Project Analytics with CTC Software

By Mughees Altaf , Account Manager — AEC Productivity Tools at SolidCAD

 

Project Analytics

Need for data analytics is growing rapidly within the AEC industry. I have clients that tell me about the work, effort, time and most importantly money they have lost because they did not understand the reasons behind a project or a model being corrupted.

CTC Software makes tools to make sure these errors don’t occur. Specifically, a tool that logs data; Project Activity Logger.

There are some challenges to become a data driven organization, and CTC has the solution.

Common Challenges

  • Aggregating statistics and data of activity in on-going Revit projects
  • Detecting problems encountered as projects progress
  • Generating accurate and complete reports of current workflows, resources and expertise

Solution – Project Activity Logger (PAL)

  • Lightweight background capture of key performance indicators for Revit projects
  • Real-time availability of data on work-shared projects
  • Data stored allows easy connection & visualization with popular business intelligence software

Source of ROI – Return on Investment Realized

  • Flexible licensing & highly competitive pricing- get up and running with lower investment than similar products
  • Proactive and ongoing project analysis- make informed improvements before problems escalate
  • Optimize workflows, schedule resources and identify training opportunities for future projects

If you are a data driven firm or looking to get there. Contact SolidCAD to assess your current Revit workflow and understand what other firms are doing in the industry to get ahead.

Common Uses of Productivity Tools by Contractors

By Mughees Altaf , Account Manager — AEC Productivity Tools at SolidCAD

 

Model Compare, in the BIM Project Suite. This tool can compare to iterations of a Revit model. Very useful to see “what’s changed” in very great detail. Thus if they are estimating, or looking for coordination issues, model compare is an excellent tool that many of our contractors use.

 

Spreadsheet Link, in the BIM Project Suite. This tool can push and pull data to and from Revit and spreadsheets. Very useful in estimation processes, and also if they ever need to push commissioning/installation/facility management data back into Revit objects in a project.

 

Fab Sheets, in the BIM Project Suite. This tool was actually created specifically for contractors who self-perform concrete work. If they do, or create any type of construction sequencing drawing/pour sets, this tool could be a huge time saver.

 

Project Cleaner, in the BIM Manager Suite. This tool is free. It helps to clean up models coming in from other parties, blowing away things like working views, or “all views, not on a sheet” which is a common desire of general contractors. This solves a few things. One, it makes the Revit project file faster performing. Two, by blowing away all the “junk” the designers left behind, it makes navigating the project in Revit easier.

 

Dim Checker, in the BIM Manager Suite. This is a really cool tool. It finds out where designers might be “lying” in a dimension.

  1. Sometimes designers and engineers do not feel they have time to properly coordinate modeled object positions
  1. Too frequently this leads to overriding dimension values in very dirty ways, mimicking the days of AutoCAD workflows
  1. Unfortunately, these are rarely found and more rarely repaired, and can cause HUGE headaches for contractors and increase risk.
  1. The DIM Checker allows these dimensions strings to be found and reports generated to allow the team to easily repair and coordinate these dimensions where appropriate

 

Plotter & Exporter, in the BIM Batch Suite. This tool runs on a nightly, or specified schedule to do all your exports for you. NavisWorks, PDF, DWG, whatever else you might need, automatically.

  1. Sure, generating PDFs can happen from Bluebeam, but what about everything else
  1. DWGs, Navisworks files and others often must be exported for other consultants and partners
  1. Instead of doing this from multiple places, use Plotter/Exporter to single click export all the needed files
  1. Have them exported where you want, named how you want with the exact settings you want.
  1. Instead of manually triggering exports, try scheduling this so it can happen after hours and be ready for you when you walk in the office

 

Last but not least:

Import & Link Manger, in the BIM Manager Suite. Loading, and reloading links and imported files for coordination happens all the time. Waiting for Revit to link in everything, or to find where a link or import may, or may not be working is a pain.

  1. All too frequently files are improperly linked or imported into production models
  1. While Revit does allow minimal management of links, there is no easy way to find and fix imported AutoCAD files
  1. ILM is critical to the regular maintenance of models by finding and fixing imports and update link settings in a simple interface

To watch our previous webinars on BIM Project Suite click here!

Uncover CTC’s Project Cleaner tool from BIM Manager Suite

By Mughees Altaf , Account Manager — AEC Productivity Tools at SolidCAD

In case you were unable to attend SolidCAD and CTC’s webinar last week here is what you need to know…

When working through general project cleanup, there are many tedious tasks. Deleting unused views, removing imports, cleaning working schedules… the list goes on.

Instead of doing this all manually, perhaps a free tool that can help automate this process. These are tasks we all should be doing in project models on a regular basis, and when sending or receiving models from others. Who has the time to do this without automation?

Project Cleaner 

  • Removing user duplicated working views can frequently enable purging of unused documentation elements, reduce file size and speed model performance
  • Allows BIM manager to easily manage unwanted or unneeded views, sheets and schedules in the project without re-organizing the project browser
  • Using ‘Options’ can enable sorting of views and sheets in meaningful ways to enable rapid decision making about view use and value.

 

Join SolidCAD and CTC’s Shawn Zirbes to explore Project Cleaner from BIM Manager Suite. This webinar will demonstrate how Project Cleaner from BIM Manager Suite can speed up this task for free with a simple to use toolset.

Click here to Register

Civil 3D Assembly Sets

 

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Have you ever saved and used Assembly Sets within the Intersection Wizard for saving your custom assemblies for future use?  Have you ever had issues with them not appearing to work properly every time you use them?  Have you ever wanted to share them with other team members?

This document will shed some light on why; and what you need to do to make them work every time.

Intersections

Civil 3D intersections are complex corridors containing many assemblies, regions, and baselines.  Creating and editing them without the Intersection Wizard takes skill, time, and patience.  There are up to 8 assemblies required for a typical intersection and creating them is also time-consuming and prone to errors.  The image below shows a corridor which contains just one intersection, complete with all of the baselines, regions, and assemblies applied.

Assembly Set Basics

If you’re not familiar with them, Assembly Sets can be accessed and saved from within the Intersection Wizard when creating a new intersection or when Rebuilding Corridor Regions for an existing intersection.  You simply create new assemblies or edit the ones that Civil 3D creates for you, and then export the set for use on future intersections, so you don’t have to recreate the assemblies every time.

The Assembly Set is saved as an XML file initially stored in its default folder…
C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2020\enu\Assemblies\Metric

The Problem

There are technical support cases where the user has indeed exported an Assembly Set, but the proper assemblies do not appear after the set has been selected.  In the image below, the custom set was selected where all the assemblies were renamed to MPK…  As you can see, it appears as if an out of the box set was selected; no MPK assemblies are listed.

The Solution

There are 4 different scenarios where Assembly Sets are used.  One for each of the two corridor types, selected within the intersection wizard…

One for a T intersection…

And one for a cross intersection.

If you open the Assembly Set XML file with your internet browser, you will see the 4 scenarios listed and the assemblies applied to each scenario.  In the second image below, note the AssemblyName is set to MPK Primary…

 

When you save the Assembly Set, only the current corridor type is exported, only 1 of the 4 scenarios.  The next time you use the Assembly Set, if that corridor is of a different type, your custom assemblies will not be applied since that corridor type has not been exported.

To ensure your custom assemblies are used in all 4 scenarios, you must go through the intersection wizard 4 times, one for each scenario and export the Assembly Set for each of them.

  • Create a cross intersection and specify All Crowns Maintained.
  • Create a cross intersection and specify Primary Crown Maintained.
  • Create a T intersection and specify All Crowns Maintained.
  • Create a T intersection and specify Primary Crown Maintained.

Select the same XML file each time, the exported scenario will overwrite only the applicable section of the selected XML file.

Introduction to BIM Project Suite

By Daniella Delgado, Marketing & Communication Manager at SolidCAD

In case you were unable to attend SolidCAD and CTC’s webinar last week here is what you need to know…

Shawn Zirbes, a Guru for everything CTC, uncovered how the BIM Project Suite allows Autodesk Revit users to automate routine tasks, manage large numbers of content files, generate database information and much more in a lot less time, all within the Revit environment.

BIM Project Suite is meant for everyday users of all skill levels and used by firms of all sizes. To learn more about the some of key functionalities of the suite, watch the full webinar on our YouTube Channel.

Civil 3D Viewports

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

A little tip today.  Have you ever zoomed out within a profile viewport and your surfaces and alignments are not there?  The two viewports shown below are nearly identical except the one on the bottom doesn’t display any Civil 3D plan objects, such as the surface and alignment.  Why is this?  No, layers are not frozen or off in the lower viewport.

Civil 3D has its Plan Production feature which automates the creation of Paper Space layouts, typically for plan and profile construction drawings.  The way it has been implemented is that your drawing template (DWT) will contain a sample paper space layout containing pre-configured viewports.  And those viewports are required to have set a specific property called Viewport Type.

In the image above, the top viewport is set to Plan and the bottom is set to Profile.  When the viewport type is set to Profile, Civil 3D plan objects such as surfaces, alignments, and corridors are not displayed.  This is presumably to conserve performance, but if you’re unaware of this feature, it can be confusing.

Bluebeam Revu 2018.6

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Bluebeam has released their latest update for their flagship PDF markup tool, Revu.  Please see this link to learn more about how to update your installation.  And then click here to find out which defects have been addressed.

Reconcile the Differences Between Parameters live in projects without Destroying Data

By Mughees Altaf, Account Manager at SolidCAD

Let’s talk about Revit families. Are your Revit users pulling families from manufacturer websites, then having to spend project time individually reconciling the differences between the parameters used without destroying existing data?

Downloaded Revit family content introduces shared parameters into a project that are often times different from the parameters used in the company’s schedule. These differences often cause schedules to display incomplete or inaccurate data requiring tedious, individual fixes.

BIM Project Suite 2020’s Parameter Jammer uses a two-step process to swap the parameters in the family to reconcile the differences between the parameters without destroying your existing data, saving users time and headaches. The first step swaps parameters that can be safely identified as a match, while the second allows users to map, add or omit parameters that do not need to be swapped.
Parameter Jammer is user friendly, and was designed so that Revit users who are unfamiliar with the family editor can successfully prepare a family to be scheduled; it also:

• Uses the schedule to derive parameter needs; and
• Allows the end user to push parameters into a non-standard family.

Maximize your Revit project team’s time with Parameter Jammer and the entire BIM Project Suite 2020 by downloading a free software trial and scheduling a demo today.

CTC BIM Projct Suite 2020 – Invisibility Advisor

By Mughees Altaf, Account Manager at SolidCAD

Find improperly displayed elements in Revit with Invisibility Advisor. Part of the BIM Project Suite, this tool can also identify the cause of invisibilty as well as offer useful information and links to relevant knowledgeable articles for each issue.

Common Challenges

Revit users may spend 2-4 hours a week on average resolving object visibility issues

Revit has various ways of finding objects, and users rarely check all

Often invisibility can be controlled by multiple factors and multiple users

Solution – Invisibility Advisor

Invisibility Advisor searches through almost 60 different factors affecting an object’s invisibility

Advice is offered to assist with understanding why the object(s) were not visible

In many cases, an instant ‘Fix’ option is available to resolve the visibility issue automagically

The Invisibility Advisor can remain on screen while you work, so visibility solutions are available at your fingertips

ROI

At even 1 hour per week time savings, Invisibility Advisor can save an average firm $3400/year/Revit user

For more information visit CTC Productivity Tools to learn more, and download free trial.

WORKAROUND: Civil 3D XREF Structures Do Not Resize

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

My friend and customer, Ben Cartmell from Koers & Associates in Parksville, has brought to my attention a method, of which you may not be aware, for working around a limitation within Civil 3D.

The limitation is when a drawing containing Civil 3D structures is XREF’d.  The image below shows two viewports in paper space with pipes and structures that have been XREF’d in model space.  The structures are annotative and they should be the same size within the viewports, but they are not.

There is an easy workaround for this problem.  The file being XREF’d in the example above was saved in model space.

  • Open the file.
  • Switch to paper space.
  • Save.

Reload the XREF and those structures now appear the same size in paper space.

Feel free to experiment by downloading these two drawing files.