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.

Revit Project Cleanup – Why and How

By Mughees Altaf, Account Manager at SolidCAD

As a collaborative BIM software, Revit enables multiple authors to work within the same project file. However, as projects progress files can grow rather large, often time filling up “extra stuff”. This extra data can cause model performance to slow down or lag, causing models to take far longer to open, save, or close.

Additionally, users may take more time to navigate through this extra information to find the correct view, sheet, content or other relevant data. Some processes exist to alleviate these issues inside of Revit, however they are time consuming, tedious, and incomplete.

Describing the issue

The development of Revit project files comes with a lot of work to maintain a healthy file for continued, efficient user workflows. BIM Managers must keep going through the files, cleaning up all the unneeded information. Deleting views, view templates, filters, unused sheets, link & imported elements from the file. Additionally, reviewing all views, trying to find non-standard elements that users might have created in the file. Finally, checking the model to make sure the users are following best practice of modeling correctly. These tasks and more all take time and must be done regularly to ensure that models do not break minutes before major submittals. The breaking of models, file corruption, or file slowdown may require the stopping of work for repair of a problematic model has cost that is not frequently quantified. Fortunately, there are project maintenance tools available in the CTC Software’s BIM Manager Suite that makes this entire process easy to execute, and significantly reduces model downtime, and stoppages of work.

Workflow Description

The use of Project Cleaner makes efficient use of time in cleaning up garbage views from the project. Leveraging the Import/Link Manager can rapidly allow identification and repair of the imports in the model. Intelligently running Type Swapper can save hours of model maintenance and cleanup of rogue types. Finally, Dimension Checker makes it possible to identify areas in a model where information has been faked to ‘just get it done’, but could be a liability issue, or a model fidelity issue later in the project.

Workflow Steps

Project Cleaner

  • Allows BIM manager to easily manage unwanted or unneeded views, sheets and schedules in the project without re-organizing the project browser

i. Removing user duplicated working views can frequently enable purging of unused documentation elements, reduce file size and speed model performance

  • Using ‘Options’ can enable sorting of views and sheets in meaningful ways to enable rapid decision making about view use and value

Import & Link Manger

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

Type Swapper

  • If a user copies content from other projects or explodes an imported CAD file, many dimension, text, line styles and fill patterns will manifest in project models
  • Upkeep of these non-standard elements is near impossible manually, but the Type Swapper allows cleaning the model of these non-standard elements by swapping to standard types and purging those that are not wanted

Dim Checker

  • Sometimes designers and engineers do not feel they have time to properly coordinate modeled object positions

i. Too frequently this leads to overriding dimension values in very dirty ways, mimicking the days of AutoCAD workflows
ii. Unfortunately, these are rarely found and more rarely repaired

  • 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

The ROI

The manual tasks to accomplish the work described above can take many hours per file, with several files within a single project. Often doing this work manually would require users to stop production and exit a Revit model, thus stopping billable work. The tools on the BIM Manager Suite can frequently be used during users working in production. Simple tasks like tracking down rogue line types can be finished in minutes. When speaking with BIM Managers, we often hear that a 1-hour repair cycle is often needed, and in these times, users are not able to be in the model, limiting production time. If the project has 3-5 people working in the model, then their time is lost during this repair effort. At $150 billable rate, this equates to ~$750 each time a repair is needed on each project. If even 2 projects a month require some attention like this, then $18000/year is thrown away to model maintenance. When using the BIM Manager Suite, often these tasks can be completed in 15 minutes, and users can continue to work in the model, so no production time is lost. This is easily a savings of over $17000. Also, since this can be done more easily, projects don’t get to critical halts due to issues. Preventative maintenance has the side-effect of helping projects run much more smoothly, saving time throughout the entire project lifecycle, and making everyone’s work in Revit more enjoyable and productive.

To download your 14-day free trial of these tools, click here or contact your SolidCAD representative to have a formal orientation on these workflows and related tools.

Civil 3D 2020

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Autodesk has released the latest iteration of their Civil Engineering modeling software, namely Civil 3D 2020.  Go to the Autodesk Account page to download the software or get it from the Desktop App.

Note, it was released on April 10th and it may not appear immediately in your Desktop App or even Autodesk Manage for a day or two.

Here are the features of note in this release:

  • Of course, everything that is new for AutoCAD.
  • The Civil object format has not changed.  You can share files between users of Civil 3D 2018, 2019, and 2020.
  • The Export Civil 3D drawing to AutoCAD tool has been overhauled and it should yield more predictable results.
    • We now have the option to export feature lines as 2D or 3D objects.
  • The survey database is now SQLite, different from SQL Compact like previous releases.  Note, the default Working Folder has changed.
    • Your existing survey databases can be converted to the new format after downloading the conversion tool and running the Migrate tool.

  • Changes to the gravity network analysis tool and SSA.
  • Dynamo is a workflow-based programming tool and it is available for 2020.  It must be installed using the Desktop App or from Autodesk Account.  After installation, the tool is available in the Manage Ribbon.  When run, users have access to many resources such as tutorials, primers, and more.

  • Connect to ArcGIS online .

AutoCAD 2020

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Autodesk has release the latest iteration of their flagship drafting software, namely AutoCAD 2020.  Click here to see Autodesk’s page detailing what’s new.  Go to the Autodesk Account page to download the software of get it from the Desktop App.

Here are the features of note in this release:

  • There is no DWG format change.  Files back to 2018 are compatible with this release.
  • New installation technology allows for an install time about half that of previous releases, when a Solid State Drive is in use.
  • A new block palette exists containing all of the blocks within the current drawing.  The INSERT command no longer displays the usual block insert dialog box, it now runs the BLOCKSPALETTE tool, displaying the new blocks palette.  The new CLASSICINSERT command displays the old block insert dialog.

  • The purge command now indicates the reason why some objects cannot be purged.  This has been a request for many releases.

  • Use the Quick measure tool to more efficiently measure objects.

  • Access to drawings saved to online services such as Box and Dropbox has been streamlined.

Civil 3D 2019 Update 2

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

A new update for Civil 3D 2019 has just been released.  You can find it in the usual places; the Desktop App or your Autodesk Account.  Here is the ReadMe; note that AutoCAD 2019.1.2 must be installed prior to this new Civil 3D update.

See this video outlining some of the new functionality.

As always, updates contain fixes to known defects and some new functionality.  Here are the notable new features:

  • Transparent commands are now included in their own ribbon.
  • Transparent commands can now be accessed via the right click menu.
  • There is some new transparent command functionality with Alignment Station and Offset.  This in the name of efficiency and it’s an excellent addition.
  • Linear crossings in profile views.  This is, in this blogger’s opinion, is arguably revolutionary!  For many years users have requested the ability to display in profile where something crosses your alignment.  Another alignment, feature line, etc.  now we can.
  • UNC paths for projects.
  • Sample lines data shortcuts are “Vaultable”.
  • Property set data is supported in LadnXML.
  • Rail platform edge improvements.

Infrastructure Road Show Series – Recap

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Recently the SolidCAD civil team conducted the first Infrastructure Road Show series across Western Canada!

Our roadshow series was designed to uncover emerging technologies and new software, share best practices and industry trends and provide you with the best tips and tricks to streamline your workflow and finish your project faster.

As those who attended know, there was a lot of information shown so feel free to download the Powerpoint files and view them at your own pace.

Point Clouds

Design Roundtrip

Tips & Tricks

Civil 3D 2019.1 Update

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Autodesk has released the first update for Civil 3D 2019. It is called the Civil 3D 2019.1 Update. As is the new norm, updates contain fixes and also feature enhancements. You can discover all of the details in the official Autodesk ReadMe; I’ve outlined some of the highlights below.

Not everyone reads the readme before installing, so to avoid the likely error message that 2019.1 will not install…The AutoCAD 2019.1 Update is a prerequisite of the Civil 3D 2019.1 Update and must be applied prior to installing the update.

New Features
• Rail tools and content.
• Rail alignment offsets and cant support.
• Sample line groups can now be data referenced.
• Multiple connection points for pipe structures.
• Publish a surface to BIM 360 for consumption in Revit.
Fixes
• Data shortcut performance improvements.
• Pipe rules are no longer automatically applied. (See this article.)
• Vault fixes.
• Many other defects have been addressed.

Civil 3D 2019 Pipe Networks

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Please note, this issue seems to have been fixed with the release of Civil 3D 2019.1.

————

If you are still having issues with Civil 3D 2019 installed and you’re using pipe networks, please read this message.

I have fielded two recent technical support cases exhibiting behavior that may not be immediately obvious, but is quite serious.  Edits to a surface can cause pipe rules to be automatically applied, changing pipe invert elevation when doing so.  Pipe rules should never be applied like this, they should only be applied when first creating pipes and then when manually invoking the Apply Pipe Rules tool.

My customer edits a feature line elevation and his pipes all change invert elevations.  When the feature lines are edited, the surface updates, the rules are applied, and the inverts change.  Imagine this is a relatively minor edit on a Friday after which you print the construction documents without first looking at the pipes in profile.  Why would you?  The rules aren’t supposed to apply when a surface is edited.

Other users are experiencing this issue and Autodesk is aware is the problem.  Let’s hope that this is fixed in the next Civil 3D update.

Here are your workarounds:

  • Use 2018.  This may be a feasible workaround because the two are compatible.
  • Delete all of your pipe rules in any drawing that contains pipes.  Not the rule set, just the rules within the set.  There are no rules, so none can be applied when your surface changes.  Be careful though, if you have any reference styles and they are reloaded, the rules may get applied.  This does not work with surfaces that are DREFd into a pipe drawing.  Imagine that you edit your surface and save the file.  Then you open the pipes drawing, the surface updates instantly and the pipe rules get applied instantly as well.

Update: Canada Ontario Styles Kit for Civil 3D Now Available!

Canada Ontario Styles Kit for Civil 3D

By Prem Joseph, Technology Consultant at SolidCAD

The Canada Ontario Styles Kit is available to download and contact SolidCAD today!

Here are some Key Highlights  listed below:

  • DWT template containing Ontario Civil 3D settings and object/ label styles
  • Plan, Profile and Plan and Profile (MTO)template sheets
  • Predefined assemblies for creating intersections
  • Pay Item Data based on Ontario Provincial Specifications categories and MTO Contract Preparation System(CPS)
  • Pipe and Structure catalogue based on Ontario Provincial Standard Drawings
  • Figure Prefix Library and Description Keys specific to MTO Surveys and Plans standards
  • TAC (metric) design criteria for roadways
  • NCS Layers
  • MTO IESCAD Layers
  • Linetypes and Hatch Patterns
  • MTO IESCAD .LIN and .PAT files
  • MTO Description Keys
  • MTO Point Marker and Label Styles
  • MTO Survey Settings and Styles
  • MTO Alignment Object
  • MTO Stationing Styles
  • TAC Design Criteria
  • TAC Superelevation Tables
  • Preset “Assembly Set” created for Intersection wizard
  • Pipe and Structure Labels
  • Pipe and Structure Rules
  • OPSD Pipes Catalog
  • OPSD Pay Items and Categories
  • MTO – CPS Pay Items and Categories