I have been working on a Dynamo Workflow that will purge out all views and sheets from a Revit model. Yes, there are several add-ins that currently accomplish this task, however I eventually want to create a “Super Purge” Workflow that will purge a model of all views, sheets, and elements for me. More on that to come.
The SetDifference node is grabbing all views in the current document from the Document.Views node and removes the user-specified view to keep in the model from the Views node. Note that Revit maintains the requirement to have at least one view within a project.
Then, the Springs.Doc.DeleteElements node deletes all views (except for the one chosen in step one).
BIM Track™ is a web-based collaboration platform that empowers your team with better coordination workflows. BIM Track™ provides a central hub for all coordination information from design to construction. With information at your fingertips, you can get access to your data anytime, anywhere, either from a desktop or mobile device. Charts and graphics help understand data and your management performance through precise metrics. We promote openBIM workflow solutions by supporting IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) and BCF (BIM Collaboration Format).
I chose to try out BIM Track because it has a web-based comment and issue tracking interface. This type of interface is ideal because it will let less technically-savvy team members access the comments without opening any models.
It is really a toss up between using A360 or BIM Track for this project, but since BIM Track is free (up to 50 comments) and A360 requires paying for and configuring licenses and contracts, BIM Track seemed like an easier way to test the waters with minimal time and money invested.
My initial “handshake” with this software was a firm one. The add-in prompted me to register online which was a simple form on a website. Immediately after, I was prompted to create a hub to host my projects. I created a project easily. I was able to figure this out without training.
At first glance, the functionality of BIM Track seems extremely similar to A360. The main difference that I noticed is that BIM Track is actually installed as an add-in to Revit and Naviworks which allows you to easily view a coordination item directly in your working model. This seems like an excellent feature that A360 currently does not support (they probably will roll this feature out at some point).
Playing Nice with Revit and Navisworks
From the BIM Track window within Navisworks or Revit, the user has the ability to view issues, edit issues, and create new issues. There are even some filtering options for models that have several issues to track.
Clicking on the “View in model” button works well. BIM Track seems to essentially save the location of the camera at the time the issue was created. This gives the user the ability to zoom to a spot in Navisworks or Revit which should make the workflow of fixing issues much simpler than our current processes.
Clicking on the “Edit” button takes the user to the web interface in which one can contribute to a comment thread or make the task complete.
Room for Improvement
Being as robust as the software is, there is no surprise that I ran into a few items that could use improvement when using BIM Track in a live environment.
Navisworks completely froze when creating an issue in BIM Track. I am unable to replicate this issue.
When an issue is created in Navisworks, you cannot zoom to the location of the issue in Revit by clicking the “View in model” option. Ideally, it should open the Navisworks model and zoom to the location the issue was originally created rather than do nothing.
Commenting within the Revit or Navisworks add-in would be a “nice to have”.
During my initial testing of this product, it seems as though this is a worthy application for use in smaller firms and smaller projects. I think there is a lot of potential for this add-in to take off, however I would need to conduct more testing before rolling out to a 50-person team of Revit designers and engineers.
As I continue testing, I will post updates with my experiences using BIM Track.
Have you used BIM Track?
What do you think of the software? Post a comment and let us know what you think!
Update: At some point after this article was published Autodesk has rebranded A360 – it is now called BIM 360.
Autodesk has launched a collaborative platform in which users have the ability to host their Revit central models on the A360 cloud. This method attempts to solve the limitation of multiple users in different physical locations who all need to work on the same central model.
If you have ever worked in an environment where you have at least one designer at another office, you know the struggles associated with having a central model located anywhere but your local area network (LAN). Although not impossible, sharing a central model over a wide area network (WAN) has proven difficult – even with hardware such as Panzura or software such as Revit Server.
We’ve tried Panzura, however we’ve experienced several issues with the servers. One major issue is data corruption. I suspect that when syncing between servers happens too slowly it cause s the central models to become corrupt. Even when things ran “smoothly,” we still would have performance of the model slow down to a screeching halt if two people from opposite ends of country were in the same model. We solved this problem with worksets, but I digress.
Revit Server seems to work well, however it takes time to set up at each remote location and is recommended to have a dedicated machine per server.
I recently had the opportunity to use Collaboration For Revit (C4R) and A360 to set up a Revit cloud model. Overall, my experience was positive; especially with the development team so actively engaged with the community.
Getting Your Model in The Cloud
The process of getting your Revit model on the A360 Cloud is simple. Install the C4R add-in and sign in to A360.
Once installed, the add-in will create a new button on the ribbon of the collaborate tab.
By working through the steps in the Collaborate On A360 tool, your model will be uploaded to A360 and will be converted to a “Revit Cloud Model”.
At this point it would be wise to archive any duplicate Revit models on your LAN at this time. You wouldn't want a designer opening up the old central model on your network as opposed to the A360 Cloud Revit Model.
Working in The Cloud
Working from the A360 cloud is as simple as clicking on the A360 icon in the sidebar of Revit’s Open > Project window. You can also click the recent projects thumbnail. Note that this creates a new local automatically; did you notice that your username wasn’t added to the end of the filename?
Once the model is open, you will work as you would if your central model was on your LAN, syncing to central and saving locally. Note the central model location will should now read: A360://[A360 Project Name]/[Revit Model]
Some Confusion Along the Way
The most confusing part of this experience was learning how A360 has two functions. It acts a file repository similar to Dropbox, but it also hosts your Revit Cloud Models. It is important to know that these are completely separate data sets. The Team Hub web interface does not directly modify your Cloud Revit Models, you must use the Manage A360 Models button on the Collaborate tab.
This can be confusing because you can go so far as to delete a model from the A360 Team Hub (web interface), but the model will still exist when users browse to your A360 Project through the Revit Open > Project window.
Note the differences between two files stored on the A360 Team Hub:
One Revit model type “Revit Files” while the other type is “Cloud Revit Model”.
To add to the confusion, the Cloud Revit Model in the team hub is not the live model. You still need to publish your Cloud Revit Model by going to Manage A360 Models and clicking the Publish menu item. Note that this only needs to happen if there is a need to download the Revit model from the Team Hub.
Notes for The BIM Managers
We ran into some limitations of using add-ins such as ElumTools. Granted we didn’t try very hard; as soon as it began to fail we bailed rather than investing hours into getting it to work.
Your A360 local model is not stored in the same location as the other models. If needed, you can find your local model here:%LOCALAPPDATA%\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 2016\CollaborationCache\
If you have a model open that doesn’t use C4R, the “Collaborate on A360” button will be disabled or greyed out. You must either open a Cloud Revit Model or close all models to access this tool.
Yay or Nay
Collaboration for Revit requires minimal training to implement. Train your BIM Manager to setup the Revit Cloud Models and your designers can get started immediately with only about five minutes of training.
You can even have your Revit model in the A360 cloud within an hour if needed.
One downside is that we noticed at times Revit could not browse A360 projects. It was as if the server was down. After closing all Revit instances and closing the Communicator app, A360 was able to connect.
Overall, the product worked well for us. I think it is a little pricey for the service provided, however that may just be the price you pay for the luxury of accessing your models simultaneously from anywhere in the world.
We recently stumbled onto a set of Revit macros that may be of use to all Revit users regardless of skill level. The good folks at ArchSmarter have a toolbox of Revit macros that maximize efficiency on mundane tasks such as duplicating views, aligning views on sheets, and batch linking Revit models. The best part about these macros is that they’re free – all you need to do is register on the ArchSmarter website.
We are currently working on trying these tools out, but we urge you to try them on your end and give us feedback on your experiences. We will updated this article as our experience with these Revit Macros progress.
Below is a list of the macros included in the ArchSmarter Toolbox for Revit
Sheet and View Maker
Easily create new sheets and plan views.
Change Text Case
Change all text notes to UPPER CASE, lower case, or Title Case.
Batch Link RVT Files
Insert multiple RVT files.
Insert DWGs to Drafting Views
Insert multiple DWG files to their own drafting views.
Change Elevation Crop Line Weight
Update the crop line weight on multiple elevation views
Replace existing font with a new font.
Convert DWG to RVT Lines
Convert linked or imported DWG to Revit lines
Align views between sheets
Link-Import DWGs from CSV
Link or import multiple DWGs.
Delete Unused Views
Delete all views that are not on a sheet and do not contain specific prefix
Yes, Revit is a design tool for architects and engineers. Revit is also evolving into a fabrication tool for contractors. But did you know that a Building Information Model (BIM) can also be beneficial for building owners and facility managers?
Autodesk, the leading software company for the building industry, acquired FM Desktop in 2006 only to be discontinued shortly after in 2009. Facility Managers were left scrambling for an alternative to manage their buildings digitally. While the workflow for managing your building from within facility management software hasn’t changed much over the years, the birth of BIM has encouraged change.
A Building Information Model (also known as a 4D model) is a term used for a 3-dimensional model containing real-world information. For example, you can assign a material to a floor, indicate a manufacturer and model number to mechanical equipment, or calculate electrical loads of power equipment. There is an infinite amount of information you can put into your BIM model.
With all of that being said, the possibilities of time saved by using BIM during post-occupancy are endless. With a COBie compliant BIM model, a Facility Manager would have minimal data entry. An owner can track assets in a dynamic schedule (or spreadsheet). The more ambitious building owners and operators might even be involved during the design phases of the building by assigning offices and spaces to employees before the building is even built.
The biggest challenge that the building industry has yet to overcome is how to get “good” data into a Building Information Model. The growing trend of using BIM from design through construction has raised many questions such as:
Who takes ownership of inputting COBie compliant data into the model?
What should a Facilities Manager look for in a BIM model?
When should the building owner or operator get involved in the design process?
How can an owner or operator use a BIM model during post-occupancy?
We believe to have an answer to “how” BIM and facility management can place nicely together.
Introducing FM:Interact by FM:Systems
FM:Interact seems to be at the forefront of the BIM movement, allowing their users to manage their buildings with a live Revit model. It is a modular software for owners and operators who are looking to move to the next level of building management by using an intelligent 4D model.
FM:Interact offers 11 modules in total, with three core modules:
Allows owners an operators to track space inventories, occupancy data, and benchmarks to improve occupancy all of the above.
Enables plans to synch with operations by helping managers analyze headcount requirements and forecast for future space needs.
Tracks all building assets including equipment, furniture, and all other physical assets.
One of the most exciting features of FM:Interact is its ability to synchronize with a “live” Revit model, so that changes made from the FM:Interact interface can be seen by anyone working with the Revit model. This two-way data connection is key for ensuring accurate 4D representation for building operations post-occupancy.
The video below is a demonstration of the interactivity between Revit and FM:Interact.
BIM Extension is here to work with building owners and facility managers to ensure that the BIM Model is an accurate representation of the building with facility management in mind. Contact us for a free consultation.
Bridging the gap between you and your building information model.