Thursday, October 16, 2014

Area Lines

Last month I wrote about Area types. In that blog I talked about the rules Revit uses to try and automatically define Areas.  One of the things I remember learning in my first year of collage was that you need to learn the rules before you break them and that was why I wrote last months article. In some cases the rules Revit uses gives us the areas we want, but in many of the cases those rules do not.

On a recent project I had to calculate the gross square footage of a building. Seems like a no brainier right. Take the exterior edge of the building right, and Revit has a rule to automatically calculate that square footage. Well in this case the architect I was working with found (in the IBC 2009) that the gross area calculation he wanted was based off of the interior face of the building not the exterior. Revit does not have a rule that calculates gross square footage to the interior face, and when it does it takes out the windows so still the area calculation was wrong.

This is an instance in which you can not rely on the rules Revit uses to define areas. So instead of creating your area boundary lines by selecting the walls you need to draw the area boundary lines. The lines can be locked to the wall but can not be defined by the walls. If they are defined by the walls Revit rules will take and you will get the wrong area numbers.

Another instance where you need to draw your lines is within a space that is defined by net square footage like a classroom or a lab. With net square footage any piece of equipment that is permanently attached to the floor will be taken out of the square footage of the room. To take that square footage out of the calculation you use the drawing tools.

Monday, October 13, 2014


As someone I know through Autodesk University and the National CAD Standard would say, I have final traveled to the darkside. Last month I passed my final Architectural Exam. Today I got my certificate, so I am officially a Registered Architect in the state of New Mexico.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Color Plans

What is a color plan?
What do you use a color plan for?
How do you create color plans in Revit?

The answer to the first question is that a color plan is a plan that uses fill patterns to convey information about the plan. It doesn't really matter if the fill pattern is a solid color fill or if it is a black and white dot hatch the basic use of the fill pattern is the same.

We use color plans to create presentation drawings. These presentation drawings can convey information like what department does where in the plan or code occupancy information. We also use color plans as a model management tool. As an example of a model management tool you can create a view that highlights all of the 1 hour rated partition to verify that a rated enclosure has rated wall on all sides.

There are about multiple ways to create a color plan in Revit.

  • From the visibility graphics dialog you can add a fill pattern to one of the model category. Along with this if you use filters you can make different objects within that category a different color as well. The main use I have for this is with walls and doors to verify their fire ratings. MEP engineers use this to color code the different pipes going through a building, among other things
  • Using either rooms or areas you can apply a color legend that creates a fill pattern to different information of the color plan. In the example of a code plan you can assign all areas of the plan that is a Classroom occupancy one pattern, all vocational occupancy's another and all storage occupancy's yet another.
  • As a management tool you can see what objects are on what workset thereby verifying if the objects are on the correct workset or even who is in control of those object within the model.
  • Using your old Autocad thinking you can go to the annotation tab and create a fill pattern. In most cases I would say do not do this. The other two methods are conveying information and when the information changes the pattern changes. This method means you need to be on top of the coordination of the information. As much as I say don't do this there are times when you have to create a hack to convey the information you want and this is how you would do that.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Area types

Area types is one of the parameter of Areas. Area types define measurement rules that Revit applies to area boundaries.

There are two Area plan types where Area types can be defined differently, Gross areas and Rentable or you could just say all other area types that are not Gross. On a Gross area plan you can define area types by either Gross building area or Exterior areas. On all other types of area plans you can define the areas by six area types, Building Common Area, Office Area, Exterior Area, Floor Area, Major Vertical Penetration, Store Area.

The Area type measurement rules work only if you define area boundaries by selecting the walls. If you draw lines to define the areas the area lines will not move according to the measurement rules.

Measurement rules
Building Common Area to Building Common Area -Area Boundary measured from wall centerline
Building Common Area to Office areas -Area Boundary measured from wall centerline
Building Common Area to Store areas -Area Boundary measured from wall centerline
Building Common Area to Exterior areas -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Building Common Area
Building Common Area to Major Vertical Penetration -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Building Common Area
Office Area to Exterior areas -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Office Area
Office Area to Major Vertical Penetration -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Office Area
Exterior Area to Store Area -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Exterior Area
Exterior Area
Floor Area to Major Vertical Penetration -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Floor Area
Store Area to Major Vertical Penetration -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Store Area

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lego House

Last summer my son and I were watching BBC America where they where James May was wondering if you could build a real house from Lego. As a Lego fanatic my boy was enjoying watching them building a life size Lego building. I was enjoying watching them try to build a structural beam out of Legos. We didn't get to watch the end of the show so we didn't know if they he had actually built the house or not. Tonight I was surfing the web and found this article from Daily News where they shows a finished Lego building with running water.

Here is also a short video on youtube about it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Opening Revit

When opening a Revit you would think that it was a simple click of the button.  Not so.

For all of us that grew up on Autocad we simply went to the folder where the Autocad file was and double clicked the Autocad file and Autocad would start up opening the file you clicked. So you would think that Revit would work the same way right?

Well not exactly

When you double click the Revit file it will open the Revit project just like Autocad, but there are some ramifications.

Back when I started using Reivt there was a problem when you opened a file using the double clicking method. It use to be if you double clicked the model it would open Revit in a Demo mode or View mode as it is now called. Autodesk has since fixed this issue.

If you double click on a model that has not been centralized there are no problems to this way of opening a Revit file.

If you double click on a model that has been centralized this is where the problems occurs. On a model that has been centralized there are two files that you can double click on, the Central model or the Local model.

When you open the central model not the local model you tend to take control of everything so no one else can do anything in the model. If you don't take control of everything in the model and someone else is working in a local model and they do a save to central your version will become out of date and when you try to save an error message will pop up telling you that you can't save to central and the changes you made do not get saved.

When you open a local file by double clicking you have good chance that the local file will get out of sync with the central file. If the local file gets out of sync with central file the changes you made to the model in the local file will not get saved back to the central model. This also happens when you open a local file from the splash menu. That is why it is always best to create a new local file every day.

So to make this long story short, open Revit, then locate and open the central model making sure that the local check box is selected when you open your project.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Autodesk Transfer Licence Utility

In my opinion the Autodesk Transfer License Utility is a frustrating tool. First off there really are no instructions on how it works. It is suppose to be so intuitive that my little dog is suppose to be able to work it.

You might ask why would you need to use this utility. The main reason you would use this utility would be if you are running a Stand alone license of an Autodesk products you may need to transfer your Autodesk license to a different machine.

So your next question is probably why would you need to transfer your Autodesk licence from one machine to another? In my case the answer to this question is:

  • Upgrade all of your computers from Windows XP to Windows 7
  • Something happens to the operating system and you have to totally reconstruct it
Now here is my story of using the Autodesk Transfer License Utility.
To use the Autodesk Transfer License Utility first you go to the Windows start-up menu and select the utility under the Autodesk folder. After clicking the program you will be prompted if you really want to release the Autodesk License on this machine. When you release the license on the machine the Autodesk products will no longer work on that machine unless you activate it on the machine again.

Now that you have released the licence you now have to activate it on the new machine. This is where my intuitive understanding of the program is wrong. When you first activate an Autodesk product you install the product, then start it up. After you start the product up you will be asked to activate it, so you click the button and activate it over the internet. But when you are transferring a license from one machine to another you can't think you are activating a new installation like you did when you first installed the product. Instead you have to install the Autodesk product on the new machine then use the Autodesk license utility in import the license, after you have done that then you can open the product with an active license.