Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Quick QAT

A quick tip to speed up Revit work flow is to move the Quick Access Toolbar below the menu ribbon.

It should probably be there by default. I've noticed that many users overlook it at the top. To move it simply select the option at the bottom of the drop-down.

The Out-of-the-Box commands are as shown.

Add almost any command to the QAT by right-clicking... 

My personal favorite is to place the Type Selector drop-down on the QAT. Because the interface is context sensitive, alternatives to the object currently selected are shown immediately above the work space.

For the Playa Vista project described in the previous post, which was heavily dependent on Design options, placing the 'Pick to Edit' tool on the QAT was an incredible time saver when working among the various options in the model.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Design Options & Groups

I am working with two teammates on a project for Brookfield Homes, the unequivocal leader among home builders who have embraced Building Information Modeling.

My colleague Louis Navarette is responsible for the development of Brookfield’s BIM Guidelines, families and template files which are provided to the architects and engineers who serve them. While the performance guidelines are very strict, specific methods are at the discretion of each designer.

Exterior Styles
The Playa Vista project consists of six four-story buildings - three dwelling levels over a garage level. There are two different building configurations. Four of the buildings contain six dwelling units; there are also two "tri-plex" buildings, which are derived by removing three smaller units from the larger building, while maintaining the main lobby and both exit stairs.

There are also two separate exterior treatments – A & B. Some exterior elements are shared by the two larger buildings only (6A & 6B). Other elements are shared between the larger and smaller buildings of the same style (3A & 6A). It was apparent from the beginning of the project that Design Options should be employed.

Design Options in Revit is intended for the depiction of several alternates or variations of a base model. The Design Options interface manages the display of the model based on the selected option. Only elements that change are placed into the option. Objects that occur in all three buildings are not duplicated – they reside in the “main model”.

Exterior Groups
During the course of our work, it became apparent that, for the most efficient modeling process, elements that were shared by two of the three options could be placed in Revit groups. When the group is edited, changes are automatically propagated to both versions, eliminating duplicate effort while insuring that design continuity is maintained.

Interior Groups
While there are three exterior options, the interior of buildings 6A & 6B are identical. For further efficiency, we decided to place the building's interior components (partitions, doors, plumbing fixtures, etc.) into a separate design option. Interior components that are identical from floor to floor are also grouped so that interior changes are also automatically propagated throughout all floors and styles.

When Design Options are activated, an additional tab is displayed in the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog. When set to Automatic, the model view displays the active option. For ease of editing, the template provided by Brookfield contains Working Views that may be pre-set to the desired combination of options.
There are two built-in filters to aid working with Design Options. When 'Main Model' is selected, individual elements within an option may be modified by unchecking the box labeled 'Exclude Options'. 
When a Design Option is active, elements in the main model may be edited by unchecking the box labeled 'Active Only'.
With a team of three on the project, the work flow was uncomplicated. Typically it was one person on the interior, one on the exterior, and one in a separate Composite Document file. Overall I am very satisfied with the methodology that evolved for this project, and intend to use it as a prototype for the next one.