Are Revit Dependent Views Still Needed?

Autodesk introduced dependent views to Revit several releases ago and they have been a popular feature when you have a large building with multiple units/areas in order to show the entire floor plan at a scale of say 1/8″=1′-0″.  When they were introduced, they were great as they allowed us to break up a large floor plan into manageable units and control the visibility of all units by only modifying one view.  We were able to get good consistency and increased speed, along with having view reference tags for adjoining views.  I thought is was a great feature.

However, is the use of dependent views still as important at it was when they were introduced?  My belief at this time is that they are not as important for everyone.  I think some users will get good benefit from them, but others will get benefit from not using them.

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Revit 2016 R2 Update 1 Released

Autodesk has released Update 1 for the R2 version of Revit 2016.  Almost all of the improvements are stability related, so if you have been have any issues with Revit 2016, you will want to install this update.  But then, you will probably want to install this update to help avoid potential stability issues.

Get Update Here

See List of Revit 2016 Enhancements

Revit 2015 Update 11

Autodesk has released Update 11 for Revit 2015.  It appears that the release is primarily about stability of the software, but it is always a good thing to have better stability.

The following are listed improvements in Update 11.

  • Improves stability after editing a dimension witness line and then moving the mouse outside of the Properties palette.
  • Improves stability when creating dimensions.
  • Improves stability when working within a worksharing model with central files on an unstable network environment.
  • Improves stability when modifying a schedule’s appearance when the schedule does not contain table contents and headers.
  • Improves stability when encountering conflicting non-unique extensible storage schemas.

Following are the build numbers for Update 11:

  • Revit 2015 build: 20151207_1515
  • Revit 2015 R2 build: 20151208_0715

Get Update Here

See PDF of Revit 2015 Enhancements

 

Revit Electrical Panel Load Calculation Issues

I was recently exposed to an issue with electrical panel loads that illustrated what I feel are unique characteristics of how Revit circuit loads and Load Classifications affect the values that you see on the electrical panel schedule.  If everything is utilized in Revit exactly as Revit is designed and intended, everything works fine.  However, that rarely happens.  Engineering firms create and customize families, and change or set Load Classifications which can impact the proper loading calculations.

Many companies have electrical panel schedules which display the Loads Summary at the bottom of the panel.  This summary section separates each Load Classification into its own line so that you can see how much Connected Load exists for each different type of Load Classification and the Estimated Demand for each Load Classification.  Those load values are then displayed as the Total Connected Load and the Total Demand Load that should include everything on the panel.  The Total Connected Load is then displayed on a Switchboard panel schedule from which that panel is served.  There are many different variations of how this information is displayed, but the general process is the same.  Subpanels may also be involved, but the same issues exist with those loads.

In reviewing the issue, there were 2 different problems that were manifested in the panel loading.  This article is an attempt to describe those 2 problems to help others understand what may be happening when load numbers don’t add up.  I recommend everyone read the Autodesk Knowledge Network’s explanation of how Load Calculations are supposed to work.  Read it at About Load Calculations.

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SketchUp 2016

Trimble has announced the release of SketchUp 2016.  SketchUp has been a popular 3D design software for several years as it is used by designers desiring an easy to use software to visualize a project in 3D.  While I do not personally consider it a software to use for documentation purposes, it is a great tool for design and visualization and I know designers that do use it for project documentation.

Trimble has 2 versions of SketchUp:

  1. SketchUp Make is the version for personal use and is free.  Note that it is not licensed for commercial work, so you cannot legally use it for professional services.
  2. SketchUp Pro is the version for commercial use and must be purchased if you plan on using the software to professional services.  The price for the Pro version is $695.00.

If you have never experienced SketchUp, I recommend that you check it out at http://www.sketchup.com

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Revit Family Creation Expertise Needed

As a company moves into using Autodesk Revit for the design of buildings, they quickly learn that families are an important part of the process.  Families represent entities within a project, such as walls, doors, windows, furniture, water heaters, drains, sinks, condensers, air terminals, receptacles, electrical panels, light fixtures, etc.  Revit provides many families with the software installation, but there are never enough or they never look or function the way that the Revit user’s organization desires.  As a result, custom Revit families are created for use within their organization.

Unfortunately, many organizations utilize inappropriate people to create these custom families.

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Managing Menu Tabs in Revit

When using Autodesk Revit software, the display of tabs across the top of the software can be annoying or helpful.  Revit allows you to easily adjust the order of the tabs, as well as which discipline tabs are displayed.  Turning off unnecessary tabs is very helpful if you are discipline specific (as are most users) and don’t want to see and work around the tabs for commands for disciplines that you never use.  Less is more.

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Controlling Material of Nested Revit Families

Being able to control the displayed materials and finishes of nested families is an important part of creating complex Revit families.  As families are created to provide more options or be more efficient, additional families are created and placed into a Host family.  The use of Nested families has a couple of key advantages:

  1. When the same component is used multiple times in a family, it can be advantageous to make that component a Nested family.  An example of this is a wheel assembly family that is used four different times for a cart.
  2. When a family needs to have multiple options from which the user can choose.  An example of this is a door assembly that has various door panel family options, such as full glass, half glass, solid, etc.

Before I go any further, I want to clarify the difference between a Host family and a Nested family.  A Nested family is one that exists inside another family.  For instance, when family F1 is loaded into F2, F2 is the Host family and F1 is the Nested family.  Typically, F2 is then loaded into the Revit project file.

Anyway, as you create a family with Nested families, you want to be able to control the materials and finishes of those Nested families directly in the Host family Properties palette after it has been placed in the project file.  For instance, you may want to control the material/finish/color of a door panel that is actually a nested family in a door assembly.  If you don’t set the family up correctly, you will not be able to do this without opening the door panel family and changing it in the family editor.  You do NOT want to be required to do this.

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Revit is for Residential Architecture Too

Not very long ago, I was talking with some Architects about Revit and they made the comment that Revit doesn’t work for residential design.  I was surprised at their comments, especially with Revit’s roots being in residential design.  After talking with them, I learned that they use AutoCAD now and they were just interested in producing 2D construction documents and didn’t care about any 3D features or any intelligence that might be inside Revit.  They all had used AutoCAD for many years and had their AutoCAD blocks created and systems in place to produce 2D documentation quickly.  They were very efficient at their system, didn’t see any reason to change, and only looked for excuses to not make any change.

I will state that Revit works fantastic for residential design and can produce construction documentation quickly.

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Revit 2016 Electrical Improvements

Revit 2016 has been released and you can find various sources for information on the enhancements of the software.  There are lots of nice changes, but I want to focus on electrical enhancements. Some were part of the UR2 release of Revit 2015 available to subscription users, but are included in Revit 2016 for all users.

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Canadian BIM Conference

Our neighbors in Canada are holding a conference that many will find beneficial.  The Canadian BIM Council (CanBIM) is hosting an event whose goal is to build awareness for standardization and create an atmosphere of understanding and sharing among users, technology and AEC companies, software and developers.  It will be held in Toronto on June 10-11 of 2015.

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Autodesk Names – Just for Fun

I have been working with Autodesk products for 26 years, so during that time I have gotten to know the names of their various software packages.  That includes how to spell the software names.  I have always been a bit amused by how the various packages actually get spelled, both by people that use the software and those that don’t.  Some of the most interesting spellings are found in job descriptions posted by human resource personnel.

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