Program Validation with Spreadsheet Link and Room Family Manager – Part 1

CTC BIM Project Suite White Paper Library –  CTC Software

 

Issue

When working on medium to large buildings, how are you managing your program requirements? How are you checking the intended design area? In what way do you capture the number of required elements in a specific space? How can you assist the designer with room layouts and making sure the required equipment is used in the correct space? What happens when the design or the requirements change? Is there a way to compare data and assist with these changes? This session will demonstrate a process that will answer these questions, using tools you may already have at your fingertips: Spreadsheet Link and Room Family Manager. These tools can be powerful assets when establishing building programs.

Typical Workflow In manual workflows, many architectural firms will use an Excel® spreadsheet containing all the special requirements needed for the building. Occasionally, some firms will have a process to export the data from Revit® and linked directly into this spreadsheet. Most firms will export the room data from their Revit design models, and manually enter the data in their spreadsheets. But what happens on the return side? How this data gets back into Revit almost always is another manual process. There are a handful of Issue When working on medium to large buildings, how are you managing your program requirements? How are you checking the intended design area? In what way do you capture the number of required elements in a specific space? How can you assist the designer with room layouts and making sure the required equipment is used in the correct space? What happens when the design or the requirements change? Is there a way to compare data and assist with these changes? This session will demonstrate a process that will answer these questions, using tools you may already have at your fingertips: Spreadsheet Link and Room Family Manager. These tools can be powerful assets when establishing building programs. Dynamo workflows and paid Revit plugins that are meant for this process specifically, but they either take dedicated professionals to create and maintain, or they cost a lot of money to purchase. Unfortunately, these tools are not commonly used. Then what about the content required to be placed in each space? Often, a designer is reading from the spreadsheet, browsing through their Revit library and manually placing the content into their projects. If the design changes, or the requirements change, it all becomes a manual process, updating both the spreadsheets in Excel, and updating the models in Revit.

Solution This entire workflow can be simplified by using a couple of tools that many firms already have: Spreadsheet Link and Room Family Manager, both from the CTC BIM Project Suite. A template can be created for the type of project and spaces that are being used, to assist with populating special data obtained in the building program. This data can be pushed into the Revit models, and a back-and-forth design process can begin. For the content to be placed within the rooms, Room Family Manager will help with defining the list of equipment required by each space, and help with populating each space with the defined list, and again another back-and-forth design process can begin.

Subscribe to SolidCHAT blog for part 2.

Using Meridian Portal to Streamline Cloud-based Reviews

By Daniel Isaac, Technical consultant – Document management

A typical scenario in today’s work from home reality needs a technical document package to be reviewed by a dedicated team of experts. A document controller accomplishes this by gathering the required hard copies and physically sending them to the appropriate stakeholders around the office using mail.

This traditional workflow presents some challenges:

  • A resource is required to keep the team on track and to ensure mail delays are controlled, which tends to extend the review process
  • Any feedback made in the late stages of reviews may require more mail transactions, causing delays
  • The team must clearly understand reviewer roles and sign off requirements, or the entire process may slow down due to some people thinking they need to approve things when it is not required.
  • Chasing the hard copies through the mailing process is tough, especially when critical resources are out of the office

The Digital Approach: Moving your review online for better efficiency

The Manufacturing sector is quickly moving to digital solutions, especially during this Pandemic. More and more tools are being pushed to the cloud to ensure maximum availability for a home-based workforce and resources in the field.

The power of cloud-based SaaS Software is coming to light during these challenging times. With less in-house hardware requirements for application, storage, and database management, these solutions allow for more uptime and increased efficiency. The flexibility granted by a fully integrated suite such as Meridian EDMS + Meridian Portal highlights the ease of use of going digital.

The Meridian suite will provide the following benefits:

  • Full role-based review control throughout the process (Lead Reviewer, Required Reviewer, Optional Reviewer) which will give precise requirements from the Review team
  • Automated workflow-based email notifications to all critical Reviewers to increase visibility and efficiency
  • Cloud-based markups and comments are made on the reviewed technical documents, which are visible to the entire team. Comments are instantly added using the standard conversation reply style and are fully tracked to reduce any bottlenecks

Engineering document management solutions like Accruent’s Meridian Portal assist engineering teams, and project managers streamline day to day operations by optimizing document reviews and the conversation around them. Online reviews provide instant access to a single source of truth without relying on traditional hard copy prints and packages.

To learn more about Meridian Portal and how it can help your team, please contact the SolidCAD Meridian team.

Autodesk Desktop Connector and Sheet Sets

By Matt Kolberg , Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

Autodesk Desktop Connector and Sheet Sets

An update to the Desktop Connector as made available on August 11, 2020.  Here is the relevant Autodesk document.

 

If you’re a Sheet Set user who also uses BIM 360, this update is for you.  In addition to other resolved issues, the main feature in this update is that Sheet Set DST files are now recognized.  When a DST file is uploaded via the Desktop Connector, any drawings contained therein and their references are all uploaded.  When a DST is opened in AutoCAD, drawings will be synchronized locally.

AutoCAD 2021.1 Update

By Matt Kolberg , Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

AutoCAD 2021.1 Update

Autodesk has released the first update for AutoCAD 2021.  Find official documentation here.  Here are some highlights:

  • Blocks palette:
    • There is a new Favorites tab.
    • Block can be copied from other tabs to the new Favorites tab.
    • Blocks sybchronized in the cloud can become accessible across multiple devices.
    • You can better manage your synchronization settings in the Blocks palette now.
    • Insert a DWG into the current file without it being added to the Libraries tab.
    • New variable and setting in Options: BLOCKSYNCFOLDER – Sets the path where the recent and favorite blocks are stored.
  • In the AutoCAD web app, click Open in Desktop to open the drawing in AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT desktop.  A plug-in must be installed.

Civil 3D 2021.1 Update

By Matt Kolberg , Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

Civil 3D 2021.1 Update

Autodesk has released the first update for Civil 3D 2021.  Find official documentation here.  Here are some highlights:

  • Feature Lines:
    • Easily insert elevation points or PIs on feature lines at their crossings with other feature lines.
    • Set grade or slope between multiple feature lines.  Use the previous new command to insert points first.
  • Pressure Networks:
    • Add/Move/Delete vertical bends from a pressure network.
    • Pipe run profile settings:
      • New overrides tab for specifying static or dynamic updates.
      • Profiles selection now includes a create from surface option.
    • You can now change a straight pipe to a curved pipe in profile view by grip editing, and change a curved pipe to a straight pipe.
  • BIM 360 Collaboration for Civil:  Support has been added for reference templates and sheet set data files.  You must install the latest update for the Desktop Connector.
  • ArcGIS:
    • You can add new objects that were created in Civil 3D to ArcGIS by moving them to an existing ArcGIS layer and then saving the layer back to ArcGIS. Changes to property set data are now saved back to ArcGIS along with the geometry.
    • Support has been added for exporting curves (instead of tessellated segments) to a file geodatabase.
  • Bridges
    • Support has been added for configuring layers for an existing bridge in a drawing.
    • Support has been added for assigning layers for bridge generic object subtypes.
  • Project Explorer: Autodesk Project Explorer for Civil 3D is an environment that allows you to review and analyze civil objects in the model. Here we will look at Alignments, Profiles, and Corridors.  See this YouTube playlist.  This is an extension which must be downloaded and  installed separately from 2021.1.

Infraworks 2021.1 Update

By Matt Kolberg , Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

Infraworks 2021.1 Update

Autodesk has released the first update for Infraworks 2021.  Find official documentation here.  As of the date of the release of this article, Autodesk has not yet added information about the 2021.1 update.  When they do, this link should be correct.

 

Here are some highlights:

  • New Home page.  More like AutoCAD and Civil 3D.
  • Import complex Civil 3D corridors with multiple baselines and offset baselines.
  • Customize lane and intersection markings.
  • Model builder allows the selection of a projected coordinate system before the model has been generated.
  • Refined bridge analysis.
  • Bridge cross frame improvements.

Boost the power of Meridian with Cloud API Integrations

By Daniel Isaac, Technical consultant – Document management

While Enterprise resource planning and maintenance management platforms are versatile tools that can up productivity and lower operating costs, they normally offer basic engineering document management capabilities. 

This can lead to users struggling to find the latest engineering documents related to assets. Without robust engineering document management tools, a business can see lower operating efficiency and ROI due to increased downtime, maintenance delays and safety incidents. 

Meridian Cloud API allows you to unify all your enterprise tools with Accruent’s industry-leading Meridian document management solution to have a complete and efficient solution.

Combining all these powerful systems will allow your business to better manage your assets and ensure that all your critical data is easily accessible, secure, a tracible throughout: 

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) 
  • Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) 
  • Computerized Maintenance Management system (CMMS) 
  • Enterprise Document Management (EDM) 

How can Meridian Cloud API help your team? 

The Meridian Cloud API enables integrations between your existing ERP, CMMS, or FM solutions and Accruent’s engineering document management solution, Meridian.  

Meridian supplies a secure, scalable, and accessible repository for all technical and asset related documentation. This solution not only creates a single source of truth for your technical documents, but also meets compliance needs with industry-specific regulations. 

Page Break 

With the Meridian Cloud API, you will be able to: 

  • Create traceability between technical documents, assets and emails stored in Meridian 
  • Keep asset information uniform across platforms, creating one single source of truth for data 
  • View a list of all associated documents/information related to an asset in a single space 
  • Reduce duplication of data across multiple systems 

Download the Meridian Cloud API brochure. 

How can Meridian Cloud API help your teams? 

Out of date information and data reduces operating efficiency. Meridian Cloud API will allow your teams to incorporate workflows and data synchronization across enterprise asset tools to maximize uptime and reduce data re-entry. 

Synchronize critical data across different systems 

  • The ability to synchronize your documentation and assets between all your different tools will allow for fully integrated workflows. Having your companies’ technical documentation tied to their respective assets will reduce downtime and lower the total cost of maintenance. 

Reduce duplication of data 

  • Utilizing multiple data repositories without sync capabilities will introduce the creation of duplicate entries which is both time-consuming and inefficient and may lead to increased opportunity for human error. This can lead to making costly decisions that rely on out of date information. 

Whenever maintenance and engineering teams work out of many separate systems, it can lead to work order delays and negatively affect the safety of personnel in the field. 

Meridian Cloud API integration will ensure your asset data and technical documents are up to date always to avoid these issues. 

Learn more about Accruent’s engineering document management solution, Meridian. 

Unify Your Engineering and Maintenance Departments with Meridian Cloud API 

Meridian Cloud API can link your ERP, CMMS or EAM platform with our document management solution Meridian allowing for an update to date, single source of truth, and complaint Enterprise solution for your teams. 

The SolidCAD Meridian team is available for your EDM implementation needs. 

Parameter Jammer using Revit MEP and CTC Tools

By Patrick Siemek, Technical Consultant AEC at SolidCAD

 

Parameter Jammer

Are you a Revit MEP user and frequently download Revit content from manufacturers or sources like BIM Object? Once that content is loaded into the project, is there a struggle to get the family properly to work with your schedules? Well than the CTC Parameter Jammer tool is the one to help solve these problems.

Downloading Revit family content regularly brings along shared parameters to your project that are different from your company’s standards. This will give inconsistent information within the schedules. Use Parameter Jammer to deal with those problems.

Here is a schedule with a family loaded into a project but does not have information populated because of the inconsistent parameters from the family to the project.

Run Parameter Jammer

With a simple user interface, there a couple steps needed to map the loaded family’s parameters to match the project.

  • Select your companies shared parameter file
  • Select the schedule that the family will be residing in
  • Select the family/families that the parameters need to be modified

In the next window, you will get a list of all the Shared Parameters from the selected schedule along with the family parameters. From the family parameter list, you will apply what needs to be done to the family. Parameter Jammer will also find same named parameters and automatically map them. When you select the drop-down list, you specify a family parameter to match the ones in your schedule. It will only show parameters that have the same units. You can also create a new instance or type parameter for the loaded family.

A final report will be displayed to show what has been done.

As you can see, downloadable content being used in a project does not need to have much modification for it to work properly in your current projects. Parameter Jammer gives you the ability to quickly grab information from the new loaded families and map those parameters to meet your company standards. Your schedules will be up to date and have no missing information in a matter of a few clicks using Parameter Jammer.

What’s new in Revit 2021

By Camila Lima Pires , Technical Consultant AEC at SolidCAD

 

Revit 2021 comes with many new features and improvements. I have highlighted some of the multidiscipline Revit features in this post.

User Interface feature

As soon we open Revit 2021 for the first time, we notice an improved Home screen with an User Interface Wizard to help us set up the ribbon based on our discipline and focus on the tools that matters to us. You can also modify the user interface in the Option menu.

Generative Design

Revit 2021 comes with a Generative Design tool designed to help us taking advantage of computing power and quickly generate and explore design alternatives which can helps us to solve design problems.

With this new tool, you will be able to specify constraints, set your goals and inputs and then automatically generates design iterations directly from the model.

Credit: Autodesk

Change the appearance of a Schedule

In Revit 2020 there is a tool called Stripe Rows but we can’t choose the color and it is not visible when placing the schedules on sheets.

In the Appearance properties of a schedule in Revit 2021, there is a new feature that allows us to add stripped rows and choose a color making it easier to visualize schedules. There is also a check box to turn on the stripe rows on sheets.

Enable View Filter

In the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog, under Filter tab, we can turn a View Filter on and off without needing to delete it from the list using the Enable Filter command. It differs from the Visibility command which turns on and off all the elements in a view.

Slanted Walls

When selecting the walls, there is a new parameter added called Cross-Section. This parameter allows us to change from Vertical to Slanted walls. When set to Slanted, the Angle from Vertical parameter becomes available. By default, the angle is set to 0 degrees. You can add a positive or negative angle which will slant the wall to exterior or interior.

The windows and doors hosted in slanted walls can be modified by changing the Orientation parameter from Vertical to Slanted.

Real-time realistic views

The new Realistic visual style provides a better visualization and better navigation. See image below.

PDF and image linking

In Revit 2021 allows us to link PDF files and images. With this new enhancement, the linked file can be reloaded when the referenced file is modified.

The Manage Links dialog has been updated as well and now includes a PDF and an Image tab. Now we can use this dialog to find the image/PDF in the file using the Show button, place an instance of an image/PDF using the Place Instance command and add a new image/PDF using the Add… tool.

Rotate Text in Tags Enhancement

The family parameter Rotate with Component in the family editor has been added to more tag categories including furniture and specialty equipment for example. For a full list of the categories check Rotate Tag with Component.

Get Autodesk Content

During the installation, Autodesk is not providing all content. Users can download the out-of-the-box content using the Get Autodesk Content tool on the Insert tab.

Conclusion

This is some of the new features in Revit 2021. To learn more about these features and much more, check the Autodesk website.

Working with Bluebeam Studio Project

By Jonathan Guibert , Account Manager A.E.C QC , Bluebeam / Laser Scan 3D

 

INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS STUDIO PROJECT

Studio Project is a cloud-based light document management system that allows people to centralize and access their project data using Bluebeam Revu Interface. Files within Studio Project can be checked out for editing (ex: revisions) and checked back in to create different version of a single document instead of creating multiple duplicate of the same or, overwriting important data.

BEFORE STARTING

1ST STEP – Create a Bluebeam ID

In order to be able to use Bluebeam Studio services, you need to create a Bluebeam ID. It’s free and simple.

Basically, open your Bluebeam Revu, then go in Bluebeam Studio section and click on Sign In

Right after, the following dialog box will appear fill the form and finish by clicking on CREATE AN ACCOUNT button

You will have to review the terms of use and click the I ACCEPT button if you agree with these terms. A confirmation email will be sent after to confirm your Bluebeam ID.

Check your email (and spam box if you don’t see the email in your INBOX after 5 mins) and confirm your Bluebeam ID.

You are now set to start using Bluebeam Studio.

 

PART 1: CREATING A PROJECT  

As previously written, Bluebeam Studio Project acts as a single source of truth for all your project documents. So, to maintain this statement, you will need to be able to understand what you can or cannot do with Studio Project. You will also need to know how to set up a project, to configure permissions and to share the information internally or externally.

To create a new project, go to Bluebeam Studio section and click connect. From there, you have 2 options: creating a Session or creating a Project.

Now, select Projects and then, click on the + (add) button (as circle in red) and select New Project as shown in the picture below

After doing so, a dialog box will appear, and you will be asked to name your Project

PART 2 : HOW TO BASICALLY SET UP A PROJECT

Now your project is created, you will need to upload all documents needed for your project which need to be shared with your team or your partners in the project.

To do so, select between adding a folder, a file or create a new folder with its own structure

Note: In this part, I strongly recommend using the same folder organization you are using usually in your company. Remember you are creating a copy of your documents where they will be updated. It does not mean it will automatically update the folder on your computer. Only the documents stocked in Project will be.

From now on, you have uploaded your project files and you are ready to collaborate with Project. But before starting, there are some rule you will need to know in order to understand how to work with it.

 

HOW TO USE PROJECTS AND PROJECTS WITH SESSIONS

As you should know now, we are working in a document management context. It means there are a bunch of securities and processes to protect every user. Check in / check out is part of it.

Basically, when you will need to use a document, you will have 3 choices; open it for viewing, open it for working on it, open it to work on it with collaborator.

The first one does not require to check out the document. As you will not change anything, there is no need to create a new version.

The 2 others will require every user to check out the document from project to work on it and, at the end of your work, check in the document as new version in order to quickly sum up what you’ve did.

Checking out a document means you lock the document for edition to other users the moment you are using it until you check in the document in Project.

When you check out the document, it will appear on the right side of Project’s interface as Pending

Click on it and start working.

You will notice a specific icon in your document’s tab. Depending of the status of your document, the icon will change. If you click in this icon while working in a check out document, you will access a menu.

If other users try to open the document when it is checked out, they will only have the possibility to download a copy on their computer, but they will not be able to overwrite your document (unless doing so manually by the administrator of the Project).

If you need to work with other people at the same time on a document hosted in project, it’s quite simple. Just, right click on your file and choose Add to a New Session

Now, Bluebeam will launch the dialog box of Session where you will name your session. You will be able to invite people with email address in the Session interface directly to work with you.

You will run this session like you did so when you create a Session directly (without using Project) and finish it as usual.

But this time, you will need to check in the document once the session is over in order to save the new version of your plan in Project. You have two ways to do this;

Once you finished the session, the icon of your tab will change from a whiteboard  to a Check Out icon .

Click on it and select Check In. Then write a comment to explain what has been done and Check In.

Or, you can go back to your project interface and do the same with your document that will be in the right side of the interface under pending.

You know now how to start and set up a Project with Bluebeam. For sure, there are some advanced options we did not developed in this tutorial (creating group with different rights in the session, make some files viewable by certain user only, synchronizing documents, Managing and supporting Studio Session and Project with Studio Prime, connect Studio Session with BIM 360 …).

But we will see that in a future article depending of your comments and feedbacks

Quick FAQ

What type of document can I upload?

All type of document. Users who would need to access these files will have to own the software required to run / open the file (except for PDF which will open in Bluebeam)

What is the limitation of Studio Sessions and Studio Projects?

Description Studio Projects Studio Sessions
License Required Host only Host Only
Bluebeam ID required (free) Yes Yes
Formats supported All types of files PDF Only
Max file Size Unlimited 1 Gb each document
Max files allowed Unlimited 5000
Max space allowed Unlimited Unlimited
Max attendees at the same time Unlimited 500
Scheduled Expiry No Yes

 

How much time my documents will be hosted on Bluebeam server after finishing and deleting my project?

90 days maximum unless you need more time. The save on Bluebeam Cloud Server are not accessible by anybody else (not even Bluebeam employee) and has been created to let user have a chance to download their document if they forgot to do so.

Why should I put an expiry date in my session?

It’s your choice to do so. It exists to be part of a process and avoid having to bump a limit because you forgot to close a session. Remember you could use Studio with partners outside your organization. Depending of the size of your project, 500 users can be easily reach. So, you better want to organize a process to avoid the situation.