Revit Model Clean-Up

Keep your file size down by removing unneeded families
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If you have been testing families and then using different ones you might want to eliminate those you no longer need. TO do that, Revit has a simple option. Just go to the Manage Tab and click Purge Unused.

A dialog will open and you will be able to select one by one the families and groups you want to purge (or you can alternatively select ALL unused and purge them).

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(Summary) Using BIM as a Project Management Tool: How Can BIM improve the delivery of Complex Construction Projects?

The summary of my master thesis. More to come soon.
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See the previous post for more information on the Master Thesis and to see the Power Point presentation I used. Here you will find a brief summary of the thesis (the thesis has 22000 words). I am now in talks to publish the MT in a scientific journal. If that happens I guess I will not be allowed to publish it here, if it doesn't happen, then i am planning to publish it by Chapters or sections here.

Master Thesis Summary:

Building Information Modelling [BIM] is the most commonly used term to describe a set of parametric tools and processes for the creation and maintenance of an integrated collaborative database of multi-dimensional information regarding the design, construction and/or operations of a building, with the purpose of improving collaboration between stakeholders, reducing the time needed for documentation of the project and producing more predictable project outcomes.

Although the rates of companies adopting BIM (McGraw-Hill, 2010a) and the research about the topic has been steadily increasing in recent years, there is very few literature analysing the topic from the Project Management point of view.

To try to fill this void, this dissertation attempted to analyse BIM from the Project Management point of view. The research started with the mission to answer a double research question: “Is BIM a Project Management Tool? How can BIM help Project Managers succeed in delivering complex construction projects?” To answer this, the author analyzed relevant literature, analyzed the benefits of implementing BIM in 35 different construction projects and reviewed the opinions of AEC professionals collected through questionnaires.

The research was successful on proving that BIM is a relevant tool for Project Managers because the benefits found in projects using BIM outnumber the challenges, moreover the benefits found are in line with the role expected from a Project Manager, as defined in the different knowledge areas of the PMBOK.

The literature showed a need for better integration of project teams and collaboration between all parties. It also showed the need for a new way of dealing with information, moving from the document paradigm to the Project Integrated Database paradigm. The information analysed pointed in the direction that BIM could be the tool that allowed this better integration of teams and of information. The research study pursued based on that has shown that it does, with Communication and Coordination as two of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) showing more benefits due to the use of BIM in construction projects.

Paral.lel to the research question several objectives were defined, the first objective was to identify in which aspects BIM is showing more benefits for construction projects. Added to the already mentioned Communication and Coordination benefits, Cost, Time and Quality Improvement were the other three KPIs proven to have more beneficial influence from BIM in projects.

Comparing the main benefits of BIM implementation with the role of the Project Manager was the second objective of this research. The traditional Iron Triangle was used. Having Time, Cost and Quality as a major aspect in which BIM is showing positive effects, proved the relevance of BIM for PM practitioners. The study also used Atkinson’s (1999) Square Route principle and showed that BIM is clearly helping in 2 of the 4 corners of Atkinson’s concept for Project Management Success Factors.
The benefits for stakeholders and the organizational benefits were not so easy to identify. Organizational improvements were mentioned directly or indirectly in the case studies a few times and the questionnaire survey showed some respondents with opinions related to the improvement of the organization because of BIM use.

This research also aimed to define which role should the Project Manager assume within the BIM framework. Almost half of the respondents considered that the Project Manager should be BIM Proficient and 24% of them considered that the Project Manager should be in charge of overall BIM Management. The research shows that BIM is an Information Management Tool that goes way beyond its design functions. For this reason the author is pretty confident to state that it is the PM who should lead the BIM Management the same way the PM is the leader in setting up other IT systems and protocols in complex projects.

The research also showed that there are some challenges for BIM implementation. Mainly, these challenges are related to the Cost and Time needed to train staff to work efficiently with BIM.

The second challenge found was the existence of certain Software Issues that seem to not be allowing the use of BIM with all its potential. The research suggested that the PM should contribute to the solving of these issues, instead of considering the a reason not to use BIM, to be sure they address the aspects that can most benefit projects.

Despite the described challenges for BIM implementation. This research shows enough positive aspect related to the Project Management role, and it is suggested that PMs will benefit a lot from the use of this new way of working.

This dissertation also suggests that further studies should focus on how to improve BIM and aspects of BIM implementation, rather than trying to prove if BIM should be used or not. The AEC Industry needs better practices and BIM is one of them. But researchers should focus on how to make this adoption easier, more cost effective and smoother, and not waste much more brain power trying to convince those who resist change.

To see a complete list of references used for this research check this post.

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(Presentation) Using BIM as a Project Management Tool: How Can BIM improve the delivery of Complex Construction Projects?

See my Master Thesis Presentation.
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I just presented last Monday February 7th my Master Thesis for the graduation of the Master of Engineering (M. Eng) of International Project Management in the Building Process Chain, that I have been doing for the past 18 months. The title of My Master Thesis was "Using BIM as a Project Management Tool: How Can BIM improve the delivery of Complex Construction Projects?"

My Master Thesis was awarded the highest possible mark (1.0 following the German standard) and I got very good remarks and comments from my supervisors. The MT might even get adapted and published in some scientific journal. For the time being, here I will share the slides of my presentation. You might not be able to understand everything since some slides were thought to be used just as a reference and what was relevant was what I had to say, so refer to this post that contains a summary of the Master Thesis. In any case, my presentation was recorded and I hope I will get a copy of the video file and post it later on here. Here comes the presentation.

I owe all of you who contributed to the Questionnaire Survey the sending of the summary of findings. I promise I will do that asap. Thanks again to all who helped by responding or by commenting on the topic.

To see a complete list of references used for this research check this post.

The presentation was uploaded to SlideBoom thanks to a review I read at m62. As you will see, SlideBoom allows the power point animations to be seen on the web (and it just screwed up one slide...I will try to reupload later to fix that, but for now that is what we have)

Cheers and thanks again.

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Vico Software: BIM Master Series

Interested in BIM for Construction Management? The Vico BIM Master Series might be a good place to start.
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
I think out of all vendors pushing for BIM, Vico Software is the one with more knowledge and development in the area of Construction Management.

They have a great series of Webinars about Building Information Modeling (BIM) related to Construction (Scheduling, Estimations, Quantity Take-Offs, etc...). I will just post the links here for you to easily access them:

  • BIM 101: An introduction to BIM and some of its dimensions (3D, 4D, 5D)
  • BIM 201: How to use BIM during preconstruction, Integrated Project Delivery and some issues related to contracts between stakeholders
  • BIM 301: All about contracts related to BIM.
  • BIM 401: Scheduling with BIM and Flowline, learn about Location Breakdown Structure, Vico Control, etc.
  • BIM 501: Do you want to get estimates from your BIM model? Do you want to use the Quantity Take-Off from the BIM to plan and control production? This is your webinar then.
  • BIM 502: Learn about conceptual estimates and differnet modules of Vico Office.
  • BIM for Executies: All Managers need to know about BIM, costs, ROI, what BIM does, etc
A great way to learn about BIM for Construction. If you don't have time for the webinars, maybe you want to check the BIM Glossary the have posted here.

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BIM Implementation Challenges: Industry resistance or lack of trained staff

BIM Implementation has some challenges, we must not underestimate them to succeed in improving the industry
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
I met yesterday with a Partner of a very forward thinking architectural and engineering practice in Barcelona. The idea was to explain the benefits of BIM for the different stakeholders. I must admid, the talk was very interesting.

Sometimes those who believe in BIM (me included) tend to think that all is wonderful and people should adopt BIM from one day to another, forgetting that as any other process or tool BIM needs the acceptance of the industry stakeholders. The challenges for BIM implementation in Spain as I have been seeing lately are the following:
  • Lack of understanding: When you finish explaining the benefits of BIM to someone, try to think what the person you talked to would explain someone else if he/she explains the conversation. The odds are high that they will say 'they tried to sell me another 3D software". It happened to me, I said BIM, people understood 'something like 3D Studio'. How to solve this? Be sure to emphasize the I of the BIM more than the M. People hear modeling, they think only 3D. If you talk about information, maybe you will catch their attention.
  • Lack of trained staff: This is a key point, something that might become a bottleneck if schools don't embrace BIM further than giving a one week course where people learn the 3D capacities of programs like Revit or ArchiCAD. Why would you embrace a new technology if there are no BIM proficient potential employees out there? How do we solve this?Step by step I guess. Talk to Architecture and Engineering schools, offer more and cheaper courses, try to convinnce people at the architectural or engineering associations to let you explain the benefits of BIM. I think this will be a double sided effort. Once more professionals embrace BIM, more students will see it as a must and slowly it will make BIM implementation easier by finding more prepared people out there.
  • Lack of institutional support: Nowadays in Calatonia, most of the public work is done through GISA, the government agency that funds and/or manages many of the government facilities. Should GISA embrace BIM (instead of specifically asking for DWG as a standard) or at least give points to those who innovate in their technology and processes (that is what BIM is at the end, innovation) that could really be a tipping point for BIM in Catalonia. Other agencies and governmental bodies could do the same. Daydreaming? Maybe, AEC Industry in Spain tends to be quite reluctant to innovation, but we did adopt CAD right? So nothing is impossible.
Right now these are the three main challenges in Spain as I see them. What do you think?

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Google Art Project: Visit Museums Around the World From Your Screen

Another google initiative to bring the world to your computer
Català - Castellano - Deutsch

Have you wished to visit some muesums but didn't have the time or the means to get there? Google is bringing the museums to you. Google Art Project allows you to visit the MoMA in New York, or the Reina Sofia in Madrid, the National Gallery in London or even Versailles and many more (17 in total right now)

Another awesome initiative by Google.

And for the credits i will credit Twitter which is becoming an incredible source of interesting information. In this case @gemmaguell posted a link, then @guell made a retweet and finnally my friend @orillevat sent it to me. Twitter is powerful, I was a bit scheptical about it a year ago, but it is becoming an incredible source of information.

Remember that you can follow CAD Addict on twitter too.

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First Thoughts on Using Revit for Quantity Take-Off

Some thoughts, doubts, suggestions and questions after using Revit to help on a project quantity take-off process.
Català - Castellano - Deutsch

I've been working for the past month and half (really 3-4 weeks if we don't count the Christmas break) building a Revit model of a residential project in Barcelona. The model is being used in a pilot project to extract quantities, check for undefined elements and of course help visualize the building. The initial aim was to be able to do a complete quantity take-off from the Revit model, based on the drawings already finished (finished is a very optimistic term here...) by the architect.

I just wanted to share some thoughts I've been having the past weeks about the workflow and problems I encountered so if you are doing something similar either you ca give me some feedback or avoid doing the same mistakes as I have.

To put this in perspective, all this process has been done trying to follow certain Spanish (or Catalan) standards. I really don't know how you guys do estimations in other countries, what I explain here will be based on the way we do, or we try to do certain things.

Let me be more concise and put an example. The first time I showed someone the Schedule of Structural Beams, everything was WAWS and OOOH!. Soon I realized though, that the amazing automatic schedule that Revit was providing was:
A) Not showing the Steel Weight (which is the standard way to do Take-offs here when describing Steel Members and
B) Not splitting the Elements by Floor in the schedule (which is also very necessary in case some cost analysis needs to be run, to be able to say for instance "if we reduce one level, we would have this less steel")

The way I went around point B, was using Phases. I Created a Phase for each level and moved all Columns and Beams of each level to the corresponding Phase (20 minute work, no big deal). This way, I could visualise the schedule using Revit Phases, and could export the quantities for each level separately (showing the phase as a property in the schedule is still something I am trying to figure out how to do...any ideas?).

Point A was a bit trickier, so I will write a second post about it soon to not bore you all with so much text. I will also post soon about an Allplan 2011 demo I went recently, and my first thoughts on how Allplan related to Revit, what is better, what is worse, etc.

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New BIMstorm is today

New BIMStorm coming up.
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BIMStorm is an initiative sponsored by Onuma, Inc. As the name hints, it wants to be like brain storming sessions based on BIM. It basically tries through case studies to have teams from all over the world collaborate and find solutions for a specific case study using BIM, open standards and collaboration. From the BIM Storm Website:
BIMStorms have been the perfect environment to learn how to BIM in a big way. You do not have to be a techie to participate, but we certainly welcome everyone. You will learn how collaboration on projects at an unprecedented way will make you more relevant in the 21st century. Best of all this is all free or close to free. Many owners and agencies have watched what happens in BIMStorms.
This edition is called "Getting Real with BIM, GIS and Facility Management: The Huge Opportunity for 21st Century Architects, Engineers, Contractors & Owners". I haven't had the time to attend one yet, but it looks like something evry BIMmer should try once.
You can sign up here.

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Find your Invisible Revit Objects

CAD Shack has posted a very good list of reasons why you might not be seeing an object.
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
I recently experienced not being able to find see some of the objects I had created. the reason I couldn't find them was because I had set some of them as Interior Objects and somehow I had activated a filter to not show interior objects. Played with it, struggled a bit, and finally found the solution. Then I started playing with Phases, and of course, some objects disappeared as I moved them to a phase that was not the one being shown.

Why do I mention all this? Well, just as an introduction to link you to a very interesting post at CAD Shack that lists the two situations explained above and 8 more that might turn you crazy trying to find an object that is not visible. Great, no more thinking you lost the objects, they are there, simply hidden. Cad bless the Revit.

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2010 Top 10 Posts

The yearly lis is here
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As I am trying to do evey year end, here comes the list of the top posts of 2010. Those that you guys have found to be the most interesting by visiting them more than any other pulished during this past year. Thanks for keeping coming here.
  1. SketchUp Plugins: Extrude Edges by Face
  2. SketchUp Plugins: TIG Extrusion Tools
  3. SketchUp Plugins: Model Clean-Up
  4. SketchUp Plugins: Make Fur / Grass
  5. SketchUp Plugins: Component Stringer
  6. SketchUp Plugins: Extrude Edges by Loft
  7. SketchUp Plugins: Extrude with Rotation
  8. SketchUp Plugins: Better Unfold Tool - Flattery
  9. Revit Basics: Control the level of Detail of a View
  10. AutoCAD: Manage Layers with the LAYWALK command
As you can see, SketchUp posts have bee the most popular considering the number of visitors in 2010. In any case, i am very happy to see a Revit post on the Top 10 list of 2010. Considering that I am not a blog of reference regarding BIM or Revit, it is a good start and big motivation to make more BIM related posts climb to the top of this list in 2011.

This doesn't mean I will completely abandon SketchUp or AutoCAD related posts, I will post if I use the tools and come along some nice tricks to share, but since my current focus is on BIM and on improving the Processes of the AEC industry, expect more posts on this line.

Again, thanks for reading, sorry for the misspllings and please comment more this coming year, despite the 939,575 Pageviews (591,188 of them in 2010) , it sometime feels a bit lonely here with only 167 Comments on 378 Posts.


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New Version of VisualARQ Architectural Tools for Rhino

New Version of VisualARQ for Rhino.
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The friends from VisualARQ just sent me an email with the news that a new version of their Architectural Tools for Rhino is now available. VisualARQ is a set of tools that for what I have seen and read seem to turn Rhino into a more "Architectural Representation Friendly" software if that term exists.

The Tools allow Rhino to identify objects as windows, walls, etc. Much like regular BIM packages do. See a description of features here. The new features in version 1.2 can be found following this link.

In short, the new features are:
  • Beam object
  • Context help
  • IFC 2×3 export
  • Plan visibility can be specified per object depending on its position on the level.

Did I say BIM like objects? IFC 2x3 support? Well here you go BIM scheptical people. Even Freeformparadise (that would be Rhino) seems to need BIM standards objects and interoperability. The BIM steamroller is unstoppable...remember Stuart Brand's Quote "Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road". What will you choose?

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(BIM) Revit to SketchUp via IFC Plugin

There is a Plugin to Import IFC Files into SketchUp
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I was trying to visualize a Revit model we've been building in SketchUp. I actually wanted to use SketchUp to export the model to Maxwell to do a very quick rendering since the default rendering in Revit didn't please me and I didn't have the time to play with it much.

This was just a workaround, but it did help. I found the IFC2SKP plugin for Google SketchUp from Secom IS Lab. It did the trick.

The plugin will import your IFC file (you need to save as IFC from Revit) and the imported entities will be separated by layers as IFC Entities. IFC Wall, IFC Floor, etc. It does not keep much of the material properties you might have already given to each elemetn in Revit which is a bugger, but I guess that has more to do with IFC itself than with the Plugin.

Once you install the plugin, you will need to go to Plugins --> Import IFC and from there play with what do you want and what you don't want to be imported. I'll post some pictures detailing the process as soon as I get my laptop charger fixed (or I buy a new one...)

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