Thursday, January 27, 2011

What Do You Constrain?

There are so many opportunities to 'constrain' things in the Revit model. Every time you use Align tool, there is a lock to constrain. Every time you dimension you can use the EQ function or lock the dimensions. TheWalls can be constrained to Levels, Floors to Walls, Ceilings to Walls etc. Then there are details, would you constrain 2x4 Detail Components to the 3D walls in a plan detail?

I generally have found constraining to be more trouble than it's worth most of the time. In a perfect world where I can remember all of the constraints and their implications they would be great but...

Please take a look at the poll on the sidebar and vote on what your view is. Also, you can comment on this post on things you have found worth constraining.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Revit Design Adventures: Plywood and Drywall Quantity Take-offs (12)

We're taking a little detour in our design adventure. Suppose we are asked to provide a quantity take-off for the plywood used on the roof, or drywall on walls? In my opinion quantity take-offs are usually best done using an algorithm in a Revit schedule. This is a better long term and live solution. Problem is, it's not always visual and takes some practice to get formulas tested and working. Specifically for the use of plywood on a wood framed roof you can use the following method...

Copy the model.
Make a System Panel called Plywood.
Make a Sloped Glazing Roof type called Plywood Takeoff.
Convert the roof to the Plywood Takeoff style you've just made.
Make Panel Schedule, filter the name for Plywood. Apply a Conditional Format for 32 sq.ft. this will at least identify your full pieces.

This same idea can be applied to walls for other 'panelized' takeoffs.

Next Post in Series: Pesky Stock Families
Previous Post in Series: Ceiling Bulkheads

Revit on a Mac :BIM Manager

Might be a year old post but still valid...

Revit on a Mac :BIM Manager

Saturday, January 22, 2011

New Revit Essentials Training Video

Here's my latest adventure, an 8.5 hour Revit Architecture Essentials video. I use a model and workflow similar to the Revit Design Adventures posts. We work through a project from start to finish, learning Revit along the way. There are some free videos here.

Hope you have as much fun learning Revit as I have!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Revit Design Adventures:Ceiling Bulkheads (11)

So now things are starting to roll. The client understands that we can meet their expectations so now they getting more excited about the process. This is really good but we need to continue managing expectations. While it is now easier to explore different versions for visualization it still takes some time, our valuable time. We are fighting against the 'CSI: New York mentality' music for 15 seconds and voila! full facial reconstruction complete. When all parties know that endless options are not 'free' they focus on the task at hand.

So, knowing this, the client has decided to explore a three skylight version with lower ceiling bulkheads. This would be considered a third iteration and a good time to Saveas. The ceiling is made with the sketch option. The sketch has a boundary around the outside edge as well as the inside edge thus creating the cutout. The walls are made using a custom wall type that would represent the framing and drywall needed for the bulkhead. Using the Attach Wall command we are able to attached the top of the wall to the underside of the roof and the base to the ceiling. The ceiling must fully extend under the wall, the thickness of the wall. As we model all of this we are making sure that these elements are going to the correct phase. All of the view and rendering settings are the same as previous so rendering is a snap. This entire iteration has lasted an hour or so. But what about those pesky potlight, or 'recessed can', families that come with Revit? Let's talk next time about some problem families that come with the Revit package and how to fix them.

Next Post in Series: Plywood and Drywall Quanity Take-offs

Previous Post in Series: Second Iteration Complete

More Top Gear the track.

Friday, January 14, 2011

ORUG Meeting Feb.10th

More info here...

Revit Design Adventures: Second Iteration Complete (10)

So why did we need 8 or 9 posts just to cover the first iteration and only one post for the second? First, the initial nine posts are including the setup and modeling of the basic building. They really only represent a few hours of time. The second reason is that the second iteration has very little to change. So let's get this done.

In the last post we left off here...

Save as, new version.

The client has mentioned that a sloped ceiling is preferable so we will start modelling that. We need to get rid of the existing skylight wells (that we worked so hard to make, typical) and draw a thicker roof on top of the existing roof.

Phasing is always an issue that you need to think of first. Because the new roof configuration is both roof and ceiling we will need to make another one in the same place as the existing and put it on Phase 1.  The skylights were hosted to the existing roof and now we need to rehost them to the Phase 1 roof.

We render it again and send it to the client in under an hour, all in. (Should have waited a day before emailing it ;-)) They like it but now wonder how a bulkhead with lights might look. This will present some modeling challenges as well as fixing a little foible in the stock Revit pot-lights.

Next Post in Series: Ceiling Bulkheads
Previous Post in Series: Dirty Little Secret

In the spirit of skylights...

Friday, January 07, 2011

Revit Design Adventures: Dirty Little Secret (9)

Here we are, only on the second iteration of this project and already I have a dirty little secret. Here it is: I drew the first iteration 'by eye'. I know, I know, bad idea. Point is, we always start a project lacking some important information. If we had all the information up front the client wouldn't need us. This is especially true when trying to win a job because we are gambling with time.

The entire second iteration will be done in about an hour because of our diligent setup. It is good practice when starting another iteration to do a 'save-as'.  If your model has been 'Workshared' (Worksets enabled) then make sure you check 'Make this a Central file' before saving.

The client has mentioned that a sloped ceiling is preferable so we will start modelling that. We need to get rid of the existing skylight wells (that we worked so hard to make, typical) and draw a thicker roof on top of the existing roof. Next time, let's talk about how we start incorporating the model (with actual dimensions), phases and sheets to complete the second iteration. 

Next Post in Series: Second Iteration Complete
Previous Post in Series: Presentation and Rendering

Book of the day...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Revit Design Adventures: Presentation and Rendering (8)

First Iteration: Presentation and Rendering

We are now done the first iteration. Our goal for this iteration is to reflect back to the client what they said that they wanted. Doesn't mean we have to like it. In fact, this may prove to them that they need some design advice. In this case, they came to the conclusion themselves that a new sloped ceiling would look better.

The rendering was done in a camera view. Interior: Sun only was the lighting choice. The materials right now are all just a generic white colour, as we had set up earlier. There are two section boxes with blacked out cut areas.

There are no titles on any of the viewports which is a setting in the Type Properties of the Viewports. This was simply a choice but reminds us of an important best practice: Make sure that you always 'Duplicate' when making any changes to Type Properties.

The client is now expecting another design iteration showing the sloped ceiling. We might also take this opportunity to reflect back some of the objects to be demolished. By doing this we will have a clearer understanding of what they want.

Next Post in Series: Dirty Little Secret
Previous Post in Series: Adding the Skylights and Wells

Book of the day...

Monday, January 03, 2011

Revit OpEd: AUGI | AEC EDGE Fall 2010 Available

Revit OpEd: AUGI AEC EDGE Fall 2010 Available:

I was happy to co-write an article on sustainable residential design using Revit. The co-authors are principles of a sustainable design firm named Solares. Check out their site:

"The newest issue of AUGI AEC EDGE, Fall 2010, is now available. There are high and low resolution pdf copies available now. I'm not sure..."