Archive | March, 2015

The route to BIM in 10 steps | Online Features | Building

26 Mar

The route to BIM in 10 steps | Online Features | Building.

The race is on. By 2016, all centrally procured government construction projects, no matter their size, must be delivered using Building Information Modelling, or BIM. This will extend right through the supply chain, from the largest contractor to the smallest supplier, and it is hoped, will lead to the industry-wide adoption of BIM as the benefits become more widely understood. Across the industry, organisations must get up to speed over the next three years – or risk missing out on valuable opportunities.

A building information model contains not only the design of a building but data concerning the properties of its components, its construction and ongoing maintenance. The database and the way information is shared is as important as the model itself – which means that BIM doesn’t just mean a major technological change, but an overhaul of the whole design process. The transition from CAD to BIM will be much more significant than when computers replaced paper drawings, around 20 years ago. That merely automated the process, leaving it intact, while BIM is intended to transform how project teams work.

The government’s target is ambitious, but it does recognise that there are several stages along the way. The strategy paper produced by the Government Construction Client Group, reporting to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, uses the Bew-Richards maturity model, which defines three levels of BIM, based not only on the level of technology used to design a building, but on the level of collaboration within the process. Level 0 describes a paper-based process with CAD drawings; level 3 is a fully open and integrated process with models shared between the project team on a web-enabled BIM hub. That is still some way away, with a number of technological hurdles to be overcome first. For 2016, the target is level 2, in which separate disciplines create their own models, but all project data is shared electronically in a common environment.

Many firms have already begun implementing BIM, and some have been working on it for several years. We spoke to two architecture practices and two engineering firms that are well ahead of the game to find out what they’ve learned.

Dave Glennon, project technology manager, and Mark Enzer, engineering director and BIM champion for Europe and Africa, Mott MacDonald

Mott MacDonald set a vision to be an early adopter of BIM two years ago. Since then, it has used BIM on a range of building and infrastructure projects.

Mark Stodgell, IT director, Pozzoni Architects

Pozzoni implemented BIM back in 2006. It now produces all projects to level 1 BIM and strives to meet level 2 wherever possible.

Lee Zebedee, formerly UK BIM manager, Ramboll

Engineer Ramboll started working in 3D in the late 1990s and was using collaborative BIM by 2006 on a healthcare PFI project. It is now used company-wide for clients in a wide range of sectors. In January 2013, Zebedee joined Autodesk.

Stephen Griffin, director, Allies and Morrison

Allies and Morrison started using BIM in 2009, and now works collaboratively with other designers on many of its projects.












Shaft Openings in Existing Conditions Phase

25 Mar

When a Shaft opening is used in the New Construction phase, It is still creating the opening in the existing conditions phase, even when the opening cut properties are set to be in the New construction phase. Does not sound right to me.

This procedure is to follow instead of Shaft opening tool is not used.

When there is a slab that needs to be opened (demolished) to locate a shaft in New construction, follow this steps:

  1. Model the perimeter of the opening in Existing Conditions. (this is the area to be “cut”)
  2. Fill the opening with the same Floor Type as the existing (the portion of existing slab to be demolished)
  3. Select the filled floor area and demolish it in the new construction phase.
  4. To avoid the display of the perimeter in Existing Conditions, Join geometry could be used but this creates a visibilty issue in the Demo Plans because the dasshed openeing is not displayed. To solve that I am using the “Linework” tool to change the edges to invisible in the existing conditions view.
  5. If all is done properly the result is a portion of the slab displayed dashed in the demo plan, no indication in existing plan and an opening in New construction views.

2015-03-25_Floor Opening In Phases

If your presentation Sheets are not going to include a Existing Conditions the view plan Is setup could be set to Show all (New construction, existing and Demo) overriding the edge with LW tool is not needed.

Focal Length Control in Revit Cameras

23 Mar

It is well hidden in the right click pull down of the Full Navigation wheel.

  1. Create a Camera view.
  2. Click the “Full Navigation Wheel” on the right of your screen.
  3. With the navigation wheel open, right click the wheel.
  4. Left-Click where it says “Increase/Decrease Focal Length
  5. Now, click and drag your mouse up and down to increase/decrease the focal length..


Other extras are worth to try the functionality of “Level Camera” and “Move Crop Boundary”.

A nice video posted by TRK at

Brick wall Join with cavity wall and wrapping

21 Mar

When two walls need to join and the brick wall need to wrap the corner the most common result to see in plan is


When I am expecting:

Joined condition clean

Joined condition clean

I turns out that disallowing the join and pulling the wall back where you want it (by align or dragging the blue dot) still require to use the Join tool to join the wall together.

If the condition is somewhat different like at an angle is more challenging but the solution still works. It always work better if the addition of a small piece of wall could be added.


Hope it helps

4 Tips for getting Great Images out of SketchUp | SketchUp Show #70 (Tutorial) – YouTube

16 Mar

4 Tips for getting Great Images out of SketchUp | SketchUp Show #70 (Tutorial) – YouTube.

How To Visualize Complex Data With BIM

13 Mar

How To Visualize Complex Data With BIM.

How To Visualize Complex Data With BIM

 September 10, 2014 By Michael Kilkelly

Warehouse view

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a tool to document and manage the construction process. But can it be used as a data visualization tool? Are there capabilities inherent to BIM software that make it a useful tool in this capacity? This post will show you how to visualize complex data with BIM. 

Data Visualization

There are a number of really good data visualization applications on the market such asTableau and Spotfire. However, these products work best with 2D data. You cannot import a 3D model. Sure you can use Processing or D3 to create a custom 3D visualization, but what if you want to visualize data related to the physical environment? Can you use BIM software as a data visualization tool?

Enter BIM

One of the major advantages BIM software has over data visualization tools is the ability to view data in three as well as two dimensions. Most BIM authoring tools (like Revit and ArchiCAD) can associate additional information to model elements through custom parameters.

Using this capability, BIM can help clients better understand their data as it applies to the physical environment, even beyond the construction, management and operation of their facilities.

As Thomas Fisher states in his podcast interview with Enoch Sears on “The Business of Architecture”, architects are spatial analysts and strategic thinkers. We can help clients visualize problems. A building is just one outcome. Data visualization is another.

Building the Visualization Model

I’m going to use a fairly simple model to illustrate some data visualization techniques. The model is for a large retail store. I’m going to visualize data related to products on the shelves. This is just one example, however. I believe these concepts can be applied to many different contexts.

I will be using Revit Architecture for this example. Rather than model the store shelves in detail, I’m going to use a generic block to represent particular products on a shelf. Each block contains a number of custom parameters which are setup as shared parameters in Revit. Location information such as aisle and row are included, as well as the product name, category and description. The block objects also have parameters for credits, damages, returns etc. Additional parameters can be added as needed.

Product block object

The block objects are sized and positioned relative to their actual location in the store. As you can imagine, there are a lot of product objects in the model.

3D view of store

Inserting the Data

With the model complete, I can now focus on inserting the product data into the objects in the model. Since each product has a unique number that corresponds to its aisle, row and shelf location in the store, I can easily automate the process using a spreadsheet and a Revit macro. I will share this macro in a future post.

Product object parameters

The data import macro simply reads the spreadsheets, then loops through all the product objects in the Revit model. Using the product’s unique ID, the macro matches up the spreadsheet row to the current product object and maps the data to the correct parameter.

Mapping the Data

In order to visualize the product data in the model, I use filters in Revit to color code the products based on their parameter values. I want to show a color gradient that reflects the parameter value. Light pink represents a small negative value while bright red is a large negative value. Likewise, light blue is a small positive value while dark blue is a large positive value. This allows the user to quickly scan the map and identify major problem areas, such as a lack of products sales or recurring damages.Data color map

Then I create a series of filters for the range of values. Since some parameters may have numbers in both the positive and negative range, I create a total of ten filters for each parameter (five in the positive direction and five in the negative direction). The increment can vary — I am going to use 100. As you see below, the number of filters in the model increases dramatically the more parameters you want to visualize.

Revit filter dialog

Once the filters are created, I edit the current view’s graphic settings to apply colors to the filters. I overwrite the pattern settings to display the color and select a range of red and blue shades to create a gradient.

Revit Graphic Overrides - Filters

One downside to this approach is that I have to pre-determine the intervals in my filters. They don’t adjust to the actual values of the parameters. To get around this limitation, I experimented with Revit’s analysis framework. This is a lot more involved than simply using filters. You can only access the analysis framework through the Revit API. In addition, the analysis visualization applies itself to the entire model. In order to visualize different parameters, you need to re-run the macro for each parameter. I will talk more about using the analysis framework in a future post.

Another option is BIMRay’s ColorByNumber add-in for Revit. This tool quickly colors the model based on parameter values. Unfortunately it doesn’t do gradients across a range of values. Hopefully this feature will be added in the future.

For the time being, filters are the easiest and most flexible option for visualizing parameter values in Revit.

Creating Heat Maps

Since the filters color-code the individual products, you have to look closely to identify problem areas. For the visualization to be effective, we need a way to quickly identify problem areas within the store.

While doing some research into data visualization techniques, I came across a type of map called a choropleth. We’ve all seen choropleth maps. Imagine a map of the United States showing population density by state using shades of the color blue (link).

What we need is a choropleth map of the store.

Back in Revit, I create a grid of room separation lines across the store and add a room object in each square. Rooms in Revit are really flexible. You don’t need walls to define them because room separation lines act as a boundary. I make sure each grid square is roughly equal in size and that each square “room” has a unique name and number.

Grid view

Using each product block’s “room number” parameter, I can easily filter a schedule to show just the products in a particular grid square.  I can also get totals for the parameter values.

Revit product schedule

In order to compare specific parameter totals across grid squares, I add some additional parameters to the room objects. Just what we need, more parameters! I use another macro to go through each grid square and calculate the parameter totals for all the products in that grid square. The macro then adds the total values to the Revit room objects.

Room parameters

Once I have the totals in the room objects, I can again use filters to color code the values for each grid square.

Data heat map

This view is a lot more effective for displaying the data. Instead of hunting for individual values, you can quickly get a sense the relative “health” of the store for a given parameter. From this overview, you can then drill down into the grid square to see which products are having problems.

Data grid detailFrom the detail view, you could determine if a product on a lower level is selling more less than a similar product on a higher level. Likewise, you could see if products at the back of the store sell more slowly than those in the front. You could also check if products at the end of an aisle are more likely to get damaged than those in the middle of an aisle. There is a whole range of information that can be gained from viewing the data in this format.

Next Steps

The example above is just a prototype for how BIM can be used to visualize a client’s data. The approach works but it could definitely be improved.

One of the major issues is managing the complexity of the model. There is a lot of data, filters and views to manage and update. Also, the data in this example is static. It needs to be updated manually by importing spreadsheets.  A dynamic link with external databases would be the ideal situation. This would provide an up-to-the-minute view of the space and its associated data.

Another area of improvement is providing a more interactive way to visualize the data. Currently you can’t visualize parameters on the fly. There are five or six steps you need to do before you can view a parameter in a view. Changing the color in a visualization also requires several steps. This is where data visualization tools like Tableau really excel. Certainly some custom data visualization add-ins would help. Also, a light-weight viewer would allow the model to be accessible to a greater number of users.

New Opportunities

The 3D nature of BIM provides unique opportunities for viewing data, particularly data that relates to the physical environment. The ability to spin and walk-through a data visualization can provide insights that would be difficult to see any other way.

Though the example above is fairly simple, it illustrates the potential use of BIM as a data visualization tool. I can imagine similar scenarios for a warehouse or hospital. Using a linked model in Revit, you could also visualize data across an entire college campus.

I believe architects can provide a valuable service to their clients by helping them better understand their data as it relates to their physical environment. In this capacity, the architect leverages his or her spatial knowledge to provide insights that directly address the client’s business challenges. This could lead to a deeper relationship with a client that goes far beyond the design and construction of a space or building.

Delete Unused Views Revit Macro – Arch Smarter

13 Mar

Delete Unused Views Revit Macro – Arch Smarter.

This macro (in Revit 2014 and 2015 versions) deletes all views in the current project that are not on a sheet or are not named with the specified prefix. The macro works with all views, including dependent views. It does not delete legends and schedules.

The macro starts by getting all the views in the current model file. It then loops through the views and checks if the view is placed on a sheet. If the view is not on a sheet, the macro checks if the view name has a particular prefix. In this example, it checks for views beginning with “working”. Note that you can edit the code to use any prefix you want – just change the value of the “viewPrefix” variable as shown below.

Delete views with this Revit Macro_code - view prefixIf the current view does not have the prefix and is not on a sheet, it can be deleted. The macro adds the view to a list of views to delete. Once all the views have been checked, the macro goes through the list of views to delete and removes each one from the model file.

Once all the clean-up is done, the macros displays the list of the views that have been deleted.