Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Taking Revit into the future…..

David Light HOK London explains how HOK has adapted Revit for touch screen technology.



Tuesday, 22 November 2011

DRAWING (S) in_form



I am proud to say that I received a copy of Disegno (E) in_Formazione today or DRAWING (S) in_form. I was contacted by Massimiliano Lo Turco earlier this year asking for an interview on HOK’s experiences with BIM; as always, I obliged. The book is bilingual Italian & English & includes a wealth of knowledge on BIM strategy & software deployment.


More detail can be found here….


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Viewing thumbnails when loading families

Victor Martinez BIM Manager at HOK New York says; if you are loading families and want to view the icons in detail mode, hold your CTRL key down and middle mouse scroll in the window, the view will go from this:


To this:


The more you scroll with the CTRL key pressed the larger the icons will appear:


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Friday, 7 October 2011

Using conditional formatting in schedules

A request was made to me this week by one our project managers who wanted to know whether we were over or under our area requirements on one of our projects. We needed to show which rooms where providing more area than had been defined in the client brief & this needed to displayed graphically on plan. You would normally do this by setting up a Colour Scheme to display the results by a range.
However, on this occasion we just needed to display the results as either yes or no. I was able to resolve the problem which I explain in the youtube video below; it got us the result we needed. I am sure there must be a slicker way to do this, however this rather “rushed” video explains the steps I took.

Friday, 23 September 2011

AU2011 – Citrix & Revit

Wanna know more about Citrix & Revit?  Then be sure to check out HOK’s John Bartolomi, Director of IT Services class. He will be giving a presentation at Autodesk University on the virtualization of Revit. Class detail & times are below.
  • ID:                          AB4595
  • Title:                     Autodesk Revit Virtualization Using Citrix® Technologies
  • Date:                     Thursday, Dec 1, 2011
  • Time:                    5:15pm
  • Duration:             90 minutes

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Using Room Separation lines

Find below Youtube Video with a few tips on how we use Room separation lines in projects. I can’t take full credit for the parking bay concept as I believe Joe Stott over at Revit Scratchpad came up with something similar first off.

Some will obviously freak out on how we add Room separation lines to a specific workset, but I can live with that. ;-)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Program Management Integrated with BIM

The August 2011 meeting of the New York City Revit Users Group featured a presentation by Greg Schleusner of the firm-wide BIM leadership team at HOK. Greg demonstrates how the use of BIM-based program management tools such as dRofus can support and improve the project delivery process. The discussion focuses on the benefits of adequately documenting program requirements and then comparing those to an evolving design model.

NOTE: The featured presentation starts at about 12:00 into the recording.

Complete meeting recording from NYC RUG

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Revit 2012 – missing thumbnails


Have you had issues where your Revit 2012 thumbnails have disappeared, even though Windows is set to display them?

This often happens after uninstalling older versions of Revit, in particularly Revit 2010. Therefore to resolve this, open up a command promote & copy & paste this line into the command line.

regsvr32 "C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit Architecture 2012\Program\Revit.Thumbnail.dll"

You will need to be a administrator to do this, but after you have done this, reboot your machine & you should find thumbnails will return.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Reusing data in Revit

Need to reuse details from project to project? (of course!) Did you know that you can directly copy views from one project to another? Simply select and copy them from the project browser. Then paste them (ctrl+v) into the work area of another project!


This works on:

  • Drafting Views
  • Schedules
  • Empty Sheets
  • Entire Sheets with only Drafting Views on them
  • Legends will not work!


(Depending on your browser organization) the views will show up in the same position they did in the previous project.

Revit - 2D vs. 3D AutoCAD Backgrounds

Did you know there are two very different types of CAD backgrounds?
  • Flattened “2D” backgrounds that are overlaid onto a view
  • Model element “3D” backgrounds that have a physical location within the model
The easiest and preferred method to link in a dwg is as a 2D background.

How can you tell them apart?
Select a CAD background.. if you are able to specify foreground / background from the options bar, then it is a 2D background.

When would you want to use a 3D background?
3D doesn’t necessarily mean a dwg will be given depth; what it really means is that the dwg will be created as a model element
  • 3D backgrounds will be visible in all views where they are within the view range. Therefore if you link a CAD plan in, all floor plan views will automatically show the background!
  • If you want to see the dwg in a 3D Isometric or Perspective view
  • If you want to see dwg elements that were modeled in 3D
  • Because 3D backgrounds have a physical location, they can be obscured by other elements such as walls, ceilings or finish floors
  • A 3D background is not flattened, so any linework that has a height (Z value) other than 0” may show in unexpected places or not at all.
  • A 3D dwg linked into a floor plan will not show on an RCP even if you “copy/paste” it into the view UNLESS you give it a positive offset (such as 9’-0”) to bring it into the RCP view range
  • The seemingly random, bulgy, coloured linework in an elevation is usually a 3D dwg being seen from the side. These can be easily hidden by turning off “Imported Categories” through VG.
Setting an Offset
CAD Obscured Hidden Line by Ceiling
Same CAD visible in wireframe

When would you want to use a 2D background?
In most cases a 2D background is the easiest to work with because they cannot be obscured by other elements
  • A specific background (such as furniture) that does not need to automatically show in all views
  • RCP backgrounds
  • Elevations, Sections or other views where there is no real workplane for the dwg to be placed on
  • Sending the dwg link to foreground will show the CAD on top of all model elements. Sending the dwg link to background will place it behind model elements.
  • 2D views WILL NOT show up in all views automatically, however they can be copy/pasted into other views (the link will still update)

So how do you choose to link a dwg as 3D or 2D background?
Actually it doesn’t specifically say annotation or model, 2D or 3D… the option is found in the dialog box when you are first linking the background as “Current view only”
  • Checked will create a 2D background
  • Unchecked will create a 3D background

Revit Architecture – underlay

Kevin Shumbera explains how the underlay feature can assist when generating a reflected ceiling plan & then coordinating with the furniture layout.

Kevin says – “When working in a reflected ceiling plan, it is helpful to know where the furniture occurs”.

Revit provides UNDERLAY tools to make this easier.

You can work in the Ceiling Plan while viewing the Floor Plan as an Underlay.

NEW – You can work in the Floor Plan while viewing the Ceiling Plan as an Underlay.  (this can be useful for MEP tasks).

The examples below, show a floor plan and a reflected ceiling plan



To see the furniture in the RCP, turn on the UNDERLAY in the VIEW PROPERTIES, as shown below:


What is new is that it is possible to see the Ceiling in a Plan view.


clip_image009 clip_image010

Note:  It is also possible to see an underlay from a level different from the current level, if needed.

Looking for something?


Kevin Shumbra from HOK’s Houston offices shares some wisdom on “stuff” which goes missing in Revit. Revit likes to play hide and seek… here is the process I use to find missing elements (beginning with the most likely cause)


Element is visible in other Views

Open another view or draw a new one.. If the element shows up, it may be one of the follow settings:

What Workset is the element on? Check the setting in element properties from a view where it is visible and  then check the VG settings in the view where it isn’t visible. Or turn on ALL Worksets through VG.

Elements can be covered up by other elements or even masking regions, change the view to wireframe to make sure this isn’t happening. If so, is the element at the right elevation? The family may need to be modified to show correctly, or the covering element can be made transparent.

Reveal Hidden
The element may be hidden in the view, or by VG category. Turn on the light bulb to shows elements hidden one at a time or by category.
*Elements hidden by Workset will not show up in this mode.

Visibility Graphics
Check the VG settings to make sure the category isn’t turned off.

Visibility Graphics II – Revit Link
If the element is coming from a linked model, you may need to check the custom VG settings in the Revit Links tab. If a link is set to custom or “by linked view” then it’s VG settings won’t come from the regular view settings.

View Range
Is the element within of the view range? Draw a section where the element should be and see what elevation the element is at. The default cut plane is at 4’-0”, so elements above this will not show, nor will elements below the view depth. You may need to reposition the element, change the view range, or modify the family to make it show.

Design Options
Is the project using Design Options? Cycle through each of the options in the VG Design Options menu.

Is the project using phasing? In View properties set the “Phase Filter” to none, this will ignore the phase of an element and show everything. If the element reappears, it may have the wrong phase or the view properties may be set incorrectly.

Does the view have filters applied? Check in VG and turn on ALL of the filters.

Family Properties
Edit the Family and go into the view that you are trying to see the element in (Plan, Front or Side Elevation etc.. ) Select a single part of the element and go to the “Visibility Settings” button from the toolbar. These settings can turn off any element in plan or elevation views and coarse, medium or fine detail levels. Within the project you can also change the detail level of the view between coarse, medium and fine.

Element is not visible in other Views

Is the element on a Workset that is turned off by default? Turn on all Worksets on in VG

Worksets II
Go to the Workset manager from the Collaborate menu and check that the Workset is open and not closed. Closed Worksets are unloaded from all views in the model.

Detail Lines
Element drafted with details lines, symbols or detail components will only exist in the view where they are drawn.

Family Properties
Edit the Family and go into the view that you are trying to see the element in (Plan, Front or Side Elevation etc.. ) Select a single part of the element and go to the “Visibility Settings” button from the toolbar. These settings can turn off any element in plan or elevation views and coarse, medium or fine detail levels. Within the project you can also change the detail level of the view between coarse, medium and fine.

Design Options
Is the project using Design Options? Cycle through each of the options in the VG Design Options menu.

Is the project using phasing? In View properties set the “Phase Filter” to none, this will ignore the phase of an element and show everything. If the element reappears, it may have the wrong phase or the view properties may be set wrong

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Social Media at HOK

Social media tools such as this blog, Life @ HOK, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and others are important parts of our firm’s dedication to open communication and collaboration. Our CIO, Ken Young, discusses this evolving practice at the KA Connect 2011 event…

Sunday, 1 May 2011

42nd Annual Architectural Foundation of San Francisco High School BIM Awards

Alan Sandler kindly asked us to judge the 42nd Annual High School Design Competition for AFSF. We received 14 entries many of which were quite nice considering that they were built by such young minds. We were asked to identify a winner along with a second and third place finish.

The students were asked to submit a Revit 2011 model, an animated walk through video, and a rendered image. The design concept was centered around "Sails of History" where the students would design "An America's Cup Youth Pavilion."

Here are the top three entries along with a few honorable mentions and a quick bit as to what our impressions were on them in terms of how BIM was used to communicate their ideas.

First Place, Entry #48 by Erina Yamada
Academy of Arts and Sciences/Build San Francisco
This model contained a nice variety of forms and was put together quite nicely. The student did not spend too much time on any single item in the model and it appeared to be at an even level of completion. This model contained an interesting stair system, lighting, a green roof, and a topography surface with attention paid to the modeling of interior as well as exterior features of the design.

Second Place, Entry #13 by Matthew Lew
Lowell High School/Build San Francisco
This was an amazing model with a beautiful design. The image below is one of the student generated renderings contained internally within the Revit model. This student should be very proud and definitely has a future in design!

Third Place, Entry #16 by Priscilla Ng
Lowel High School
This was a nicely put together model. The curtain system was well modeled and had some interesting forms that exploited some of the advantages of the use of BIM. Very nice work!

Honorable Mention, Entry #44 by
Billy Hu, Alan Fu and Bryant Fu
George Washington High School
Modeling a dome shaped curtain system deserves a mention for sure. I did not find any doors or breaches in the dome system to support entry or a patio or this model may have made it higher in the finishing. A very interesting design!

Honorable Mention, Entry #61 by Baby Joy Quejarro
Academy of Arts and Sciences/Build San Francisco
A green roof, clam shell beds, and nice use of various model elements gets this entry an honorable mention. This was a neat building and a well built model.

Honorable Mention, Entry #4 by Cooper Minetti
Alhambra High School
This entry was nice in that the presentation was well communicated and put together onto a sheet. The student used some advanced elements and I'm sure they learned plenty while putting this model together, nice work.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Allow NWC Overwrite in Navisworks

Tip submitted by Stan S. in San Francisco

If you are a regular user of Navisworks to perform 3D coordination or 4D simulations using model data from Revit, you may have encountered a problem with updating the NWC files exported from Revit. Navisworks can directly open or append models from a number of formats including DWG, DGN, IFC, and so on. It does so by creating temporary files called cache files (NWC). Because Navisworks cannot directly open a Revit project file (RVT), Autodesk provides a free exporting tool to create NWC files directly from a Revit model; however, if you have a Navisworks file set (NWF) open when you try to export from Revit, you will see this error:


To solve this, go to the Navisworks Options Editor (under the Application button) and examine the Model options. You may have to scroll down to find this option, but make sure the setting for “Close NWC/NWD Files On Load” is checked as shown below. This will allow you to overwrite the NWC files while Navisworks is running.


With this setting enabled, you must remember to refresh your file set when an NWC file is overwritten. Found on the Home tab (or by pressing F5), this is the usual method for updating when an original model of another format (DWG, DGN, IFC…) is received.


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

About References in Families

The folks over at Andekan – a company “focused on the creation of manufacturer-specific product familes” – recently posted a detailed article on how to use reference planes in the Revit Family Editor environment. Definitely worth a read if you are creating content.

Read “On Strengths and Weaknesses (in the Revit Family Editor)” by Jose Fandos

Monday, 28 March 2011

Setting a +/- Offset in a Revit Family

Have you ever run into an issue where you needed to enter a negative offset value within a family and got an error? If you haven't... you will.

Here's a nice tip from Bruce Madsen in the San Francisco office that was used to allow for a quick positive or negative distance value to adjust curtain panel offsets:

The problem is that Revit does not allow negative distances:
When a negative distance is entered, Revit will report, “Parameter <name> has an invalid value.”

Create the Offset parameter as a number and use an IF statement to control the length – and to convert the number to a distance.

Steps to Follow:
  1. Create a “Number” type parameter for the offset dimension
    • “MyOffset_Inches”, in this case
    • The formula will assume inches, so we added “Inches” to the name
  2. Add a formula to control the Variable Length parameter
    • In words, to calculate the Variable Length;
      • If the Offset is negative, subtract the absolute value of the Offset from the Base Dimension
      • If the Offset is zero or positive, add the value of the offset to the Base Dimension
    • In the formula, note the multiplication by 1”.  This is to convert the Offset (Number) parameter to a distance.

Friday, 4 February 2011

LEED the Way with Revit

So you’re working on a renovation project and going for LEED certification, congratulations! You’ll eventually need to calculate total surface areas for various elements in your design and compare them between what is being reused, demolished, and new for material reuse credits.
Here are a couple of Revit tricks to gather these calculated values and display them in a nice and easy to read set of schedules. You will need to create separate schedules for New, Demo and Existing for proper comparisons.
First create a new text shared parameter named something to the effect of “LEEDScheduleFilter” and bind it to all categories in your model. This parameter will be the target of any schedule and view filtering for each of our required conditions. This parameter also allows us to filter out specific elements that exist in the facility model but are not part of the renovation scope (very important).

Bind this new parameter to all categories in your model.

Some families may need to be modified to schedule calculated facial areas and volumes (doors, casework, etc.).

Now that this parameter is accessible as an instance parameter to all categories in the model, we can begin to enter filtering data for the categories that we need to calculate surface areas for.

I typically setup a few working views so I can visualize the data that I am entering into my elements by using filters. Create a new view and name it something like “LEED Surface Areas Level 1” and set it to “Hidden Line.” Then in Visibility Graphics, create filters in the Filters tab for:
·         Included Walls Exterior
·         Included Walls Interior (Area X 2)
·         Included Casework
·         Included Doors
·         Included Ceilings

Apply these filters to the view and set a color for each of them so you can tell which elements have “qualified data” applied to them. Setup your schedules to use the same filtering rules as your filter views.

As you know, LEED

Here are some fairly self explanatory images for setting up your schedules:


If you love this kind of stuff and also like to dabble with the RevitAPI, I manage another blog called http://www.revitnet.blogspot.com/. Happy LEEDing