesk University every year, and regularly ask our customers for feedback. Then, we take all the knowledge we gain to determine how to bring exceptional value to our customers by investing in product enhancements and new product development.   

Gathering information about the needs of Revit users is our first step. Then we create beta versions and ask our customers to give them a try. Because our professionals have been developing Revit tools since 2008 and have proven over and over again that we deliver products that help Revit users do their jobs better, we have a large and loyal group of people who regularly help us fine-tune our products and updates, ensure they meet real needs, and verify that they perform as described. 

Today, our suite boasts six products, each developed and iterated in direct response to requests from Revit users. These Revit plugins for architecture, engineering, construction, and owner-operator industries automate time-consuming manual processes, streamline repetitive processes, make it much easier for designers and engineers to build models that look good, perform well, and help construction professionals and owner-operators perform their duties with fewer errors, less waste, and greater job satisfaction.  

Here's how our tools can help you:

Quickly find and delete incorrect, obsolete, and hidden problem items—including imported or linked DWG drawings—as well as find, refine, and revise elements, even those not included in the Revit project browser. This functionality dramatically decreases the amount of time spent on model management and enhances model performance. Included with Ideate Explorer are three additional features that will also help you keep your models in top working order:

  • Warnings Manager – Audit and address Revit warnings that are ranked by importance and fix problems using tools in Revit while the Warnings Manager dialog box is open
  • Navigate – Navigate through view-based elements and find unused sheets and views; find and filter legends, schedules, sheets, or views by category and/or keyword; and customize working environments without altering the project browser 
  • Query – Search within set parameters for elements like unused annotations, design options, in-place usage, structure usage/area scheme, and revisions

Instead of working inside of Revit to verify and/or edit data one element at a time, you can use Ideate BIMLink to export the data you need to review to Microsoft Excel where you can view and manipulate massive amounts of data at the same time. You can then use Ideate BIMLink to import the verified or updated data back into Revit, and the model will immediately update.  

Share accurate and nicely formatted non-BIM data with Revit teams by live-linking Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and PDF documents to the Revit file with Ideate Sticky. These “stickies” look nice, are easy to read, and can be easily updated within Revit when changes are made to the original file. Whether it’s building codes, consultant data, abbreviation lists, general notes, or any of the many other non-BIM data critical to a project’s success, you can be sure your team always has access to current information.    

Eliminate the problems frequently caused by pasting data from one Revit file to another. Often, styles associated with the original file get copied along with the data, clogging up the model with incorrect information that can take a long time to remove if working in Revit. Not removing it isn’t an option, because extraneous data can cause model performance problems. With Ideate StyleManager, a top Revit plugin, you can quickly and easily analyze, merge, or delete non-standard Revit styles. You can also use Ideate StyleManager to see the view filters applied to views and to clean object and line styles and patterns, text, fonts, parameters, and more. 

Eliminate tedious Revit tasks that when performed on large complex models can contribute to mistakes, rework, and frustrations. By using the 10 tools that come in the IdeateApps collection, you can automate hundreds of common tasks. The names of the tools describe their functions: Ideate SpellCheck, Ideate Align, Ideate Clone, Ideate ViewCreator, Ideate SheetManager, Ideate Annotate, Ideate XRay, Ideate ReNumber, Ideate SmartDelete, and Ideate QuickSelect

Run time-intensive BIM tasks silently in the background while you do more meaningful work with Ideate Automation. Either started manually or scheduled to run at a convenient time, Ideate Automation can increase your productivity, eliminate the need to train staff of repetitive tasks, and ensure task outcomes are highly predictable, free of user errors, and standardized. 

Examples of tasks to automate include: 

  • Exporting key Revit model health data
  • Creating document issue records
  • Preparing COBie data drops
  • Generating quantity take-off data 
  • Generating regular, automated PDF exports
  • Delivering CSV reports on key Revit family and project metrics

 Here’s a short video that shows how to use Ideate Automation to perform Revit model health checks:

     

Stay Connected

Check us out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

If you have any questions, reach out to us. We are here to help you understand and use our Revit plugin solutions. 

Browse our website to learn more about how Ideate Software add-on products help Revit users save time, increase model accuracy, improve deliverables and elevate design. You can give them a try by downloading trial versions or purchasing the bundle for access to the Revit plugin solutions Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, Ideate StyleManager, and IdeateApps for six months.

 

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