Friday, September 22, 2017

SCRUG 9/21/2017 Making Money with Revit, Delivering the Promise of BIM

Sam Keville of Architects Orange was our master of ceremonies. A. Jay Holland had other matters to attend to.

Thank you to our sponsors... Kelar PacificMicrodesk, & U.S. CAD. They provided pizza from Sgt Pepperonis Pizza, Cookies and drinks. 

Thank you to Little Diversified Architectural Consulting for providing the venue, hot drinks, wine and chilled water.

After introductions of new people, Ed Tallmage showed off the latest in tech from Leica Geosystems. His was one of  40 delivered thus far. This model connects wirelessly to the Apple Ipad Pro. It is lightweight and fast. Each scan taking two to three minutes based on whether you want hi res or low res. 

Sam jumped into the meat of his presentation. It was a throwback to the early days of #SCRUG when we had everyone exploring new features and sharing how to get things done.

With so many new comers he had to review some of the basics.

BIMX - Building Information Modeling Execution Plan. We covered this a bit in the 2/2017 SCRUG meeting

LOD - Sam shared his version of the Level of Detail breakdown of modeling. 
  • 100 Walls & openings = 10% Construction Documents (CDs)
  • 200 Content that approximates geometry = 25% CDs
  • 300 Accurate geometry, cartoon set = 50% CDs
  • 350 Plan Check Set, fully describe everything = 100% CDs
  • 400 Issue to client for maintaining and managing the building = record set
ORG Chart - Who are the members of the team, what do they do, what are their capabilities, how are they related.

These three pieces work together. Susan  chimed in that these parts need to be codified in the contractual relationships. Sam emphasized that the documents are not enough, the responsibilities should be presented and divided up in a meeting. Who does what by when is the key to Making $$$. Agreements need to be in place. The contract should support the process.

Sam described the benefits of upgrading projects as new features are released since Revit is on an annual upgrade schedule with two interim upgrades. He reads the release notes. There is no better way to see, "what is in it for me". One of the biggest improvements in Revit 2017 has been Global Parameters. He uses it to make the parameters render well on AO's title blocks. It was a major frustration that text/parameters wouldn't line up properly in Revit 2016.Sam explained the Revit Project division of labor looks like at AO. 
·       Revit Lead - Project Architect
·       3D Drafter - Advanced User builds families, does modeling, uses plugins, know how to fix the model 
·       2D Drafter - Junior User uses mainly the site and annotation menus. Could use the Area plan tools to have live updated area schedules during schematic design.
With a proper division of responsibilities, a set can get to the 10% CDs in about a week. BIM Managers have a specialized set of skills that do not necessarily coincide with typical architect or CADD training. Skills like software license management, network analysis, plugin evaluation, and hardware troubleshooting are vital to keeping the Revit Team efficient.

Meetings, they are often not a good use of time. Sam shared some tips to help Production Meetings improve: Have an agenda with things on it like: lessons learned, new Revit Features, project successes, skill refreshing, training,...

Sam's motto: Get better every day. Make mistakes only once. 

Using the roof by footprint, draw the rectangle, add points for spot elevations, then use cutouts to trim the edges rather than adjusting the boundaries. The 3D rendering patterns will look better - I am going to try this tip out.

Keynote Manager + is a software to manage the text files with keynote information. One need not use Revit to have access to it. A perfect tool for a project manager. Link keynotes to materials and schedules. If you make your tags right the keynote tag and the material tag can snap together. Workflow wise, one can use the text version of keynotes during schematic design and presentations and flip them to numbers once you have your schedules on the sheets!

Dynamo: Sam shared a Dynamo graph that grabs all the data form revision clouds and spits out an Excel file. If you follow protocol it generates a useful narrative for your revisions! Thanks Andrew King at WATG. The key points are to have 1) Where the revision came from and 2) What the revision changed. The excel file will have: 
  • Sheet number
  • Sheet Name
  • Revision Number
  • Revision Date
  • Revit Element ID number
  • Revit View
  • and both 1) & 2) 

This .dyn was worth the wait. It essentially writes the revision narrative automatically.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

SCRUG 8/17/2017 dRofus

The August 2017 SCRUG (South Coast Revit User Group) met at the Irvine California offices of Little Diversified Architectural Consulting.

Food was supplied by Super Mex. Cheese enchiladas and chicken enchiladas. Thank you to our sponsors... Kelar Pacific, Microdesk, & U.S. CAD.

Brok Howard of dRofus presented. He emphasized that his company was not trying to remake all the Revit Addins or tools inside Revit Architecture. Nor are they trying to have a huge feature set.  It can be used as a Revit content management solution and admittedly, it is clunky. 

dRofus leverages the existing tools in Revit to help designers focus on design. Their cloud based solution is a database that has bi-directional communication with Revit. dRofus can create and push shared parameters into Revit files. However, not all information needs to be in the model. The examples showed how an owner's requirements or an architectural program can reside outside Revit. With dRofus and Revit side by side one can have a list that depopulates as objects are placed in a Revit model. 

Many today use checklists to verify and confirm the correct number of items wind up in the Revit Model. For example: furniture, rooms, equipment, and so on. With dRofus a single click can place all the required revit families in a room for later adjustment. All the stuff lands at the room origin point, so use with caution.

One can compare square footage in dRofus and have a spreadsheet of what the owner asked for to what is actually in the model - with live updates. 

dRofus also can create an IFC file from the Revit model to allow visual navigation of the Revit Model inside a web browser. With the model objects in a list on half the web browser, one may easily click in the list to highlight in the 3D what is where and see it on the other half the web browser

Doors & Door hardware can be managed in dRofus. It can grab the relevant data from Revit and be manipulated and output to specifications or pushed back in. 

One opportunity that dRofus presents is designing the building requirements and specifications into a standard before any modeling actually takes place. In this manner is seems similar to the programming phase of a typical project. By placing the requirements into dRofus, it integrates with Revit and can facilitate increased quality and speed in design. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

USC BIM Conference 2017, "BIM 2017: what's next?"

I attended the eleventh annual BIM conference at my alma mater.
Here is what I learned:
  1. More and more firms are bringing visualization into their design work flow
    • Virtual Reality
    • Augmented Reality
    • Reality Capture is replacing site photography
    • 3d Printing
  2. Machine Learning and Internet of Things bring valuable data to the design process
  3. Grasshopper, Dynamo, Lumion are software to leverage what computers are good at to improve design outcomes
    • Do analysis to better understand the performance of design
    • Grasshopper can create visually complex designs using math and small repeated elements like bricks
    • Dynamo can gather data from the design and automate repetitive tasks
  4. The number of tech companies involved in VR and its technologies is extensive - Vive, Samsung, OculusRift, HoloLense, ...
  5. Some VR tech allows live design - move equipment in space, add objects,
  6. A virtual dissection table allows doctors to perform operations in a virtual environment using full body scans
  7. A structural engineering firm used scripting to model every structural steel connection on a large project; they used Tekla to analyze and optomize the structure to identify and eliminate steel that was redudndent; the Tekla model was used by the fabricator
I already knew, and it was reinforced:
  1. BIM helps designers make better design decisions and create better constructability
  2. Sun studies optimize overhang performance
  3. VR of virtual construction saves over building full scale mockups (Operating Rooms, Hospitality)
  4. Each stake holder has different priorities, design teams must analyze the priorities and seek to maximize the satisfaction across many dimensions of priorities
  5. 3d laser scanning is used for as-built visualization and to help design in existing structures; it reduces field time; one project is estimated to have saved ~$900,000 in change orders
If you have any questions or would like further discussion, please comment on the post.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

SCRUG 5/2017

5/25/2017 SCRUG was held at the offices of LPA. Thanks for hosting.

We had a smaller group this month ~18 people. The dinner from Super Mex was provided by our sponsors. Dessert was donuts - sorry I missed the brand. Thank you Microdesk, US CAD, & Keller Pacific.

Introductions were short with only a couple of new people. Welcome to the group. Once again, A. Jay Holland, Chair of SCRUG led the discussion and introduced Brent Ramos from Assemble.

Here is the summary of what Assemble does:

  • It makes your Revit model accessible by people without the full software.
  • They can view the model, sort the items, examine the parameters, group objects, save views, change display colors of objects, make limited changes to parameters that will be saved in Assemble, changes can be exported and pushed into Revit 
  • Versioning: Assemble assigns version numbers to each upload, can do comparisons, show and list what has changed.
  • 100% Cloud based.
Brent had a user, Connor Burke, a senior estimator/project manager from McCarthy, explain how they are using the website/software in the design/build and IDP part of their business. 
  1. McCarthy tested many software packages and web services before choosing Assemble.
  2. They add data to the model, like pricing, RFIs
  3. "If the model is built correctly, it cuts estimating time from two weeks to two days."
  4. They use it for coordination, QTO, QC, daily trending of changes to the model, 
  5. The saved views become a template for future projects. 
  6. It is a different work flow from Navisworks.
  7. Models can be assembled in Revit then exported as a single model to Assemble or Assemble can combine the exported models. McCarty prefers the first method. 
The market for Assemble is General Contractors, Building Managers, and Building Owners. For design teams it seems like another layer of work and yet it can be  a communication tool. Designers can see what the contractors see, they can use it for quality reviews and tracking of comments in an online solution. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

SCRUG 4/2017

The local Revit User Group met on a day that I could attend this month! Here is the summary...
A J Holland is the current chairman of SCRUG.
He arranges the food and the guests. Thanks Jay!

Thank you to our re-seller Sponsors: 


The dinner was street tacos. Your choice of Beef, Pork or Chicken.
Attendance was  ±50. There were about five first time attendees.

Scott Davis presented. He joined Autodesk ten years ago. First off, he described the development strategy going forward. Autodesk will roll out new features on a quarterly basis. The file format will remain the same. If I understand correctly it will be a huge improvement. Users may have different releases like, 2018, 2018.1, 2018.2, or 2018.3 and still be able to open the other 2018 releases!

The presentation consisted of showing the official Autodesk Revit 2018 new features videos. You may find them here...

Scott showed a few additional videos that are not posted on

Here is the new features list.

Autodesk has been incrementally working on the font rendering. The goal was to get fonts to have consistent heights between Autocad & Revit. Revit 2017 received many font complaints on With the 2018 release, there is only one gap - fonts in dimensions. Once they update dimensions, the font rendering will be consistent across all text entities (schedules, symbols, labels, text, dimensions).

Last but not least, Scott showed some "coming soon" features:

  1. Schedules Browser - allows filters and sorting of schedules in the Project Browser.
  2. Collaboration 4 Revit - allows linking of DWG files.
  3. Formit - quick material creation and improt to Revit.
  4. Multi Monitor Support - tabbed views, drag & drop to second monitor, better manual window arranging.

Want to influence future Revit releases? Try these websites...

FYI:There is contact information for some of the actual developers.

Revit Tip: use etransmit to upgrade a Revit file with all its links at the same time.

Chat afterwards... Now is a great time to join a firm. There are many looking for talent.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Schedule Hack in Revit

Sometimes, in #Revit you want to add something that is just a schedule. Here is a step by step way to do so...

Only works for Version 2014 and more recent. Behind the scenes what is happening is that you are adding more "headers" to the schedule.

For those that don't need as much customization, here is another way to do it...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Since 2013 I have been working with a specification authoring system known as SpecsIntact. This system uses HTML mark up.

When editing the required submittals, they fall into the following categories:

SpecsIntact Submittal categories
01 Preconstruction Submittals
02 Shop Drawings
03 Product Data
04 Samples
05 Design Data
06 Test Reports
07 Certificates
08 Manufacturer Instructions
09 Manufacturer Field Reports
10 Operations & Maintenance
11 Close Out

SCRUG 9/21/2017 Making Money with Revit, Delivering the Promise of BIM

Sam Keville  of Architects Orange was our master of ceremonies. A. Jay Holland had other matters to attend to. Thank you to our spons...