Monday, February 2, 2015

Attention All 3D Model Creators and Vendors...for Revit Users - Stop making my life a pain...

OK, it's time for a quick soapbox post.

First up, to all the manufacturers that are making content for us pain-in-the-rear Revit users. We're a whiny bunch, especially when we want our models to closely represent real world conditions.

For the most part, your stuff is good. The end of line guys - making the equipment, the targets and sources...We don't need every nut, bolt and clip, so when you put a preliminary model together, you can leave all that stuff out. I'm going to take it out of the model anyway when I get it to Inventor, since I really don't want a 1gb family. But if the overall skin detail is good, and when you get me a model, I make sure you're at the top of the list for the recommended vendors (even when there's three required).

For the other guys...that are using companies like ARCAT, SmartBIM and others. It's time for some ground rules.

1. First and foremost - I will jealously guard your intellectual property -as a designer, that's what defines us as well. But you need to work with your content developers and understand the chaos you cause with your shared parameters.

Every time I get a family that includes copyrights, trademarks, links to your website, your content developer's home phone, webpage, Mom's maiden name, that are defined as shared parameters, I start to use words that will make my preacher blush. STOP DOING THIS! I'm cool with you adding them as family parameters, since those don't show up for schedules and tags. You've got to understand that most of our users don't care what 04 CSI is used for, since we already have schedules defined with our standards anyway. So I wind up wasting a lot of time cleaning your mess up - and looking to either make my own version, or go to another vendor's site - which is not why you do this in the first place. You want to market your products, and we're cool with you doing that, as long as you're not making more wasted work for me and the users.

2. Second of all - I'm cool with you adding design criteria data as well - again, make it family only. And use the right format - like electrical Phase - this is NOT the same as number of poles, so don't create a shared parameter that's named one thing and used another way. Make sure it's related to the category and use as what's defined in Revit.

If I want to use your data in a schedule or as part of a load calculation, I'll use a custom shared parameter that matches my schedule, but is set to equal your data. It's easy to link family data to shared parameter data as long as the formatting is the same. You can do this with a schedule or with a formula in the type properties of a part, and they can be instance or type.

3. USE THE DEFAULT TYPE AND INSTANCE PARAMETERS! Like Model, and Manufacturer - anytime we have a deviation between examples, we make a different type - because, gasp, they ARE different - even if it's something simple as a voltage, or connection size. And stop adding your own model numbers in 3 or 4 different shared parameters. Again, make them family based so the guys making our schedules don't see the word Model show up five times when making a new schedule.

4. And last but not least - be CLEAR when it comes to type names. We edit all of these to include a descriptive, Air Handling Unit. If you haven't heard, we use a really neat tool called Navisworks, that allows us to export our models into a format that can be used for collaboration. When a project is exported, Revit will assign the type name to the solid - if no name is provided, then it uses the family name. But it's equally important in the Revit model to make sure it's clearly named, so we can sort and filter schedules easily. If you name your family type 1234-FRGST-LH-BS-UAUMF-L-2, nobody else knows what the heck that means. Be clear, because my IQ isn't high enough to understand this goobletygook.

Again, I can't thank you enough, but you guys are winding up like the good Samaritan on the side of the road with a toolbox, When they try to help you change the flat tire, they strip your lug nuts when they use a pair of channel locks to loosen them up. Use the right tool for the job, and life is better for everyone.

I'm done, you can all return to your jobs now....and, guys, don't forget that Valentine's Day is in less that two weeks!

Later - db