Friday, February 17, 2012

Don't be so attached!

When creating/modifying a horizontal element (floor, ceiling, roof, etc) and you are asked if you want the walls to attach to the bottom - click NO.

Why you ask?  If you try to edit the height of those walls later, they will not budge and you (plus more importantly the rest of your team) will not know why they will not change, which in turn will cause fits of rage.  If you do find that the walls were attached, simply select "Detach Top/Base" from the Wall Context Tab and DETACH ALL.

Don't get me wrong.  There are times when you may want a wall to attach to the underside of a horizontal object which in most cases would be a sloping roof.  But these attachments should be done on a wall by wall basis and not all at once.  If you want your walls to come to the underside of a flat horizontal element, then a better method is to set the walls Top Constraint to the level that hosts the horizontal element.  Then use Top Offset to get the wall where it needs to be.

Since we are denying Revit, might as well say NO to it's request to cut volumes out of any walls that the horizontal element may intersect - again this should be done on an individual basis.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Small careful moves gets you big gains in Revit & Football

Here is this week’s round of tips and tricks.  Most of these are things I came across while cleaning up the model.   Not all of them are big moves like a hail mary pass.  But more like the Giants yesterday – a lot of small steps to win big!  Sorry I couldn’t resist – my family and I are big Giants fans.  Hmmmm was that like saying BIM Model?

WORKSETS – Just like checking your mirrors before driving – check that you are in proper workset.  Even better is to setup workset “open with” option so that you must select the workset(s) you wish to work in.  While Revit does not have layers, worksets can act in the same way affecting graphics.  More importantly, you can divide the model into subsets, allowing you to open what you need and save on CPU & RAM usage

SYNCHRONIZE – Always synchronize before leaving your desk for the night, lunch, bathroom breaks, more coffee, or any other reason you expect to be away from your desk.  This will relinquish your ownership of any object that you may have touched and others may need to work with.  Your teammates will thank you for it!! If (and yes it happens at times) Revit crashes – save the recovery file.  Open up the recovery file and synchronize as you still had ownership of objects.

ROOMS – If you delete a room from the model – it’s still in the project.  Don’t use a NEW room in its place.  Look through the list of room names in the drop down window in the options bar.  They are all the unplaced rooms that were deleted.  You can simply put the room back where it belongs without creating another one.  If you wish to delete them permanently, make a room schedule and select “isolate” to see all your unplaced rooms. You can delete them from here.

WALLS – Make sure that exterior shell, shaft, and shear walls that are multi-stories high are a single wall multi-stories high as much as possible.   It is easier to manage changes as well as better reflects construction methods.

SHEETS – If you are setting up sheets for uses other than the drawing set, group them separately using a shared parameter.  Make sure that you uncheck the “show in index” box so that they do not show up on your sheet index.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stumbling into tips and tricks for the new year

2012 is well underway and crazy busy. I’ve been lax in blogging lately with the holidays and new job. Keeping up with social media is much easier when you work for yourself! I do think I just may have what you need for the coming year. I’ve been lucky enough to work on a project leading some talented people in working with Revit (the first time for a few). Whenever any of us works with a new tool or process, we stumble and learn from those stumbles. And when you stumble and don’t know it, do you learn? In order to keep my team aware of best practices and uses of Revit, I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks for our weekly BIM meeting. Think of it as a stumble list of sorts that I hope both my team and you (by posting it here) will learn from. Cheers.


  • WORKSETS – Make sure you are in the correct workset before you start working.
  • DO NOT DELETE an object unless it really is to be removed. Objects should be moved, changed or adjusted but never deleted and replaced. 
  • Slow down. Take a moment to review basic parameters before placing objects. 
  • Think in 3D. Objects you are placing in plan may have other implications to the rest of the model. 
  • Work in multiple views. It will give you better visual clues to objects being modeled. 
  • Use model or symbolic lines as little as possible. It is better to place the actual object OR a temporary placeholder object. 
  • PICK WALL. When placing boundary lines – whenever possible use pick wall tool. It allows horizontal objects to lock onto walls and adjust with changes in walls. 
  • Make sure that components are hosted by LEVELS and not floors. 


  • Room are the only objects that if deleted STILL REMAIN in the project 
  • When rearranging walls, move rooms and their tags outside the building, make all your adjustments and move them back. 
  • Turn ROOM Reference & Interior Fill on in Visibility Graphics to show you where rooms are located and make it easier to move them. 
  • When placing rooms & adjusting spaces, locate the room crosshair in the center of the space – tag all tags are placed at the crosshair. 


  • All walls should have a top and bottom constraint – use offsets to set the height if it is more or less than the level to level heights. 
  • When using temporary walls, place location line along the wall that cannot move - wall thickness increases or decreases away from that line. 


  • Shafts should be one per object. Multiple shafts are problematic because if one is moved or deleted, they all are. 
  • Use symbolic lines WITHIN the shaft tool to show shaft X.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Getting Schooled at Autodesk University

Well it's been a long and exciting month.  It started off with a bang at a new job and ended with an explosion at Autodesk University.  This was my 5th and most exciting AU yet.  Some folks may think a conference in Vegas is all fun and gaming, but this one has a grueling schedule equal to staying back home in the office.  It's 3 days of intensive learning, networking, creating, and sharing that leaves you wanting for more.  Starting with breakfast at 7 and classes from 8 to 6:30 to an evening capped off with presentations, contests, forums, and exhibitions.  And yes, I think there may be some drinking and gambling going on too - it is after all Vegas.

There is such a wealth of information at this conference that would make any tech geek gorge till they are stuffed like a Thanksgiving bird - maybe that's why it's held the week after Thanksgiving.  Not only do you learn about the latest technology, but you get a sweet taste for what's just around the bend in the near future.  It covers Autodesk products and how they can be integrated into your process workflow in the fields of Architecture, Engineering, & Construction, Film & Entertainment, along with Manufacturing.

The week kicked off with the HOK Global BIM Summit and Keynote Welcome Address by Carl Bass (Autodesk), Chris Anderson (Wired Magazine), and Jeffrey McGrew (  This year I focused on the construction aspect of BIM and took classes and labs in Navisworks, Quantity Takeoff, BIM Project Execution Plans, and mind boggling presentation graphics.  I have to say that I found the labs this year to be the best part as you get to roll up your sleeves and dive right into working.  Though I cut classes most of the day Tuesday to attend the Innovation Forums learning and being inspired by the technology of the future being created today.  Of course the best part of the week is meeting and talking with some of the great minds and leaders in the industry.

I highly recommend this as a worthwhile event for anyone in the AECO industry.  Particularly if you are a technology geek - and there were many.  If only I had video of the people passing by on the escalator feverishly punching screens of all shapes and sizes during the precious 47 seconds they had when they didn't have to look up.  Even if you have to pay for it yourself - it is the best investment in yourself you can ever make.  Many people do not know, but if your firm is on subscription (and 85% are), then you have access to all the class materials, podcasts, and screencasts online for past AU sessions.  Check with your software manager and they should be able to set you up with a user name.

Go check it out in 2012 - you won't be disappointed.  You will learn a lot and maybe you just might walk away from the tables with some coin too!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

That's not office standard!!!

If only I had a dollar for every time I've heard that phrase, I'd be writing this from my private island in the Ligurian Sea.  You know what I'm talking about too.  There's always that one person in the office hell bent on "standards" and how the drawings should look.  Maybe it's even you?  

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for making my drawings legible and uniform.  As architects, we even want them to look nice and pretty.  But have you ever seen the elusive "standards manual"?  Is this something that was created when the firm began back in 1924?  Show me the manual!!  I'll follow it by all means but most of times it's either a guessing game or tales told through the ages from one generation to the other.  Who has the non-billable time to print, hole punch, and insert a bunch of pages into an old unused products binder?

Well here we have it - new and improved for the 21st century.  Better than a paper bound manual is a PDF file ready and available on your file server.  This way, you can bookmark pages and change them out as methods, software, and lead designers change.  These "one-sheets" as i call them should be just that.  One single page giving critical information on a single topic.  Keep it simple and include what should be done and why.  This reinforces to users what they should be doing and the dire consequences if they do not.  Don't include click by click instructions on how.  There's always more than one way to accomplish a task, so don't spend time and space on your page with that.

Please do me one last favor - call it Best Practices.  It is a living breathing entity after all and should always be evolving.  Standards sounds so set in stone as though you just blew the dust off the cover.  Try it out - I think you just might like it!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

HOT stuff down in Argentina!!!

I told you that i would find some inspiring stuff.  Check out these guys at VMS 3D in Cordoba!

Some really cool stuff to watch for inspiration!

Check out this video.  It shows just how amazing digital modeling is and gives that WOW factor.  This stuff is inspiring to watch and one of reasons I love working with BIM.  Shown off only the way that Autodesk can.  I plan to showcase more cool work as I come across it.