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.
When creating Revit families, it is important to easily see the entire family model in plan view while you are creating or modifying the family. While this may seem obvious, by default Revit does not necessarily provide this ability. You may add some information, such as an extrusion, to the family and have it “disappear”. I have “been there, done that” when I added an extrusion based upon a higher reference plane and then had it disappear when I finished the extrusion. If you don’t understand what just happened, it can alarm you and frustrate you.
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.
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.
Revit has three Detail Levels that can be assigned to a view, which are Coarse, Medium, and Fine and these control how much detail is shown for model elements in the view. When assigning the Detail Level, everything in the view gets assigned that Detail Level by default throughout the view. However, there are times when you want to have different Detail Levels for different categories of model elements in the same view. There can be various reasons for this, but a couple of examples are:
You want some information to display more detail than others to accent certain items, such as only wanting walls to display the outer wall lines (Coarse display) while information such as furniture in the room shows a high level of detail (Fine display).
I was talking with a Revit user the other day that was having trouble placing a Truss object in their Revit Structure. After they placed the truss, it would disappear even though all visibility settings for the view were correct in allowing it to display. Needless to say, the user was frustrated. The problem was that there were no members defined for the truss, so only the truss’s reference lines were visible when the truss was highlighted.
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.