Saturday, 10 August 2013

Inaugural Post

For my first blog post, I wanted to give you a deeper sense of why I have jumped into this space. First and foremost, my name is Babatunde Okanlawon, currently studying MSc. Building Information Modelling (BIM) & Integrated Design at the University of Salford Manchester, UK. If you want to know more about me, click on the link to the right and read more.

This space will serve as a community dedicated to facilitating original, open discussions about Building Imformation Modelling (BIM). This includes conversations about the current challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. More importantly focusing on the most commonly used BIM authoring software; ArchiCAD and Revit.

As shifting from using traditional 2D and 3D CAD to using BIM software for project development provides more flexibility, speed and efficiency, however, selecting the right tool by companies can sometimes be a daunting experience especially for small and medium size companies. Therefore, the primary aim is to assist the architects and the engineers make a better choice in selecting the software that can properly fit to their workflow processes.
The intention of this blog is not to criticise or appraise any BIM authoring softaware, but create a platform where we can compare these tools by discussing and sharing their limitations and opportunities when they are used to solve similar construction problems.

I will be posting discussion and tutorials that compare (ArchiCAD and Revit) and show how to solve general and specific problems  related to Schedulling, Modelling Process, Rendering, Parametric Design, Documentation, File Sharing, Setting Up template, Collaboration etc. 

If you have used ArchiCAD and Revit before, obviously you would have experienced some potentials and limitations of these software; share your experience by giving practical examples on how easy or difficult is it to solve a specific problem comparing the two software
As I have mention earlier, this platform is not meant to condemn software but the intent is to serve as check and balance tool for individuals and companies to make the right decision when investing on BIM authoring software.

I will appreciate comments, critics and feedback on all discussions and tutorials posted on this blog. Welcome and feel free to share your idea.

Project View Organisation (Revit Project Browser VS ArchiCAD View Map)

BIM is not just a Model: It´s an organised database.

The concept of BIM is to model and manage information that can be used by every stakeholder involved in a construction project. Systematic "Naming and organising" Model data is a part of BIM workflow that  should not be ignored as it enhances collaboration and coordination. Every information in a BIM model must be organised according to its use and purpose. In this post, I will demonstrate how project views can be organised in both ArchiCAD 16 and Revit 2013.

ArchiCAD Project View Organisation (ArchiCAD View Map)

To organise views in ArchiCAD, knowledge of the following tools within the software is essential
  1. Layer Settings- Layers and Layer Combination
  2. Navigator - View Map
  3. View Settings 
  4. Model View options
Part 1
Creating Layer Combination and Layers:;  Assigning elements to layers

Create your model in the project map and pay attention to the layers you assigned to every object and geometry in the model.

Navigator Project Map

Open the layer settings by going to Documents -Layers - Layers settings (Model Views) or just press
Ctrl +L

In the Layer Settings (Model Views), create new Layer Combinations (left column) and give them reasonable names; you can use your project deliverable as a guide. As shown below, I have created the layer combinations inside the big red square. 
For example, "PLAN CONSTRUCTION" in the Layer Combinations column  will display all the views that are plan drawings and will be used for construction.

In the Layers (right column), create new layers and assign each element in your model to a layer. For example "EXTERNAL WALL" layer will be assigned to external walls in the model. You can also group multiple objects like cars, people and plants and create a new layer for them called "ENTOURAGE" It is important that every elements is assigned to an appropriate  layer even the annotations ( dimensions, tags, text , labels etc)

I recommend creating your own Layers and Layer Combinations  , Notice, I have used CAPITAL LETTERS to name my layers in order to distinguish my layers from existing ArchiCAD layers.

Part 2
Creating Views and View Folders in the Navigator

-Click the project chooser; (the small icon at the top left corner of the navigator pallet),
-Click "show organizer" , this will open the "Organizer-View Editor"
-From the "Organizer-View Editor", there is  "Project Map" and the "View Map" Columns
-Drag the "Stories" from the Project Map and drop it in the View Map coulumn
-Name the Folder, in my example I named it "DESIGN".Close the "Organizer View Editor"

Naming folders really depends on the purpose of the views.e.g Main Folders can be named to display the disciplines( Architecture, Structure, MEP) or the phases ( Conceptual Design, Design Development, Construction )

In the Navigator Pallet, make sure you are in the View Map (see figure below), Duplicate the "DESIGN" Folder and name the duplicate " CONSTRUCTION" or whatever name that is appropriate.
Open the DESIGN folder and click on the "1.Storey" in my case (0.Ground Floor). then adjust the detail level and the visual style using the the layers and the layer combination set up in the beginning.
For example, I do not want to show so many technical information  on the drawings in the " DESIGN" folder  so I want to have my walls shaded in gray and the rooms sizes in squared meters.
This can be achieved by opening the layers setting (CRTL+L), select one of the layer combinations (left Column) that you have created and turn on the layers from the right column that you would like to include in the selected layer combination. Make sure you click update at the bottom before you close the layer settings dialog box.

In the example below, I selected DESIGN as my combination and added EXTERNAL WALLS, INTERNAL WALLS into this combination by turning on the eyeball besides the layers. If you notice, ENTOURAGE, FLOOR SLABS AND FOUNDATION layers are turned off when DESIGN is selected in the combination. This means that if I change the layer combination in the " view settings"(see picture below) to "DESIGN", the view will only display all layers that are turned on for "DESIGN"

"View settings" can be found by clicking "Settings button"at the bottom of the Navigator -View Map . You must be in a view before the "Setting button" can appear. 
View Setting dialog box

In the view setting dialog box under "General", you have the option of changing the layer combination based on what you have created. This setting basically controls what is displayed in the view you have selected

Part 3

Model view Option
Model view option gives the possibility of controlling the level of detail of the elements in your model. For example to achieve the shaded walls as shown in the plan drawing above, you must use the Model View Options which can be found in   Documents-  Set Model Views-  Model View Options

 You can override Fill display for walls, Slabs, Zones and Fills  by clicking on override fills and choose solid Foreground. To have the walls shaded in grey, we must override the cut fills and choose Solid Foreground. It is important that you save this changes so that you can refer to it in the view settings.

The changes made in the Override Fill display can be saved in the Model View Option Combinations. A custom name appears whenever you make changes which can be named and stored. See the picture below

Naming and Storing Changes in the Model View Option

Go back to the view settings and you will  have the option of selecting from the drop down list the Model view Options that you have created.

Thats is it!
Though it was not that easy to explain the process in writing but I hope it will help someone. If you need more explanation on any part of the tutorial, you can write to me or just send your comments. Next tutorial will explain how the same  process of creating folders and organising views can be accomplished in Revit Architecture.

Revit Architecture Project View Organisation (Project Browser)

This tutorial is going to demonstrate how to create custom folder in Revit Project Browser in order to organise your Views and Sheets accordingly. For example , you might want to create separate folders for architects drawings, Structural drawings and MEP so that it is easier to navigate when you share your project with others.
You can do this by customizing the browser organization and including a custom parameter. Lets get started:
  • On the Manage tab, click the Project Parameters button.
  • In the “Project Parameters” dialog, click the Add button.
  • You can choose the type of parameter, "Project or Shared", For this example , I will use project parameter.
  • Type in a name e.g: “Sheet Folder”
  • Change the Type of Parameter to Text.
  • On the right side, from the Categories list, check the Sheets box.
  • Click OK twice.

Now lets create custom browser organisation

  • On the View tab, click the User Interface drop-down and choose Browser Organization.
  • Click the Sheets tab and then click the New button.
  • Give it a name and then click OK.

  • In the “Browser Organization Properties” dialog, on the Folders tab, choose the custom "Sheet Folder" from the drop down list for the first Group by item.
  • You can also choose additional Group by criteria e.g Sheet Number depending on how you want the sheet to display
  • Click OK.
  • Make sure you check the box next to the "Custom Sheet" to make it active and click OK
  • Create new sheets.
  • Select one or more sheets and then on the Properties palette, locate the new Sheet Folder parameter and type in a value or name e.g. “Structure” and apply it.
  • Repeat for all the sheets.

That´s it.


In my opinion, the time spent in customizing folders and setting up views in ArchiCAD  can be justified when it is saved as a template which can be reused. Comparatively, it takes few steps in Revit to customize folders and set up views. However both software do a great job in project organization.