Over at Virtual Built Technology, we have an aspirational view of our industry – that together, we can arrive at a set of best practice workflows for BIM and VDC projects.

We have been developing and refining our own set of internal workflows for a number of years, and today we would like to start sharing those with the world.

We will periodically post best practice workflows in the Resources menu on our site.

bim and vdc resources

From here you can browse to various resource types, including:

  • Workflows – for workflow documents and flow charts
  • Content – for BIM files like Revit templates and families
  • Automation – for scripts, like Dynamo graphs

The individual resource pages are also fully Disqus comment enabled, so you can start a conversation there. Let us know if you think we are on the right track… or not 🙂

Already, you will find our How to Use a Revit Control File guide, and a script that will automatically create section-boxed 3D views from a Revit Control File.

Also, from anywhere on our website you can immediately contact us using the Intercom badge at the bottom right of the screen – it looks like this:

Click on it anytime and let us know if you have any questions or suggestions, or would like assistance with your BIM and VDC projects.

We look forward to engaging with you soon!


Harlan Brumm recently tweeted about updates to Revit:


Details and direct links related to the above are provided below:

Revit 2018.3.2

Details:

  • includes an update to the product which is needed to maintain access to the following feature after October 31st, for more details refer to Autodesk Knowledge Network:
    • • P&ID Modeler
  • Fixed a security vulnerability in communicating with web services.

 

Revit 2017.2.4

Details:

  • Fixed a security vulnerability in communicating with web services.
  • Upgraded AdWebService to enable alternate user authentication methods.

 

Revit 2019 ?

  • Similar fixes were included in 2019.1 as per this related post

 

In unrelated news, latest Autodesk Desktop Connector can be downloaded at this link

 

I’m sure you are aware that intellectually Revit shared coordinates take minutes to explain, but emotionally they take years to master 🙂

I’ve been looking for a way to check and validate coordinates using the Revit API. One method I implemented in VirtualBuiltApp is to gather Grid Intersection coordinates and compare those, but obviously you need a federated model with links to achieve that comparison.

One interesting fact to note is this:

  • two Revit models can Report functionally identical shared coordinates (same translation and true north rotation), and you can still receive “The host model and the link do not share the same coordinate system. Default center-to-center positioning will be used”. hashtag sadface, hashtag why-revit-why

If we put this another way:

  • if two models don’t have some related history (created from the same file), or
  • if Acquire or Publish Coordinates has not occurred between those models, then
  • the Shared Coordinate error will appear — even if they report identical Spot Coordinates and True North Rotation

If you are wondering what the Revit API actually does support in terms of Shared Coordinate setup and validation, here is the best bit of Revit API Shared Coordinates information I can share:

A GUID-based relationship is set up between the files. Setting up the same relationship has been possible via the API via Document.AcquireCoordinates() for a few releases.

With 2018’s SiteLocation.IsCompatibleWith() it is also possible to identify if two coordinate systems are the same.

This is part of a long thread between Dale Bartlett, Jeremy Tammik, and the Revit development team.

Also, keep in mind that BIM 360 Design (Revit Cloud Worksharing) does not support Publish Coordinates. Only Acquire Coordinates can be used in that environment.

If you have Desktop Connector installed, you probably realise you can ‘upload’ Revit models and other files to BIM 360 Docs by dragging and dropping to the folder in Windows Explorer (using Desktop Connector). However, when you try and link this using the BIM 360 shortcut in Revit, you might not be able to see the file…

Here is a workaround that may allow you to link a non-initiated Revit model into your Revit file:

  1. Ensure you have Autodesk Desktop Connector installed
  2. Start Link Revit command from the ribbon
  3. Update: Click on the Address drop down
  4. Click on This PC
  5. Browse to BIM 360 from the window below:

  6. Select the file (non initiated) that you want to link

You should get the BIM 360 prefix in Manage Links:

There is a short video of this process here:

https://knowledge.autodesk.com/community/screencast/02ecf93e-6359-45e4-9253-48481e4e8ea6

The first point release of Revit 2019 is now available… Let the deployments begin. Your projects are now running out of excuses as to why they shouldn’t upgrade 🙂

Here are some direct links to the Revit and Navisworks update files.

Revit 2019.1 Update (Revit 2019 Update 1)

Direct download link

Readme

Release notes

Update: From Purvi Irwin on Twitter:

In the new homepage for #Revit 2019.1 when you hover over a recent project, you get the path of the central, your local, and the file size! If it’s not workshared, then you get the filepath and size. Pretty sweet.

 

Navisworks 2019.1 Update (Navisworks 2019 Update 1)

Direct Download Link

Readme PDF

interesting:

If you Close All Worksets when opening a model on BIM 360 Design, you may get this error (related to Project Info):

Can’t edit the element. It was deleted in the Central Model.

 

As you can see, it is related to the Project Info : Project Information element:


The error looks like this. You must click Cancel to proceed:

It appears to be some synchronisation bug or similar, possibly related to BIM 360 cloud worksharing. You can force the error to reappear by clicking on the Location option in the Ribbon

To fix it, try doing a full Sync with Central. It seems that this rectifies the bug for that session and future sessions with that particular cloud workshared model.

I previously posted about how to quickly repath links based on some control mechanisms. Enter BIM 360, and the wild world of Revit cloud worksharing… I expect that it will be commonplace now for existing projects and datasets to move across to BIM360 ‘mid project’. But that creates some interesting problems, like creating folders, dealing with the initiation process, and replacing local Revit Links with their cloud versions.

This post is focused on that process of changing all of the Revit link paths to link to the BIM 360 models. Unfortunately, the previous method I used (TransmissionData, like eTransmit) is not available for cloud hosted models. So how do we automate this process?

We went about it this way:

  1. Initiate all Revit models on the BIM 360 Document Management cloud (manually, for now)
  2. Create one federated model on the BIM 360 cloud that links in all the other cloud hosted Revit models. You might do this one manually, using Reload From in the Manage Links dialog box.
  3. Once you have that one ‘super host model’, use a batch process to harvest all of the cloud model data
  4. Using the harvested data, create a script that implements a Reload From method to batch reload local models from their cloud counterpart

On the journey to solving step 3, I experimented with a few different methods. I discovered that you need to use the ExternalResource class to get information about BIM 360 cloud models (not ExternalReference).

I also realised that I had to deal with Reference Information, which appears to be a .NET dictionary per link that stores some funky Forge IDs and so on. But I want to store all this data in our VirtualBuiltApp BIM Management system, so I had to serialise the Reference Information to a string that could be stored in a database VARCHAR field (or push to Excel if you are still doing things the old way). Dimitar Venkov gave me a few tips about using JSON with IronPython in Dynamo (thanks mate!), so after that all the harvesting pieces were in place!

Here is some of the harvesting and JSON code. Notice that I played around with using a container class to pass data between Dynamo nodes. In the end, JSON string was the answer:

 data = []
for u in unwraps:
    data.append(u.GetExternalResourceReference(linkresource))

class dummy(object):
    def ToString(self):
        return 'container'
container = dummy()

sdicts = []

for y in data:
    dictinfo = ExternalResourceReference.GetReferenceInformation(y)
    container.dictinfo = dictinfo
    infos.append(container)
    shortnames.append(ExternalResourceReference.GetResourceShortDisplayName(y))
    versionstatus.append(ExternalResourceReference.GetResourceVersionStatus(y))
    insessionpaths.append(y.InSessionPath)
    serverids.append(y.ServerId)
    versions.append(y.Version)
    sdicts.append(json.dumps(dict(dictinfo)))

The next step was to create the ‘batch reload from’ tool. Now that we had the necessary data, we just had to use it to grab the matching cloud path information (from our database) and apply it to each Revit link.

I created a node that essentially built a new reference path from the JSON and other data that we had harvested. Here is some of that code:

 des = []
for x in referencesInfo:
    des.append(json.loads((x)))
newdicts = []
for y in des:
    newdicts.append(Dictionary[str, str](y))

serverGuids = []
for g in serverIdsIn:
    tempguid = Guid(g)
    serverGuids.append(tempguid)

newrefs = []
for z in range(len(referencesInfo)):
    serverIdIn = serverGuids[z]
    referenceInfo = newdicts[z]
    versionInfo = versionsInfo[z]
    sessionPathIn = sessionsPathIn[z]
    tempRef = ExternalResourceReference(serverIdIn, referenceInfo, versionInfo, sessionPathIn)
    newrefs.append(tempRef)

OUT = newrefs

The final step was to get a RevitLinkType and a matching ReferenceInformation and apply them to each other. I stored the data in our cloud based BIM Management Application, VirtualBuiltApp. Then I could easily just pull the data into Dynamo with a suitable database connector, and match up the RevitLinkType in the current file with its associated cloud identity. For that genuine 90s feel, you could use Excel to store the data as it is just a JSON string and some other strings:

Here is the key bit of code that actually changes the link path (without all of my other error checking bits and pieces):

     try:
        newCloudPath = newCloudPaths[l]
        reloaded = fileToChange.LoadFrom(newCloudPath, defaultconfig)
        successlist.append(reloaded.LoadResult)
        TransactionManager.Instance.ForceCloseTransaction()
    except:
        successlist.append("Failure, not top level link or workset closed")

To actually implement the script and get productive, I opened 4 instances of Revit, and then used this process in each instance:

  1. Open the Revit file from BIM 360, with Specify… all worksets closed
  2. Unload all links
  3. Open all worksets
  4. Run the Reloader Script
  5. Confirm link status in Manage Links
  6. Optional: Add ‘bim 360 links loaded’ text to Start View (just for tracking purposes)
  7. Optional: Add comment to VirtualBuiltApp (optional, for tracking purposes)
  8. Close and Sync

In this way I can have 4 or more sessions operating concurrently, fixing all the link paths automatically, and I just need to gently monitor the process.

One nice thing is that I set the script up to immediately Unload a link after it had obtained and applied the new Path information. This means that the Revit instance does not get bogged down with many gigs of link data in memory, and in fact this is way faster than trying to use Manage Links for a similar process.

Ideally I would like to fully automate this, to the point where it opens each file, runs the script, and syncs. Unfortunately, time didn’t allow me to get all the code together for that (for now).

Finally, because we are using our custom built schema and validation tools, we can easily create visuals like this:

Modified versions of the Dynamo graphs can be found on the Bakery Github here:

dyn folder

At Virtual Built, we typically create a federated Revit model for every project we work on. This allows us to run a host of automated processes on the links, right from the federated file.

Recently we received a dataset for a high rise building. The Architect had used 5 typical linked ‘module’ files, copied throughout a master file.

Initially, I used a Dynamo script to collect all the link instances into a saved selection set. I could then copy / paste aligned the link instances into our federated Revit model:

Link Instances to Selection Set

 

The Problem

This works fine, but in this models there were also nested consultant links inside the Architectural linked modules. So we have:

Architectural container file -> Architectural module files -> Consultant nested links

 

We want:

Federated Central file -> Everything else (no nested links)

 

Next challenge: how can we quickly promote those nested links into our federated model? Well, we currently have the module files populated, so how can we leverage those positions to promote the nested links?

 

Promoting Nested Links

It is a bit hacky, but here is how I went about it. For each module file:

  1. Create an empty proxy file (New Revit project, no template)
  2. Open the Module file and resolve all link paths (so they are loaded)
  3. Set links to Attachment
  4. Copy / paste the link Instances from the module file (Level 0 or Base Level) into the empty file (Level 1, default level). You can use Dynamo graph above.
  5. Save the new proxy file as ‘ModuleContainer’ or similar. We know have a file that only has link instances in it.
  6. Open a detached copy of the Federated Central file (you can save as temporary copy if you like)
  7. Manage Links
    • Select the current Module file,
    • Reload From,
    • replace with the ModuleContainer you created. Once you have done all the modules, you are ready for binding as described below.

After populating the detached Federated Central file, we just need to Bind and then Copy / Paste the free instances:

  1. After load, Bind the ModuleContainer files to the detached Federated Central model
    1. To do this, right-click on the file in Revit Links in Project Browser

    2. Select All Instances – In Entire Project
    3. In the Ribbon, click Bind Link
    4. Untick Attached Details, Levels, Grids
    5. Click Remove Link when prompted
    6. Your nested links are now promoted!
  2. Optional: Ungroup all of those bound free instances (select all from Project Browser, Ungroup in Ribbon)
  3. Open the real Federated Central file
  4. Copy / paste the populated free instances from the detached Federated Model to the real Federated Model. Use the Dynamo script to collect them.
    Tip: Paste into a closed workset for better performance.
  5. Close the detached one, and sync the real one

The only thing we technically ‘broke’ or lost in this process is the module link->nested link relationship. So if someone decides to move one of the nested links in the module link, obviously that won’t replicate into the Federated Central file.

Hope this helps some of you out there building or dealing with large federated models.

 

This hotfix corrects an issue with non-English languages where the PnID Modeler functionality did not load correctly after appling Revit 2018.3 Update.

Some notes from readme below…

Additional software applied by this update

Collaboration for Revit 2018.3.1 Update, Dynamo Core 1.3.2.2480 and Dynamo Revit 1.3.2.2480

With this install the following will be updated: Revit 2018, Collaboration for Revit 2018, and Dynamo. The updated version of the Dynamo Revit add-in does not include a desktop shortcut and can be accessed from the Visual Programming panel found on the Manage ribbon tab. If multiple versions of the Dynamo Revit add-in are installed, a dialog will prompt you to select which version to launch.

After this update is applied, there will be two versions of Dynamo Core installed, 1.2.2.373 and 1.3.2.2480.

Known Issues with applying the update.

  • During the installation of the hotfix you may be prompted to exit revit.exe. If you do not have a visible session open of Revit, please open Windows Task Manger, switch to the Processes tab, click “revit.exe” and the option “End Process”.
  • For BIM 360 Design (formerly Collaboration for Revit), if the Modified date for the revit.exe.config file is newer than the Created date, the patch installer will fail to update it and Revit may not launch correctly. Consult Collaboration for Revit: Synchronize process starts failing for C4R.

Autodesk Uninstall Tool

After this update is applied, attempts to uninstall Revit 2018 using the Autodesk Uninstall Tool may become unresponsive during the Dynamo Revit uninstall process. To avoid this problem, uninstall Dynamo Revit first and then continue with the uninstall of Revit 2018.

After a new version of Revit comes out, we all take some time to catch up. Revit API developers often have to get up and running really quickly so they can upgrade their apps for Revit 2019 compatibility. The first few things you will need are: the Revit 2019 SDK and help file, RevitLookup installed, and an understanding of What’s New in the Revit 2019 API.

To install RevitLookup for Revit 2019, head over to this page and grab the latest version, currently 2019.0.0.1. Put RevitLookup.addin and RevitLookup.dll into one of your Revit Addins folders, like:

%appdata%\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Addins19\

To install the Revit SDK, follow these steps:

  • Install Revit 2019 (or access the install media)
  • Look in the installation folder
  • In the Utilities subfolder, you will find the Revit 2019 SDK installer – RevitSDK.exe

This will basically unzip a whole heap of Revit API samples and goodness into a folder of your choosing. The key thing I look for initially is the RevitAPI.chm help file. I put this somewhere I can get to it easily (like OneDrive).

Until http://www.revitapidocs.com/ is updated for Revit 2019, the help files is the best way to access information about the Revit 2019 API.

 

Useful links, mostly from Jeremy over at The Builder Coder:

My Revit API 2019 Notes:

  • Building site export removed from API and Revit 2019
  • Project browser organisation for schedules added
  • Can now read the Phase Map parameter for the link. The phase map is a correspondence between phases in the host document and phases in the linked document…