Thursday, May 25, 2017

AU 2017 Proposal Time – and now you can Vote!

I’ve been a speaker at AU for a long time now (well, about 13 times) and every year it’s challenging to come up with new and updated topics. But this year is a little different – for the first time, you, the user, can vote for the classes you would like to see. So if you have a topic, like learning Dynamo for Revit, understanding how to bring Inventor families into Infraworks, or gain a better understanding to make your AutoCAD documentation look and behave like Revit documentation, then you get to pick until June 16th. It won’t be the only criteria used to pick a class, but it will be an important one.
So here’s what I’ve ponied up for this year. You can vote by following this link:

Perfecting the System for Revit

Last year’s co-winner of the top lab at AU 2016, this lab set several firsts. It was a first for me as a two time winner from 2011 and 2016, but the key part was how we taught the class. We covered three tracks – duct, pipe and electrical – at the same time, showing the similarities and highlight key points for each system type. The handouts were the most detailed I had written for an AU lab – an overview, one for each track, and a key points document to narrow it down. Here’s the lab description:

“Revit systems help us to define the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design in several ways, but the main purpose is to understand the relationships between system equipment, such as air terminals to air handling units, or from light fixture to panel. This multiple-AU award winning lab will teach you the key steps needed for controlling project system settings, and then demonstrates how to capitalize on (or disable) sizing and analysis tools related to the system. We’ll cover creating the target-source relationship between parts, and then we’ll review using the systems to improve the quality of your documentation. On top of this, you’ll get a project template that already defines everything in the class, so you can take advantage of these topics right away. The class will cover HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning), piping, and electrical items, so come and join us for this fast-paced but thorough lab—you’ll be glad you did! This session features Revit MEP and Revit.”

- Learn comprehensive steps for controlling project system settings, including mechanical and electrical system project settings
- Learn how to capitalize on the system sizing and analysis tools, and learn how to maximize project performance when you don't need these features
- Understand how to create the target and source relationship between equipment without routing a duct, pipe, or wire
- Learn how to improve the quality of your construction documents by capitalizing on system-based features

Managing BIM Projects Without Going CRAZY

This course was featured as a live event a few years back, and was one of the most watched online sessions for the AU site. Working from a higher level, this class is geared more towards the BIM manager and focuses on high-impact areas of an implementation. We’ve also added some new features to cover from the 2018 release. With the inclusion of fabrication tools in Revit 2018, we step back and learn when and why you would use this content, over the default design content that’s already been shipping with Revit.

“This course covers effective practices for project managers, architects, engineers, and designers working on Building Information Modeling (BIM) projects for all areas of architecture, structure and MEP systems. Learn how AutoCAD and Revit software have altered the traditional design workflows and processes, and discover how to manage the disruptive changes. The course will cover pre-project planning, dealing with project content and understanding what tools can really help the project bottom line. We will also review key CAD and BIM standards, and where Revit software alters typical project tasks for higher levels of development. The course is well suited for the first-time manager and experienced user. If you're ready for an energetic, fast-paced class that packs in a lot of information, then sign up early and often!”

- Discover key points for the project execution plans and staffing
- Understand how to clearly define CAD and BIM tasks for a project and how standardization between both should be approached
- Learn how to migrate third party content and filter essential data into a project family
- Examine different levels of development (LOD), and when to use design versus fabrication tools

I also added two new classes, including one on AutoCAD that was based on training demands we’ve had at our firm, Gannett Fleming.

AutoCAD versus Revit - Common Annotation Tips and Tricks

We still have a lot of AutoCAD users, but it’s kind of surprising how few of our users have really had any training on AutoCAD. As part of a standards initiative, we discovered how little (and how poorly) many of our stuff used features such as annotative scaling for text, dimensions and blocks. We also had some attempts at dynamic blocks, but only a handful of user understood how to use them, much less make them. So this class was born out of the need to create similar workflows and use tools that have the same behavior in both AutoCAD and Revit.

“When you have a lot of old school and productive AutoCAD users, sometimes it can be tough to get them into the Revit way of thinking. One way to get these users on board is to help them relate AutoCAD features to Revit tools, and learn how these similar tools can increase their productivity. In this lesson, we being by learning how annotations such as text and dimensions are controlled by the scale of the drawing. Next, we review the similarity of dynamic blocks in AutoCAD and Revit 2D symbol and annotation families. We examine how actions and parameters in AutoCAD help the user match Revit family placement behavior and features. The session closes by learning how to make AutoCAD dynamic blocks behave more like Revit family types, using visibility and lookup tools. If you need more consistency between your AutoCAD drawings, and Revit documentation, come join this old timer to learn some new tricks, and get a cool template to help you get started!”

- Learn how to define AutoCAD annotative Text, Multi-Leaders and Dimensions to match Revit annotation types
- Understand basic similarities between AutoCAD dynamic blocks and Revit 2D symbol families
- Review specific dynamic block actions and features that emulate Revit behavior
- Examine how dynamic block visibility and lookup table features are similar to Revit family types

Last, but not least…we’ve been working with Autodesk for the past few years to gain a better understanding for methods that link drawings and models together, and share the data seamlessly between programs. Without going into too much detail, the end result is a new product that is now in public beta.

Taking Your Data into the Cloud: Introducing the Revit P&ID Modeler

“In the design world, it’s not uncommon that key project data is stored in application silos, and requires a great deal of manual coordination. Autodesk has taken the first steps for AEC projects to make data available to multiple applications at once, by introducing a connected workflow that shares data from schematic diagrams with a Revit project. The Revit P&ID Modeler breaks silos down by letting the user begin with P&ID schematics in AutoCAD Plant 3D to create intelligent, data rich diagrams. The schematic data is hosted in the Autodesk 360 cloud and is referenced by Revit project models. The 3D model consisting of elements such as piping, equipment, and accessories, is then developed using information defined in the schematic, such as pipe size, type, valve type, and equipment IDs. As the model is developed, and the schematic iterated, the user receives feedback to help ensure consistency and design intent is maintained. Join us to see the next evolution of Autodesk design tools.”

- Learn how a process and instrumentation diagram is defined in AutoCAD Plant 3D, and to determine the key data to be shared
- Understand how to define a hub in the Autodesk 360 environment, and how to prepare for sharing this data with other modeling tools
- See how the Revit model is associated with a hub project, and how the P&ID model interface is defined
- Examine how design data is tracked and coordinated during the modeling process

So that’s my classes in a nutshell – we’re taking some old school to the next level, and jumping in early to get a peek into new products that can really streamline the design process. Vote early and often – I appreciate it!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Design Review is updated and Back for 2018

A few years ago, we had started to make some major strides getting some of our design office to use the Autodesk Design Review program for markups and presentations for clients. I was a bit disappointed that Autodesk stopped developing it with the 2013 release...or so it would appear.

Now Autodesk has updated the tool and re-released it with the 2018 software that has already begun shipping. You can get your free download here:

Design Review allows you to print sheets, views, models, drawings and more to the DWF format. The program allows you to add markups, which can then be reference back into Revit models, AutoCAD drawings and more, and track/sign off on the changes. It also have sectioning tools that allow you take a peak inside a 3D model without turning layers off.

If you haven't given a try, do it today - with everything moving endlessly towards the cloud, this tool helps you keep some of your system based dignity again.

Have a great day! David B.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Thank you again – another Top Speaker award at AU 2016!!!

Man…I can’t tell you how happy and honored I was to find out one of my labs at Autodesk University 2016 ( finished in a two way tie for top speaker. The lab, Perfecting the System for Revit, included my first ever perfect score in one category, with an overall rating of 4.79 out of 5, based on a minimum number of responses. The class tied with another lab taught by one of my good friends, Mike Massey from Applied Solutions. This was Mike’s first win, and well deserved. He’s taught at AU for many years, and now that I’m out of the Autodesk reseller channel, has been the guy in the Southeast US that I’ve been referring people to for years. He provides the same service I used to – training, consulting and program optimization, and came up through the Building Design solutions ranks the same time I did. He was one of the first MEP Implementation Certified Experts, a title we both received at the same time when Revit MEP was first getting its feet wet.

It’s a tough job to win one of these awards, but the real effort goes into the prep and planning for the class. The lab this year was the first time I taught three sets of discipline tools – duct, pipe and electrical circuiting – concurrently in a lab. We went through each of the keys areas, focusing on the similarities and differences. The course would up with five – yes, five – handouts, including an overall document that explained the features; three separate lab exercise documents for each track; and an overall tips and tricks document that featured key takeaways.

But I think what made the difference was fixing one of the things about labs that drove me nuts – and almost got me to where I didn’t want to teach them anymore. For years, we had problems with datasets in the labs – the wrong files, users not be able to locate the files, as well not understanding the software well enough to know the difference between the applications (yes, I had users a few years ago open AutoCAD MEP in a Revit MEP lab before). We also had users that could not keep up due to the lack of familiarity with the software.

To make it easier, it started with Autodesk using a web-based version of Revit for the labs this year. This made the files open quickly, and kept local users from editing items like the interface and location of palettes, etc. Another key step was having the lab datasets stored by lab location and day of the lab, which helped us locate the files easily. But I think what made the biggest difference came from my lab assistants – Matt Dillon, Matt Stachoni, and Ron Onderko – who went around and opened Revit 2017, opened the dataset project files (2) and made sure they were all already open to the view we needed to start in. When the student came into the lab, everything was ready to go, allowing us to focus on the lesson, rather than waiting for everyone to get where they needed to be. Even a few of the early arrivals pitched in and helped the lab rats get everything open and ready – for that, I can’t thank you guys enough.

The course included learning how to use Revit software systems help us to define the MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) design in several ways, but the main purpose is to understand the relationships between system equipment, such as air terminals to air handling units, or from light fixture to panel. We taught the users comprehensive steps needed for controlling project system settings, and then demonstrated how to capitalize on (or disable) sizing and analysis tools related to the system. We also covered creating the target-source relationship between parts, and then how to use the systems to improve the quality of documentation. Included were project files based on a project template that already defines everything in the class, so the user could take advantage of these topics right away. The class covered HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning), piping, and electrical items.

AU is already over, but if you want the handouts or datasets for the lab, let me know and I’ll send you a link.

And for all the folks that came in, spent 90 minutes and walked away with a fresh perspective, or learned something new, and showed your appreciation – I can’t thank you enough. We’ll see you again next year!