AEC FIRMS: MAINTAINING CULTURE & EVALUATING YOUR TECH STACK IN A REMOTE WORK SETTING

How are you? No really… how are you? It’s been a few weeks since the world as we know it began to turn upside down and many, if not all, AEC Firms have now transitioned to remote work. While some AEC firms already had a remote work structure in place, IT studios struggled keeping up with support tickets as newly remote employees found themselves not only trying to figure out where to set up their desk, but also how to stay best connected both in terms of technology and culture.

We posted tips for working from home for an AEC firm last week and highlighted how leveraging cloud based platforms (such as BIM360 and UNIFI), open collaboration tools like Bluebeam Studio, Tips for working from homeand establishing a solid routine will help AEC firms through the rapid changes that come with remote work. As we all work through this transition, Gautam Ramchandra Shenoy DBIA, BIM Director at Steinberg Hart, published an excellent blog post walking through their tech stack.

One may ask, is it even worthwhile to spend the time to get a great remote work set up or should we just wait for the COVID-19 threat to pass? Exactly how long can we expect the remote work atmosphere to continue? Just last week, Technology Review published an article talking about the timeframe we’re looking at for practicing ‘social distancing’.  While the article acknowledges that while we all want things to go back to normal and quickly, they likely won’t. Therefore,  optimizing your remote work policy is critical. 

Guatam’s post highlights how we can not only make a remote setting work, but how we can also use it as an opportunity to improve. He said, “…at no point in time, have we been able to step back, connect the dots and review the resources at hand.” While a set of deliverables or construction drawings may be part of the consumer product within AEC Firms, at this point other toolsets and how we fine-tune collaboration is key. While once COVID-19 passes it’s likely that AEC firms will go back to an office work setting, the enhanced connectivity and skills developed during this time will remain and benefit workflows.

Architecture firm, tvsdesign, is another great example of an AEC firm transitioning to a remote work setting seamlessly. Prior to the latest updates of the COVID-19 pandemic, tvsdesign scheduled a mandatory work from home day in order to test their remote work capabilities firm-wide. The COVID-19 pandemic shook up their plans however and tvsdesign went fully remote prior to their scheduled mandatory work from home day. Quickly rising to the challenge, their IT Studio quickly compiled numerous resources that were clean, concise and well detailed to make things as easy as possible. They’re also managing to keep culture a top priority by having employees’ webcams on to collaborate during their team meetings. In addition, they have continued to have breakfast together on Fridays, just as they did in the office prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Keeping such traditions and allowing for social interactions beyond typical meetings is a great way to improve morale and keep team members feeling connected.

In addition to Gautam’s article, our AEC work from home tips, and the real life example of how tvsdesign is spearheading the transition, AIA California has published a web page with some fantastic resources for employees and employers alike that you may also find useful. Here, you won’t only find remote workplace policies but also legal concerns and support resources for small businesses. While this particular page is tailored specifically to California, there are resources here that you can take advantage of regardless of where you are located.

Finally, Autodesk has also set up a resource center to help you with their software in a remote setting. We highly recommend reviewing their best practices for accessing Autodesk software if you’re having any difficulties. In case you haven’t heard, they’ve also extended the ability to purchase new multi-user subscription plans to August 7, 2020. Previously, they were going to begin transitioning customers to named users starting May 7, 2020 but this has been extended which is a sigh of relief for users as they are still in the process of getting comfortable conducting business as usual.

We hope these resources help as you continue to establish your “new normal” remote work routine. Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll cover what the future may hold for remote work and AEC firms.  In the meantime, we want to hear from you! Please comment below with any resources that have helped you in the transition to remote work and the greatest challenge you’ve encountered so far.

Pro 3.5 & Portal 2.12 Release Notes

Overview

We’re excited to announce our latest software update is available now! Pro 3.5 and Portal 2.12 updates include performance enhancements, saved search updates and several bug fixes. 

At UNIFI, our main focus is to journey with our customers in their BIM data management strategies and deliver a best-in-class platform. Thanks to the feedback from our customers and Executive Advisory Board members, we’ve worked hard to address your valuable input with this release. We are thrilled to report you can now expect your UNIFI experience to be significantly enhanced across the board.

Keep reading for the low down and please note you need to  update your platform to access these enhancements now.

Highlights

•Performance Improvements: 

We’ve focused on improving the overall infrastructure of the UNIFI platform which ultimately means you’ll enjoy an enhanced experience. You will notice a better general performance across UNIFI, including when you’re navigating and performing tasks, such as search and browse.

•Saved Searches

We’ve updated Saved Searches to include options for selecting search fields as well as filtering by Revit parameters. We also updated the UI for creating/editing saved searches to improve user experience.

ADDITIONAL UPDATES

•UNIFI Pro

We’ve made several improvements to Pro. Namely, Revit materials will now simply load into an active project (rather than initiate paint mode) and your shared parameters will be checked for updates more frequently to ensure the latest version is in use.  In addition, content request comments can be saved with CTRL + Enter and time can be specified as part of the due date.

Web Portal

As previewed in our last release, the event stream has been removed from portal and is no longer supported.

• Project Analytics

 

Upon syncing a Revit model that has analytics turned on, you will now receive an alert letting you know UNIFI is collecting data for Project Analytics along with a progress bar.

Coming soon

•Autodesk 2021 Support

We’re just as excited as you are for Autodesk 2021 software!  To prepare, we’re already working on 2021 support.  You can expect that UNIFI will be ready to support Autodesk 2021 software shortly after it’s released.  We’ll notify you directly when it’s officially live.  Until then, check out the Autodesk software versions we’re currently compatible with here. 

BUG FIXES

We’ve fixed several issues affecting your experience with UNIFI including: 

•Fixed an issue where companies that had non-alphanumeric characters in their company name could not download their shared parameters stored in UNIFI

•Increased the number of users that can be saved in a user group

•Fixed an issue where non-Revit file revisions fulfilled through content requests would fail to download and subsequent revisions would fail to upload

•Fixed an issue where some channel selections were not being maintained when creating a saved search by saving

• Fixed an issue where users could not view family types for content in a shared library

•Previewing saved search results will now display the proper results

•Using the Sort By search filters now sorts the results correctly

• Using F5 to refresh UNIFI Pro while browsing will no longer navigate the user to Search

•Revit materials and fill patterns can now be inserted into 2D RFA files

•Usernames can now contain single quotes

•Fixed an issue where batch inserting multiple sheets would fail to insert all selected sheets

•Fixed an issue where base files of Revit families that contain an en dash in the name could not be downloaded

•User groups are now listed in alphabetical order when creating/editing users

•UNIFI will now connect to BIM360 project files that have tabs in the name

•Inserting content from UNIFI that already exists in the project, but the name differs in case will now insert and trigger the overwrite dialogue

•Navigating to a file or content request using a UNIFI URL will now work while the UNIFI application is both running and not running

•Fixed an issue where the material class filter would stick after selecting a material class in browse

•Material class names that contain a dash will now display results in search/browse

•An error message is now displayed when attempting to insert a Revit family that already exists in the project, but the types have all been deleted/purged from the project

•Inserting drafting views and schedules into a project that has the “Open workset default” setting set to “Specify” will no longer prompt the user with the specify worksets dialogue

•On the Dashboard page in the UNIFI Web Portal, the Licenses graph has been updated to properly calculate the values using the UTC time zone

•Fixed an issue where the family category would not update in UNIFI after uploading a revision where the family category was changed

•We have updated all dates and times to be displayed in local time, unless specifically stated otherwise

•File names in the batch editor now match the same formatting as displayed in UNIFI Pro

•Fixed an issue where the Administrators table would not list new admins when viewing library details in the UNIFI Web Portal

•Project Analytics data will no longer be collected when locally saving a workshared model

•In Project Analytics, when exporting Family data to Excel the number of instances is now per type instead of per family

•Fixed an issue in project analytics where data for large projects and models would not display in the project and model level dashboards

One final note,

For customers using Project Analytics:  Please ensure all users have the Revit TLS update applied to all Revit versions, otherwise Project Analytics data collection may not occur.

Wrap up:

Thanks for being a valued UNIFI customer and taking the time to get the scoop on our latest update. We hope you find the updates and fixes in this release useful.

While we have you, we want to mention that in the wake of the COVID-19 news, we’d like to reinforce our commitment to journey with our customers and offer you additional licenses on us. If this is something you would find useful, please contact us here.  We’ve also shared some tips for working from home specifically for the AEC industry that you may find useful here.

The health and safety or our customers and employees is our top priority and we hope these tips will be helpful to your team. We’ve implemented these tips at UNIFI to ensure we’re fully prepared, don’t miss a beat, and continue to provide top notch products and support to our customers.

Please stay tuned for updates on Autodesk 2021 support! In the meantime, please remember that your feedback is very important to us and we use it to continually improve our platform. If you have suggestions for future updates, please click here to learn how to submit your recommendations directly in the UNIFI platform.

March 18 @ 12 PM PDT: SEARUG Webinar

Join the members of Seattle Revit User Group (SEARUG) on Wednesday, March 18 at 12 PM PDT to discuss: 

-The UNIFI Platform
-Approaches to Managing your Content (and Mistakes to Avoid)
-Choosing the Right Platform for you
-Understanding Cloud Security
-Calculating your ROI to Get Upper Management Buy In
-And Beyond

Space is limited, please click below to save your seat now! 

AEC FIRMS: Tips for Working From Home

Tips for Working from Home

Over the course of the past few weeks, we have witnessed the COVID-19 pandemic change the daily lives of people across the globe. Grocery stores are struggling to restock supplies, schools have closed, bars and restaurants across multiple states in the US have also eliminated their dine-in option, and many companies are transitioning their employees to work from home. While the news has at times been frightening, the pandemic has also been a good reminder of how much of an impact we can have on each other and the importance of embracing our roles of good neighbors and citizens.

In the wake of this news, our team at UNIFI would like to reinforce our commitment to journeying alongside our customers in any environment as our number one priority. In our hometown of Vegas where so much of the economy relies on the service industry, we feel fortunate to have work that is easily continued remotely. We have the processes and tools in place to continue business as usual and will continue to support our customers’ BIM data, project insight, and content management needs to the highest standard of platform reliability. Your projects are certainly not stopping, and neither are we. 

We’re aware that many of our customers and AEC firms across the globe are actively encouraging or mandating their employees to work from home. While some AEC firms have facilitated work from home policies prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, for many of our customers it was on a case-by-case basis and not accepted as a long-term option for employees. This is partly due to the high level of collaboration required for AEC firms, as well as the fact that employees must develop a specialized skill set for remote work to be successful.

In continued support of our focus on journeying with our customers, we’ve created a list of tips for AEC firms to successfully transition to working from home without skipping a beat:

1. HAVE THE HARDWARE, CLOUD-BASED SOFTWARE,  AND TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS YOU NEED

Your employer has likely issued you a laptop as well as the software you need to be successful. To put this to use, having a solid internet connection is a must. Take it upon yourself to get up to speed 😉 Tips for working from homeand understand there are limitations on your household internet speed and  that will affect your VPN connection or cloud-based applications.    Considering employers across the globe are implementing work from home policies and schools are out, chances are you’re not the only one in your home or neighborhood who needs access to the internet. As a result, you may find that your download speed is slower than usual. On top of this, ISPs are within their rights to throttle speeds during peak times. Many AEC Firms utilize a VPN connection for their employees to access their network outside of the office. Here is an interesting article on what else your ISP can do regarding your bandwidth. . 

ISP internet speeds aside, do you know that your VPN server will also further limit your browsing speed as you access the network? Server bandwidth is limited so if 100 people are sharing a 1000 mbps server, that means that each person can average no more than 10 mbps. Please note that encryption protocols take some of your bandwidth as well. As a solution for this, I choose to use cloud-based applications like BIM 360 Design and UNIFI wherever possible to only access the VPN when I must.

2.COMMUNICATION TOOLS

Virtual workspaces such as Bluebeam Studio, Microsoft Teams, and Slack  have made communication and collaboration for remote employees a breeze. However, responses are sometimes not as quick as simply poking your head over the cubicle wall or walking to your boss’ office.tips for working from home You’ll need to be resourceful and learn to problem-solve more independently than you may be accustomed to in an office setting. This doesn’t mean not communicating with your colleagues though, in fact, we recommend over communicating with the tools above. Slack gives you the option to set status’ when you’re away or unavailable. We recommend taking advantage of these to set expectations with your colleagues when you’re not available to reply right away. With clearly defined tasks, you’ll be able to easily communicate with these collaboration tools to and keep your team in the loop on what you’ve accomplished over the course of your workday. 

3. TAKE ACCOUNTABILITY

As we just mentioned, since there is no boss looking over your shoulder at home, there is a continuous pressing need to get your tasks accomplished. Simply showing up and sitting at your desk will no longer show your boss you’re working. You’ll need to be a self-starter and limit distractions. If you have young children at home, consider finding some help during your workday just as you would if you were in the office. Tips for working from homeAs tempting as it may be to rock the pajamas, getting dressed in the morning as you normally would is a must.  While remote work has endless benefits, your work life and home life can quickly bleed into each other and affect your performance if you don’t set specific working hours. Also, set aside a working office. Working from the kitchen table can open your workspace to countless distractions versus working somewhere where you can close the door to the laundry machine or the television running.

Wrap Up

While some AEC firms may have employees already accustomed to working from home, others will struggle to adapt and obtain the necessary tools and skills to be successful. We will continue to provide tips and tricks for working from home for AEC firms as well as provide first-hand insight into how other AEC Firms are adjusting to a life working from home in future posts. In the meantime, please note that UNIFI, impart due to the tips we’ve implemented in this post, is fully prepared to continue to provide the best in class products and support to our customers.

Please feel free to comment below and let us know, what are some tricks you’ve implemented that have helped you work from home in an AEC firm?

Until our next post, we wish you health and safety from our family to yours.

The Best Revit Add-Ins You Can’t Afford to go Without

As we get more and more comfortable with Revit, we find ourselves wondering why Revit doesn’t have ‘X Feature’…. ‘X Feature’ would save us tons of time! Some of Revit gurus out there might even develop our own custom applications utilizing the Revit API. However Not all of us are programmers, which sends us on the search for the perfect add-in. We’re even willing to pay for the best Revit add-ins so long as they significantly improve our workflows. Below is a list of what I’ve come across as ‘The Best Revit Add-Ins’ no matter your discipline of choice. Hope you enjoy and find them as useful as I have.

KIWI CODES – BONUS TOOLS –KIWI CODES have a few products within their Revit add-in line(s), but I’ve found the Bonus Tools product instrumental one of the best Revit add-ins both as a designer and a BIM Manager. With tools like Family Tracker, View/Sheet Creator, Aligning Views on Sheets, and beyond I’ve gotten countless hours back into my day. Starting at $35 for a single license annually, this tool set is a no brainer. 

COINS Auto-Section Box  – this free tool is considered one of the best Revit add-ins because it gives you impressive speed,  dexterity, and creates three-dimensional views while analyzing model areas with native Revit versions 2016 and forward. This functionality allows you to create section boxes from model elements and improves the workflow to allow for aligning the section box to walls or other line-based geometry by showing your newly created 3D view automatically next to the view you started from and more. You can’t afford to go without this tool if you’re a BIM coordinator.

RAVEN – BIM Communication – since Autodesk has done away with the Communicator within BIM360 Design, a few people have asked if there is tool I consider one of the best Revit add-ins that can assist them with inter-model communication. (especially regarding who is syncing the model). Including a Revit model chat room, this easily affordable Revit add-in (starting at $5 per user/per month) notifies users whenever team members join the model, reloads or synchronizes with central. You can easily mitigate hours of wasted time due to overlapping sync with Raven.

UNIFI – a cloud-based content management platform built with Revit in mind, UNIFI can store virtually any file type. With a built-in content request platform for new/existing content, you’ll ensure nothing is buried in email or desk drop-ins ever again. The ability to add additional data to your content as well as search by parameter within Revit components, UNIFI seamlessly integrates into any workflow. UNIFI is a must have to find content up to 78% faster and save designers over 200 hours a year.  To learn more about UNIFI, get a free demo here.

In conclusion, adopting the best Revit add-ins into your team’s workflow for optimal efficiency. On top of that, using Revit add-ins is a great way to be successful in your position as a BIM leader and advance your career.

We want to hear from you… what are the best Revit add-ins that you absolutely can’t be without? Please comment below to let us know!

Revit Class: The Best Places to Learn Revit or Expand Your Skill Set

Revit Class

The time has come… You need help, Revit help. Perhaps you’re just getting started or maybe you’ve been at it for a while. I speak from personal experience when I say I understand the crossroads where we realize we just need some additional help mastering the Revit software. Naturally, once you realize that you need some more help the next time is exploring the best Revit class to learn the software. We’ll cover the best places to get Revit classes to help you quickly and thoroughly learn the Revit software in this post.

TAKING THE TIME TO TAKE A REVIT CLASS

I finally managed to take my first formal Revit class 3 years after I got my first Revit project. Since I already had a little bit of experience (although I’d completed no more than 6 Revit projects up to that point) Revit Classpart of me wondered if it was worthwhile for me to take the time for a Revit class. I already had the basics down and had a plethora of resources I’d gathered should I ever get stuck on something. Turns out, the Revit class I took was one of the best investments of my time.

Among the many things I learned by taking a Revit class, one of the most valuable was the little tips tricks that have ultimately saved me a lot of time.  For example, I learned in my Revit class that sections and callouts like “Hide at Scales Coarser Than” can be used for when I didn’t want my views to show on larger scale drawings. I also learned that Over-Constraining my objects could cause more challenges than it was worth. My favorite little feature of all that I learned in my Revit class was Temporary View Properties when troubleshooting if something doesn’t show in my model properly.

DECIDING WHAT TYPE OF REVIT CLASS IS RIGHT FOR YOU

Taking a Revit class is a must not only to minimize your initial learning curve, but to also advance and expand your skills. Revit classes are offered for all levels of Revit users and are more accessible than ever before.  However, what’s the best medium to attend a class.. in person or online? Keep reading to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of both.

IN PERON REVIT CLASSES

Personally, if I’m a beginner at anything or even a moderate user I prefer to take any sort of skill class (especially something complicated like a Revit class) in person. Being in person allows me to break away from my chaotic work environment and allows me to focus on the material. Albeit, on the more expensive side by far, taking classes out of the office can ensure a solid investment as it allows the ability to pay complete attention. A Revit class in person moves quickly and even as a more experienced user, the most valuable tidbits tend to come and go quicker than it takes me to check my email.  

If you’re interested in a on-site Revit class check out a few of the resources below:

Revit Class

MICRODESK – a UNIFI partner with 13 offices nationwide, Microdesk offers on-site beginner and advanced training as well as customized training for any unique needs.

LEDET– with 17 locations nationwide, Ledet offers more than just Autodesk software classes (Revit, AutoCAD, etc) but also has classes in Adobe, Photoshop, programming and more

ONLINE REVIT CLASSES

Ah, good old online classes. Now, funny tidbit for you here… if I’d ever thought for a moment that my job today would require speaking in public, I certainly would have never taken an online Public Speaking course in college. That questionable decision aside, online classes have a solid following and for good reason. They are often on-demand, easy to locate and even come with sample projects for you to follow along with.

Revit ClassAdditionally, though my first Revit class wasn’t until several years after I was working in Revit, I was all over YouTube for quick “How Do I Do beforehand.  Leveraging the web to learn Revit helped me out more times than I can count! One of my favorite YouTube subscriptions today is BIMscape. Videos are well titled and kept to shorter sessions so I can quickly figure out exactly what I need to do for my project. There’s also a corresponding website where you can access free written documentation, and very affordable Revit modules for additional training help.

Two other sites that I use nearly daily though as the BIM community isn’t just about Revit software are:

PluralSight – offering nearly 80 Revit courses, you have everything from beginning to advanced classes for Revit, but it also offers classes in C#, AWS, PowerBi and more. All of which are applications that I’m needing to use to maximize and analyze my firm’s efficiency in BIM.  

LinkedIn Learning – LinkedIn Learning, formerly called Lynda.com has over 7,000 different Revit classes. Many of which are taught by today’s “BIM Celebrities” Paul Aubin, Brian Meyers and Eric Wing. Like PluralSight, LinkedIn Learning offers other classes across the entire creative industry, also including Business and Information Technology trades.  

Revit Class

Both sites mentioned above have a free trial and can be subscribed to on a monthly or yearly basis. I was fortunate enough to snag a 40% discount around the holidays for PluralSight so shop around and find which best suits your needs.

IT’S TIME TO TAKE THAT REVIT CLASS

Our world has entered the Information Age. The BIM Process is now 7D. 2D and 3D, though very prevalent, are just as important as 4D – Scheduling, 5D – Estimating, 6D – Sustainability and  7D -Facilities Management. Taking that first Revit class will minimize your initial learning curve in a very complicated and capable software. On the other hand, if you’ve been a Revit user for awhile and are looking to enhance your skills, I encourage you to check out a Revit class near you as well. Continuing education is key to your career success and taking advantage of Revit class can help you check this box.

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below; when did you take your first Revit class? Was it worth your time? Do you prefer an  in-person Revit class like me, or did you find an online Revit class more effective?  We look forward to hearing about your experience!

Feb 19 @ 11 am PDT: Webinar Invite

A BIM Manager’s role calls for wearing many hats with high expectations from many stake holders. In this webinar, we’ll walk you through common mistakes BIM Managers make and how to avoid them. Space is limited, please click below to secure your spot today!

Risks of the Cloud for a BIM Manager

 We’ve all heard the famous question, ‘What came first the chicken or the egg?’ For those of us in the BIM world, ‘What came first BIM or The Cloud?’ is equally as debated. With all of the interoperability today between the two, it can be difficult to remember. BIM, referring to a building model, was first mentioned in 1985 by Simon Ruffle whereas the cloud in its modern context was not mentioned until more than 20 years later in 2006 by Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Perhaps that is why there are so many concerns of cloud security for BIM managers. 

Several myths surround the security of the cloud. It’s lack of security being most prevalent, but other major ones surround compliance requirements and management. 

The first myth we’ll debunk is that the cloud is inherently insecure. The business model of public cloud providers is dependent on security. They have invested in the most up-to-date technologies, sophisticated operations, data centers and threat intelligence. Additionally, while the 2017 Cloud Security Report reports that a web app attack towers above all other types of malware attacks, equating to 75% of the security incidents observed, there were a small percentage of incidents in the dataset. It’s not that malware isn’t a problem but that the anti-malware protections being invested in are fighting against a heavy onslaught and once you take a look at the security incident count in the report, you’ll find that those most at risk are those with a Hybrid security system.

Cloud Risks
Figure 1: The data over the 18 months of the report indicates that hybrid networks experience, on average, over twice as many security incidents as public cloud installations.

Many  assume that the cloud makes compliance standards more difficult but in fact, the reverse is true. With cloud providers having complex tools in place, it’s actually easier to keep data in check. Another important thing to note is that business leaders who assume that their organization can’t use the cloud likely don’t realize that they are already deeply immersed in the cloud in many other aspects of their business.  For example, what platforms does your organization use for HR management? What about your Office 365 applications? The ultimate problem for many organizations is that they don’t understand the cloud’s shared-responsibility model.

Cloud Risks

Sean Duca, Vice President & Chief Security Officer for Asia Pacific at Palo Alto Networks said in an article for SecurityRoundTable.org that, “Business and security leaders are afraid of losing control.” He continued, “They can’t see it or touch it, so they think they don’t have control. If they don’t understand the shared-responsibility model, they don’t understand what type of security is available to them.”  

Management of cloud security actually makes it easier for your team to scale your server network as needed. Just as your organization would depend on the cloud for their security protocols and responsibilities, nearly all data breaches on the cloud are a result of breaches from the end user and not an external source. In other words, password protocols and hardware security need to be addressed throughout your organization, otherwise security issues could arise whether or not you’re utilizing the cloud.  

Cloud Risks

BIM Management comes with many hats and understanding The Cloud’s security, compliance and management protocols can be difficult to grasp for all stakeholders. With BIM becoming more complex than ever before and with it endless toolsets, a consensus on cloud collaboration is imperative to not only connect all design teams but to connect the office and the field as well. With full cloud collaboration and a connected team, higher quality projects and increased profit is at your fingertips. 

In conclusion, not only is the cloud a very secure option, there are many benefits as well covered in this post and this one pager. UNIFI Labs is proud to be a cloud based content/data management and project insight software. For a free demo, please contact us today. 

HOW TO START LEVERAGING THE REVIT API

Do you ever feel overwhelmed on getting started with something new? We’ve all been there… you start searching the web and find an overwhelming amount of information, some of which is solid and some of which isn’t relevant to what you’re looking for at all. This is exactly what I experienced when I  was looking to learn how to start using the Revit API. To keep you from going through the endless searching that I endured in my efforts to learn about the Revit API, this article will direct you with the best tools and places to find information to help you leverage the Revit API.

Revit API

Revit API Help Docs aside, the most valuable resources out there to leverage the REVIT API from Autodesk itself is The Revit Developer Center

Once there, take a look at the My First Revit Plug-in tutorial. This tutorial is built Revit APIfor those who know Revit but who are brand new to programming so it’s highly recommended. Following this tutorial, you can have your first functioning add-in built within an hour – again, this is assuming no programming experience so it is not bogging you down with the details right away. 

Autodesk Revit has a .NET API which means you can use any of the .NET compliant programming languages (C#, VB.NET, F#, etc.) to develop a plug-in. While each language has its own relative benefits, C# is my preferred language. It is easy-to-learn, easy-to-use and leverages the power of the underlying .NET Framework.

A few of the most common applications for the Revit API are bulk editing Revit data, batch printing or exporting of sheets and views, or creating a section box around a set of families for coordination purposes. While all these tasks can be done in Revit, working with the API can significantly improve the time needed to perform these tasks. Additionally, don’t feel you need to start from scratch with any of those common applications mentioned, you can quickly find free sources of this code on the internet. 

Revit API

Once you get your feet wet with the Revit API, you are more than prepared to get started with the UNIFI API offering. 

The UNIFI API is a REST API which stands for Representational State Transfer. The REST set of constraints which will make your APIs easier to use and also easier to discover, meaning a developer who just started  to use your APIs will have an easier time learning how to do so. 

The UNIFI API has two platforms; Content Management and Project Analytics. If you’re using UNIFI, you know that you are not able to modify, add or delete parameter values in bulk. This hurdle can be overcome by leveraging the Content Management API for customization.

 The Project Analytics API can also be customized to improve your BIM workflows. By utilizing this API, it is possible to take the data gathered from our Project Analytics platform and organize it a number of custom ways. 

Namely, if you want to see the model health scores of all your projects at a glance or check your Revit content within the project for certain parameter data, you can do that quickly with our Project Analytics API. 

Just like the Revit API, no coding experience is required to take advantage of the UNIFI API. Don’t take our word for it, check out the API sample created by UNIFI’s own BIM Manager here.

Revit API

For more advanced customizations, our partners at VIATechnik can help you leverage the UNIFI API for your unique needs.

In closing, APIs can certainly be overwhelming especially to those just getting started. By knowing where to start and just diving in, you can begin to understand the power of Revit API and the potential to save you from time consuming, manual tasks.

Interested in learning more about UNIFI’s APIs? Please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

2019: UNIFI’S Year In Review

The first few days of the new year always seem to invite reflection. 2019 was a year of intense focus for us, and we believe the whole UNIFI team would agree it was the most significant growth year in our company’s history.  

When we started our journey several years back as a small spinoff of our CEO’s former consulting engineering firm, early adopters of the powerful new software called Revit were just beginning to run into the content challenge inherent to BIM migration.  BIM presented a major paradigm shift with a new way of designing, virtual models of buildings and data integration at a level that was previously impossible.  As early adopters quickly learned, under the new paradigm BIM content and associated data were major hurdles for virtually every project.

UNIFI was created to help solve the real world issues those in the trenches of execution were wrestling with – content creation, organization of content and the ability to search and find what was needed across the company’s existing BIM content libraries to ensure time wasn’t wasted recreating something that already exists.  It was a problem we experienced and knew others would run into as well.  Sure enough, our early customers like Stantec, HDR and IA felt the pain, gave UNIFI a chance and have been invaluable contributors to our product roadmap ever since.

Times have certainly changed, and for us 2019 was a year where the vast majority of AEC firms we engaged recognized the opportunity to drive value from structuring their BIM content and data. Owners too are looking to realize more efficiency and intelligence from their BIM models. Rather than sticking projects in folders never to be opened again, they’re working to create standardization across their portfolios and leverage their BIM content and data as an asset.

Moreover, the era of “We’re not so sure about the security of the cloud” seems to be waning. Today the global design firms we speak to are mandating cloud-based software solutions, so that projects, files, content and data can be accessed by anyone from anywhere.

Thankfully quality content has become more prevalent and easier to find. Many firms have built out their own solid library of generic content to drive efficiency across their projects.  We have also seen a steady increase in desire for manufacturer-specific content and data, with thought leaders like bimstore and BIMsmith (full disclosure: both UNIFI partners!) working diligently to meet the need.  Their contextual understanding of AECO’s requirements and education of manufacturers on how to build content that is not just accurate from a data perspective, but also practically useful has created a path to value and adoption.

The growth in both availability of quality content and solid partners who provide it in the market paired with increased demand for our BIM and data management platform led us to make the decision to fully focus on advancing our industry-leading software solutions.  With this intentional focus on software, we’ve ceased offering content creation services in house and instead rely on our network of expert partners to meet customer content creation needs.  

One constant in the industry is the diversity of workflows and delivery processes which leads to unique supporting technology stacks from company to company.  Customization is often a necessity and we launched our Content Management and Project Analytics API packages to support it.  We were delighted to see how excited our customers were to leverage the APIs to connect their BIM data to their project ecosystems. Our partnership with VIATechnik ensures customers have an expert partner to work with on applying the APIs to their unique integration needs.

As we look back on 2019, gratitude is the first thing that comes to mind. Gratitude for new customers who chose our team and platform to journey with them towards structuring their BIM data. Gratitude for our existing customers who have trusted us enough to continue journeying with us.  We’re humbled by the vision and passion of the Design Technology teams we work with!  

So, what’s next? Our last release of 2019 added Shared Parameter Management to enable our customers to advance beyond BIM content to management of BIM standards and schemas through the UNIFI platform.  This laid the foundation for increased capabilities around data management and visualization in 2020. We’re intensely focused on increasing platform flexibility to support the infinite use cases and workflows across our customer base, whether that’s a need for unique permissions sets or API functionality. 

In addition, in 2020 we will start to address what we have dubbed the ‘technological generation gap’, as we see it as a huge liability for the industry.  With the migration to the technology-centric delivery paradigm of BIM, much of the design and engineering work being performed is defined by the technology platforms being used.  The complexity and learning overhead associated with those platforms has pushed many of the senior subject matter experts out of workflows.  We believe this is to the detriment of the industry on multiple fronts, and UNIFI wants to create a both/and approach via a bridge between the non-modeler/non-tech savvy industry expert and those working in the model.  In early 2020 we’ll be releasing a beta of UNIFI Connect to select customers, which will reengage those senior stakeholders and improve collaboration between non-Revit stakeholders and modelers….more to follow!

It’s been an incredible year, and everything we achieved this year is thanks to you, our customers, and to our amazing team who have made it all possible. At the end of the day a company is the PEOPLE who comprise it, and the success of our technology and our customers is truly a reflection of our team.

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for a happy New Year!  2020 here we come!!

-Dwayne & Virginia