Tuesday, 18 December 2007

AUGI e-Learning Program

AUGI is pleased to offer AUGI e-Learning, a program that offers AUGI members a selection of video tutorials focusing on various Autodesk products, including Revit Architecture 2008. Course Outline - pdf

AUGI, in conjunction with CADLearning, is making video lessons available every month to AUGI members at no charge. These video lessons teach individual product concepts and features. Every month, new lessons in each course series will be available. Completion of the full course will take 12 to 18 months at the one-section-per-month rate.

AUGI members wanting to expedite the learning process may purchase an entire course outright. AUGI has negotiated a 20 percent discount for our members who wish to purchase courses. Visit AUGI.CADLearning.com for more information and complete course outlines.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Structural Integrators (SI) Tools for Revit Structure

Structural Integrators, LLC a company founded by Elizabeth Shulok in August 2007 have released a Revit Structure Add-in that provides advanced selection capabilities for structural members.

Select all columns on a level, regardless of type, with one click, or use the Advanced Selection dialog to select multiple types of beams, columns and walls to add to your selection.

This product is free to Structural Integrators registered users.

This is the first free product release by Structural Integrators, they can provide custom bespoke routines and add-ins for your firm, automating in-house practices for Revit Structure.

For more information contact Elizabeth via their web site at http://www.structuralintegrators.com/contact.php

Friday, 14 December 2007

Quick Start Revit Structure 2008 Update......

Francis Leung has been in touch about purchasing his book, Until his book is available outside of Honk Kong, if you email him at franciscsl@netvigator.com he will invoice you using paypal – once the money has been transferred the book gets shipped.

Cost to the UK taking the current exchange rate between HKD and GBP means the cost are approximately.

Book + Packing and Land Shipping = £ 23.50 approx
Book + Packing and Air Shipping = £ 19.90 approx

Saturday, 8 December 2007

The First Revit Structure Book has been written.

Wai Chu of BIM & BEAM fame reported on his blog page on the 5th Nov that Francis Leung a Revit Structure power user from Hong Kong has written a book called "Quick Start Revit Structure 2008. Wai gives an email address franciscsl@netvigator.com to contact Francis to find out more about how to purchase the book.

I emailed Fancis and it would appear that at the moment, the book is only available in Hong Kong. Fancis is checking with his publisher how to handle order from overseas, and is going to let me know as soon as he’s got the answer

As soon as I get further information form Francis I will post it here……

It would appear that Francis taught two excellent Revit Structure advanced classes during the Autodesk University 2007 in Las Vegas (11/26-11/30),

Friday, 30 November 2007

Modelling the Lift Pit – Part 1

Here is a hand drawing of a typical lift pit associated with this scheme.

This profile has been used so as to miss the foundations to the existing lift shaft structure.

The draughtsman did not bother to indicate the existing foundations on this section, but they are there.

With nothing in the way, the section in the other direction is symmetrical about the centre line of the lift shaft.

Lots of drainage and electric cables and gas services pipes were found on site so a few dimensional modifications to the Tender Drawing extract details shown above have been made, however this gives you a basic idea of what It is I’m trying to model.

At some stage in the future I want to add the reinforcement details.

Here is a screen dump of my first floor plan.

I altered the scale from 1:100 to 1:50 to reduce the size of the grid bubbles so they became a little smaller on the screen and more in keeping with the size of the detail.

Whilst taking this screen dump I noticed that the Grid Line Bubble (A) did not line up with the others, so I fixed it, now they all line up.

The bending / moving of the Grid Line to move the Bubbles apart was shown in a CADClip so I followed the example I had seen.

Having seen Daryl take sections in his CADclip videos, I then decided to cut a section between grid lines 1 and 2 looking up the page. The section is shown below

To begin with the columns looked short and stubby. Until I realised that I had to drag down the view area so that I could see the Ground Level. In fact I dragged the box down further so that I could see the pit and top of the pile foundations that I was about to model.

I selected the Ground Level Structural Wall then Basics and Structural Wall

Looking at the walls available, the best fit I could find was Basic Wall: Exterior – 300mm Concrete.

The wall I wish to detail is only 200mm thick, so I clicked on the Element Properties button

This gave me the Element Properties dialogue shown above

I then selected Edit / New… to get the Type Properties dialogue below

Hitting the Duplicate Button

I named the Type as Exterior – 200mm Concrete and hit the Value Edit… button to alter the width from 300 to 200

I forgot to alter the Base Offset from -4000 to -1200, so once drawn and viewed in 3D, I had to select the walls, then right clicked, Properties and altered the Base Offset dimension.

Now at least my structure is starting to look as if something might be holding it up

Looking at this view there are a couple of things that went through my mind:-

1) The tops of the concrete columns Top Offset needs to moved down so that the columns protrude into the concrete slab by 50mm – Ummm need to check that this actually will show in a section.

2) This then also starts me thinking about showing or modelling the kicker to the walls….. Ummmm something else to look at.

3) Must recall how to turn off the structural framing lines in the view – seen it in one of the CADClips but can’t recall which one

4) I have drawn the steel columns as having a joint at each floor level. Actually they are much longer (just over two floors high) and have connections above the floor level not in line with it. Is it worth tweaking? Can I model the connection details? How and would it affect the design model?

5) At the moment the 1st floor slab is the wrong material and the wrong profile, as it has a sloping bottom. I know this, but wanted to get something drawn and will come back to this later.

Here is what the profile of the slab should look like looking at Flank Elevation.
6) I also will need to tweak the bottom of the steel columns and add baseplates

So I feel like I’m climbing this big knowledge tree. I’m kind of getting up the trunk and can now see all these main branches with many other branches off them and twigs coming off

Next time…..

The base slab, pile cap, and piles then adding the beam thickening to the top of the walls…

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

New Robobat Extension for Revit Structure

Robobat Extension for Revit tries to announce at least one new extension release a month. Novembers offering is the reinforcement of pile caps extension.

The module will create 3D “intelligent” rebar data in Revit Structure, and is available to download at http://www.extensions4revit.com/

The base (free) version will allow the user to define reinforcement for a pile cap of rectangular cross section; the enhanced version will incorporate additional cross section shapes.

I'm in the process of harvesting all this good stuff so that when I get around to learning how to and producing reinforced concrete details I've got it handy.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Is there anyone out there........knock once for YES and twice for No

Having now talked to one of the committee members of the Official UK Revit User Group, it would seem that they are not getting very much help from Autodesk in terms of assistance with funding to get the ball rolling in the UK.

It would appear that getting the UK Revit User Group going is like pushing a car up a hill, with the hand brake on and the wind in your face. Being on the steering committee for the BAPD, I can sympathise with them completely.

IMHO by now there should be at least a forum for UK Revit Users, one would think that Autodesk would stop sitting on their hands with their thumbs up their _ _ _ _ and at least fund a dedicated UK forum. (memo to self – pursue this and report back)

The UK User Group committee wanted a list of purchasers of REVIT in the UK so that they could market to the end users directly, but Autodesk consider this as sensitive marketing information and will not share. (Boo, Boo, Hiss, Hiss, their behind you…. well it is coming up to Pantomime Season)

I’m told they also tried engaging some of the top Autodesk Value Added Resellers (VAR’s), and Premier Solutions Providers (PSP’s) who were interested however, they have to be careful as it’s Autodesk game and they don’t want them taking the ball away if they don’t keep strictly within the guidelines set down by big brother, who wants to see Official User Groups created.

I posted a message on the AUGI Revit Structure General forum for other UK users and got one reply! Thank you Michael Boyd for answering you’re a star.

OK I know REVIT Structure is quite young, but I did expect more than one reply!

Micheal seem to think that you lot are just shy (at the time of writing this 91 people have looked at the forum post, but only Michael has replied.

It would be great for REVIT users of all the flavours (Architect, Structure and MEP) in the UK, to have an Active UK forum and User Group.

It would appear that there is a lot in common between the REVIT flavours. Indeed the AUGI have recently created two additional forums where common posts may be made (see previous post)

The AUGI world wide community have been great at helping me with my questions, but as a UK user area I really want is:-

  • Local User group meetings with other users in my area (even if this means having to meet with other anoraks down the pub, drink a couple beers and talk Revit)
  • Somewhere I can get hold of UK specific project examples
  • Have access to completed real UK based projects
  • Build a dedicated UK wish-list and become more than a lone UK voice in the wind
  • Have a UK Family sharing area for posting and downloading UK specific content.

The UK User Group web site also talks about these in “Coming soon to this web site” This was why I telephoned one of the committee members in the first place, because after two weeks I had not received a reply to my email with the question “when is it coming?”.

The UK Revit User Group, also want to include:-

  • Tips and tricks section
  • Links to Revit specific sites of interest
  • UK specific templates

So why aren’t some of these areas there already? I know there are only four members on the committee, but it’s no good bleating about Autodesk if you can’t even add (Using Buzzword Bingo terms)Low Hanging Fruit” like a tips and tricks or a links page.

Having recently built the Revit Links Page on my cadalot web site this just takes time, not money. “Coming Soon” is just too open ended, for the “Supreme Beings” sake (How PC is that - VBG) set a target and communicate it with the people that visit your web site.

Does “Coming Soon” mean hours, days, weeks, months or years, sometime, maybe or never?

So enough is enough, Not being one for sitting on hands with my…..you know what I mean ;0), and, being an ex-Generic CADD user so my thoughts on Autodesk go something like

“Doing business with Autodesk is like making love with a condom on, it gives one a sense of security and safety whilst being screwed”

I don’t care how commercially sensitive your names and address may be to Autodesk, let’s build some Local Unofficial Revit User groups in the UK. But you’re not going to be able to do that unless we build a list of users, so….

I’ve added the UK Revit Register Page to the Revit area of my cadalot web site. (Link updated to the new location for the UK Revit Register)

Please don’t be shy, help build a list of UK Revit users that the Official UK User Group can use. I’ve even set it up by area so that you can find other Revit Users local to you, so that perhaps you can start your own Unofficial Local Revit Group that could have that couple of beers down the pub once in a while and talk Revit.

Remember, you will only get out of this what you put into it, so email me your details and let’s get the ball rolling.

Friday, 2 November 2007

New Forums added on AUGI web site

Revit - Platform General Questions is a new forum for general Revit questions that can apply to all version of Revit.

Revit - Plotting/Printing/Exporting is a new forum for all plotting/printing and Exporting questions.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

New on CADClips.com

REVIT ® 2008 - Site and Model Linking
These 7 CADclips are truly invaluable ! Learn to confidently inter-maneuver the building model(s) and site plans from one file to the next.

You just have to keep an eye on this site, Daryl is adding good stuff like this all the time.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

GAME ON! - My First Real Scheme

Right, the idea was that I document on the Blog as I learnt the package…… Get Real!

Like I’m going to spend time writing down every thought and learning experience as it happens, I want to play with my new toy.

As I’m sitting at my computer typing this up I would rather be playing with Revit Structure, finding the answers to all those questions I have in my head, and climbing that learning curve.

But the idea of this Blog is hopefully to assist others following behind up the learning curve, so here we go.

What you have is a snap shot in time, I’ve played with Revit, watched a number of CADClips, pressed F1 and used help, looked at the tutorials that come with the package and generally go to the point you see on the left very quickly.

Comment Key to where I am after creating the drawing shown left:-

Red comments – To be done.
Blue comments – Have completed the task.
Dark Red comments – New questions added to the list

Outline Steps / Drawing Process

Load AutoCAD drawing as a reference
Problems with units and scales with Architects drawing?
Need to understand this better and find out why the architects drawing did not come in correctly when my own did?

Bubble Size? – Initially wondered about changing the size of the bubble until I recalled that this was done by the scale factor for the view.

Went very smoothly – very little problems thanks to the CADClips videos

Place Steel Columns Level 2 (Second Floor)
Rotation on Placing? – Found by watching CADClip videos and noticing the rotate button, then used F1 to find out more.
Rotation after placing? – Shown during a CADClip Video on Beams

Concrete Slab 1st Floor
How to deal with Sloping Soffit only?
How to define your own slab type? – Holorib <>
Detailing Reinforcement?

Concrete Columns (Level 1 – Ground)
How to define your own concrete column sizes?

Masonry Load Bearing Walls
Went very smoothly – very little problems

Concrete Slabs (2nd Floor Level 2 – Roof Level 6)
Creating a slab type with permanent steel formwork. Holorib 125mm thick OA <>

Placing beams supported by cleats off columns, or off the face of the column.
Placing beams that are bolted to load bearing walls.
Placing secondary steel (horizontal purlins) to support vertical cladding.

Ground Level Topography
Add the ground level to the drawing.
Kerb, footpath and highway

Pile Cap Foundations
Detail including Reinforcement

Just columns in the ground?
How to create broken ends for sections and elevations

Lift Pit
Base is this just a slab?
How to detail a profiled concrete wall?

Roof Structure
Sloping Columns, beams and load bearing walls.

Drawing Sheets
Getting details into a standard drawing sheet(s)

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Real Dads Don’t Read Instructions

OK I’m sitting at my computer playing with Revit Structure wearing a tee shirt my kids bought me for Fathers Day which says “Real Dads Don’t Read Instructions”.

Well I do……. Well kind of………Well sometimes…….. Kind of a scan read…..

I’ve printed out the Users Guide and the Metric Tutorials which also come as adobe pdf files in a hand A4 format for us Brits, I bound these up with a comb binder, and have them at hand for downtime, you know for when you are not at the computer and your sitting in a doctors or dentist waiting room or having to spending some time in the living room with the wife. (See I can and do read instructions)

I’ve done the Getting Started Steel Project, and read the Concrete Project that comes with the disks, whilst on the train (one of those down times I was talking about) I use F1 –Help a lot

But…. I want to get cracking with Revit…….I want to fly it and I want to fly it now….. (I sound just like the little girl in Willy Wonka)
I did find a web site where you can download the tutorial manuals that come with the trial DVD in pdf format as well. (Link to tutorials)

I have been building the Revit Links page at my cadalot web site, and whilst surfing found Daryl Gregoires’ blogs:- Revit Rocks!, CADClips, Learn ADT, Learn AutoCAD, Sketchup Rocks! and CADClips University.

Daryl is a CAD Trainer and Architectural Designer based in Calgary, Alberta Canada. He has been using Autodesk products since 1988 . Revit Rocks! and CADClips, are MUST VISIT web sites - so much information.

I bought a full site subscription for three months to CADClips so that I could get my paws on his training videos to help me climb that learning curve. It took some time to get them all downloaded but they are now sitting on my hard disk and backed up on five DVD’s (3x Architecture and 2 x Structure) so that I can view at work or home.

I’m dipping in and out of The CADClip Video Tutorials and they are worth their weight in gold. I will go back and review the lot, but for now I’m trying to fast track my learning for a project I have at the moment, and I want to learn on something live and real.

The scheme I’m learning on is an extension to a number of six storey blocks of flats in Kensington & Chelsea that need new lifts fitted. The existing shafts are too small for modern lifts, so we are bolting on a structure which provides new landings and access to new lift shafts.

The design is a mixture of reinforced concrete and structural steelwork, and it’s a small scheme, that has concrete pile foundations with pile caps, reinforced concrete columns between the pile caps and the first floor cantilevered reinforced concrete profiled slab

Then from the first floor slab we switch to a steel frame with a holorib steel decking slabs. There are also a lot of novel, non-typical tutorial types of real life details that will need to be modelled. i.e. PFC and steel angles bolted to existing walls etc.

Jumping in at the deep end, my thought process for attacking this project based on my limited knowledge of Revit so far, kind of run in this order:-

* Load AutoCAD drawing as a reference

* Grids

* Levels

* Place Steel Columns Level 2 (Second Floor)

* Concrete Slab 1st Floor

* Concrete Columns (Level 1 – Ground)

* Masonry Load Bearing Walls

* Concrete Slabs (2nd Floor Level 2 – Roof Level 6)

* Beams

* Ground Level Topography

* Pile Cap Foundations

* Piles

* Lift Pit

* Roof Structure

* Drawing Sheets
This is a learning project so once completed I will review what I’ve done and learnt and probably do things completely differently on the next project, but Hay!, that’s what learning and gaining experience is all about …right?

More later, I’m now off to play with revit……..

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Getting the Software

I looked at REVIT some time ago, before Autodesk got it’s hands on the product, I was also playing with SketchUp before google bought it.

I had created very basic 3D drawings in Cadvance, IntelliCAD and AutoCAD, but at that time as a Structural Engineer I did not see that the fee element in schemes would allow the funding to buy and learn another CAD program even if it was good at 3D.

Using Autodesk Architectural Desktop when it first came out was as near as I got to making any real move towards 3D. I bought ADT because at the time it was only about £300 more than Full AutoCAD.

With each version ADT was getting better, then after 17 years with the same company I moved to a new company and lost my access to Full AutoCAD and Architectural Desktop.

My new company had a seven year old (version 2000) of AutoCAD LT.

I was used to using full AutoCAD, I had all my lisp routines etc and missed the basic AutoCAD 3D element, however so humble it was.

So my mission was to create a business case for upgrading from AutoCAD 2000 LT.

I went to a REVIT open day help by one the UK dealers and found to my amazement that they were giving Full AutoCAD away with a copy of REVIT Structure Suite 2008.

After seeing how fast an experience user could create a model, and then finding that it could also be structurally analysed, as well as producing plans, elevations and sections it was a no brainer.

I managed to obtain a trial DVD from a UK dealer and installed it at home for the 30 days trial.

A week into my 30 days, my father was taken very ill, and I spent the next three weeks with him in the nursing home, until he finally passed away.

By the time life returned to what one may call normal, the 30 days were well and truly over. It’s got to be said that 30 days trial period for software better than nothing but only just.

Most people are busy and need to fit in the time to play with any new package they are considering purchasing.

If software writers could say turn the 30 days into actual hours playing with the software, that would be a hell of a lot better. Come to think of it if they could keep it active by the hours it was opened then they could even reduce that to say 100 hours.

Getting off the soapbox, and returning back to the plot. My directors had listened to me, considered my business case and had instructed our IT Manager to purchase Revit Structure 2008.

The company that supplied the software sent the disks but not the DVD box with the Getting Started manual, they had not arrived or something, so I contacted them and they sent me another evaluation copy with the Getting Started Manual.

I have found in the past there is always a delay in getting these trial disks and instruction guides in the UK. Also dealers can be a bit mean with them. But they are out there and they are worth obtaining.

The other great thing that has happened, is that Autodesk know acknowledge that you can’t be in two places at one time and you can apply for a home user licence if you are under subscription and have the software as outlined in their guidance notes.

Again ask your Autodesk dealer if this arrangement applies to you.

Our IT department finally installs the software, with security policies these days my company won’t allow anyone to install software themselves.

The Getting Started manual is really two tutorials in a small booklet format that fits neatly in the DVD case.

Work from one side and you have the Getting Started Steel Project, turn the book over and you have a Getting Started Concrete Project tutorial.

I don’t know if these tutorials get downloaded if you download the trail version off the Autodesk web site?

Perhaps someone who reads this post can let us know?

If not, then I will check it out, and answer the question myself.

Saturday, 6 October 2007


Everyone is always on the learning curve; it’s just that some are further up that learning curve than others.

I have been using CAD since 1974. Between 1988 and May 2005 I took on the duties of CAD Manager and supported up to 70 CAD users within a multi-discipline Construction Consultancy. I’m a Structural Engineer who started life as a draughtsman, who has always done his own drawings and is a CAD-A-HOLIC.

I’m a “Power-User” when it comes to AutoCAD, IntelliCAD, Cadvance and Generic CADD, but a complete REVIT newbie and virgin.

I thought that it may be useful to other new REVIT users to document my struggle up the learning curve, perhaps like leaving breadcrumbs for them to follow and notice of dead-end paths, and learning perils for them to avoid.

I’ve added a REVIT area to my cadalot web site, starting as always with an extensive link page, with a brief description of what’s on each web / blog site.