Year End BIM Evaluation

It is now the end of another year, with all the experiences of life that comes with that year.  As such, we tend to evaluate the past year and look forward to the challenges and experiences of the new year.  That includes all different aspects of our lives, including the personal and professional sides.  However, in additional to individuals doing this, organizations need to do the same thing.

Since this is an building industry oriented blog, I am going to touch on what I believe to be an important component of AEC firms in the technological age in which we now live.  That is the evaluation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) within your firm.  While there are still many AEC firms that have not moved into the world of BIM, it is becoming more common and more important in the industry.

It is extremely important to evaluate BIM within a firm.  There are costs associated with moving toward BIM integration and it is important to understand whether your firm is getting a return on that investment and how it can be improved.

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Revit Schedule Title

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could easily give a Revit schedule any view name that you want and have a different title appear at the top of the schedule on a sheet?  You can!

By default, the View Name parameter in the Properties of the schedule will appear as the title for the schedule.  As of Revit 2014, you can edit the title to be what you desire, regardless of the view name.  That allows you to name the schedule whatever you desire to aid with project browser organization and providing a good description of the schedule’s purpose. Continue reading

Autodesk’s New Terminology for Licenses

As most Autodesk software users have learned, Autodesk has modified its method of selling the various software packages and how users pay for ongoing usage of the software.  I won’t go into those actual methods as they are well documented at Autodesk.  However, since “words mean things”, I am posting this notification from Autodesk.  When you see information from Autodesk, it is important to know what they now mean as the old terminology we previously used may not mean the same thing now.

Here it is….

Dear Autodesk Customer,

On February 1, 2016, we are making some simplification changes to our subscription offerings by:

  • Changing the way we talk about our offerings
    • Everyone with a Desktop Subscription or Cloud Service Subscription will simply be subscribing to an Autodesk product or service—rather than purchasing a “type” of subscription—and will be referred to as a subscriber.
    • Network licenses will also be referred to as multi-user access (shared by two or more people).
    • Standalone or named user licenses will also be referred to as single-user access (used by one person only).
    • A “Maintenance Subscription” will be called a maintenance plan—and to accurately distinguish these customers from subscribers, they will be referred to as maintenance plan customers.
  • Consolidating our Global Travel Rights policy
    • If you have purchased your software in your home country you will be allowed to access and use your software while traveling worldwide for the term of your subscription or maintenance plan.
  • Updating our terms and conditions, effective February 1, 2016
    • To reflect these simplification changes, and other related changes
    • Pursuant to section 8.9 of the Autodesk Maintenance Subscription Terms and Conditions and Autodesk Desktop Subscription Terms and Conditions, those terms and conditions are being replaced by the new maintenance plan terms and conditions and subscription for single-user terms and conditions which will go live in early February here.

If you have questions about the new terminology or changes to our Global Travel Rights policy, contact your Autodesk Authorized Reseller or your Autodesk sales representative.

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 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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Autodesk University 2014 Tips

It is almost time for the annual Autodesk University, which is AU 2014 this year.  Since I attended Autodesk University for 17 consecutive years, I thought that I would give some advice to first time attendees.  It seems that there is a large percentage of 1st time attendees each year, so maybe some of them will read this blog and get some tips.

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Tekla BIMsight Continues to Improve

I have previously written about a software named Tekla BIMsight which is a good option for collision detection for building models. (Click here for article)  After I first encountered this program and wrote the article about it in February of 2011, Tekla has continued to improve the software.  The great part about this software is that it is still FREE.  It is still  a very viable option for designers who need collision detection capability, but can’t afford software like Navisworks Manage.

Tekla has a new update out for BIMsight and I still believe that it is a decent program and should be investigated to see if it meets your needs.  The current (new) version is 1.9.

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Mirroring a Project in Revit

In a previous life, I was employed by a large Architectural firm with a primarily residential focus that performed a lot of home design for home builders.  One of the characteristics of creating home plans for builders was that they typically desired houses that had mirrored versions of the same plan.  While this is done in other construction types, it is typical for most home plans.

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Software – The Cost of Doing Business

ALERT!  Breaking News!  Computer software can be expensive!!

Okay, I realize that isn’t really breaking news and is something that people already know.  However, the fact that people are already aware of that is what can create issues.  While various software packages can be expensive, design software is one of those software categories that really is expensive.  I have previously written a blog article on architectural design software packages under $2500 entitled “Inexpensive Architectural Design Software“, but those packages are not the mainstream products being utilized.  For most companies to compete in the AEC design community, they are pretty much required to utilize a software package that will cost a minimum of $4,000.00 per user.  Most software packages also either require you to be on a subscription plan or make you pay a large upgrade fee to remain up-to-date with the software.

Regardless of the method that you use to pay for the software, it is a large expense for each user.  However, I must say that is the cost of legally doing business.  If a company (or individual) wants to participate in a market that requires design software, then the software costs must be considered part of the business expense.  I may not like the cost to play, but I still want to play, so I need to pay.

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Public Entities Requiring BIM and have Standards

The AEC industry is seeing more clients requiring Building Information Modeling (BIM) on projects.  Some clients have very detailed standards and expectations for the BIM process, and some clients say that they want BIM but have not idea what they really desire or how to get BIM.  And then, there are clients that fall somewhere between those two types.  Many clients (especially in the private sector) that have BIM standards in place have not publicized their standards, but will provide it to the design/construction team for specific projects.  However, there are public entitites that have established BIM standards and have posted those standards on the internet and are accessible to anyone with internet access.  Since it is nice to reference those BIM standards, I thought that I would list various public entities which have BIM standards that you can reference.

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What Happened in the Design Software World in 2012

It is now the last day of 2012 and I am looking back over the past year and considering what has happened in my world of design software.  Working so closely with the software, it is sometimes easy to forget how much has changed or occurred in the past year.  Technology and software continually changes so it is never boring keeping up with it.  Since I am an architect in the United States who deals with Autodesk software, that will be the focus of the article.

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