Monday, 7 November 2016


This blog post will not contain any valuable information. it's only intent is to poke a little fun at the competition.

When Bentley organises something they entertain you with this: (of-key plagiarism ;)
Image  credits: Pam Bhandal
I wonder if the user experience of project wise is similar to this song. Why don't his colleagues like him enough to avoid these kind of mishaps. You just have to hope that our marketing team would avoid this. 

When we organise something:
Notice: Dancers, Professional DJ's, Storm Troopers and none singing Exec's

btw if you are going to sing about your product: see these guys from ccp creating the mmorpg Eve-online: EVE-online

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Upgrading Revit Project files

Find the differences

This can be a fun game. But an important part of the game play relies on the fact that the author will tell you before hand how many differences there are. When you don't know the amount of differences it becomes annoying quite quickly.

Navisworks has a compare functionality that works very well but shows the results in a rather tricky way. 

That is a pity because a tool to help you find out what has changed in a file from one version to another is a real time saver. I have seen people placing "Change masses" in Revit to indicate where something has been changed. That system heavily relies on the user not forgetting to place that mass and fill in a comment. That is right away my biggest objection against that system. It's time consuming and prone to error.

Most likely, at the upcoming AU2016, you will get to see and hear of a lot of project Fluent. Project fluent is all about finding the differences between different versions of the same file.

This week I have been looking into it, to see if this can be used to compare the differences between a 2016 file and an upgraded to 2017.1 version of that file.

After loading the tool showed me this window: 
Ignore the 33 added, those are entourage and of my own doing, most likely. Modified is what I am most interested in. The changes are further sorted in changes in shape, transformation and property values.

The shape changes are sometimes a bit tricky to see or find. 
Although small, this mullion is rather obvious:

But a whole lot of doors have changed
It took me quite a few times clicking on version 1 and 2 to find out what changed here.  Trust me when I say there is a very small change.
This change is rather odd as this should not have happened. But at least we have found it. We could open this door in the family editor to see what has happened.

Other changes are properties.  Most likely here we see a new property appearing in Revit 2017 that wasn't there before.

Structural Framing
Overall I like how the tool shows the differences for the model elements. 

But with upgrading your model you would definitely want to know if your views or sheets have been changed.
for this upgrade there seemed to only be one change found on the sheets.Therefor I decided to fake it a bit and add some changes to a newer version. Just to see what it finds. Unfortunately it didn't find any.
That is a pity for the time being but I am going to check with the team to find out what is the case here. One other think I would like to see come in is the navigator / project browser you get when you view your file from A360 team / Fusion Team website. 
So maybe the tool isn't ready yet for reviewing upgraded files but I love it anyways because it's great for reviewing changes. 

If you want to try yourself go here: Project Fluent


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Dynamo for Custom interoperability

A while ago I read a nice blogpost about how someone wasn't to happy about the IFC format and that he thought the way forward for interoperability is for software vendors to write direct file readers for each others fileformat. Naturally this idea received a warm welcome from the IFC community. I liked the idea at the time but I did see trouble regarding all the different software versions you would have to deal with.

Nowadays when you link or import data into Revit you pretty much get a blob of data. Take it or leave it. The amount of control you have when selecting a dwg is rather limited. Sure, you can select which layers you want but it's still a bit of a blob. You are dependant of the quality of the dwg.
Linking IFC files isn't any better. You get a blob of data.

Pointclouds, a blob

Linking database, probably with the right queries, it is a lot better but I haven't done this in a while.  
The Bridge modeller extension was already a nice step forward regarding what kind of data you would want to get in Revit.
Most likely, there are many more extensions that will let you get specific data from other files. But that is not what I want to write about today. It dawned upon me that with the way Dynamo is going we are moving towards what I call custom interoperability. You will create the future interfaces between different data sources. Because you know what you need for your projects. Dynamo is getting better by the day to allow you to get the data you need in the format you need it. That is why I like dynamo so much! After AU I will write about some examples of this.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Revit and tin surfaces from Civil 3D

For many years I have been trying to get information from Civil 3D to Revit or the other way around. Things have improved over the years quite a bit but trying to turn TIN surfaces into topo was always a bit of a challenge. (to put it mildly)

But Civil 3D now has the ability to export to IFC. IFC and Revit are of course big friends... But to my surprise the IFC out of Civil 3D to Revit is rather usable. There is of course still the issue with IFC files and coordinates.

To get the coordinates right

The first thing I did is check the ifc file I created from Civil 3D in Navisworks with the same dwg. On first glance it looks fine!
Next I linked the IFC file into Revit. That imported the file to far from the Revit origin. (on a side note, I am trying to get the factory to provide us with the ability to be able to place a linked file with it's origin on top of the survey point.)
I went back to Civil 3D and I copy pasted the surface into a new file. In that file I moved a know point to the 0.0 (see image)
This known point I converted to millimeters.
X = 353265.125     Y = 402261.875     Z = 111.334 (meters)
X = 353265125     Y = 402261875     Z = 111334 (millimeters)

  1. Insert the millimeters values in a new revit file into the project base point . Link the IFC file into Revit.
  2. Export the moved surface to IFC
  3. Link the IFC file in Revit 
  4. To check the coordinates I drew a big floor over the edges of the surface.
  5. Open a 3D view
  6. export that floor to a nwc file. 
  7. Apend it in Navisworks.
The nwc from Revit is right on top of the original dwg file from civil 3D (the one that was not moved!!!) That happens because of the numbers I filled into the project base point and when I export the the nwc file I had set the nwc settings set to: Shared (do not use project internal)

The big advantage of IFC files over other linked CAD files is that IFC files are properly cut by a section view!
(in this section view I have set the the far clip offset to 1 mm)
If you have trouble seeing you IFC file check the phase of the view

There are some things left: 
  1. I have to test the materials. When I set the view to shaded it's completely black.
  2. The IFC file is a Generic Model and not a Topo surface. (personally I don't care)

But image what you could do now if you take the different surfaces from Civil 3D to Revit!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Collaboration for Revit and AutoCAD files

Everyone should know that the optimal number of DWG files in your Revit project is less than 1. That being said, it is quite often unavoidable to link dwg files in your Revit project files.

It has been said many times over that you should never import DWG files. Technically linking DWG files is only marginally better than importing DWG files. That is because Revit will 'import' a DWG files if you link it. The only difference is that you will be able to: Reload from, Reload, Unload Import and remove the linked DWG file.

When you want to link in a DWG file you may only do this from a local or network drive. You can't link to the A360 team site.(With Autodesk Drive you can link to the A360 team site) (or any other internet site) If you are working on a Collaboration for Revit project you can link DWG files just like you would normally. Your collaborating team members may get to see a dialogue box when they open the project telling them Revit can't find the linked DWG file.

Consider the following setup. Create a separate Revit project file which you will us to link the DWG files you need. Be sure to link the dwg files with current view only and be sure to place the DWG file on the correct view. After you have done so initiate Collaboration for Revit. This RVT file now gets uploaded with all the DWG files in it. If you link this RVT file into another project file you can make the DWG files visible. (It's good practise to place a linked RVT files on specific workset. I have placed this link on a workset called LINK_DWG) You or any of your collaborating partners will not get the warning: can't find linked DWG files.

To make the DWG files from the linked RVT file visible in the Host file you have to do the following.
Open the view in which you would like to see the DWG file from the linked file. Go to visibility and graphics --> Revit links --> Basics --> set to custom --> and set the linked view.
( in the image you see that I am linking to the view 15-level. Later I realised that it might be better to name the view after the DWG file that I have placed upon it)
Next go to the Import categories and check the DWG file that you want to see

If you click on the plus sign you will be able to turn of layers or apply overrides

The additional benefit of this is that all the main Revit project files stay clean of DWG links / imports. This is good for performance.
If you place the linked RVT file with all the DWG files in it on a specific workset than it's also easy to not load this when you are opening the project by simple not opening this workset. This is good for performance.
If you are collaborating with other companies than you can share the DWG information without you having to send them the DWG files separately.

If you want to have a look at the file send me email and I'll invite you to my hub.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Revit and Fillets

If you were thinking about these when you read this title then I suggest you go and have dinner first.

If you have ever played around in the family editor and you have tried to create a filleted shape in Revit you know you have a few challenges to overcome.

Let's say you would want to create a triangular column with some filleted edges. See image below, the filleted edges, on one side, are numbered.

From close up this would look like this.
If you create this shape in Inventor or Fusion it is relatively easy. (btw I have had some interesting results in FormIt as well)Here is my very simple Inventor column with fillets. But I have moved the end of the part before the fillets.
If you export the column, you can create a sat file without fillets. (I will use this for either a medium or coarse level of detail)
Move the end of the part after the fillets and export the shape again with a new name and you have a SAT file with fillets for the fine level of detail.
Import both SAT files into a Revit structural column template. Explode both SAT files and next assign visibilities to the two shapes. 

If your column does not have to be parametric this works fine. If you do need it to be parametric than I am going to refer to my next blog post. The SAT files without the fillets can be constrained to p.e. the level quite easily. The filleted shape doesn't want to do it for now. But there are other methodes for this. More later.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Searchsets with ID's

Recently I was asked why does Navisworks list certain property values several times? I know that it does but somehow in my workflow it has never bothered me. Or I never took the time to sort of find out what is happening.

When I was asked about it, I knew that the person was using Revit files made by different years of Revit. I started creating some simple files in Revit 2014, 2015 and 2016. Created the nwc out of Revit and appended those to Navisworks. But it's not the different file versions that create this in Navisworks.

The issue I am describing is when you are in the Find Items window ( in Navisworks) and you are creating a searchset. Notice the double Base levels at #4 (and all the others) If you would select one of the Base Level and add the condition: Equals than the values might be different than what you expect.
If you go to the selection tree and switch that one to the properties --> goto element --> Base Level. You will see that these properties include the Revit ID of the element. Quiet some years ago when I started creating searchsets in Notepath++ I noticed those ID's as well. If you want to create searchsets that work over multiple projects you have to stay away from searchsets that have an ID included. 

Most of the time you can find exactly what you want but look at other properties.
When I am creating searchsets I tend to do the following.
  1. Select the element you want
  2. Look at it's properties
  3. Look at the different tabs to find a property you can use
  4. If you didn't find what you want browse up and down the selection tree until you do.
In the next image you see that the property base constraint has an ID in the value field. If I need to find elements by base constraint I would not use this in the find items window. 
Notice that there are many property tabs for this element. I would browse all the tabs to see what other properties there are that don't have that ID. In this case it's easy and there is a tab called base constraint that has a property field; level and a value without an ID. I would use that one. 

The searchset would look like this. 
There are quite a few other peculiarities when you append Revit files made in different years (versions) I'll try to blog about those later.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016


Quite often when I am analysing files I see filters being used for turning on / off Revit categories. For me that just seems very odd. But since I see it in many files I might be missing something. If you have a good case for the following please let me know.
For example I encounter filters like these. A filter that targets doors but has no filter rules.
Here the filter with visibility on
Here the filter with visibility off
But why not do it here. (In my mind this where you turn off entire categories)
In my mind filters where ment to make distinction possible base on property values. For example here a couple of filters that colour walls based structural functionality.

(I know that the name Walls Structural non Bearing is a bit odd. But its looks nice alphabetically)

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Revit warnings and Dynamo

When I do Revit Project Health Check I tend to do a whole section on how warnings in your model are bad for all kind of reasons.

Some of these warnings are easy to fix and others are tedious to do. Fixing them right away as they occur is the preferred way.

I was looking at this one model with these warnings:

Although the duplicate marks is not a very severe warning it's still a good idea to fix it. Notice in the image below there are 1136 warnings atm.
So I was wondering can I fix these warnings with dynamo without using excel. So I set out and indeed it's possible. :)
Here is the script:
For the different categories and warnings you will want to change this one

and this one (the parameter name)
Notice that I concat the numbering with a string here. You may want to change that to your company standards.
The whole script

Less warnings!
So for this project I have to run this script a couple of times. Choose different categories and maybe different parameter names.

the script: dynamo script

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Autocad block positions to Revit with Dynamo

Playing around a bit with dynamo after a question. The question was about getting coordinates of boreholes into Revit. Ofcourse you could link the file and start placing families yourself. But that is no fun.

I did the following.
A data extract from Autocad to excel and a script in Dynamo to place families in Revit.

Blocks in Autocad
Data extract steps Autocad
Data extract steps Autocad
Data extract steps Autocad
Data extract steps Autocad
Excel fil
Dynamo Script
Revit family placed in a project
The script was easy. The most difficult part of this exercise was getting excel and Dynamo to deal with my regional settings.

Updated version of previous script: Place the same blocks while respecting the shared coordinates entered in the Project basepoint. Basically subtract project base point values from the values from the excel file. 

Below a link to files I have used:

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