Monday, October 25, 2010

BIM Tools worth mentioning…

I first caught on to the existence of  Ideate when Steve Stafford posted an opening for them in his Revit Jobs blog. Then just a few weeks ago Gregory Arkin posted a link to Ideate’s own blog introducing its new tools.  In a way I see Ideate’s tools as bridging the gap from having to use M$ Office Tools with Revit DB Link tool down to more interaction within Revit itself.  I found that what Avatech attempted to create with “Model Review”, which Autodesk “acquisitioned” it before Avatech “merged” with Imaginit, was lacking a little more Imagination Disappointed smile in which Ideate Light bulb seems to capture from my perspective. I only wished I had these type of tools when I first started using Revit. Check out the links for these tools for yourself: Who me? or its Blog; available or its Blog; release date to be in December 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

BIM Management Tips in a Multi-Office setting or not…

As I learn more about what’s going on in other BIG & Small firms one thing is apparent, and that is how well of an oiled BIM machine I created with my previous employer. The following are some ingredients to a “Well Oiled BIM Machine” with multiple offices.  The best philosophy I encountered is that, “we are all one firm, and not a firm of multiple offices”, and that is the key “spicy” ingredient.

As common the Network Drives should be the same in all satellite offices; Libraries, Projects, Secured Info, Departmental Info, Marketing, Training materials,  etc.  Also, usually there should be a server whose Content is used to update the Libraries of all the offices with all sorts of  “standards”  from CAD to Revit to MAX; so if the following is not the CASE it should go without saying because it will save lots of headaches & coordination issues. So in this Server there should be a Directory for the OOTB Families Autodesk provides, one from on-line downloads like from Seek/Arcat/RevitCity, and another one that are Certified to Office Standard, and finally one with Non-Certified (to be certified) along with Folders containing Project Specific Families in case those may want to be vetted  & classified as “Certified” later on.  Of course, the Project folder should have its own Families folder because every Project calls upon certain circumstances that will best be severed modifying a standard/certified family.

The best ally for a BIM Manager is to Record all training sessions using Camtasia whether it’s an in office training session or a Go-To-Meeting between multiple offices like a Lunch-n-Learn/Brown Bag Special or just a scheduled training session. That way the whole session can be stored on the network for future use of reeducation and you can then also create video clips of specific tasks discussed during the session and also used to have training manuals using hyper-links to it and also included within the Revit family, and finally also hyper-linked to the “Office WIKI” directing a user to all the office Content/Templates/Standards/Training Materials & How-To Manuals.

Next is something I just mentioned, the “Office WIKI” aka: The Office Intranet Home Site. Since I hate informing the public of things they have probably already came across (I like all my content to be “Original/Unique” to my perspective), but necessary in this case to keep it short you can go to the following Links from Aaron Maller that will get my point across: Office Wiki, Office Library

Next, is to form Committees with as many who want to attend, but with 3 Senior members per Office consisting of their BIM Managers & Model Managers (aka: Project BIM Leaders or Project BIM Coordinators) in charge of the wants & needs for their office. Then 3 members to Chair the whole Committee & having the authority to decide the final direction in a giving topic, because otherwise it’s “Death-by-Committee” Devil. This “Model” will have the info going in both directions as well all directions from the BIM Chairs all the way down to the average user everyone is on the same page just like the “I” in BIM. Sometimes the most Clever Ideas will come from the people not competent enough to carry out what they propose, so the “Committee” can facilitate that. I recommend that in the beginning the group should meet once a week & as things get less creative then to every 2 weeks then to once a month. Also the group needs to adapt, so maybe there are times there is a meeting once every week of the month or twice a month; whatever the situation calls for.

People should be Identified in every niche of BIM that can problem solve in those areas; so if one is having issues solving a family from breaking there should be an email group for ones expert in Family Creation, for issues solving project errors, etc. Let the unusual be know & so their answers. The problem solvers should pass down their newly attained knowledge to the users as FYI emails. Don’t have anyone be afraid to send FYI’s to all the BIM Groups as issues are discovered and solved or for that matter situations.

Finally, Revitize as many standard details because the more time is spent  creating & redlining them than other items being coordinated. So now less time is spent coordinating & more adapting the details to the project.  Also, another very helpful BIM site for BIM details is from ArcXL, considering how much you’re paying the intern to build the details & a senior member who vets them for the project, it’s a very cost-efficient approach at reducing that cost.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Will Work for BIM

It looks like the firm I'm with hasn't won a “real” project in many months, therefore presenting the inevitable, less work to go around. It's hard for a big firm to win projects when others are bidding cents on the dollar, but as the saying goes, "you get what you pay for"; at least we kept them honest by being their Peer Review. As the other saying goes, "Life is like a Bowl of Chilli, what you do now, may Burn your A$$ later", lol. The only ones not affected were the “Designers”. Maybe I should go back into that line of work? You know it’s bad when the one’s that are left are the “cream of the crop” & they have to be let go.

So all this week I did lots of networking besides send out my resume. Just by chance a call to a fellow colleague to give him my new email (to replace my work email) & luck just happen to strike. So I'm praying daily for the opportunity to be fruitful to stay in Houston, because all my other friends have taken from 4 months to over a year to even get an interview, so I'm very thankful because I'm looking at having to move to NYC or LA to get a job ASAP with my talent. Even thou I have a family (a wife & 2 girls & one on the way) I'm fearless in pursuing avenues to other cities; you can say I have the "fortitude" (thank God the lessons learned from playing “Football” & from my Religion, I apply them well to my way of Life & Career). And as they say on the Streets, "sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, to survive".  So now with time on my hands after TCB, it's back to fine tuning my Revit Skills & praying for those calls or emails to come in. Oh, & one last thing in case nothing else pays off, I'm putting an APB that I'm for Hire & I wouldn't mind packing my bags whether you pay for my relocation or not. For me BIM "is a hell of a drug", I just can't wait to do it again, and again, and again, he he he. Peace & Hair Grease, I have to get back at learning new ways to utilize the Revit API. 

My Resume

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Revit API, the next Frontier for BIM, Part 2

I agree with "Lindsay and Parley" assessment in part 1. Where my "wishful thinking" is aiming its sights on is best describe by your comment, " I don't think however that the BIM group is large or organized enough to create TRUE open source application coding". I believe that getting the open source application coding started sooner rather than later may be more wishful thinking today, but in the near future, well you never know what the future holds. Unless a market is created for it like what Apple/ Android market did with their products where "there's an App for that" created everyday. That is where I would like the "community" (cough-cough AUGI, cough-cough Autodesk, lol) to start focusing some of their efforts towards. So yes get attention with a "paid version" (yeeaa for Capitalism), but please also release a simplified free version & or a niffty little tool along with its Code for the greater good of the "BIM Frontier".
I had to make Part 1 a little provacative so someone could get my juices flowing, and that's why I ended the post with "to be continued", lol. It was on the tip of my tongue, but I was having too many distractions. Maybe there can be a Part 3... Oh yeah, it will be outlined in my journey with the API.
So little ole me will be trying to duplicate some of the feasable "tools" out there along with my own inspirations, which I will gladly share the finer details of my journey.
Just had an idea pop in my head about "creating the market" of sorts. If Autodesk would have an open competition where the best, let's say up to five, get selected to be part of the "for subscription" only downloads. How's that for Capitalism. What say you Autodesk, and if only they would, lol.

The Revit API, the next Frontier for BIM

For the past few months I've been methodically researching & thinking (trying not to reinvent the wheel, if it's already out there) of ways to create Addins to increase workflow/productivity. I've ran into a few things from the AU classes that really pop out, which are CP322-1, CP222-2, & CP314-2. I've ran into using programs like C#, VB.Net, & best of all VSTA. The reason I concluded with using VSTA as my primary tool for building "Apps" for Revit is because it's 64bit compatability. The next runner up was VB.Net, but its flaw is that it runs in a 32bit mode & it has to jump through hoops to connect to 64bit, thus making the "Need for Speed" useless. The precursor for both of these tools are programs like C# or C++, basically any program that starts with a "C", LOL. Any Computer Science Majors out there wanting to fill me in on the origins of writing "Code", feel free to do so.
Now earlier I said the word "Apps" that comes from the term used form phone Apps market. Basically my vision for the future in BIM API is that when people begin to say if, "can BIM do this", people will start to say, "I have an App for that", LOL. The only area that I see BIM being "caged" is when it comes to "Intellectual Property" from the "Indedendent Programmers". All "I" have to say about that is, What ever happened to the "I" in the BIM philosiphy. If you're in it for BIM then you're in it to "Share Information". Of course, there are some out there that share like Jeremy Tammik that do so & "I" love seeing that, but others that develop an Addin that's like the next best thing since sliced bread keep it klinched. Now "I" understand this is "Capitalism", but we are talking about BIM here, the next frontier. What would you best be known for a "Pioneer" or just another "Capitalist" for BIM, and that's my rant, LOL.
Now the next best thing since sliced bread is using the Revit VSTA to develop your "App", which if you look at Session ID "CP314-2" it will inform you of its location. If you view "CP322-1", then you'll know the direction I'm wanting to go when it comes to the API Development (productivity) & "I" will joyfully "Share" the "Fruits of my Labor"; to be continued....

Monday, June 14, 2010

Update on DB Link - using 64bit ODBC drivers

Below is a step-by-step of using the ODBC option on Revit 2011 64bit & MS Office 2010 64bit. This is so much better than having to deal with the "SQL Server" option because of using MS Office 32bit with Revit 64bit . The only draw back I found is that since my office is using "Newforma", which is not 64bit compatible, we are held down to only using 32bit. So my current workaround is to set up a "Remote PC" using MS Office 2010 64bit to do the Export/Import process. I havn't got around to testing if we can Import from a PC that has a 32bit version of MS Office, but soon enough when my busy schedule subsides back to normal.

Step #1: Go to your Add-In Panel in Revit & click on External Tool & select the DB Link Tool

Step #2: Click on the ODBC Tab & select the "Select a new connection" & click Export

Step #3: In this Dial. Box select "New" (Creating the Data Source Name, its use could be like Per Project)

Step #4: Then select what I have highlighted "MS Access Driver" & click "Next"

Step #5: Click on "Browse"

Step #6: Then select its Location, give it a Name & Click "Save"

Step #7: Click on "Next" Then click on "Finish"
Step #8: Click on "Create" in the Database Column

Step #10: Creating the DB & giving it a Name; (the DSN could be to the Project as the DB is to a file; each file will have its own DB if you did understand that already) & click "OK"

Step #11: Click "OK", click "OK" again, click "OK" one more time & select the DSN that was started in Step #3 & finished on Step #7 & Click "OK"

Step #12: Click "OK" one last time & let the Exporting process run its course.

So when needing to Import the DB back in after Editing it from Access or a linked Excel file; from Step #2 you would select a recently used connection (representing that files DB) and select the "Edit & Import" button then an Editable Dial. Box showing the Database pops up then select "OK" & the Process will run after that & this would be the perfect place to verify changes or if by chance Access is not installed then can be Edited from there.

Monday, June 7, 2010


The past year has been a complete metamorphosis for BIM (just using a refernce from one of Gregory Arkin's posts). It all started with Architectural discipline as far as 10 yrs ago. Then 3 yrs ago there was a Blip on the radar for MEP disciplines getting really started into it. Now we have come full circle. These past 18 months has been the defining moments where Contractors/FM/Owners have really stepped up to the plate (at least the smart ones). So the ones’ now looking from the outside in have their days numbered. Consider yourselves “Dinosaurs” or going by the way of the Dodo Bird, LOL, to be replaced.

More times than not too many Architects are wasting their times with “little bim” rather than seeing the “Big BIM” side of things. It seems the only groups I really see jumping on the “Big BIM” bandwagon are the Contractors who really have their business hat on firmly on their heads. Architects are a little too preoccupied thinking about Design a higher percentage of the time at the beginning than the “Bottom Line”, which is Money, Money, Money, Money….Money (Lyrics from The O-Jay’s, LOL), and only afterward does it become more apparent when starting the DD phase. I really feel that most Architects are missing the boat because of their Designers that are more detached from the BIM Process by being stubborn by not wanting to learn to use BIM tools like Revit (FYI…BIM is a Process & Revit is a tool for that Process) & leaving it to the Production Team to translate it from Sketch-up or "CAD:" or from some other BIM-abomination.

The only thing AIA has done to lift a finger or to lift a pin on BIM was to create the E202 document. Now the AGC created something even better for BIM contracts like the “ConsensusDOCS" & is out in full force providing it’s industry with a leg up on all sorts of things from BIM to Lean Construction to Green Construction. All the Architects really have is AU, the endless tangled web of the USGBC, and a few meaningful Blogs, which none really pertain to AIA; and all these resources take time to navigate through. Take for instance the AGC; they have their act more together the way they have their “AGC BIM Forum” structured along with their main site of the AGC and other Blog Forums. Just last night I navigated through all the resources I would need to go on my way of being a successfully BIM GC. As for the AIA’s resource like the AIArchitect and of the sorts it took me a good week of sifting through all the content that would make an Architectural Firm a little successful at best with BIM.

What it boils down to for me is that the majority of Architects are far away from being the Master Builders from Egyptian times to the beginning of the Modern Era. It used to be that all Architects had the influence of selecting/recommending a GC's, and now days the roles are beginning to shift the opposite way where the GC has the upper hand in influencing the Owner to select an Architect. Why you might ask; simply said their Industry is Embracing BIM at a higher rate than Architects. Designers need to start thinking like GC’s where they are very conscious of where the money is going. Something like how can I design something to Impress & save the Owner $$$ . The answer is to embrace the BIM process from the moment a concept is put into action. Maybe you should be taken back to school by “The Revit KID” (Jeff) & taught a lesson from “Revit3D” (Gregory Arkin) and then consult with the “Revit OpEd” (Steve Stafford), LOL. Just giving props to the one’s that helped me get on top; and this is another Rant brought to you by my experiences with BIM and speaking to more and more GC's adopting BIM/IPD. It's by "Intelligent Design" that the fitest survive and the ones that adapt prevail.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Build your own PC, & Save $$$ Over Time

I'm in the market for creating a "newer computer". Ever since my college years I got into building my own PC's to suite my need, "my need for speed" :P. The creed I live by is really simple; Bigger, Better, Stronger (& everything that encompasses their meaning). It's something I picked up while working as a Fitness Professional (aka:Personal Trainer, but with an applied nutritional approach) and it was great because the facilities where open 24 Hours a day, :P, but I digress.
So the main point is teaching yourself about how to build a PC, because in the long run it's cheaper by only upgrading the components that need to be at the time of a malfunction, deficiency or wanting more UMPH as Madden says, lol. For instance, the current PC that I built has been in my hands for almost 4 years that has parts that go back to 5-6 years ago (the CPU) which happens to be an AMD 64-bit Processor 2.2 GHz equivalent to an Intel 3.5 at the time; then every so often better Drives, RAM, etc... Now with Windows 7 utilizing "Ready Boost" (using solid state drives like Flash Drives for extra RAM) life is even greater.
Basically heat is the main reason performance degrads over time (so clean the PC inside and out of dust along with reinstalling the OS every 18-24 months) besides the registries of an OS. Over the years the processing speed has not gone up much, but their "intelligence" has improved like the best one out there being the "i7" (Quad-Core with Core Virtualization meaning adding 4 more virtual Cores giving you a total of 8 Cores or a Dual Quad-Core) soon to be outdone by the "i9". Just keep in mind that on average every 18 months some new technology (CPU technology) comes out.
Now there are 2 types of i7 chips 1156 (8-series) & 1366 (9-series). The higher number basically indicates an average of a +200 dollar difference when you add up all the PC Parts like the Motherboard, RAM (Double or Triple Kits), CPU Fans, Power Supply (600-800 min. watts), PC Case, PCI Cards (video cards), Optical Drives, & Hard Drives.
So for the Power Supply requirements depend on how all of the parts produce power (watts). Like for every 128MB of RAM it needs about 7watts, cooling fans under 12watts?,CPU 130-200watts, Video Cards 15-30watts, etc... The higher the performance (more $$$) of the component the more wattage it needs.
I have a friend that just bought a desktop with an i7 860 with 6GB RAM and he wrapped up the performance with Revit with one word...."Wicked!". Now that Revit 2011 is utilizing multi-thread technology to an extent it is the best reason to upgrade to speed up the "BIM Process".
Investing now to upgrade your Home PC or better yet building one & using some components from your current PC is the best time unless it's been within a year then wait those 18 months before upgrading.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Follow-Up to my DB LINK research

After trying it myself with only 1 person companywide that new something about using ODBC being in another City, which really wasn't helping. I happened to run into something as always after spending too much time thinking that you're on the verge of Inventing the Wheel you find that there was something here already. At least meaningful knowledge was gained making me a more "Valuable Asset", which is key being that the Economy is what it Is, lol. Well, the source is from Cyril Verley who I happened to loose sight of lately being so busy, lol ( & the tool is called "CodeBook v9" or also go to ( . From the cdv site you have to Register then get access to download the videos showing you the ins & outs, but it's so worth it. Since I'm involved more with doing Healthcare Projects it catered to what I was aiming for utilizing the DB Link for.
(Soon to have a Link to DB Link User Guide here/downloadable content)

The Codebook tool is best utilized for complex building types otherwise using DB Link with just M$ Access/Excel is a Great tool in general; & on a side note after beta testing MS Office 64-bit version with the Revit 2011 Beta 64-bit you'll be able to modify more parameters faster than tediously using the Revit Schedules updating a field at a time and waiting for each field to update the model & other settings that you would have to manuver through Revit to update.

My next challenge is learning more about utilize Revit as a Designer to teach most of the Designers the ins & outs/tips & tricks instead of using Sketch-Up, yuck. The good news that I'm seeing is that with every new release it's becoming more appealing to my Designers. The major hurdle is getting the OK to upgrade their hardware. Come on Economy, LOL.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reaching the "ZEN" of Revit; aka: The Power of the API

Since my last Post it's been a busier time than what I thought it would be thinking I would have contributed more posts, LOL. Working on a Large Semi-BIM Project (MEP was the non-BIM member) I thought since it's BIM fewer RFI's right, but I think the Contractors got smart & said Let's make it a Fast-Track type Project so the likelyhood of having Holes of Info is greater, LOL. (In the beginning the Pressure is on the Architect, but it's sweet because we get the last laugh because towards past the middle it all starts to fall on them to perform.) Tho there has been a plus of 800 RFI's & over a 3rd of which they failed to fully coordinate all the DWGS on there part (telling them to Refer to the latest Revision of the Sheet or Refer to Sheet so & so Dummy or that it no longer applies due to changes in a P.R., LOL) so technically the "Real RFI Count" is closer to the 400's or less taking away the "confirming RFI's" regarding meetings. They tried to have a Case built up just in case they tripped and fell behind schedule to say the we are delaying them because of the many RFI's that are past due (they complaint if even 1 RFI went past due saying it's delaying them, but how is asking a ? over something that they know it will be resolved when issued on a Scheduled date delaying them and not in the current scope of building it till it's issued?), but that ain't happening, LOL. And that's the Rant for today.

The more I have immersed myself in the world of BIM I have had an apiffany of sorts. Now that I see the majority of Users are getting more comfortable & confident in there abilities. Recollecting when I was an Athlete in the best shape I was always looking for the little things to improve my technique/skill/abilities by looking for the new age workouts/equipment that would give me that edge. So this is what I'm getting at with the API being that think that will aid in that improvement, and in this case it's Time rather than technique/skill/abilities. As the saying goes "Time is Money" or as an Athlete every little "inch/extra step/split second/or as Madden says UMPH" counts.
So I'm starting to visit all the API Blogs & AU Classes. The AU Class that Poped out to me that I can relate most to is the class CP304-2. He has his own blog @ Basically because I'm in his shoes right now when he was looking into developing tools throught the API & being someone on the Production Team & not a "Techy" so to speak. So check him out.
Right now I'm looking into utilizing the DB LINK tool as much as possible (beta testing M$ 2010 64-bit ODBC drivers with Revit) then developing any API tools to accommodate our workflow & or ones that we can implement into our workflow. So in the coming weeks I'll share some of that experience. Learning C#,, VSTA, OH MY!