Archive for category Revit

When I say BIM what do you think? The US Army Corp of Engineers thinks Revit

While I am no shill, I just pasted this straight from the wire.  Info you can use?  Maybe/Maybe not, but if your trying get on schedule with the US Government for projects, I’d say knowing Revit is better than not knowing it, and here’s another data point why.

USACE Selects Autodesk Software Solutions for Mission Critical Applications

LAS VEGAS, Nov 29, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Autodesk University:

Autodesk, Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!adsk/quotes/nls/adsk (ADSK 36.53, +1.24, +3.51%) , a world leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, today announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), has signed a multi-flex, enterprise license agreement for Autodesk products and Autodesk-related services and training. The contract value of the deal is $6 million over a three year period and includes access to the following Autodesk products: the Autodesk Revit family of products; AutoCAD Civil 3D software; and Autodesk Navisworks software products, among others.

“We are extremely pleased to further strengthen our long-standing relationship with the USACE with this agreement,” said Bill Goodson, vice president, North American public sector and utility sales, at Autodesk. “Autodesk software plays a vital role in helping USACE provide quality and responsive engineering services to over 37,000 employees in 90 countries worldwide. This agreement ensures USACE will have full access to the latest innovative Building Information Modeling (BIM) software tools and professional services to support its national defense mission. The flexible and concurrent licensing Autodesk is offering the USACE will provide better asset management and version control.”

Autodesk Software Products: Mission Critical Solutions for USACE

As BIM-based designs are required by the General Services Administration (GSA), the USACE now requires a BIM-based design approach for all vertical military construction (MILCON) projects in fiscal year 2010 and beyond. With today’s announcement, the USACE will now have complete access to Autodesk’s BIM family of products, including Autodesk Revit Architecture software and Navisworks software products. By having access to the BIM products, USACE personnel — who deal with managing building construction, operations and maintenance — will have the software tools and training necessary to take better advantage of the 3D building models being delivered by design contractors.

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Reality Capture #2 on Autodesk Labs Hit List : Project Galileo to join other tools. BIM

As reported by Matt Ball, Brian Mathews, the Autodesk VP in charge of Autodesk Labs,  gave a media briefing updating ‘his Seven Technology Trends lecture with example projects.’  Reality capture or as otherwise stated, turning analog into digital, being #2 on the hit list.  So capturing the Built Environment is starting to get serious traction, and while I hesitate to use the word traction, well, that’s what its getting.

Previously in the conversation  people would talk about all the wonderful things software can do for buildings, then you realize the majority of construction is in the built environment and it becomes, well just give me the building, or at lest the digital equivalent of the building and look at the wonderful things software can do, however, most presupposed the digital equivalent of the building.  Not anymore, more and more companies are releasing software and tools to capture the built environment, or call it reality capture if you like, but soon there are going to be a lot more tools on your shelf.

Autodesk has released, Project Photofly . and will soon release Project Galileo which according to its splash page, “is an easy-to-use planning tool for creating 3D city models from civil, geospatial and building data, and 3D models.”  Plus Autodesk has release shape extraction tools from PointClouds directly inside of AutoCAD.  Rand Technology/Avatech/Imaginit hybrid has released PointCloud manipulation tools inside of Revit and we are in the final beta of PKNail, a PPLT (Point to Point Laser Technology) system that allows a user to drive Revit commands and enter dimensional data directly from a range finder allowing a user to build a Revit model in the field.  Plus we recently saw the beautiful kinect hack allowing a user to capture and even measure 3D video.  I can’t say which technology or mixture of technologies will work best for you, but your job is going to get easier.

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Laser to Revit : Laser to BIM : New Tools to Capture the Built Environment

With PointKnown’s introduction of PKNail and PPLT (Point to Point Laser Technology) utilizing a Leica Disto and Rand Technologies recent press release announcing the ability to manipulate and manage laser scan, point cloud data within Revit the opportunity and tools to capture existing conditions continues to grow.  Combine that with the growing need to capture existing conditions for energy modeling and retrofits and you can see an industry emerging, not just using it for special circumstances but start capturing existing structures in 3D/BIM for uses that range from space planning, facility management, energy audits and beyond.

While it has been reported and analyzed that some of the biggest frustrations, time sinks and expenditures is that lack of interoperability between software, and redundant efforts between disciplines, that is creating the same thing, many times for each discipline the advent of BIM authoring tools like Revit, and ways to combine and work with them can help firms and individuals reduce rework and create more opportunities for their design and construction work; looks like a win all around.  And with these technologies firms can start on existing structures in BIM and Revit and have all the benefits.

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Survey Angled Walls in Revit with a Disto and PKNail

One of the tougher issues and part of any surveyors work flow is to capture non-orthogonal (i.e. angled) geometry correctly the first time.  This increases in importance if the angles are played throughout the building and especially if they are part of the exterior.  In order to help users capture a building’s geometry in Revit while in the field PointKnown has incorporated triangulation and a close room function as part of our PKNail Building Surveying Software.   Having the Disto drive Revit allows quicker data capture and increased accuracy.  And while many of  us might want to be watching videos of the beach in August I still included the process here as well.

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Revit As Built : Field BIM Technology : Build Digitally As You Measure : #BIM #Revit

It’s been a haul and it starts with a quote from Irwin Jungreis one of the founders of Revit who I spoke to early in the process, ‘we never intended Revit to have an API,’ he said with a smile. ” It was supposed to be so good it would never need 3rd Party applications.”  “WHAT?!” you say.  I believe Irwin at the point understood the original hubris of that statement but then again I spoke to him after they sold out to Autodesk.  “So what” we thought and we continued to forge ahead with an  API that had as much horsepower as my old Puch moped.  Thank you Autodesk for your continued efforts in beefing up the API but it has been a bear.

PointKnown is getting closer to releasing the commercial version of PKNail;  it’s building surveying software.  PKNail was programmed behind 7 years of building surveying experience.   Our intention was to:

  • Automate many of the rote tasks when creating existing conditions surveys of a building
  • Create repeatable work flows
  • Increase speed and accuracy by linking measurements directly into Revit

We understand surveying can be the bane of some people’s existence and it is a necessary evil to almost all projects, that is having accurate information to start the project.  While we never considered it a bane or evil but when we would put on  lunch and learns and dog and pony shows we usually got one of two reactions.  One, where have you been my whole life I hate surveying or two, will you sell us the software because we do all our own measuring.  We get it.  And building in real time, in the field makes thing easier and building inside a familiar platform, and one that you will be designing or working in anyway makes you more productive right out of the box.  I look forward to your feedback, comments we’re here to work with you.  And to summarize my last statement in the video, ‘We’re much better at designing surveying  software than making videos,’ but even comments on our production and lack of directing talents are welcome.  Thanks for reading.  – jim

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Revit As Built : Field BIM : Existing Conditions

While I don’t usually take the time to pump my own gas with this blog I wanted to share the complete reversal in our deliverables over the last year.  It used to be, way back at the end of 2008 that we delivered most of our building surveys in 2D AutoCAD format, now we would build in 3D, normally in ADT but our clients wanted 2D AutoCAD.  From a surveying perspective a 3D object oriented universe worked better for us because essentially all the views were coordinated, that is build it in the floorplan directly, it is represented in elevation correctly.  Anyone who has keyed up a plan in 2D knows where I am coming from, which if you are here reading this, means you know what I am talking about.  Now, however, the bulk of what we do is deliver as-builts in Revit.  The GSA requiring BIM has a lot to do with it, I believe, and Autodesk being the biggest player in the US means Revit becomes the default.  Whether you like that or not does not matter, that’s the reality.

Recently we have performed as built surveys at Phillips Exeter and Emmanuel College and we were field testing our laser to BIM technology, PKNail.  It was created to capture typical conditions quickly and accurately.  If you wanted to capture the Capitol Dome, I would suggest laser scanning, for capturing most situations Point to Point Laser Scanning (PPLT) should work just fine.  PKNail converts measurements directly into a Revit workstation-wirelessly, measure a wall that wall is entered into Revit, encounter a door, window, Fire Extinguisher Cabinet, sink, if you can measure it, it can be placed quickly and easily into the model.

Lastly, if the deliverable is 2D CAD, exporting views from Revit to AutoCAD sheets is a snap. Here’s a long winded Autodesk treatise on the subject or well, it looks like I will need to update with a screen capture video the quick process but the resulting CAD contains some of the meta information collected in 3D, such as 30″ Door, rather than creating anonymous objects.   Next post will follow in short order with a sneak peak of some of the features and the connectivity between Revit and a Leica Disto enabled by PointKnown surveying software.

Thanks for tolerating some self promotion.

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Autodesk : Solar Radiation : Revit 2011 Preview

It looks like Autodesk continues to integrate technology from their Ecotect purchase into their products.  Solar Radiation studies are now available through Revit 2011.  It is available through Autodesk Labs and is limited release for preview and feedback.  Visit the Autodesk Labs site to sign up.  Or view below.

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BIM : Explode Value Engineering : #BIM #AIA #Revit

I am not an architect, nor do I play one on tv I simply have a small company that surveys buildings. While that may not qualify me to design one I have had the benefit of being in hundreds of buildings, surveyed them, see how they were put together, and they functioned with people in them, so with this little bit of information I feel qualified on commenting on architecture in general. And before I start I want to say that I believe architecture has the ability to transform and inspire like few other arts or disciplines because I can walk by a statue without noticing it (which I hope I don’t but were all in a hurry sometimes) but tougher still to ignore the building you are entering, or working in or even passing by, however, with that said I am unfortunately underwhelmed by most buildings I’ve been in or pass by, or have worked in. Too often we exist in a world that is value engineered, that is something has been designed to be produced as inexpensively as possible. I understand that, less expensively built; more people can afford to purchase; we all win, fine. Good in cars and televisions, unfortunate in buildings. We live in a center core, curtain wall efficiency that drains most of the fun, awe and art straight out of a building. And if you are trying to do something inexpensive, yet impressive this too can be a daunting task. But there are examples, artchitect turning shipping containers into homes comes to mind, like Adam Kalkin, Another is a home we surveyed designed by Carl Koch as part of community on Snake Hill. Now personally I thought it was fantastically ugly from the outside, looked like a box, seemed kind of cheap but as I entered the house, which still had all its original materials and finishes I was amazed how everything made sense, nothing wasted, coherent, took advantage of passive solar while providing lots of light and a great view, lines were simple, I was impressed but again this happens so seldom.

However, I have hope more and more architects are designing in 3D, even Architects who never once fired up CAD are embracing SketchUp as way to think and communicate in 3D. BIM allows design to happen digitally and with true BIM packages allows analysis and fabrication to build a building more cost effectively and real ROI metrics for making choices. Now this could be used for good rather than evil by providing hard bids on designs that were thought to cost prohibitive before, or proving new designs digitally and communicating them to developers and owners in 3D convinces them of their merit. What I hope is that ‘value engineering’ ceases to be a proxy for taking all the fun out out of a building but instead becomes part of the process that brings 3D digital design and BIM into reality and physical structures that continue to awe and inspire.

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BIM As Built : Laser Technology

Speaking to a colleague from Europe who moved to the US because he stated, ‘there’s a survey shop on every corner in the UK, I could only find a handful here.’    However, that’s changing.  HDLS, high definition laser scanning is starting to take off, especially now that the GSA issued the laser scanning awards.  Additionally, more and more people are reworking existing assets / adaptive reuse projects so it is becoming more and more important to get the existing conditions data.  While everyone is waiting for the day we can walk around with a magic wand and wave it around the room we have to build a bridge from here to there.  HDLS in creating a 3D database is an excellent start.  I believe HDLS, from firms like Leica and FARO,  performs fantastically in certain circumstances such as inaccessible or difficult geometry, exposed MEP intensive projects, however, for typical conditions especially the interior of buildings it might be akin to using a sledgehammer rather when you need a fly swatter.   We, PointKnown, have been developing a product that bolts on to Revit and takes laser range finder data and builds objects as you measure.  This has been defined as PPLT (Point to Point Laser Technology).  It allows a surveyor to move quickly and accurately from room to room or object to object.  We do not intend for it to usurp laser scanning but rather augment current surveying teams, allowing them the most flexibility depending on the situation.

Most importantly is to define the deliverable and type of model needed for the project.  This can start at the basic architectural model using generic library items to, well , anything goes but most of our clients want dimensionally correct space and then they apply the material and details they need as that is what they want to control.

We are now accepting people and firms into our public beta that starts January 2010, if you have any interest please feel free to contact us at info@pointknown.com and put beta in the subject line.

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Indiana University Requires BIM: #BIM #Revit

I read recently on James Van’s blog that Indiana University now requires BIM on any capital project over $5 million.  More information and requirements are posted on the web site.

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