Tag Archives: Revit

Go ahead, Boost my BIM!

For those of you who have not yet read Harry Mattison’s Boost your BIM blog, and you want to find new and creative ways to be more productive using Revit through the API (application programming interface), get going! The blog started in December and has a lot of really juicy stuff, if your interested in this aspect of BIM – I know I am. There’s plenty of coding samples to get your ideas churning.

Harry is a ‘The Factory’ veteran, having been with the Charles River Software company, the original name of Revit Technology Corporation in the late 90’s. Now that’s street cred. This one’s going in the blogroll.


Revit Standards. Open for Business.

Do we really need Revit Standards for the firm that are paper-based doorstops? Will anyone read them? Usually, no. Most of us only have the patience for digesting spoonfuls of information at a time.

“The best thing about standards… is that there are so many to choose from.”

What’s wrong with the traditional BIM Standards Manual?

In my younger days, I have created a number of CAD Manuals, Handbooks, Standards documents, and guidelines. Too often the original intent gets obscured by committee ideas of what’s important to document – hint, if it’s in the help menu, leave it out. I am proposing we recycle those old dead trees, and move away from even the paper-centric Word or PDF format most of you probably have on your corporate Intranet.

It Begins

You have a ground-floor opportunity. Do you want to lead, or follow? Of course, the beauty of social network projects is everyone has an equal voice. Knowledge wants to be free. Momentum is building. Announcing: The Open Revit Standards Project: http://openrevitstandards.com

The idea behind this is a wiki-based, open source, and free location where knowledge and best use practices can be documented for using Revit on projects. Developing a core approach, that is not specific to any one industry, locale or governing body, should allow this to grow and represent a very large collective knowledge base on which firms could build their preferred workflow. We want this to be accessible to new and experienced users of Revit.

The Tweet Heard Round the World

It just so happens, one year ago I picked July 4, Independence Day here in the US, to declare dissatisfaction with the various industry group attempts to create CAD and BIM standards. While they continue to slog along creating behemoth pay for play documents, not even considering that much of the AEC industry gives little thought to CAD Layers anymore, we’ve moved on. Even those that do address BIM, approach it from the wrong angle. We don’t need to keep debating what BIM is, if the vast majority of mid to large firms have already been doing BIM to some level for a number of years.

Coordinating Efforts

As someone in the AUGI forums once said: “The best thing about standards… is that there are so many to choose from.” There’s something deeply disturbing about that concept. When you and the hundreds if not thousands of CAD/BIM managers out there toil away creating your perfect manual (that no one will ever read), it’s not really a standard. Standards are at best: good practices, or recommendations unless you get a larger group to adopt them. My original thought was – Why haven’t application specific solutions developed that work toward helping to define best practices in the US? For that matter, the only real solid efforts known to this author at the time were the AEC UK Revit BIM Standard, and the ANZRS, published soon after the Gold Coast Revit Technology Conference.

I have since learned from the outpouring of volunteer support for this effort, that this could have a global effect on the way Revit is implemented and used every day. That really has some folks jazzed. If we can work with the existing groups mentioned above, who are already focusing on Revit, all the better. So this little community is forming. As the site becomes more active, features are added and the standard grows, it may just help influence your next project.

More About “The Project”

There are too many people to thank that helped get this started. David Fano at CASE has really been instrumental in pulling this new community together. He helped out with initial funding and build out of the hosted website. The Twitter banter was very engaging and can be followed here: http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23OpenRevStds. There is also a LinkedIn group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Open-Revit-Standards-3993591

Other references to this effort, by some notable contributors:

2012, Get Your 2012…


Like the popcorn and beer concessions guy in a ballpark, I loudly announce the availability of your favorite Autodesk products for the (FY) 2012 season. It will come to you quickly when you use the download manager option. Pass your money down the aisle, please. Can’t yet see them in your geography or subscription center? Get them here as a free trial download:


Direct Link: Rick \”Peanut Man\” Kaminiski

Revit: Back to Basics – Conceptual Masses in Revit 2011

David Light elegantly demystifies how to create 12 different primitive forms in the Revit Conceptual Massing tools.

Uncomfortable with the massing tools? Not found them useful? Dont’ think they are powerful? Anxious about getting started? Let it all melt away… then get cracking, ’cause we have conceptual energy analysis coming up in the next post.

It doesn’t get any simpler than this:

Revit: Back to Basics – Conceptual Masses in Revit 2011.

CADLearning Revit Architecture 2011 Tutorials Published

Why so quiet? What’s going on with the blog? I’ve heard lot’s of this in the more than six months since I last posted. It’s nice to know faithful readers care. Besides being very busy at NBBJ, I’ve been a part of a team working on a project that was in the works since December of 2009.

With great fanfare…I’m pleased to announce that the big project is finally published. Over 700 pages of scripted material were written, then recorded to produce these tutorial lessons. But you don’t have to read them. Narrated by yours truly, I hope you enjoy and learn something new.

Revit Architecture 2011

CADLearning Revit Architecture 2011 Tutorials

  • Over 29 hours of training
  • 421 video tutorials
  • Exercise files included

    Go check them out here, or login in with a free membership to view samples: http://www.member.cadlearning.com/

    These projects are truly collaborative efforts. Many thanks to Dan Dolan, David Cohn, David Harrington, Matt Murphy, David Redding, Michael Bass, Temesgen, and the entire production team at 4D Technologies. A special shout out to Phil Read for putting me back in touch the team after having worked with them on ADT videos way back in the day – was it really 2004?

    Most importantly, thanks to Betsy, my sweet and understanding wife, for putting up with those long nights and weekends and me forgetting to take out the garbage.

    And now… some final work to polish up the more advanced content, and back to my day job (and more blogging). Autodesk University is around the corner, don’t you know.

    Read the press release here: CADLearning Revit Architecture 2011 Tutorials Published

    The BIM Deployment Plan, FTW

    You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.
     – Zig Zigler

    Every once in a while we need some inspiration to take action. Plan, Prepare, Expect. A simple formula. Unfortunately, most people who begin using Revit expect success, while simultaneously skipping those first two steps. The outcome is invariably failure. Persistence sometimes prevails, but you end up with a headache when it’s all said and done. Planning costs time and preparation costs money. Since most architects have an inversely proportional abundance of the former, rather than the later these days, it seems appropriate to plan for your future success.

    I’m a big advocate of planning. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a complex process, consisting of many things. The right tools can help you adopt this process, and Revit at its soul has the ability to be a transformative technology in the architectural and engineering communities. Ultimately, when used to it’s potential Revit can affect the way buildings are designed and built. That scares non-technical architects, because “tried and true” methods have always worked for them. Have they really though?

    The landscape out there is shifting. the design, technology and communication paradigms are shifting. So, if you haven’t bought a ticket on the BIM train yet, or you there, but feel you are simply along for the ride, you need a plan to upgrade to business class. Incorporating BIM into your firm, or from an owner’s perspective mandating BIM on projects is not simply a technology solution. More importantly, it is a cultural, and management issue. Players at all levels of your organization need to be involved in the decision-making process. Additionally, when starting a new project, you need to understand the potential of a BIM workflow by creating an execution plan. The Penn State BIM Project Execution Planning Guide version 1.05 was released last month, and there are some excellent organizational documents there to help you capture critical path information about the project. But this isn’t your only source for this type of information to allow you to develop organizational and project strategies for using BIM.

    Autodesk has just this week publicly released a plan to aid in the successful delivery of BIM projects. Titled the BIM Deployment Plan, it is a great framework for starting to have the conversation with your firm project delivery and technical staff. The process is well documented, and incorporates many best practices and experience from my former colleagues in Autodesk Consulting. Read more, and download your copy here. Give it a try and maybe, just maybe, everybody wins.

    The official press release can be found here, for those who are interested in the marketing spin.