This is the first post in a new series for this blog, called RATAS Solutions. What is RATAS, and why should you make sure you read every one of these posts? Well, RATAS is what you say when ‘Revit Appears To Act Strangely’. Try it out, while you are sitting there…”RATAS” (pronounced rat-ass…feels good, doesn’t it? Now, whenever you are getting annoyed, and Revit seems to be acting strangely, what do you say? “RATAS”, that’s what!

RATAS Problem #1
File-A.rvt is linked into File-B.rvt. In File-A, you have created a new Phase Filter called ‘Custom Phase Filter 1’. You have mapped phases from File-A to File-B (using the Type properties of the link File-B). When you apply ‘Custom Phase Filter 1’ to a view in File-A, the File-B link does not obey the filter (for example, demolished items are still shown, even though they should not exist in this phase). You check and you have definitely set the File-B Visibility/Graphics to ‘By Host View’. So, you change the Phase Filter to ‘Show Complete’ and everything works! What is happening? RATAS!

RATAS Solution #1
Revit understands the Custom Phase Filter 1 for the Host View (in File-A). However, when Revit attempts to apply this Phase Filter to the File-B link, something breaks. File-B doesn’t have a definition for Custom Phase Filter 1 present. When you change to ‘Show Complete’, it works, because File-B DOES have a definition for this Phase Filter present.

The Solution? Open File-B, and create a new Phase Filter with the same name (Custom Phase Filter 1) and properties as the Phase Filter in File-A. Save and Reload…and the problem is fixed!

Now, I put a lot of thought into naming RATAS – because while Revit often ‘appears’ to act strangely, usually it has good reason to act the way it does. Thus, we get back to the same advice I have given before – you need to try to understand What Revit Wants, so that you can solve these kinds of problems yourself.

Interesting post over at BIM + Integrated Design. It includes 14 Rules for Living In, Out and Around BIM.

My blog has dealt with ‘What Revit Wants’ in more than a few posts over the last few years. So I found it interesting that one of these 14 points (in particular) gives Revit a personality:
Ask yourself: If I was the model what else would I do? What else can I provide that others may need? Your original intention for your model may have been to use the model for one thing – but what if you also used it for a rendering? For an animation? As a database to run energy applications?….
and so on.

The whole post is quite thought provoking – I think I may need to have a glass of wine and ponder it further…

No doubt you would agree that our ‘attitude’ can have a big effect on our lives. If we look at things with the right outlook and viewpoint, we are more likely to feel successful and satisfied. So how does this relate to Revit?

There are a number of ways to approach Revit as a software platform. Consider some examples:

  1. “Revit is a modeling tool, and I want it to be able to easily model any form I can conceive.”
  2. “Revit is a drafting tool, and I want it to be able to draft quickly and easily, and I demand absolute graphic control over every single visible 2D element.”
  3. “I believe Revit should be intuitive and easy to use. It should be able to guess what I want and deliver the result that I seek.”
  4. “I have to use Revit because it is becoming the industry standard. I don’t have to like it or understand how it works.
  5. “I want to understand What Revit Wants, so that I can use it in a productive and appropriate manner.”

I would say that the first 3 are basically impossible, for any software tool. However, in some ways Revit can deliver the results that you seek when approaching it with the attitudes of 1, 2, or 3. It is capable of many things, but it does have limitations. Attitude Number 4 is a problem though. Why? Because you MUST understand, at least to some degree, how Revit works. Otherwise you will never succeed, and you will face a lot of frustration.

Yes, you must grasp What Revit Wants. You must try to think in the same way that Revit thinks.

  • Why is it trying to join the walls this way?
  • Why is object A masking object B?
  • What is causing Revit to show this line dashed instead of solid?

Instead of getting frustrated and angry, and instead of uttering unrepeatable phrases directed at ‘Autodesk’, just try and understand WHY. It is a little bit like meeting someone you don’t know for the first time. You may choose to judge them from first impressions. Or you may try to understand them, and why they act the way they do. If you come to understand them, you may be able to have a rewarding relationship with that person.In conclusion, give Revit a chance. Try to understand. Try not to judge or lose your patience. Don’t be afraid to find out What Revit Wants.

So, what inspires you?

In any field, there are those who work primarily for money, and those who work for passion (and many are somewhere in between 🙂 When it comes to the field of architecture, many graduates would say they are inspired by ‘design’ or ‘the environment’. But what about those staff members acting as support staff for Architects?

As a CAD Technician / IT Manager at Dimond Architects Pty Ltd, and in a role that is rapidly evolving towards a BIM* focus, what motivates and inspires me? Well, I am a very inquisitive person that enjoys learning. I also enjoy the feeling of a ‘job well done’. In that context, I am inspired by accurate, rich and aesthetically pleasing architecture. I am thus motivated to create an electronic, digital version of that architecture that will enhance the building delivery process at every stage.

It really excites me to see some lines on a page become an intelligent, precise, beautiful building model, that can be easily viewed, navigated and altered. The full benefits and amazing uses of this technology are not yet fully explored. However, I am deeply interested in BIM and where it is heading. I aim to keep in touch with the many facets of building modeling that I encounter here at Dimond Architects.

As a practice, we are continually taking steps to enhance our practice through electronic means. We take regular steps to keep pace with technology, and our Clients are reaping the benefits. One major factor in our current technological advantage has been our adoption of the Revit BIM Platform. I am keen to see where this technology can take Dimond Architects in the future.

One final thought – don’t divorce passion from your career.

*Building Information Modeling (obviously!)

One of my fellow staff members was recently doing some work in AutoCAD (after using Revit), and he said something quite profound:

“It’s a way of thinking, isn’t it”

And it really is. Using Revit properly is not a matter of ‘why can’t Revit do xxx’, its a matter of ‘why does Revit do xxx this way?’ And there is usually a very good reason.

Keep cultivating the Revit ‘way of thinking’!