Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sketchup to Revit

So I got asked the question how do I take a sketchup model and turn it into a Revit file?

To back up the first question I would ask is really? Because you can model everything in Revit much more accurately, and very quickly as well as keep Revit your primary modeling software that you're using for the job. Secondly, Sketchup is generally used for pretty pictures, easy graphics and 3d manipulation so for the most part I model in Revit and then export to Sketchup to make my pretty pictures...However, I can show you how to send it to either program either way.

From Revit to Sketchup:
Open your 3D view

File menu

Export -> CAD Formats

Click on the Options...

Specify under Solids (3d Views Only):

Export as ACIS Solids

(The only advantage I've seen with Exporting Polymesh is when you are exporting/importing complex model geometries and mostly this is used in MAX, Maya or Rhino for vertices editing)

Name your file, and hit Save

Crack open Sketchup

Once you're in Sketchup


Import ->

Then specify under Files of Type ACAD Files .dwg

Then hit Open.

Alright so the next thing you notice is that when you click on your model it highlights the whole shootin match so click on your model right click and hit explode.

Now you can start painting up your Revit model in Sketchup.

Running a little low on time so to export from Sketchup to Revit, you need to have Sketchup Pro I've found to make it work best but essentially you need to go to:

File ->

Export ->

3d Model... ->

Specify ACAD files .dwg

Then Import the geometry into Revit.

The cool thing about this import is that you can replace the model walls with Revit building components to save you some time.

I copied the following below from the Revit Tutorials.

To import SketchUp files:

In the Revit project, create a mass or in-place family. See Creating a Mass Family or Creating an In-Place Family.

Click File menu

Import/LinkCAD Formats.

In the Import/Link dialog, navigate to the folder that contains the SketchUp file.

For Files of Type, select the SKP file type.

Select the desired file, and click Open.

SketchUp (SKP) files can be imported directly into a Revit Architecture mass or in-place family. For more information, see Large-Scale Massing Studies in SketchUp.

TIP:Make sure you import the geometric data needed for the Revit Architecture capability that you plan to use. For more information, see Suitability of Imported Geometry.

For additional information on working with SketchUp files in Revit Architecture, see Integrating SketchUp and Revit.When importing SketchUp files, consider the following:

Two-sided surfaces: If a material or color is assigned to only one side of a surface in SketchUp, Revit Architecture applies the material or color to both sides of the surface by default. If there is material on both sides of the surface, Revit Architecture applies the Face 1 material to both sides. If faces are flipped and painted differently in SketchUp, they may not display the correct material in Revit Architecture.

SketchUp properties: The following SketchUp properties are currently not supported in Revit Architecture import:

Texture Image Maps, Transparency, “Smooth” Curved Surfaces, Text and Dimensions, Raster Images, and saved “Pages”.

Cut planes: Imports cannot be cut by a cut plane unless imported into a cuttable family category. See Cuttable and Non Cuttable Family Categories.

SketchUp and Massing: Not all SketchUp imports are appropriate to massing. See Suitability of Imported Geometry.

Scaling: Groups or components that have been scaled in their entirety with the SketchUp Scaling tool may be incorrectly scaled when imported to Revit Architecture. Exploded SketchUp models should import at the correct scale.

Thought This Might be Interesting

I got an in-depth questionnaire email and was really impressed by a student at KU who asked the following questions about BIM, who showed an understanding of BIM and was asking some great questions... my answers were as follows:

Research regarding BIM in the Construction Industry:

Please answer the following questions to the best of your knowledge. Thank you for your help and time.

Do you see more companies (construction and/or engineering) integrating BIM into their work? Why?

There are definitely more companies beginning to adopt and integrate BIM technology in their businesses. The basic reasoning behind this shift is a fundamental understanding that BIM will save them time, money and be more marketable to clients. There also is a large shift in thinking within the construction industry, specifically towards being able to communicate more effectively, which ultimately saves costly changes due to inaccurate information.

How does BIM help McCownGordon in: 1) Design 2) Estimating 3) Construction 4) Post Construction?

1. In the design phase we use it a couple of ways. The first is that we use the model to create business development models. These models are what we use to visually quantify the cost of the project to an owner. So when we submit a budget we also submit a 3D representation of the estimate. We also begin to run our clash detection reporting and issue those reports at key meeting dates in tandem with resolution responsibilities.

1-2. I think that design and estimating dovetail into the other. However, in the estimating phase of the process we begin in the schematic design phase and begin tying or “mapping” model components to our estimate. This begins to streamline the process for us when we receive a new model, we can utilize that same mapping to update our sf and assembly costs. Also with a BIM model we have the ability to visually quantify in a 3D environment, the components we have or have not assigned costs to, which boils down to more accurate estimating.

3. Currently we are using the BIM model in the field as a visual communication tool. However, we are currently working with a software company to move into a mode of in field digital RFI’s complete with model markup. In addition to RFI and document management, we use the model to produce sequencing videos, staging plans and keep a single model current and accurate throughout the construction process so as CO’s and field changes occur we are keeping the model accurate.

Post Construction, we have really seen a value to the owner in a 3D BIM as-built of their new facility. Facility Managers are beginning to understand the value of a single source of information. Depending on the project we will digitally store the OandM Manual in the BIM as well.

What do you think are the biggest advantages and disadvantages of using BIM verses the Traditional Methods, in estimating and bidding?

Biggest advantages of using BIM is in estimating and the biggest disadvantage is in bidding. In a way, that’ really the best answer for this question. BIM is not actually a piece of software you can buy, it’s a process. And as a process it’s a fundamental restructuring of the way the construction process currently takes place. True BIM integration engages all team members early on in the project so that the model/documentation is more coordinated. Thus estimates are more accurate because of the time we get to make them more accurate, contingencies come down and everyone has project buy in.

In a bidding situation, BIM really becomes a quantity verification tool and much less of a resource to the team.

Where do you see BIM heading in the future of the construction industry?

Great Question! I can tell you that currently there is software being developed that will start to automate a BIM’s LEED reporting instantly, that “widgets” or “plug-ins” are going to be more and more common (Especially in Revit software) and that overall we are going to see a huge need in the field of Virtual Construction professionals. I have had this talk with some of the older pros in the industry and it always boils down to the question, “Is the way you are practicing your work now the most efficient and most profitable way possible?” I think that until that answer becomes yes BIM will continue to lead a revolution in the industry, and hey let’s face it there are only so many ways you can draw a line right?!

How do you think BIM can be improved for the future?

BIM will eventually become open source. The reasons I say this are that currently we need approximately 10 different pieces of software to make a true BIM integration work. Teamed with the costs of this software, you never want to underestimate the power of entrepreneurs. I think eventually everyone will start to see the disadvantage of holding proprietary UI’s and software and that more companies will still see the potential to collaborate themselves and create a single software solution. Part of this is being done in Japan now and hopefully it isn’t too much longer before a similar solution is available in the States.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Living Future - beyond green

Wow! If you guys haven't had a chance to check this event out you should.

Basically it's the Canadian Green Building Council and the USGBC that put this on and it'll rock your house. I went to give a presentation with some colleagues Brad from BNIM and Dimitri from Cannon in San Francisco on BIM and Sutainability and I think I learned more than I taught. If you thought you were green, you're not...and after attending one of these you'll understand why. I've never seen a group of such learned and passionate backgrounds talk about how to FIX our planet.

Yes that's right! Not the "Inconvenient Truth" make you feel bad, scare the shit out of you, but more of a how creative can we be? How can a building not only be low/no carbon, but how can a building restore the environment??

Creativity and information is the key guys.

I know in our day to day routine we sometimes get caught up in making sure we are "Virtually Constructing" the world, but we also need to make sure that we are keeping an eye on the bigger picture of how can we make this world a better place and how can we be more open minded as a generation than the one previous to us and listen to those brilliant moments of creativity.

Check it out though, good stuff...

Enough to Kill a Lesser Man...and BIM

So here's the skinny. BIM is it. I was thinking about this on the plane on the way home from Vancouver, Denver and Topeka... and came to the realization that the future of BIM could easily contain the following items.

- I got to thinking about how we address life safety issues once a person is inside of the building, but how great would it be for Emergency and Rescue personnel to access a buildings layout like they would a map. Granted this won't work for the Pentagon, but what a great way to access information just like GPS.

- BIM Google. C'mon everyone's thought about it! You're looking for that special track light fixture on your 450,000 sf project but can't remember what conference room it's in...or you're doing a stdium and where exactly is seat 415 in Section N?

- When do we get to use the software company's hardware, like we use a search engine's processors? We pay enough.

- Exactly how useful are new CAD Techs/Revit Modelers? Maybe you've had a different experience but so far it takes a trained person to model elements correctly that has a bigger database of knowledge to know how the bits and pieces fit. And seeing as the more you model the quicker you get I'm not sure the old "Make it look like this." will cut it in the future.

- Revit widgets. Need to check your LEED daylighting and views report based on the models current orientation? BAM Need to run a clash detection on your linked up model? BAM

Yep too many pieces of software currently...I think people are going to get sick of buying all of them, thus enters the entrepreneur!

- Lastly, I view the current debate on the need for open source BIM software as a little similar to the current Barack and Hillary debate. Someone needs to be steering this ship. I have sat in on countless conference calls with NIBS and although I'm down with the idea, we really need to be talking with the software companies to let them know that we'll still be buying their product because we know and love the interface, byut everyone needs to play in the same sandbox already!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Revit and Innovaya Mapping Tips

Here's something we ran into not too long ago. So head's up when you begin mapping materials in Innovaya:

Keep in mind that the "One Time Takeoff" will not save or remember any mapping

If at all possible try to tie all model components to an "Assembly Takeoff" and make a running tally of the items that need to be added to your timberline database so you can add these later.

Keep all of your exporting phases and scopes seperate. You can merge these files later in Timberline and it will remember where it came from.

EVERYTHING needs to have a unique name if it is in any way different from it's other components. For example, a 3'-0"x7'-0" door in Revit will insert both into an interior wall and an exterior wall the same. However, the costs for these two doors will be much different and they will be grouped together in Innovaya accordingly. A simple 3x7 HM Ext Door title to differentiate the two works fine.

Create seperate estimates that are the same name as the phase you are taking off from Innovaya, you'll thank me on your first update.

That's what I got, keep it real...