Author Topic: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...  (Read 9659 times)

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Dilbert

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Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« on: July 01, 2007, 11:59:55 PM »
I have to admit, I'm partial to using Revit now days! (...and teaching, implementing, creating designs, etc in it...)

How many other besides myself are using it here?    :-)

Diněsaur

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2007, 12:11:29 AM »
I hope you enjoy the space Dilbert.  There are a few members here starting to moisten their toes a bit in the Revit waters.
I am going to throw you a curve from the KC side of the state though.  I just finished a major rant over in Land Lubber about the "civilized" cousin of Revit Civil 3D and compatibility issues it seems to have with its older siblings with every new release.  It seems that each Civil 3D release is only fully compatible with itself with objects created with the new not being recognized by the old of course, but also objects created with the previous versions not translating correctly if at all into the new.  This can be a major problem when an overall project can span a period of years as ours frequently do and there is a new version out yearly.
My question is do Revit users see the same problems with translating Revit files from one version forward to the new?  If they do, how are they coping and if not . . . well I guess lucky you.
Stephen R. Sherrill,
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Dilbert

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2007, 02:00:28 AM »
My question is do Revit users see the same problems with translating Revit files from one version forward to the new?  If they do, how are they coping and if not . . . well I guess lucky you.
Well Revit users have the reverse issue, they can't easily go backwards. Pretty much everything that worked in the old versions of the software works in the newer versions...well kind of. There are some exceptions with some of the data created in the pre-Autodesk days to the versions used today, but luckily these situations rarely occur. This is because most of the designers from those days have upgraded their software as well as their projects and also very few designers from those days even exist (it was before the software really took off).

The problem Revit users have is that they are "stuck" in the subscription program because if they don't upgrade then if they get Revit data from an outside source with newer software then they will never be able to use it. Yes, there are some tricks to "saving Revit data back" using IFC export, but its far from a perfect solution. In all Revit is much like Civil 3D in the fact it's still developing. It is a great program with even greater upside potential... but yes, it has its weaknesses as well.  But often times these "weaknesses" are used by its critics as reasons to not buy the software, when in reality there are some simple workarounds to most Revit issues.  But like anything there are "pains in the rear" issues with the software. 1,000,000 sf buildings have been done in Revit, but I don't strictly recommend it. Highly complex shapes can often be done in Revit, but in some cases its near impossible and just easier to fudge it or model it in a different program. Revit will run on just about any computer hardware, but if you have a complex project then the more power the better or else it will crash due to RAM or processor issues or perhaps you'll be taking some looooong coffee breaks.

I think this forum will be a good resource, it's the first forum I'm going to enable notification on.   :-)

Diněsaur

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2007, 01:04:24 PM »
. . . Well Revit users have the reverse issue, they can't easily go backwards. Pretty much everything that worked in the old versions of the software works in the newer versions...well kind of . . .
Civil 3D objects can't really be translated up OR down.  There is the "save as" option that dumbs down everything to primitives or the "export" option that serves up a collection of the dreaded proxy objects.  Short of that, the only option is to export the data via XML and recreate the whole mess by reassigning styles.  This I can see to a point but I can not figure out why the new version can not translate the old objects to display correctly.  This is now the 3rd software upgrade out of beta for this product and each one has exhibited this behavior to some degree.
I am heartened to hear that Revit is faring better in this regard and it gives me some hope.  It will be interesting to see if Revit and Civil 3D will eventually start being used side by side for site plan modeling.  I think the two could work very well together for this purpose.  Throw in some landscape design features and you could do fantastic things.  I have seen already that Revit has built in ability to enter deed descriptions that is easier to negotiate than what is provided with Civil 3D.
Stephen R. Sherrill,
The Diněsaur
Civil 3D Specialist Emeritus

YAY ME !!!  I made it out alive !

Dilbert

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2007, 03:54:36 PM »
What I look forward to would be a future where Civil 3D can "hook up" with Revit in an intelligent building model. Right now you can use Revit MEP to run your mechanical systems inside you building, but it's useless the second the pipes/mechanical leave the building structure. I'd love to see a complete system that ties the features of Civil 3D into the Revit model... but that will likely still be several years (at least 5 years if I had to guess) away.

Diněsaur

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2007, 11:45:25 PM »
If I remember correctly, Revit does not use the DWG format but can read and export to an AutoCAD drawing.  Civil 3D has tried to work within the DWG format but the files are either effectively view only and full of proxy entities that can not be manipulated or modified or they are reduced to primitive drawing elements with none of their Civil 3D intelligence left.  I am thinking that Civil 3D may have been better served by forgetting about using the DWG format that I believe may be part of its stability and performance issues.  Does Revit suffer any collaboration issues stemming from using a different format from the rest of the AutoCAD world?
Stephen R. Sherrill,
The Diněsaur
Civil 3D Specialist Emeritus

YAY ME !!!  I made it out alive !

Dilbert

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2007, 08:11:18 PM »
I am thinking that Civil 3D may have been better served by forgetting about using the DWG format that I believe may be part of its stability and performance issues.  Does Revit suffer any collaboration issues stemming from using a different format from the rest of the AutoCAD world?
I believe that is well said, in many ways Civil 3D may be better served with it's own file type and with either a DWG export option or more likely, an IFC export into other CAD programs. But I don't see that happening in the near future either.

Revit also has these kinds of issues. When exported out to a DWG file much of Revit's information comes over just fine, but it loses it's intelligence as a building model. So in a pure "DWG mode" you essentially are exporting out to two dimensional views and line work such as you would generate in AutoCAD itself. Yes, you can export the model itself into a 3D model that can be seen in AutoCAD, but these entities will no longer be doors/windows/etc and instead will become just dumb line work... and almost useless (the "3D" aspect of the model) in practical application inside the AutoCAD environment.  The proper way to export a Revit model is via IFC (yes, I have many stories related to this if you ever want to know more) but to make a long story short, this process is still not perfected enough to make for a smooth transition of data. In the end, even with a different file type, Revit has issues as well and the current export technology (and this is true with any BIM program on the market) simply isn't good enough for a 100% correct exchange of data...just good enough for area calculations, material takeoffs, etc.

Interoperability is just a concept today with most of these programs and not a reality. It's like having people that speak 2 different languages translating their information into a third, neutral language for translation into their own. In most cases they'll be able to understand each other and translate it properly, but in other cases something will just get lost/messed-up in translation. It will still be a few years before they master this translation of their languages into this universally understood one (IFC).
« Last Edit: July 05, 2007, 08:20:13 PM by Dilbert »

Diněsaur

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2007, 02:39:44 AM »
Thank you, I was hoping that Revit had passed beyond some of those hurdles.
Is Revit seeing more use on larger commercial projects or has it found a better home in residential?  If it could find a profit in the residential market it would be a major help with some of the problem spots we are having in the land development business.  When we put in a street and lay out the utilities, all of our calculations, designs and construction made to one-hundredth of a foot stop at the curbs and easement lines.  All we have beyond those lines is an educated guess based the 20 some years experience of our boss as to how a house will be positioned and where the utility connections need to be provided.  At times the guess is not correct and creativity is called for.  I know of one major development here where the owner failed to listen to those guesses where the lots are sitting vacant with infrastructure complete for the last 3 years.  No local builders have approved plans that will fit on these lots and the cost of making modifications to achieve an attractive plan that will fit is prohibitive.  I could see a Revit model of an assortment of floor plans placed on a Civil 3D model of the lot with utility locations being morphed into a combined model that would work and be marketable.  In addition to this kind of remedial work, Revit models could be used during the design phase to insure a lot is produced that can accommodate either a wide range of plans or optimized for a specific plan.  It becoming increasingly common for something like an architectural site plan with complete topographic information required to be approved before building permits are issued and our current method (unchanged since r9) is starting to fall short when things get dicey.
Stephen R. Sherrill,
The Diněsaur
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YAY ME !!!  I made it out alive !

Dilbert

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2007, 08:16:51 AM »
Is Revit seeing more use on larger commercial projects or has it found a better home in residential?  

I could see a Revit model of an assortment of floor plans placed on a Civil 3D model of the lot with utility locations being morphed into a combined model that would work and be marketable.  In addition to this kind of remedial work, Revit models could be used during the design phase to insure a lot is produced that can accommodate either a wide range of plans or optimized for a specific plan. 

You asked if Revit has found a home in Residential or is it used more on larger commercial projects. The answer is yes to both questions.  By the numbers, the larger your firm is the more likely you are to use BIM software like Revit. As a result, a very small amount (by percentage) of single practitioners use Revit and BIM programs in general while nearly 60% of large firms use BIM programs in some way (not on every project, just in some way on specific projects).  As a result of this, you are much more likely to hear stories of people using BIM on larger commercial projects or in government work where the GSA is now requiring BIM software be used to generate a BIM deliverable. BUT perhaps the group of individuals that are the most passionate about the product are the small firms that use it for their residential work. It's fast, easy to use, and produces visualizations for clients on the fly just like the "big boys" can do.  Ultimately due to the wide scope of projects the large firms are adopting it faster and for commercial projects, but the residential guys are enjoying the benefits as well.

I personally come from a builder background having worked for a large St Louis area homebuilder for 4 years as well as an architect that specialized in their plans (plus I worked for a national homeplans company that supplied similar plans).  I too wish for that "data exchange" between Civil 3D and Revit... and it can do it to the level you want. It's easy to create a Revit model to work with your site data for relationships, the only question being where you place this model. Personally I would likely "link in" your site surface into the Revit model (similar to an Xref) and design (arrange) my buildings per your site data.  The utilities would realistically need to be drawn in Civil 3D, but Revit could do it as well if all you needed was a rough representation of these utilities and how they relate to the site (it might take a while to develop this process, but I can visualize how the process could/would work). Actually if all you cared about is getting this to work and not an actual architectural visualization, I would likely just create a massing model in Revit which is a very low detail model that represents the shell of the structure and then just adjust these "blocks" until they worked with the site.  I'd then "swap in" the buildings at the time a true walk-thru visualization was required.

Diněsaur

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2007, 05:50:21 PM »
Very fun stuff here Brian.  I was thinking specifically about working with a Revit model for the editing chores on the house plans after conflicts were discovered, but another member offered up a model that leads me to believe this will be easier to accomplish than I thought.  This model from a completely different platform was intergrated in my subdivision easily as an xref and positioned into a suitable location and elevation within minutes.  Exporting my model the other direction was less successful, but I am still working on that one.  The bottom line is that I think this idea is much closer than I thought.
Stephen R. Sherrill,
The Diněsaur
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YAY ME !!!  I made it out alive !

Dilbert

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2007, 02:11:15 AM »
I've actually done exactly what you are talking about on a small scale in my office so yes, I know it can be done, I've just never seen it done personally on a project of any real size.  Let me know how it works out for you! Also, if you have any problems feel free to let me know, I'd be happy to try to help figure out solutions for you or be here to bounce ideas off of.

Diněsaur

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2007, 05:45:11 PM »
The idea of using a link to a massing model like you described would be perfect.  The only special requirements I can think of would be to have the insert point for the model to have a z value of zero and that it be located preferably at the top of finished floor elevation (preferred) or at the elevation of the lowest floor served by sanitary sewer.
I guess the real test would be this . . .
I am sent a model that does not physically fit within the building envelope of the lot.  How much work is involved using Revit to modify the plans to make it say 18" smaller or similar changes and generate a set of plans for approval and building permits?
Stephen R. Sherrill,
The Diněsaur
Civil 3D Specialist Emeritus

YAY ME !!!  I made it out alive !

Dilbert

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2007, 08:29:00 PM »
I am sent a model that does not physically fit within the building envelope of the lot.  How much work is involved using Revit to modify the plans to make it say 18" smaller or similar changes and generate a set of plans for approval and building permits?
Well.... from a technology perspective its easy. Move a wall in Revit and all the dimensions, the roof, the attached walls, etc will all move with it automatically updating the set.  But if you are already battling with narrow hallways, small bathrooms, staircases that barely meet clearance requirements, etc then you could have design issues that can be difficult to overcome. So from a Revit perspective it would be easy, but from a floor plan perspective I've seen losing 1' or 2' become almost devastating to keep it meeting code. I once had a house where doing this very thing forced me to put a landing on the staircase, turning it into an "L" shaped stair, forced a closet to be moved, the back door to be placed a bit off-center, and resulted in me needing to adjust the back elevation slightly for aesthetic reasons which affected the second floor as well. 

But in a "semi-perfect" world... it shouldn't be much trouble as long as nothing needs to be re-engineered.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2007, 08:31:31 PM by Dilbert »

Diněsaur

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2007, 09:20:54 PM »
. . . But in a "semi-perfect" world... it shouldn't be much trouble as long as nothing needs to be re-engineered.
THAT is what I was hoping to see.  Sometimes, the changes needed would just not be possible and it would appear that answer can come very quickly with Revit.  With the current solutions in place around here, the difference in a sale and no sale would depend as much on would the buyer wait a few days for revised house plans before going to that other subdivision as CAN they be modified.
On this side of Missouri, we are still in the era of the developer generating lots for independent builders who may even have plans generated by hand or possibly some low end cad program, so much of this discussion is purely theory for my current situation, but this is starting to change.  The slowdown we are just entering could easily see that era end forever in favor of the builder / developer who has a portfolio of houses to design for from the start.
Stephen R. Sherrill,
The Diněsaur
Civil 3D Specialist Emeritus

YAY ME !!!  I made it out alive !

Dilbert

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Re: Finally a forum I can stretch out in...
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2007, 09:40:09 PM »
On this side of the state there are the "major" builders (the big 10-15) then everybody else who do things as you describe. The big guys have their own portfolios which also may vary depending on the needs of the community they are looking to enter into and typically they demand CAD drawings. As for myself, 5 years ago I worked for the then #7-#8 builder in the area and they did the same thing many of the other builders do: They have their "set" standards that they modify depending on the community. Revit is perfect for this kind of situation as you can quickly "flip" wall types/doors/windows/etc in and out of the model to create new variations without changing the main core dramatically while quickly seeing relationship issues as they occur. Yes, Revit may frustrate you at times depending on exactly what you want to do/need to model, but overall its specialty is the ability to crank out construction documentation quickly, coordinated, and accurately.

As far as turn around time, I can make most changes in a few minutes to a few hours to a pre-developed set of plans in all but the most unusual situations. Widen/narrow the house? It'll take me longer to print the revised set than to make the changes if the design/codes are not dramatically effected.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2007, 09:41:58 PM by Dilbert »