First Thoughts on Using Revit for Quantity Take-Off

Some thoughts, doubts, suggestions and questions after using Revit to help on a project quantity take-off process.
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I've been working for the past month and half (really 3-4 weeks if we don't count the Christmas break) building a Revit model of a residential project in Barcelona. The model is being used in a pilot project to extract quantities, check for undefined elements and of course help visualize the building. The initial aim was to be able to do a complete quantity take-off from the Revit model, based on the drawings already finished (finished is a very optimistic term here...) by the architect.

I just wanted to share some thoughts I've been having the past weeks about the workflow and problems I encountered so if you are doing something similar either you ca give me some feedback or avoid doing the same mistakes as I have.

To put this in perspective, all this process has been done trying to follow certain Spanish (or Catalan) standards. I really don't know how you guys do estimations in other countries, what I explain here will be based on the way we do, or we try to do certain things.

Let me be more concise and put an example. The first time I showed someone the Schedule of Structural Beams, everything was WAWS and OOOH!. Soon I realized though, that the amazing automatic schedule that Revit was providing was:
A) Not showing the Steel Weight (which is the standard way to do Take-offs here when describing Steel Members and
B) Not splitting the Elements by Floor in the schedule (which is also very necessary in case some cost analysis needs to be run, to be able to say for instance "if we reduce one level, we would have this less steel")

The way I went around point B, was using Phases. I Created a Phase for each level and moved all Columns and Beams of each level to the corresponding Phase (20 minute work, no big deal). This way, I could visualise the schedule using Revit Phases, and could export the quantities for each level separately (showing the phase as a property in the schedule is still something I am trying to figure out how to do...any ideas?).

Point A was a bit trickier, so I will write a second post about it soon to not bore you all with so much text. I will also post soon about an Allplan 2011 demo I went recently, and my first thoughts on how Allplan related to Revit, what is better, what is worse, etc.

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New BIMstorm is today

New BIMStorm coming up.
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BIMStorm is an initiative sponsored by Onuma, Inc. As the name hints, it wants to be like brain storming sessions based on BIM. It basically tries through case studies to have teams from all over the world collaborate and find solutions for a specific case study using BIM, open standards and collaboration. From the BIM Storm Website:
BIMStorms have been the perfect environment to learn how to BIM in a big way. You do not have to be a techie to participate, but we certainly welcome everyone. You will learn how collaboration on projects at an unprecedented way will make you more relevant in the 21st century. Best of all this is all free or close to free. Many owners and agencies have watched what happens in BIMStorms.
This edition is called "Getting Real with BIM, GIS and Facility Management: The Huge Opportunity for 21st Century Architects, Engineers, Contractors & Owners". I haven't had the time to attend one yet, but it looks like something evry BIMmer should try once.
You can sign up here.

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Find your Invisible Revit Objects

CAD Shack has posted a very good list of reasons why you might not be seeing an object.
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I recently experienced not being able to find see some of the objects I had created. the reason I couldn't find them was because I had set some of them as Interior Objects and somehow I had activated a filter to not show interior objects. Played with it, struggled a bit, and finally found the solution. Then I started playing with Phases, and of course, some objects disappeared as I moved them to a phase that was not the one being shown.

Why do I mention all this? Well, just as an introduction to link you to a very interesting post at CAD Shack that lists the two situations explained above and 8 more that might turn you crazy trying to find an object that is not visible. Great, no more thinking you lost the objects, they are there, simply hidden. Cad bless the Revit.

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2010 Top 10 Posts

The yearly lis is here
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As I am trying to do evey year end, here comes the list of the top posts of 2010. Those that you guys have found to be the most interesting by visiting them more than any other pulished during this past year. Thanks for keeping coming here.
  1. SketchUp Plugins: Extrude Edges by Face
  2. SketchUp Plugins: TIG Extrusion Tools
  3. SketchUp Plugins: Model Clean-Up
  4. SketchUp Plugins: Make Fur / Grass
  5. SketchUp Plugins: Component Stringer
  6. SketchUp Plugins: Extrude Edges by Loft
  7. SketchUp Plugins: Extrude with Rotation
  8. SketchUp Plugins: Better Unfold Tool - Flattery
  9. Revit Basics: Control the level of Detail of a View
  10. AutoCAD: Manage Layers with the LAYWALK command
As you can see, SketchUp posts have bee the most popular considering the number of visitors in 2010. In any case, i am very happy to see a Revit post on the Top 10 list of 2010. Considering that I am not a blog of reference regarding BIM or Revit, it is a good start and big motivation to make more BIM related posts climb to the top of this list in 2011.

This doesn't mean I will completely abandon SketchUp or AutoCAD related posts, I will post if I use the tools and come along some nice tricks to share, but since my current focus is on BIM and on improving the Processes of the AEC industry, expect more posts on this line.

Again, thanks for reading, sorry for the misspllings and please comment more this coming year, despite the 939,575 Pageviews (591,188 of them in 2010) , it sometime feels a bit lonely here with only 167 Comments on 378 Posts.


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New Version of VisualARQ Architectural Tools for Rhino

New Version of VisualARQ for Rhino.
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The friends from VisualARQ just sent me an email with the news that a new version of their Architectural Tools for Rhino is now available. VisualARQ is a set of tools that for what I have seen and read seem to turn Rhino into a more "Architectural Representation Friendly" software if that term exists.

The Tools allow Rhino to identify objects as windows, walls, etc. Much like regular BIM packages do. See a description of features here. The new features in version 1.2 can be found following this link.

In short, the new features are:
  • Beam object
  • Context help
  • IFC 2×3 export
  • Plan visibility can be specified per object depending on its position on the level.

Did I say BIM like objects? IFC 2x3 support? Well here you go BIM scheptical people. Even Freeformparadise (that would be Rhino) seems to need BIM standards objects and interoperability. The BIM steamroller is unstoppable...remember Stuart Brand's Quote "Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road". What will you choose?

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(BIM) Revit to SketchUp via IFC Plugin

There is a Plugin to Import IFC Files into SketchUp
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I was trying to visualize a Revit model we've been building in SketchUp. I actually wanted to use SketchUp to export the model to Maxwell to do a very quick rendering since the default rendering in Revit didn't please me and I didn't have the time to play with it much.

This was just a workaround, but it did help. I found the IFC2SKP plugin for Google SketchUp from Secom IS Lab. It did the trick.

The plugin will import your IFC file (you need to save as IFC from Revit) and the imported entities will be separated by layers as IFC Entities. IFC Wall, IFC Floor, etc. It does not keep much of the material properties you might have already given to each elemetn in Revit which is a bugger, but I guess that has more to do with IFC itself than with the Plugin.

Once you install the plugin, you will need to go to Plugins --> Import IFC and from there play with what do you want and what you don't want to be imported. I'll post some pictures detailing the process as soon as I get my laptop charger fixed (or I buy a new one...)

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