Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Template Strategies

My venture on revamping my current strategies to make my Revit Template more ravishingly riveting is nearing completion with just some polishing needed in some areas, but let us not count the chicks before your eggs have hatch ;) Also, be aware that the Project Template is an ever evolving entity, or like an old/high-end vehicle that needs constant TLC. That's expected as BIM is ever evolving in all aspects from modeling to the API to most importantly the Strategies implemented as I'm doing here, so my "Template" will continue to mature adapting to any nuance. Here is a List of my Strategies that I've deemed pivotal & listed in somewhat of an order of importance:
1.)Project Browser
2.)Shared/Project Parameters
3.)Object Styles
4.)Line Types/Styles/Patterns & Weights
5.)View Templates/Types & Filters
6.)Text & Dimension Styles
7.)Fill Regions
9.)other Settings & Content {Seed Files for standard drafting views (for code/project/partition info & details) / legends /system families /schedules}. A clean Model is a healthy Model.

Why is the Project Browser my number one? Well, work-flow is like safety at a construction site. In order to be safe for example one must tie-off  when at heights greater than 6', or like keeping the work area clean, and so on. In essence, Safety is about proper work-flows for any given task at the construction site, whether actual or virtual. So the PB is about keeping our View structure very organized to very easily & quickly browse-able to place the views onto Sheets & or just for coordination purposes. I've been fortunate enough to be like a fly on the wall (by having someone from within explaining the thought process) of a few major A/E Firm's strategy for their templates. After comparing & after having a very deep thought process of the work-flows each presented; I went with the firm that had a major influence for the creation of the USAEC Standards after having done a project with the required Template. The only Major difference from what I originally started with was that they had an extra layer of dissemination so incorporating it was more of a matter of adjusting the nomenclature. So it made me confident to see my Template "Theory" as very "Applicable"; or meaning others independently coming to the same conclusions as I ;)

There is nothing more key after the work-flow has been established than both types of Parameters: Shared & Project. This is where the cream rises to the top, where it's no-mans-land for the typical CAD Manager, lisp routines need not apply. This is why any firm getting their feet wet in BIM needs a "BIM Manager". To utilize & to produce Shared Parameters is to have been in the trenches & to anticipate the fires that may ascend to the forefront. If their is potential then you should plan for it.

Of course, Object Styles is what layering is to CAD, but better. I began with applying the N.C.S. line weights to what could apply. Then tested may instances of view types & scales to get the right balance. This not complete without having figured out all the Line Settings, & Fill Regions; which help set up your strategies for all your different View Settings that it's like having an "Ace in the Hole", because it can easily help bring life any project. Be prepared to waste plenty of paper plotting to test all those styles/theories till you find harmony. I create a Legend View consisting of all the graphic standards/styles to easily track all the settings.
As for text & dim styles, & also including fill regions having a good nomenclature strategy goes together like a hot peach-cobbler with ice-cream, or like peas & carrots. I like to use "T" to identify settings of  transparency & "O" for Opaque, or "D" for drafting & "M" for model at the end of the name as these settings/styles are important to compliment the graphics you're aiming to accomplish & or for its purpose without having to dig into the setting to analysis what is happening in the existing view. Plus, it distinguishes your standards from the ones imported by something other.

Other settings/content worth the effort my very well reflect upon the Firms culture & or project/business market types. In my case I have several Seed files (rvt files, since we are into many types of business markets) containing all sorts of system families, legends, & "Standards". It's best not to fill up the template with all sorts of system families/content, but I do try to have as much of the schedules present (especially types for QA/QC), & some I leave in the seed files to be transferred when needed like partition schedules for types to be placed under the detail info for example. Remember, having your final template between 5-10 MB is an ideal setup. It was easier when I was just concentrating on Healthcare, but now it's small retail/business, government D.O.D. branches, municipalities, clinics, office buildings, aviation & possibly hospitality real soon. So I have files for every type of system family that may apply to a business market along with their Standard Sheets used in identifying project information. So I've heard that with every new version of Revit you should created a new template or at least "Transfer" the setting/styles, but maybe it would be wiser for every 2 years take a deep look at your template strategies to see what's in the best interest from every vantage point. As Bruce Lee once masterfully said,
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
I hope this helps you go down the right path to revamping or if starting the new venture into BIM. So to find your Revit Zen, or your Yin to your Yang. I've seen plenty of Blog posts of the topics listed, but not too many about presenting all the best coherent strategies (as seen through my eyes) for the project template. If I get requests to reveal more of my strategies in-depth, then I'll gladly do so as here I think that I've really condensed it here. It's been a long journey, but of which I've just now started to "Enter the Zen" after tackling the challenge nearly 2 years ago after seeing what I used previously really wasn't meshing well in the new environment. Remember, one simply can't transplant a template or parts of it into another culture without understanding its origin, it must mesh or find that creamy middle in your own template dynamic. I'd gladly share my template, but without my Shared parameters, but the one provided by the USAEC is what I would best recommend for anyone to start with considering the warnings I just mentioned. Giving mine away would be for most like trying to put a square peg into a round hole, so go, never be satisfied & be water my friend ;)
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