Revit in the Cloud

A few years ago, Autodesk launched a collaborative platform in which users have the ability to host their models in the cloud, creating a Revit Cloud Model. This essentially puts the central model in a location on the web where users can seamlessly share work with anyone in the world.

Revit Cloud

The Problem

If you have ever worked in an environment where you have team members in multiple offices or you’re sharing a model with other consultants, you know the struggles associated with having a central model located anywhere but your local area network (LAN). Although not impossible, sharing a central model over a wide area network (WAN) has proven difficult – even with hardware such as Panzura or software such as Revit Server.

I’ve personally worked with Panzura and have had several issues with their servers. One major issue is data corruption. I suspect that when syncing between servers happens too slowly it causes the central models to become corrupt. Even when things ran “smoothly,” we still would have performance of the model slow down to a screeching halt if two people from opposite ends of country were in the same model. We solved this problem with worksets, but I digress.

Revit Server seems to work well, however it takes time to set up at each remote location and is recommended to have a dedicated machine per server, which can be costly to set up and maintain.

The Solution

BIM 360 Design (formerly known as Collaboration For Revit) converts your central model into a Revit Cloud Model to make it accessible to your team on BIM 360. This enables anyone in the world to use conventional worksharing features of Revit that were historically only available to users who are on the same network.

To convert your model to a Revit Cloud Model, simply navigate to the Collaborate tab and click Collaborate. You will then be prompted to choose from three options. Select “In BIM 360 Team” and follow the remaining prompts to select which project on BIM 360 you would like to add this model to.

Revit Cloud
Revit Cloud

Working in the Cloud

Once you Revit Cloud Model is set up, working on it is as simple as clicking on the BIM 360 icon in the sidebar of Revit’s Open > Project window.

Once the model is open, you will work as you would if your central model was on your LAN, syncing to central and saving locally. Note the central model location will should now read: BIM360://[BIM 360 Project Name]/[Revit Model]

Managing Revit Cloud Models

BIM 360 Design is a powerful tool and constantly improving, however there are some important technical details to watch out for as you begin to integrate it into your workflows.

There Are Two Types of Revit Models on BIM 360

One very important point to make is that BIM 360 has two functions in regards to working with Revit models. It can act like a file repository for Revit models (similar to Google Drive or Dropbox), but it also hosts your Revit Cloud Models. It is important to know that these are two completely different file types in BIM 360. The Type column will identify your Revit models as “Cloud Revit model” or “Revit Files”.

 

Revit Cloud

Publishing and Deleting Revit Cloud Models

Another feature which can confuse your team is the management of cloud models in BIM 360 Team Hub (the web interface). These models can go so far as to be deleted, but the Revit Cloud Model will still exist when users browse to your BIM 360 Project through Revit or the Collaborate tab to Manage Cloud Model.

Revit Cloud

See below for an example of the last updated date/time in Revit versus in the BIM 360 Team Hub. You can clearly see that what Revit sees and what BIM 360 sees are two different versions of your Revit Cloud Models.

Revit Cloud
Revit Cloud

In order to update the version of your Revit Cloud Model on BIM 360, you must explicitly publish it from the Manage Cloud Models window.

Revit Cloud

In order to completely delete a Revit Cloud Model, you must navigate to Manage Cloud Models in Revit and from the dropdown menu select “Delete”.

Revit Cloud

Additional Technical Notes for BIM Managers

1 ) Your local BIM 360 model is not stored in the same location as the conventional local models. If needed, you can find your local model here: 
%LOCALAPPDATA%\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 2018\CollaborationCache\

2) If you have a model open that doesn’t use C4R, the “Manage Cloud Models” button will be disabled or greyed out. You must either open a Cloud Revit Model or close all models to access this tool.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Have you used BIM 360 Design to collaborate on Revit Cloud Models? What are your thoughts so far?

Revit LT vs Revit

Did you know that Autodesk offers a “light” version of Revit, called Revit LT? Revit LT can save you some of the upfront costs when adopting BIM technology, but what limitations are incurred along with that reduced price tag? In this post, we’ll share some of the key points to consider when looking at purchasing Revit LT vs Revit.

Revit LT vs Revit

When trying to decide between Revit LT vs Revit, cost is typically the biggest factor. As of December 2018, the annual fee for a Revit LT 2019 license only $420 versus $2,250 for the full version of Revit 2019. That is a whopping $1,830 a year difference saved annually! Autodesk also offers monthly payments from Revit LT vs Revit, which are $55 and $280, respectively.

You Get What You Pay For

As with any product that offers an option with a lesser price tag, there are significant limitations in Revit LT vs Revit. Below, we’ve outlined some fundamental features that would be missing from your workflow when using Revit LT.

Minimal Collaboration

One of Revit’s greatest strengths is its ability to collaborate in a team environment, whether it’s your internal team or a 3rd party consultant. When faced with making a decision between Revit LT vs Revit, take note of the following collaboration features that are not available in Revit LT.

✕ Worksharing (multiuser environment) 

✕ Copy/monitor

✕ Shared coordinates among projects

✕ Revit Server

Light Modeling Tools

Generating a 3D model in Revit is one of it’s primary functions and Revit LT isn’t nearly as powerful as the full version.

For example, shaped editing Floors and Roofs are one of the most basic modeling features in Revit and that tool is not available in Revit LT. Another major limitation of modeling in Revit LT is the inability to model MEP systems. So, if you’re an MEP engineering firm that is trying to decide between Revit LT vs Revit, it looks like you’re stuck with the full version of Revit.

Have a look at some of the main modeling tools that are not available to Revit LT users.

Architecture

✕ Shaped Edited Floors and Roofs

✕ Slanted Columns

✕ Conceptual massing, adaptive components

✕ In Product Rendering

✕ Ray trace

✕Solar studies

Engineering

✕ MEP Systems

✕ HVAC duct systems

✕ Mechanical Equipment

✕Electrical and lighting systems

✕ Piping and plumbing systems

✕ Structural loads and boundary conditions

✕ Heating and cooling loads

✕ Panel Schedules, Duct and Pipe Pressure loss reports

✕ Graphical Column Schedules

Construction

✕ Fabrication Parts

✕ Point clouds

✕ Advanced Steel Connections for Revit

✕ Reinforcement, Rebar modeling

✕ Parts

✕Assemblies

Limited Productivity Features

Along with the limitations on the data and modeling side of Revit, several features that enable increased productivity in the full version of Revit are stifled in Revit LT. For the seasoned Revit user, you undoubtedly have some power-user tricks up your sleeve that simply would not be at your disposal when using Revit LT.

Below are some of the key productivity tools that are not available in Revit LT.

✕ Network deployment

✕ 3rd Party API add-ins

✕ Dynamo for Revit

✕ Application programming interface (API) SDK

Macros

Conclusion

I hope this has helped shed some light on the key differences between Revit LT vs Revit. As you can see, the attractive price tag of Revit LT may get your attention, however its limited functionality simply will not work for firms that require some of Revit’s most prized fundamental features.

12 Days of UNIFI Features

3 Time and Money Saving Tools That Will Improve Your BIM Content Management

3 Time and Money Saving Tools That Will Improve Your BIM Content Management

By Laura McIntyre

As the new year approaches, it’s time to think about how we can improve ourselves personally and professionally to make next year better than the last. If you’re a BIM Manager, stepping up your BIM content management strategy is a must have on your list of New Year’s resolutions. Last week on our webinar, we walked you through three common BIM content management workflows with and without the help of UNIFI. Keep reading to discover what we found and the many ways UNIFI can help you achieve your BIM content management goals and save you time and money in upcoming year.

Reviewing Contents of a Revit Model

Before

If you have non-Revit-savvy team members, they will sometimes use the number of sheets in a model as way for a quick status on the progress of a project. The conventional way is a multistep process which can be time-consuming:

1.Launch Revit 

2.Open the Revit model

3. Navigate to the Sheet Schedule

4. Export the file to CSV

5. Format the file in Excel

6.Send to the appropriate parties

Improve your BIM Content Management

While this process isn’t overly complicated and seems pretty straightforward, it is important to note that as soon as you export anything from BIM, the data has the potential to be outdated.

When it comes to viewing room data in Revit with a typical workflow, you need to export a similar schedule to a text file. Just like the process of reviewing sheets or any model content outside of the native Revit model, you’re running a risk of sharing outdated information by using this method. 

Improve your BIM Content Management

AFTER

The UNIFI Project Analytics feature collects and displays your Revit project data automatically and in real time. Project Analytics can be accessed from a web browser and you can view the content in your model without ever accessing the Revit platform. 

All that’s required to get Project Analytics going is a one time opt-in per model from users in your company. UNIFI Project Analytics will do the rest and gather the data from any user that has UNIFI Core installed and collect data in the background of your project, completely undetectable to the end user. Everytime a Revit user syncs to central, the data is collected. No scripts or scheduled tasks need to be run to collect this data, UNIFI does the work for you. With Project Analytics, the data is always up to date and current so you are never looking at outdated information as you would in the aforementioned workflow without UNIFI.

 

Improve Your BIM content management

The room data that lives within your model can also be viewed instantly without the Revit model being open or any exportation of schedules with UNIFI’s Project Analytics. This is especially useful for your team member who don’t want to open and navigate Revit, but need to be able to review the rooms within the project.

Additionally, Project Analytics gives you insight into revisions, drafting views, and families in real time. In the single, intuitive dashboard, you can see the progress of a project and the details inserted into Revit models. The time and money saving features Project Analytics offers doesn’t end here, and you can learn about all of the awesome features in the video below or click here for more information.

Content Requests

BEFORE

The typical workflow of content requests without UNIFI usually goes something like this: 

Improve your BIM content Management Workflow

A member of your team may send a content request via email, send a message on SLACK or SKYPE, or even make a verbal request by giving you a call or stopping by your desk. While this initial step may work to get the ball rolling, it’s very difficult to track to keep the team up to date on the status on their content request.

Improve your BIM Content Management

A spreadsheet or a task management tool like the one shown above can be a solution to manage content requests. There is nothing technically wrong with this process and it works. However, if you’ve ever attempted to manage content requests within one of these platforms you know first hand managing your content request tasks, is a task within itself. This process also makes it difficult to figure out how previous content came to be. Backtracking the history of where content came from is incredibly time consuming and difficult.

After

The UNIFI Core application has a built in form where content requests can be made, tracked, and collaborated on across team members from start to finish.

The content request form also has optional fields like project name and number that make it easy to keep track of your time spent building the model to bill to a specific project. The UNIFI core tool also gives you the option to specify the library which saves time because once the content has been created on this request, it automatically gets added to the specified library. In other words, UNIFI eliminates the guesswork for the content creator to figure out where to upload the content because it’s added to these libraries automatically upon upload.

Improve Your BIM Content Management

UNIFI’s built in content request workflow helps you keep all relevant information in one place. It has the functionality to attach documents relevant to the request. There is also a discussion section directly on each content request to maintain historical reference of the conversations leading up to decisions revolving around creating this content. Once the content requested is created and complete, you simply mark it as such and it is automatically added to your library in UNIFI.

Unlike in the conventional workflow of content request without UNIFI wherein there is dispute, searching, guessing, and backtracking to understand why a piece of content is the way it is, the request, collaboration, discussion and supporting documents all live in one place with UNIFI which makes things incredibly quick and easy to review and track. 

With the implementation of this tool, there will never be a discussion in your firm again as to why a decision was made or a content piece was created within certain parameters. Instead, the answers to all of these questions is easily accessible right within the UNIFI platform.

Organizing, viewing, and finding Revit families

Before

Prior to loading Revit families into a Revit model, users need to find the content they’re looking for. Without a content management software, this can be time consuming because windows doesn’t have visibility into the BIM data in these families requiring you to navigate through several folders and subfolders to find the content you’re looking for.

Improve Your BIM Content Management

Don’t take our word for it, try this process yourself to see just exactly how complicated and time consuming it is. You will find that using this method to search and find the content you’re looking for has several pitfalls and no intuitive search functionality. As for the windows search function, this only works is if you know the EXACT name of the family you’re looking for. Otherwise, you can plan to be on a time consuming, wild goose chase to find the Revit family you need to add to your model.

After

The search functionality to find the Revit family you need to add to your model will make this process incredibly quick and simple. Unlike in the file/folder system, UNIFI allows the same family to live in multiple libraries. You can also add tags for grouping your content by CSI Codes, custom subcategories, or project names.

Improve your BIM Content Management

This function has the power to find very specific and unique search terms by family type name. For example, an item that is parametric in nature like a queen bed or air handling unit can be found with a single search in UNIFI. Once the family is found, your user can load the family into your project and begin placing it with a single click.

Think about it this way; if you do 20 searches for Revit families per day with the conventional windows file folder method that doesn’t involve UNIFI, you spend about two extra minutes on each search. That’s forty minutes wasted daily, which adds up to over a week a year! These seven plus valuable extra days can be used to complete other tasks when you are using the UNIFI platform. These 173 hours for searching alone per year costs your firm the time of your BIM Specialist at least, funds that could otherwise to used to buy a couple of UNIFI licenses.In other words, the search functionality that UNIFI offers alone means the platform saves enough time and money to pay for itself.

These are just three of the many UNIFI features that will help you step your BIM content management game in the new year. For a deeper look into our products and services, feel free to contact us or start your free trial  today.

 Now that you know just how much time and money you can save on BIM Content Management in 2019 with UNIFI, let us know in the comments below, what are you going to do with all of your extra time and money you’ll save?

2.8.0, 2.8.1& 2.8.2 Release Notes

Hey UNIFI Customers,

Our latest software update was released on December 3, 2018. Portal 2.8.0 covers updates to Project Analytics and Portal 2.8.1 and 2.8.2 covers all portal bug fixes. Please check out the details below.  

Portal 2.8.0

We plan to continuously add more insights to the Project Analytics dashboards.  We’ll be depending on feedback from a variety of sources (current customers, prospective customers, demos, conferences) and sorting through those ideas to determine which ones will provide the most value to our user base.  The feedback selected for this update release is focused around improvements to the user experience and improving the ability to troubleshoot issues with the data provided.

Important highlights from this release

1. We added a chart to the Compare Changes page (Model Level), delivering a more seamless user experience around viewing and navigating changes to the model.

2. We added the Revit Element ID for relevant content within the Content Tab (Model Level)

3. We added a new tab at the Company Level that displays a list of all unused families (families that were inserted into models but not placed) to provide an overview of families that may be bloating models.

Update Overview

-Added a chart to the Compare Changes page (Model Level) that allows date range selection to more easily troubleshoot issues

-Added the Revit Element ID for relevant content within the Content tab (Model Level)

-Updated the “Top 10 Families” module to now display both the Most Used Families (Top 10) and Least Used Families (Bottom 10)

-Added a new tab “Unused Families” to the Company Level 

-Updated the “Add Models” dialog to include the ability to hide unneeded models from the list

-Added a Design Phase field to Projects for added filtering and sorting

-Fixed an issue where the user management grid would not respond to some selections.

-Fixed an issue where content request comments would show timestamps in different time zones.

Portal 2.8.1 and 2.8.2

Update Overview

-Fixed an issue in User Management where an error message didn’t display properly when the the action of adding a user fails

-Fixed an issue in Batch Editor where the select all function wasn’t working correctly

-Fixed an issue in User Management where the import users drop-down for office locations wouldn’t populate if no office locations were set as default.

-Fixed an issue where the “Share Library” dialog did not display when selected.

Do you have suggestions for future updates or changes? Click here to learn how to submit your recommendations directly in the UNIFI platform.

Revit 2019 New Features: Our Four Favorites

Revit 2019 New Features

Revit 2019 New Features – User Experience Improvements

December has arrived and 2019 is just around the corner. Revit 2019, however, has been released since April of this year, so we have had several months to play around with this version. There are several Revit 2019 new features that make the application more efficient to work with and this post will cover some of the more fundamental user experience improvements that have been rolled out.

Multiple View Filters With “OR” Setting

Among all of the Revit 2019 new features, this is probably one of the most helpful. If you are a big proponent of filters on views, you now can accomplish your complex filtering with “or” filters. Historically, we have only been able to use “and” filters. This new feature can help you show or hide elements as you see fit, but now with less filters. For example, now users can specify that they would like a floor plan view to show “Cold Water OR Hot Water” systems with a single view.

Improved Multimonitor Support and Tabbed Browsing

Another one of Revit 2019 new features that is a big improvement to user experience is the enhanced multimonitor support. I’ve personally used several tools like UltraMon and DisplayFusion to help me with managing up to three monitors while using Revit, but now with this new feature in Revit 2019 we have native support for multiple monitors.

Tabbed browsing was something that the masses became accustomed to in web browsers and eventually was adopted by all of the major operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Ubuntu. Revit has proved to have difficulty with window management with several windows open since day one and tabbed browsing is a new feature in Revit 2019 that seeks to remedy that.

Levels in 3D Views

Another one of Revit 2019 new features improves on the user experience is the ability to see Levels in 3D views. This feature will undoubtedly help users have more context as to where they are in a 3D view. Historically, we haven’t had the ability to see the building levels in 3D views which has made it difficult to navigate models in 3D views. It will be interesting to see how users change the way they navigate through their models because most users cut sections to see another perspective of objects. Perhaps with this new feature in Revit 2019, users will be more comfortable with navigating models in 3D.

Dimensions for Curved Objects

One of the pain points of working in Revit for any of the MEP disciplines has been dimensioning curved objects. Prior to this new feature in Revit 2019, it has always been frustrating when trying to dimension to the edge of a round duct, pipe, or conduit in a section view. Finding the spacing between these objects is a crucial piece of the MEP workflow and now Revit 2019 can support it.

Which New Revit 2019 Features Are Your Favorite?

The Revit 2019 new features have been available for us to use for several months now. What new features are you most excited about? Leave a comment below and give us your feedback!