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




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




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




SAN FRANCISCO, California - 11/19/2013 - Ideate, Inc., a leading Autodesk Authorized Developer and Autodesk solutions provider offering quality software, training, support and custom consulting services to the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry with a special focus on Building Information Modeling (BIM), today announced the publication of its first Ideate Explorer for Revit-focused Study in Success, "One Secret Ingredient in Lionakis' Quality Control--Ideate Explorer for Revit."

California-based Lionakis has played a significant role in shaping the built environment throughout the State of California for more than a century. The multi-disciplined privately held firm specializes in architecture, engineering, interiors, planning, sustainability and graphics, and ranks in the top 25 of California's leading architectural firms.

The firm's Quality Control (QC) process provides a system for verifying and maintaining a desired level of quality in its BIM files by planning, continued inspection, and corrective action as required. Lionakis' approach to its BIM projects includes firm-wide standards and a Revit-strong design staff. It also includes an in-house Design Technology (DT) team of Revit experts who create and maintain the Lionakis Revit master template and help the entire staff keep their Revit projects standardized and clean.

In the same way that the DT team peers deeply into Lionakis' Revit files, the Study in Success peers deeply into Lionakis' QC processes, with special attention to the ways Lionakis ensures confidence and trust in ever more complex and potentially error-prone BIM models. AEC firms of all sizes and members of related industries will have special interest in the Study in Success.

Kirk Cox, Design Technology Application Manager, Design Technology Studio, Lionakis, explains the vital nature of QC by saying, "It is always best to get the project back on the right path so the team can be as productive as possible. Having an effective QA/QC process translates to dollars and cents at the end of the day."

Bob Palioca, President, Ideate Inc., says, "While we have published many articles about Ideate BIMLink, this is our first Ideate Explorer for Revit-focused Study in Success. We are gratified that our solution is helping to ensure project accuracy, reduce errors and save time, and we are pleased that Ideate Explorer for Revit has become indispensable for Lionakis' staff training. We are overwhelmingly delighted with our customer's success, and we are honored to share Lionakis' valuable QC insights with the AEC community."

Ideate has published "One Secret Ingredient in Lionakis' Quality Control--Ideate Explorer for Revit" online. View the success story.

Ideate Software will be at Autodesk University, December 3-5, 2013, Booth 1913, The Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada.

About Ideate, Inc.

Ideate, Inc. is a leading Autodesk Authorized Developer with 25+ years' experience in software development and specific focus on Building Information Modeling (BIM) and is an Autodesk solutions provider offering quality software, training, support and custom consulting services to the AEC industry since 1992. Headquartered in San Francisco, California and operating five Autodesk Authorized Training Centers (ATCs) in the northwestern U.S., Ideate is recognized as an Autodesk Gold Partner for Architecture, Engineering and Construction, one of Autodesk's highest levels of authorization.

Ideate BIMLink lets users pull data from an Autodesk Revit file into user-friendly Microsoft Excel and push Excel data into Revit with equal ease. 

Ideate Explorer for Revit is a simple, powerful Autodesk Revit add-on to explore, quantify and manage the 100,000+ building elements in a Revit model. 

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


This post was originally published on the Ideate Solutions Blog 11.19.2013


Read More




Ever wondered what's in a Autodesk Revit Multi-Category schedule? Here's the skinny½ while a regular Revit Schedule reports on a single category of data such as Doors, Plumbing Fixtures, or Structural Foundations, a Multi-category schedule can report on many of the Revit model categories at once, which can be useful for quantity takeoffs. Sounds straightforward, but the catch is that some of the model categories are being excluded. What's missing are the system families such as Walls, Floors, etc.

The good news is that Ideate BIMLink not only includes all the model category data that you need to do a comprehensive takeoff, but it also lets you select, on a per category basis, which elements you want to include. Furthermore, you can include not just the Length and the Volume, but also the Area, which is slightly important.


Here are the steps required to use Ideate BIMLink to quickly extract your quantity data from a Revit Building Information Model:

  1. Within Ideate BIMLink create a New Link that is based on  
  2. On the Multi-Category tab review the items to decide which you need for your takeoff. 
  3. Export to Excel. 
  4. Ideate BIMLink will create a row of data for each instance within your Revit project. If you want a summary, to include counts and totals, you can use Excel's Pivot table. Refer to the quantity takeoff topic for an example of a pivot table used in this way. 

That's it. You now have a comprehensive list of the model elements and proceed with your estimating with confidence.

This post was originally published on the Ideate Solutions Blog 11.14.2013


Read More