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Thursday, 15 December 2011

My First Autodesk University

Just over two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend Autodesk University 2011 in the Venetian Hotel & Conference Centre, Las Vegas. This was my first ever AU and it really didn’t disappoint.
 I arrived in Vegas about half two on the Monday before the conference after 17 hours travelling, to find my bags had been “mislaid” and wouldn’t be arriving till sometime on Wednesday. Not to be deterred, I attended the AU Freshman Orientation where Lynn Allen amongst others made us newbies feel welcome and gave us a good outlook of “what not to miss”.
I’m sure I did miss some very good things, such as the Innovation Forum: Innovation Cage Match—Grey Matter Smackdown, but what I did manage to attend was fantastic. 
Tuesday began with breakfast in the main hall with the rest of the 8,000 attendees. Walking into the Keynote session next was a strange experience, it was 8am in the morning and we were walking into a room light only with red fluorescent lights. An 8am nightclub was the feeling. The session itself was awe inspiring as Jeff Kowalski presented “The Five Waves of Disruption”.  If you watch on class on AU Virtual watch this. I filled the rest of the day with Innovation forums(including a terrific speech from Sir Ken Robinson at “Making Design Personal Again”) and some shopping for clothes(as my bag was still in transit) before an early night due to chronic jetlag.
Wednesday brought a fresher David, who was still in awe of how 8,000 people could eat breakfast all at once in one room. The first class I attended was presented by  Zach Kron and William Lopez Campo. This was the best class of the week for me. “You Want to Model a What? Converting Real Projects into Parametric Relationships”.  This was followed by two more classes, lunch, another Innovation forum. Then was the AUGI general meeting .The AUGI social event affectionately known as the AUGI Beer Bust followed that where I got the chance to check out the exhibit hall and network with some of the top professionals in our industry. My bag had finally arrived when I got in that night.
Thursday began with some Family Counselling with Mario Guttman and Weston Tanner, a lab class with Zach Kron and Robert Mana(Twice Baked: Creating Your Own Adaptive Components and Panels with Autodesk® Revit®) was the highlight of the day and then the AU mixer finished up the week. This was an amazing room with food ,beer, 8,000 people, a DJ and some live demos on stage.
Zaha Hadid, HOK, ARUP, KSS, Disney, were just a few of the companies who I had the chance to network with.
Overall it was and exhausting but thoroughly enjoyable week. I look forward to attending and renewing my new found friendships next year at AU2012.
Be sure to check out AU Virtual for all the classes and notes.
I’ll leave you with my favourite quotes of the week.
“For the cost of a bad Starbucks addiction, you can change the world”
 “The largest untapped recourse on the planet is the free time, disposable income and creativity of the creative class.”
Mark Hatch Tech Shop.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

BIM Workshop.Conclusion

Welcome back to my blog. Blogging has been slow that last month, it has been a hectic month or so, beginning with the BIM Workshop in the RIAI.

We worked for four days collaboratively with a design team to explore the uses of BIM in our industry. Overall this was a terrific week that I was lucky to be involved in. It was really interesting to see how the other disciplines of the design team actually work. Most of us are aware of what people produce but how they actually get to that point is fascinating.

Up to that point we had really only worked with architects and engineers using BIM to create their documentation. The week of the workshop we really got in deep into a BIM Managers role, controlling the models, solving problems, laying down procedures and basically facilitating the real design process to happen through BIM. Personally I was never as busy in my life and at the end of the week I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have very much to show for my efforts. As BIM managers (which we see as a different role to a traditional CAD/BIM manager) we were simply assisting the design team in their efforts in BIM. So at the end of the week we didn’t have any models or images etc to show off. One visitor that came to the workshop (as it was open doors) asked me what exactly I was doing. I found it a difficult question to answer, how do you explain the BIM Managers role in a few simple sentences? I ended up explaining (in a roundabout way) that I wasn’t producing anything but I was making the process of design possible through BIM. Assisting the design team with their models, recommending procedures that we produced, solving problems and technical issues as they arose, all while entertaining visitors and explaining to people what we were doing! Ralph (my boss) summed it up that night in the Pub, he said “even though we didn’t produce anything, nothing would have been produced without us. We simply make it happen, make it work”

 Earlier in the year when this idea of a BIM Workshop was mooted, most of the design team were in their infancy regarding BIM. We offered training and mentoring to get people up to speed and then oversaw the process happening during the week. It was a massive learning curve for us, but one that will no doubt stand to us in the furfure.

Video Summary from CITA below

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

RIAI/CITA BIM Workshop - 1-4 Nov.

Check out the BIM workshop that we are currently involved in.

Book these dates in your diary:
Nov 1-4th - BIM Workshop (drop into the RIAI anytime that week to come and see “BIM in Action”, and talk to consultants involved)
Nov 25th – CITA BIM Conference (which will include a session about the BIM Workshop)

It should prove to be an interesting week.
Check out the link below

BIM Workshop - Overall Project Objectives
This project is an initiative of the RIAI Practice Committee for BIM, and the overall objective is to test and showcase the benefits of collaborative design through BIM technology, to raise the level of understanding and awareness of BIM and promote a higher level of uptake of BIM within the industry.  

Objectives of the Workshop: 
Simulate a more collaborative preliminary stage of design through BIM Demonstrate the efficiency of working in BIM, and added value that design teams can bring to the procurement process.  
Highlight the benefits of BIM to design collaboration and decision making.  
Demonstrate how BIM improves coordination and reduces uncertainty (and by implication waste and cost in construction)  

Workshop Structure/Stages: 
Starting with a brief and suite of Revit components (from the GRD model), carry out a design workshop, to collectively assemble a bespoke design layout from the brief and components provided. Using the tools available in Revit & other BIM applications, demonstrate how the design options can be “validated” in “realtime”, against programme, performance and cost requirements, to arrive at the end of the workshop with a “fully considered” design option that ready to go to planning and/or progress on to tender and construction documentation.  

Other Activities: 
Key representatives from government and industry will be invited to “walk-in” during the process and see how the design is progressing.  
On the last day, key representatives of government, industry and press will be given a presentation by the design team, describing the process, the benefits, challenges and outcomes. Hopefully these will comment on what they have learned, and endorse the benefits that BIM has brought to the process (ie get the message back to industry).  

Saturday, 15 October 2011

An Arcdox Top Tip

When placing elements in Revit, use the SpaceBar to rotate them to the orientation that you require. Also once they are placed, select the element and then press the SpaceBar to rotate the element around  its own axis. This works wonderfully well when rotating lots of objects because they all rotate around their own axis.

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The simply things are always the most enjoyable.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Project Spark.

Project Spark was recently released to Autodesk labs. It is essentially a cut down version of Autodesk Revit Architecture. I say Architecture because it focuses on the similar tools that would be available under Revit Architecture.

Project spark can be downloaded and will be available to use until July 7, 2012.

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Obviously Autodesk are going to cut down the functionality of a free piece of software like this so let’s get the bad points out of the way first.

Project Spark is based on the Revit Architecture code base but is a newer version making it incompatible with the current versions of Revit. You can't open Spark files with Revit or vise versa, However, Revit 2012 files can be linked into Project Spark

(Eh there is view filters??)

It does not support conceptual design, analysis, rendering, advanced collaboration or API. You can’t modify sub elements in floors/roofs, Beams but no beam systems. No trusses, No transfer project standards. No Macros. No point clouds.

That’s a pretty long list by anyone’s standards, but to the less advanced user and especially to the beginner or someone who is trying to get there head around the whole BIM-volution it is a solid place to start.

You get all your basic modelling tools, walls floors roof and floors, although you can’t modify sub elements in the latter two. You can use all three types of families (system, loadable, inplace) and you also get a full family editor without the conceptual massing.

You use the same principals to create a model in Spark as you would in Revit, data rich elements logically connected. You enter sketch mode and learn the perils of creating closed loops and overlapping line. I find that sketch mode is one of the elements that new students struggle with.

You use your Visibility/Graphics and Object Styles to control your project visually or hide elements in view etc if you prefer. All good lessons to learn before you make the step up to Revit,

The procedures for creating content are the same. Duplicate and change some parameters to make a new type or create content from scratch using the family editor.

You can place windows, doors, furniture, rooms and create legends for your designs. Once your components are placed you can go ahead and schedule them. 

You get some nice essentials skills videos for beginners on start-up.

System Requirments for running spark can be found here

In summary Project Spark is a cut down version of Revit that, for now, is free in the Autodesk Labs,. It remains to be seen where Autodesk want to go with this. Will it graduate from labs to be a free version to learn Revit on? I very much doubt it. But if there is a low cost alternative I can see its real potential coming from Content Creators or manufactures.

For now though I recommend you check it out if you are new to Revit and want to practice your Revit skills in an affordable manor. For the more advanced user it will frustrated you too much if your used to Revit.

Feel free to comment below. Best of Luck.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


I've been thinking of starting a quick set of posts just to give some quick tips to the beginner in all of us.
I will call this series "An ARCDOX Top Tip". These will be short and to the point and mainly aimed at beginners but also anyone who finds them useful, you would be surprised what even an advanced Reviteer doesn't know!!

The First ARCDOX Top TIP

Consider using the "Delete Inner Segment" option on the options bar when using the split tool. This is save you some trimming time when in Sketch Mode.

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A simple tip but a time saver just the same.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Revit 2012 Service Pack Update 2

Autodesk also yesterday release the Revit 2012 Service Pack Update 2,
you will need this to use the new cloud rendering service.(project neon)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Autodesk Cloud Now Available

Autodesk today announced that Autodesk Cloud Services are Now available

to Subscription Customers

Exciting Times, to Autodesk Cloud promises a cloud documents service with 3GB of storage to store and share documents online. Also a cool new Design Review IPhone/IPad app for viewing and marking up DWF’s.

Project Neon, which was in labs, has been incorporated into the cloud. This is an cloud rendering service which we have used in the past and found to be very good. Basically the renders that take hours on our PC’s are ripped through in minutes with Autodesk’s render farm and emailed back to you.

It is only available to subscription customers, but subscription with Revit seems to be well worth the money.

Autodesk Revit Conceptual Energy Analysis, Autodesk Green Building Studio, Autodesk Buzzaw, Autodesk Inventor Optimization, all need to be tested before I can comment.

More later

Not Another New Revit Blog!!!

The aim of the blog is to answer any questions or queries you may have about Building Information Modelling (BIM). Please feel free to leave a comment with your questions and I will do my best to answer them. I have been using and educating people in Autodesk Revit for almost four years and its becoming difficult to answer everybody’s queries via email, so I decided to write a blog and once a query comes in I can just copy somebody a link.

That suits me nicely as I am a lazy man. I much prefer to do something once and move on to the next problem or query. That’s the main reason I like Revit so much. Fix a problem once and it’s replicated throughout.

I’m an architectural technologist by profession so I’m well versed it the pitfalls of “traditional 2D systems” (you know who you are). No longer do I want to spend my time on 3 week long door schedules or coordinating a 200 page pack of documents developed in different formats and systems that are totally alien to each other. BIM is the key to my laziness. Building Information modelling allows me to work intelligently so that I can spend my time on detail design.

We need to be aware that by simply using Autodesk Revit, we are not participating in BIM. Building information modelling is a process, Revit is just software. To truly call ourselves BIM Compliant we embrace the change in process. Information is key; a good well-constructed Revit model without any information is just a 3D model. A good well-constructed Revit model with good information is BIM.

I would like to point out at this early stage that I’m not writer, I don’t have a doctorate in English, I rely heavily on spell check, I will misuse commas in all my sentences, but I will try to answer as many questions as you may have in my honest opinion. I am open to correction so feel free to comment, if you’re right I will learn something and that’s always good.

There is lots of Revit blogs out there with loads of good tips. What I wish to provide is answers for the Irish market, where BIM is a relatively new process. If I see something of worth in another blog I will simply point you in the right direction. Let’s not reinvent the wheel.
So leave your comments below and I will endeavour to find the answers.