Question: Is there a way where I can quickly identify which Revit Schedules have been placed on sheets? There are tons of schedules in the model and it is hard to tell which ones are needed.

Answer:  A Schedule View can be placed on multiple sheets, so programmatically it is difficult to determine the location of a schedule view. However, a 'Schedule Graphic' entity does exist on only one sheet and can be listed by Ideate Explorer for Revit. In the image above there are (4) Revit Schedules and only (3) Schedule Graphics. The Note Block has not yet been placed on a sheet because there is no corresponding Schedule Graphic element.

About the Author

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


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BIM Support Specialist Laura Kay Smith, Kasian Architecture, Interior Design and Planning, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, knew about Ideate BIMLink and had an idea.

As she explains it, "Not everybody knows how to use Autodesk Revit, but everybody knows how to use Microsoft Excel." With support from the firm, Smith contracted with a consultant to write an Excel segue which would enable Kasian, with the help of Ideate BIMLink, to develop Room Data Sheets.

Each Room Data Sheet would have all the MEP and architectural finishes detailed. Everything that was supposed to be in a Room was in the Room. Only those who really needed Revit and Ideate BIMLink would employ those solutions. Everyone else could use Excel. The time saved by not manually inputting data is almost immeasurable.

According to Smith, "Using Revit Architecture with Ideate BIMLink to emulate the facilities planning of a project allows us to set the functional areas required, and visually establishes the functional and spatial parameters of the project. This provides the designers the basis for the development of the design. The continual link between the Excel Data Sheet with the functional/Room information required, allows a continual check of compliance on the project."

Clients have caught on quickly to the advantages. Smith explains, "The client can look at the Room Data Sheets, too. They can take out elements they don't want in the Rooms."

Kasian has now implemented using Ideate BIMLink for every Integrated Project working with Strategic Facilities Planning. For the whole story: Kasian Sets a New Facilities Planning Standard Using Ideate BIMLink


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San Francisco, CA, 05/21/2014- 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 the latest Ideate Software customer success profile, "Ideate Software Presents Spotlight on Sparling: How Sparling is Solving Large Project Challenges with Ideate BIMLink."

Sparling, a specialty consulting firm with offices in Washington, Oregon, and California, offers electrical engineering, technology design consulting, audio/visual consulting, and acoustical and lighting design services. The firm provides design excellence and market leadership to fuel smart decisions in a wide variety of markets, from healthcare to biotech, education to entertainment. With a 67-year legacy of leadership, the firm's 130 seasoned professionals work collaboratively to deliver design excellence in their own backyard and on a national stage.

The firm is maximizing its BIM advantage with Ideate BIMLink - an Autodesk Revit tool that improves information flow, facilitates collaboration and makes managing BIM data faster and easier. R. Robert Bell, Design Technology Manager, Sparling, Lynnwood, Washington says of Ideate Software, "We are using Ideate BIMLink with great success to simplify several tedious tasks. Ideate BIMLink lets us provide a far higher level of service than we would be able to achieve without it."

Large project challenges highlighted in the success profile include ways Sparling has been eliminating warnings in 10 minutes with Ideate BIMLink vs. "forever" without it. Also, see how the Sparling team is making asset tagging easy in a large datacenter project, and how they have been able to accommodate sudden and unexpected changes in mid-stream quickly, even for projects of enormous size and complexity.

Bob Palioca, President, Ideate Inc., says, "We are delighted to see how our Ideate Software customer Sparling is creatively using our robust, resilient Revit data management tool, Ideate BIMLink. We celebrate their success as they gain a competitive edge and fulfill the sophisticated needs of clients on the cutting edge of BIM design technology."

Ideate has published "Ideate Software Presents: Spotlight on Sparling" online. Read the Customer Spotlight Success Study Read the Customer Spotlight Success Study.

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).  As an Autodesk solutions provider, Ideate has offered quality software, training, support and custom consulting services to the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industries since 1992. Headquartered in San Francisco, California and operating Autodesk Authorized Training Centers (ATCs) in California, Oregon and Washington, Ideate is recognized as an Autodesk Gold Partner for Architecture, Engineering and Construction, one of Autodesk's highest levels of authorization. Ideate Software is a comprehensive set of far-reaching BIM data management tools.

Ideate BIMLink powers the "I" in BIM, allowing users to pull data from an Autodesk Revit file into Microsoft Excel for fast and precise editing, and push the data back into Revit with equal ease.

Ideate Explorer for Revit lets users search, filter, quantify and select to easily manage the 100,000+ elements in a Revit model. Both solutions help Autodesk Revit users solve problems in AEC workflows and help the Revit community leverage BIM to its fullest advantage.

Autodesk, Revit and ATC 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 other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders.



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General contractors and trade fabricators have historically used CSI MasterFormat as the primary way to classify cost estimation data in North America. In contrast, Building Information Modeling has favored the use of the UniFormat since the system is aligned with the digital creation of systems and assemblies, as opposed to materials and methods. In fact, Revit already provides UniFormat based Assembly Codes as type parameters in most system and out of the box component families. Even with the impetus of UniFormat, a large share of existing estimating practices still need the flexibility of mapping model elements with MasterFormat codes for estimating purposes. Whereas the adequacy of this 'mapping system' is largely debatable, and a topic beyond the purpose of this post, mapping existing system classification codes with new ones can be a daunting manual task using out-of-the-box Revit capabilities. However, using Ideate BIMLink, this task can be expedited significantly using Excel formulas. We will use the following 3-step workflow with Revit and Ideate BIMLink:

  1. Export our Revit data to Excel.
  2. Populate a custom Shared Parameter value with a MasterFormat code using an Excel formula that extracts the MasterFormat value from another database of mapped definitions.
  3. Reimport updated data into Revit

Export Revit Data to Excel We will start by exporting the UniFormat and MasterFormat parameter out of Revit using Ideate BIMLink.  We will use the Plumbing Fixture category for the purpose of this demonstration, but could easily export the data from multiple categories at once. The parameter exported includes the 'Family Type,' 'Assembly Code,' 'Assembly Description,' and a shared parameter 'Master Format Code.' 

Ideate BIMLink Fixture Type Link Parameter Definitions

The parameters are exported as an .xlsx file called 'Plumbing Fixture Codes' and opened in Excel. Here, we bring a database mapped identifiers we obtained from a source online. This database is a matrix of UniFormat codes mapped to its closest MasterFormat equivalent. You can build this matrix of mapped definitions yourself, or obtain them online. For a price, the Construction Specification Institute sells Excel definitions with UniFormat/MasterFormat titles and numbers. Populate a Custom Shared Parameter Value in Excel In Excel, use the 'Move or Copy' command to bring the Map of Definitions into the 'Plumbing Fixture Codes' spreadsheet.

Copy Mapped Definitions in Excel

Imported List of Mapped Definitions as a Separate Excel Tab

Then populate the 'MasterFormat Code' column using Excel Formulas using the VLOOKUP formula.  The VLOOKUP formula is a function that retrieves information from another database based on a supplied instance of a unique identifier. The goal is to retrieve the MasterFormat code from the Mapped Definition worksheet based on a common UniFormat identifier. The formula goes like this:

VLOOKUP Formula[/caption] The formula arguments are as follows:

  1. What unique identifier are you looking up in the database? (MasterFormat)
  2. Where is the database? ('Map' worksheet range of values)
  3. Which column of the database, associated with the unique identifier, do you wish to have retrieved for you? (Second Column from the left)

Excel VLOOKUP Formula Explanation

The Range_lookup is an optional argument and has to do with whether the column that contains the unique identifier is sorted on ascending or descending order; it requires to be either a TRUE or FALSE value, or be left blank like we just did. The formula is copied and pasted across in all the cells of the 'MasterFormat Code' column, and the values retrieved. If a value is missing on the map database, it will yield a #REF error. Reimport the Data Into Revit The last step is to save, close and reimport the Excel file into Revit using Ideate BIMLink.

Importing a Link With Ideate BIMLink 

The final result is shown here as a Plumbing Fixture Schedule:

Imported MasterFormat Codes

The workflow described here using Ideate BIMLink, expedites the task of associating new system classification codes to Revit families that otherwise would take hours to complete. The process is equally applicable to upgrade to new code classification releases, custom codes developed by specific estimating workflows, or any other code classifications applicable to regions outside the United States.

About the Author

César Escalante - AIA, CCCA AEC Application Specialist
César is a licensed Architect with more than 12 years of experience leveraging architecture, design, and construction technologies in the AEC industry. He has an extensive expertise managing, implementing, and supporting all facets of BIM, IPD, and VCD workflows that includes the use of mobile and cloud technology during design and construction. César has played an instrumental role deploying successful strategies for multidiscipline coordination of large, technically complex, multimillion dollar projects. An innovative thinker, he is recognized as a leader at the forefront of BIM technologies, and he is a passionate educator. César is a LEED accredited professional and a Certified Construction Contract Administrator. He is currently a member of the buildingSMART alliance and the National Institute of Building Sciences. @VCDwhiz


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When the BVN/Jasmax team reviewed the design of an inventive sunshade for a large New Zealand office building, the team response to Melanie Tristram, Jasmax Associate - Revit Manager was, "We have no idea how we are going to construct this in Revit. It is going to take so, so long."

Angular blades would make up the diamond-shaped panels. Blades of varying length and color were both perforated and non-perforated. Additionally, a rotation factor would be included as well. With dozens of individual possibilities for permutation with each single blade, the goal was to have "no double-ups." The tally of possible permutations devoid of any repetition: about 3.5 million.

BVN with Jasmax had already engaged in a much smaller scale project with some similar properties. In the firm's quest for a solution, they had made online queries with Ideate Software and, seeing the possibilities contained within Ideate BIMLink, they had downloaded the trial version.

After experiencing success with the limited Ideate BIMLink trial and further consultation with Ideate Director of Software Development, Glynnis Patterson, Jasmax became one of the early adopters of stand-alone Ideate BIMLink.

End result - It took minutes instead of days.

Tristram says of the use case, "The time savings represents more than the hours we did not have to spend. No one, certainly not our Revit users, wants their valuable time caught up in days of data entry. That process is unsatisfying and it is open to error. Ideate BIMLink improved our efficiency and accuracy." Ideate BIMLink allowed the team to harness the data on each individual blade and visualize how it would or could interact with every other one. On each and every occasion that they wanted to explore a potential set of interactions, without BIMLink, they would have spent a day and a half of tedium. With BIMLink, they achieved each exploration in about half an hour.

For the whole story: BVN with Jasmax Makes 3.5 Million Combinations Workable in Minutes with Ideate BIMLink for Revit

For a detailed workflow on a unique, randomized façade see this recent blog post on computational design with Ideate BIMLink. 

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