Monday, December 17, 2012

Is it autocorrect - or is it you?

I've probably bitched about people who can't fucking type, spell, use anything resembling grammar (or otherwise give a fuck about how unintelligible their e-mails and texts are) more than once before, but it seems to be getting worse.

Despite the occasional hilarious result, the trend in blaming 'auto-correct' is far from funny, and has quickly devolved into being a crutch for lazy people who cannot be bothered to pay attention to details.

When you spend your days in an occupation where even the (seemingly) tiniest details can make or break a project - then you try to do whatever you can to dissuade people from thinking that they can take a 'laissez faire' attitude when it comes to dealing with you.

I will obviously take into account if someone is attempting to slip me a piece of information in the middle of a meeting, while driving, etc., in order to give me the fastest possible heads up - but not if they insist on constantly sending apocryphal messages that can be interpreted several different ways (which is almost certainly their attempt at reiterating something that someone told them, but which they didn't actually understand well enough to know that there were important details that needed to make their way through the game of 'telephone' intact).

In short - I always go back to communication as the key to everything.  When people are too busy (which happens  - trust me, I know), lazy, scared, or simply don't understand the importance of communication or passing along accurate information, then everybody suffers.

Oh yeah - and fuck the people who continue to labor under the delusion that Revit in any way eliminates the need for communication and coordination between disciplines.

In fact - fuck 'em twice.

Revit doesn't have a fucking calculator.

I know Revit is supposedly capable of incredible things with databases and spreadsheets, but what kind of respectable engineering software doesn't have a goddamned calculator built into it?

Despite having an incredibly powerful calculator in it, the vast majority of people - even those who had used Autocad for quite a while, very rarely ever actually touched 'quickcalc', and there is a good reason for that:

The vast majority of people are incompetent when it comes to mathematics, engineering, and science.

This would appear to include the people at Autodesk responsible for 'developing' the electrical portion of Revit MeP.  The program looks and operates as if someone put together a list of electrical 'buzzwords' and shoehorned them into a database that they had developed for entirely different purposes.

They made a program that is the equivalent of what you would get if you were to describe a car to someone who had never seen one before - and then they built something based on that information.  You might get four wheels, doors, and a few other features, but you probably aren't going to have a car - at least not a functional one.

Instead, what you will be left with is a half-ass attempt to quantify something that far exceeds their understanding.  If you tossed a calculator to most people, they might look at it with an amused smile, (maybe type 'S8008', turn it upside down and show their co-worker), but despite having all of those buttons, it doesn't hold their attention because it doesn't 'do' anything.

Most people don't have one (or if they do, it's the scientific calculator they were required to get for high school or college math, never used, and is sitting in a box somewhere), don't know how to use one, and since most aren't actually doing any kind of engineering work, they won't ever need to.  You can obviously get calculator apps for phones - 'realcalc' is a decent free one, but there are plenty of others.

The calculator built into Windows is pretty formidable as well, and gets quite a bit of use - but this is no excuse for Revit not to have an integrated calculator, because having to switch out of a program to use the Windows calculator is annoying, and anything handheld doesn't have the interactive component (even a smartphone which could technically run calculations and then e-mail them to yourself).

There are also plenty of online programs for running calculations, conversions, and various other functions necessary for detailed electrical design work.  They vary from excellent, to so bad that they actually make Revit look good in comparison.  I tend to trust the ones that are aligned with widely recognized industry names - however, even then I don't take for granted that they didn't farm the programming out to someone else who (again) didn't have the actual understanding necessary for their program to be reliable.

Some of the simplest ones are the best - often programmed by people who might be amateur programmers, but who have real, practical experience, and a more intimate knowledge of the subject matter.  I'm a big fan of minimalist program interfaces that mask powerful tools (otherwise known as function over form), but even the best of these can have their limitations - especially if they were only designed to take into account very specific (or limited range of) conditions, and many are only intended to be for rough estimation.

They can also be horribly misleading if someone doesn't understand what they are supposed to actually accomplish.  For example - there are a number of programs online for sizing wire based on various of factors (distance, max voltage drop, minimum ampacity, .  However, many leave out key factors (most commonly minimum ampacity - which means that it might tell you a size that will give you acceptable voltage drop, but the size it is spitting out might be too small to handle the load that it is feeding).

Obviously someone who is intelligent, and paying attention can take this into account and size accordingly - or toss those programs, and find one that takes into account all of the factors that they need.  To the best of my knowledge, Revit has not attempted to address this - apparently it would've been too close to actually having an electrical design tool.  Now, this would be fine if someone told me 'this program is for slapping together half-ass drawings', but instead, I was told that this is the software that I'm using now for electrical engineering/design.

Unfortunately, at least in the humble opinion of someone who has been doing electrical engineering and design work for over a decade (in addition to having a wide variety of real-world experience with computer systems, electrical and mechanical systems, multi-axis motion, software, electronics, automotive, and industrial), it is sorely lacking in basic functionality.

The people responsible need to go fuck themselves.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Revit MEP Faceplant Part II

So I've got this happy-ass little Revit model detailed out with some power/comm./fire alarm/lighting shit and some magical self-calculating panels.  Woo fucking hoo.  I actually felt good about it for a few minutes - then found out this morning that the HVAC system will be increasing in size (considerably), but actual information was not available yet.

It's only because an awesome guy took the time to inform me of this, AND stopped by with a copy of the schedule that they would be using to select units (from a previous project) - and I noticed they had the wrong voltage.  Now when I get the new information it will be correct, and I'll see if Revit will behave.

This brings us back to one of the first lies I was told in regards to Revit (right after I was told that it would 'calculate panel schedules' - but prior to the program actually being able to break loads down by type, fit more than two schedules per sheet, or work correctly), and that is how (in theory) Revit would assist me in anyway when it came to getting mechanical information for a project into my drawings.

First, it requires all of that information to be entered, correctly - but apparently the schedules in Revit suck just as badly on the mechanical end (even after this many years/releases), and so this information does not get entered - and the designers opt for schedules (which I'm all for - as long as I'm not being told that information is going to be somewhere, and not have it be there).

I've had (in the past) mechanical designers to all but shove my face into the Revit model (assuming that just because I refused to do electrical design in Revit that I hadn't checked to see what they had done), and been told 'you need to look at the Revit model, blah blah blah' and come to find out that the information that I would get by looking at their 'drawings' is missing, or worse - completely wrong.  I laughed directly in the face of at least one guy (and gave another one a little good natured hell) after they tried that shit on me. 

Fuck that shit - fortunately real engineers/designers are professionals and don't usually try to pull it.  Architects, on the other hand, will never pass up a chance to throw me under the bus by claiming that something was fucked up because I wasn't Reviting, only to find out it was their shit that was fucked up, and in a lot of cases - I'm the one who gets to point it out, because they had been staring at their model instead of their drawings.

Or more accurately - getting skullfucked by Revit instead of being productive.

The Revit MEP Faceplant

Success at last!  Something that resembles Electrical Design drawings - almost completely done in Revit!

It only took 4-5 years, 4-5 releases of Revit, 3rd party content, and considerable effort to get to the point where I can put together a very small scale project.  The fixture schedule was imported from ACAD, and the power riser diagram was modified in Revit from a detail imported from ACAD - but those were the only things I had to fall back on.

The fixture schedule doesn't sound like it will be a problem, but the riser still seems to be a sticking point.  Even the 3rd party content pack points me at a 3rd party program (SKM) for doing single-line diagrams/electrical distribution.

Now that's just fucked

Even the people who went through the trouble of figuring out Revit well enough to put together a comprehensive package of content for it have determined that it is not capable of producing power riser diagrams (or does it so badly that spending more money on software is preferable).

Every person that has tried to sell me on the 'but.. but.. it calculates panel schedules' bullshit doesn't know (or care about) the importance of having an electrical diagram that shows all of the various panels, transformers, disconnects, service entrance equipment, and the conduits/conductors that tie it all together.

I have probably seen thousands of riser diagrams in the time I have been doing electrical engineering work, and they vary widely in how easy they are to interpret.  When you go into an existing building, the existing drawings you get (if you get any) might be 20+ years old, drawn by hand, be third generation copies of copied blueprint copies (and may or may not actually bear any resemblance to what has been installed in the field - but you have to start somewhere).

Not all projects (especially renovation projects) have a budget for a complete on-site electrical survey, and in a lot of cases I'm lucky if I ever see the place (and even then only from pictures that an architect took - which are always amazingly just to the right or left of where I need to see).  Even if I get to do a site visit, it can be difficult to get everywhere that I need to get, or see what I need to see due to locked rooms (it doesn't matter how many people you contact or coordinate with - there will be a locked room that nobody seems to have a key for, and it will be a very important room), and obviously because most of the conduits/etc. are concealed in walls, ceilings, etc., and that's before you get into buildings with multiple layers of security that require you to get clearances, be escorted, etc.

Even spending a lot of time at an existing location can leave you with barely a basic understanding of how everything is tied together - especially if the building has been re-purposed several times over the years.  I have watched experienced engineers or contractors spend considerable time and effort (and expense - because we don't run a charity here) carefully go through a building, and continue to find things that challenge their assumptions (and the existing drawings).

Old schools are a good example - I have been in several that had main distribution panels that were 50+ years old.  Depending on the conditions in the electrical rooms, they can range from totally rusted out, to serviceable (although impossible to get breakers for), to heavily modified (I've seen some pretty impressive fuse holders rigged from various types of clamps.  At one location, they didn't have any way of shutting off the main power (short of having the utility to cut off power to the entire area), and when fuses blew, they literally blew - clean out of the panel.  They would have to basically jam a new one in, and pray to the deity of their choice.

Many school electrical rooms were afterthoughts - slapped onto the outside of the building, and/or sharing rooms with boilers, coal rooms, and various related equipment/pumps (I've seen at least one pump mounted directly over the MDP), with decaying walls/ceilings, some of which were basically exposed directly to the elements - or (in the worst one I've ever seen) literally start to fill with water when it rains.

Combine this with the fact that back when the distribution was sized for these buildings there was no HVAC (boiler heat and fans only), and there were no computers.  This means that as modern HVAC systems and computer labs/classroom computers/servers were added, they usually had to be scabbed on to the existing panels - leading to some fairly inventive techniques (such as tapping onto the service entrance conductors before they hit the main panel - or cramming two sets of wire into one set of lugs to feed multiple panels).

In rural areas, where the electrical inspector is probably the contractors brother or cousin, and where the money simply isn't there for expensive electrical upgrades (nobody ever wants to spend money on boring gray boxes to sit in unused rooms - school spending is almost always prioritized like this: 1) Sports programs, facilities, field lighting, uniforms, etc., 2) Better offices, equipment, etc. for administrators, 3) Literally anything else, and coming in last at 142) Education.

It's usually only when catastrophic failure occurs that anything ever gets fixed, and only upgraded if fixing it is impossible - or if money becomes available for upgrades and there is some left over after relighting the gym, sports fields, etc. - that's when we get to go out and find the panels that were scabbed on over the years, and re-feed them properly from new breakers in new distribution equipment, upsize feeders, etc..  All you know is that there are conduits going everywhere, and disappearing at the earliest convenience.  Some might not actually go anywhere anymore, or be attached to anything, but until you start pulling panel covers off, crawling into every dark, dank corner of the building, and when all else fails, turning things off, and/or ringing out wires to figure out what feed what from where, and how horribly undersized it is.

One time I sketched a riser diagram from an old hand-drawn piece of parchment that I swear had some calculations to take into account 'aether propagation'.  I took with me when I went on-site, and promptly flipped it over and drew new one completely from scratch on the back.  The drawings had obviously been little more than a 'go by', and 'as built' drawings were never done (or were not provided to me).  Even after considerable hunting, I still wasn't confident that I had it completely figured out, and it wasn't until after they had begun upgrades that a few things didn't jive (fortunately that time it was pretty simple to straighten out and didn't run into additional costs).

Anyway - I say all of this to make a point.  The power riser diagrams that I do on nearly every single project that I put out are FUCKING IMMACULATE.  Rather than putting the focus on the interiors of the panels as many people (and programs) do in order to make their diagrams look all technical - mine focus on putting as much information in as simple to read format as possible.  Mine are similar to elevations, but are purely schematical.

Starting off with a riser diagram template that somebody developed prior to my working here (or with one from a previous project that has similar equipment (generators/transfer switches/emergency panels/etc.), I can show the exterior equipment starting with a riser pole with pole or pad mounted transformer, primary and secondary conduits, meter/ct cabinet, and then start going into the building - starting with the main electrical room, and then detailing out each room that has electrical equipment in it.  The result looks sort of like an elevation - but is really more of a grid, showing multiple floors, with several equipment rooms on each, with keynotes for equipment and feeders.

In my mind, a set of software that costs as much, and gets raved about as much as Revit - when I put a panel into my drawing and start a schedule, a third thing should happen as well - that panel should show up on a riser diagram.  When I do the electrical connections to show a panel being fed out of a 480V panel via a transformer, all of that equipment should pop up in that diagram as well.  Hell, with as much as this program costs, and as much of a pain in the ass as it is, it should automatically size feeders based on the information I give the panel (and automatically upsize if the run will cause voltage drop to exceed a value that I am allowed to enter).

But then - that might actually start to be electrical design software, instead of a glorified spreadsheet program.

And we can't have that.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I'm using Revit!!! Somebody fucking stop me!!!

So I decided to spit out a small tenant office space finish out in Revit, just to show I'm a 'team player' and all.  I can't even count the number of ''ultimatums' I've been given, usually by people who don't understand (or can't comprehend) the design process.  I had imported 2d linework into a

I could've been halfway done with the project in ACAD by the time Revit got done loading, but I figured everyone else has said 'fuck productivity' and are all wasting time staring at their dicks until the last minute when someone goes 'holy fuck!  none of the 3d noodling we've been doing has gotten this project any closer to completion' and they have to cram all of the necessary additions, subtractions, and modifications into the last day or so (or for a following week, month, year, or more after the project is due - and I'm not fucking kidding) dragging everyone else along for the ride as their bad planning becomes our emergency.

I started a new project, linked in the Architectural model (just linked in the Mechanical model too - because eventually they will have information that I will need).  Managed to actually get the level set to where I could see the floor plan, and then went to work.

The first thing I needed to know was the load on the panel - because we were having to feed it from an existing panel, in a building where power is running out quickly (it's amazing how developers will take a space that was designed for offices and attempt to shoehorn in multiple medical facilities that use equipment with ridiculous electrical loads).

I started with the existing panel (that I had gone on-site to verify), and got it filled out, estimating loads for the existing breakers.  Slapped a panel into the new space, and fed it from a breaker in the existing panel.  So far - so good!  Well - other than that the new panel seems to want to attach to the centerline of the wall rather than be recessed (the wall might not be thick enough - but I can get someone to fix that).

I slapped receptacles and data throughout the space.  It took me a few minutes to convince it of how I wanted things to look (settings that seem to be unique to each project, and can't be preset in the template - hell, some won't even stay set from session to session).  I wasted some time trying to figure it out, got some tips, and eventually had something vaguely resembling an electrical power layout - complete with homeruns w/tags, wiring, circuit number tags on all of the receptacles, etc. - woo hoo!  I couldn't figure out how to get it to tag receptacles with their height, or to denote them as 'GFCI' type, but I accomplished that with some text.

Next I moved on to lights - I couldn't see the grid in the ceiling plan, so I went to a 3d view and laid out all of the lights in the grids that someone had slapped in them.  I was surprised when an Architect almost immediately came down to actually coordinate - since of course, their ceilings had to be adjusted.  I got everything re-aligned to the grid, figured out how to convince the ceiling plan to show me the ceiling, and wired up those lights too (I had already circuited them in 3d - why you can't lay out 2d wiring in a 3d view is beyond me - fuck, you should be able to do 99% of the job in the 3d view.

I'm about to tackle switches for the lights, then it's on to fire alarm devices.  This has actually been a long time dream of mine that I would come across a small scale project (that wasn't due at the same time as three other projects of varying scale/scope) that I could use as a 'proof of concept' to either say 'nope - Revit's still not ready' or to finally make the plunge (face first into the pavement).  I have to say, compared to all of my experiences trying to accomplish something with Revit, this has been the most productive, but (lest you think that I am now a brainwashed Revitbot), I can still say, fuck this fucking software, its developers, and its cheerleaders. 

For what is supposed to be Autodesks flagship BIM software, this thing still runs, functions, and looks like total ass.  I finally had to flip the background to black (I had done this in previous versions) to keep it from burning out my goddamned corneas, and I'm still working with the color settings to make it to where you can tell what is fucking what (done it previously too, but can't seem to find the setting right now... grr...)  Even if the damn thing can't plot correctly based on color, it can at least have more contrast that black and fucking white (or grayscale/transparent).

I found a guaranteed way of crashing Revit the other day, unfortunately I can't remember what it was now (I'll run across it again, and write a whole article on it, and stuff it up Autodesk's ass).  It had something to do with selecting multiple instances of something and trying to change something - it just ate itself.  No error messages, just 'bang' and it was gone.  Fortunately I didn't lose much work, or my computer case, along with the drive containing my copy of Revit, and anything still attached to it by cords would have been through my window and laying in the parking lot, while I used my phone to book a one way plane ticket to wherever Autodesk keeps its Revit 'development' team.

Now - the fact that I have been able to produce 'something' resembling electrical drawings in Revit is actually not due to anything I or Autodesk did.  A large amount of credit goes to the developers of the 'productivity pack' that my firm purchased in order to finally provide much needed Revit content that all works together.

See, Autodesk includes some content with the program - all of which sucks.  Many vendors and manufacturers have attempted to develop content of their products - most of which sucks.  The idea (I guess) was that everyone would develop their own content on an 'as needed' basis.  I have given the 3d editor some credit - but the 3d model is only a tiny piece of making a family that will insert, move, and function in all (or at least most) instances where it is needed.

The content that I have now is far from perfect, but at least it is something.  This was a shortcoming that I (and just about everyone else) complained about from day 1, and were roundly ignored, or told 'oh - it's coming'.  If they were going to put out a set of software and claim it is 'electrical design software' they needed to cover more than just the basics.  Hell - I never even touched the MEP portion of ACAD, but it appeared to be full of useful stuff for anyone that decided to use it (not sure if it was actually useful or not - but it was *optional*).

The only thing that has happened with the current project that was promised from day 1 is that it calculated my panelboard schedules (note: the schedules came from the content pack - not from Autodesk or a manufacturer).  While this is nifty, I can honestly say that I have never had a project delayed because of panelboard schedules - not once, not ever.  I can fill out and calculate schedules, while annotating electrical devices and lights in my sleep.  I can adjust and fix annotations just as easily, and while I won't claim to be impervious to making mistakes, I have never had one come back and bite me.

People who sit there and nitpick every watt in a panel - yes, they will have problems completing projects.  Someone who has determined a process for doing it quickly and easily (without resorting to spreadsheets or programs) will not.  I have said it several times, but when I am going through and circuiting/re-circuiting is when I find completely unrelated issues that need my attention because I AM INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS, rather than allowing it to be automated.  As I use Revit, I might become more sure of its ability to automate, which is when I will have given myself over - and it will promptly bite my fucking legs off.

I can fucking guarantee it.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Time for more Revit dick - force fed directly into your eyesocket!

I've managed to beat some little models out of Revit lately, but they are basically 3D eye-candy for people to 'ooh and ahh' over -  and are unimpressive technically.

The latest is for a fairly elaborate assembly that I received as a sketch from someone who, while they did a pretty good job of trying to wrap their head around it (and could talk a good talk), obviously had no idea what they were doing. 

They were smart enough to know that it needed to be engineered, but in their attempt to flesh out their concept they were detailing out things that, if left in the design, would have made it a dangerous liability.

See, sometimes people spend massive amounts of time going over every single aspect of a system to make sure all of the components are suitable - and other times people simply whip numbers out of their ass.

You don't want to offend the guy who spent time/money in development by telling him 'I don't think this is going to work', but you also don't want to make assumptions based on dodgy information.  I am always much more impressed when someone is willing to say 'I don't know', and then try to find out - rather than try to cover up the fact that they don't know by giving me (or others) misleading or completely fucking incorrect information.

Anyway, a few minutes in ACAD and I had some detailed cross-sections that started the design process moving forward.  At no point did I go 'wow, I wish I had a 3D model of this thing', but I think part of that comes from my extensive engineering experience, ability to read drawings, and that the other people helping to design the assembly have as much (if not more) experience, and ability to do the same.

What it comes down to is that we don't need a 3d model of something in order to be able to conceptualize or 'see' it in 3d.  It drives my wife nuts when we get a product with 'some assembly required', which she attempts to do by carefully reading the directions, following all of the steps, and then finally, some time later, gives up out of frustration, and hands it to me.

With a quick glance at the picture on the box, I put it together in minutes (checking the instructions only if it seems like there might be something that requires doing it a certain way to keep from damaging it or for clarification).  Sometimes I have a few pieces left over, but in many cases, I actually make improvements to the design while assembling it (using leftover pieces from previous assemblies).

I don't claim to be a genius, but I'm pretty fucking smart, and even despite my complete disdain for Revit I was able to slap together a model of the assembly using extrusions and voids to create components in individual families, compile them all into one master family, and then bring that into a project so I could slap a decal on it and annotate a 3d view of it.

I've done this dozens of times over the years - just fiddling around with geometry in the family editor.  The first one I ever did was a high-bay fluorescent fixture.  A bunch of rectangular cubes looked retarded in the model, so I scalloped it out, put individual lamps in it, added end caps and a ballast housing (soon after, the lighting company that we spec came out with families for most of their fixtures, but they really suck for use in Revit models - so we usually opt for generic ones).

It made the model look cooler, but had zero effect on my actual drawings, and there was no 'value added' that an architect couldn't have done themselves to dress up their dollhouse/rendering.  In short, it was a total waste of time and effort - for no reward.

The second was for the same project - some post-top lanterns (the architect who started that project was convinced he was going to force me into Revit - he was gone a few months later).  They were a little more challenging, but with some creative use of extrusions and voids, I had some nice looking carriage fixtures (complete with lamps - no glass though).

If all I had to do all day was model shit in 3d, I might not have such a negative view of Revit (although there are packages out there for 3d design that eat Revit's fucking lunch if I just wanted the geometry).  That may be where architects and others attempting to make me bend over for the Revit cock might be missing the point - I don't have time, budget, patience, or the decision making power to flesh out a project in 3d - and still have time to generate 2d construction documents that are partially schematical in nature so that projects can be built.

I have sketched bus ducts (online tips say to use ductwork, but a few failed experiments later, and I said 'generic model'.  I've drawn massive HVAC and air cleaning equipment (and connecting ducts - again, all generic models so that I could actually get it to insert and appear properly.  'Coordination' was the reasoning, but despite all of that detailed equipment modeling, the structural engineers still ended up misplacing the equipment platforms/walkways around the equipment.

I've sketched an entire goddamned boiler room - in one family!  The walls, floor, ceiling, boilers, expansion tanks, the racks they sat on, the stairs going to the racks, doors, etc. - the thing was immaculate - and even inserted into the overall building perfectly!

In the meantime, my electrical drawing showed what looked like 2d walls, and 2d squares to represent the boilers, which I circuited and annotated.  I could have included a 3d detail of it in my drawings to justify all the extra work I was required to do, but that would have just been retarded.

I can see the reasoning behind detailing out a 3d model of an elaborate assembly (or building), but when you end up having to go through and fake all of the details that come out of it anyway, you might as well do it in 2d.

As always - Fuck Revit, Fuck Autodesk, and Fuck All Revit Apologists/Users.

I hope you all bleed from the ass and die in excruciating pain.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

'So What?' 'Who Cares?'

I was flipping through some comments on the augi forum this morning, and ran across one of my favorite faggots 'Scott Davis' spouting ignorant shit (way back in '07):

Now, this guy and his butt-buddy 'Kyle Bernhard' (if I am not mistaken) either work for (or suck a lot of dicks at) Autodesk - so it made it especially bizarre to hear this:

So what if the panel schedule is a little bigger than you are used to. Who cares if your linewieghts are a little different..

So what?  Who cares?

They just summed up the entire attitude of Autodesk, the Revit development team, and almost all of the Revit users I know (primarily architects who are trying to get engineers to waste their time with bullshit) in four simple words.

So what?  Who cares?

Standards?  Fuck 'em!

Presentation graphics?  Stop whining!

Schedules? Um... what are those?

Profit? Once Revit is up and running - money and rainbows will come shooting out of your ass!!!

I'll probably run across more recent douchebag statements by this pair of douchebags (I should've been collecting them all along).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Even if this douchebag wasn't such an insufferable piece of shit, he would still have scorn heaped upon him thanks to the fact that every time I try to search for anything regarding Revit, his piece of shit site pops up in the search results.

This guy has sucked so much Autodesk cock that he's literally got dick coming out of his ears.  An apologist of the most reprehensible sort - and typical of many of the Reviteers that I have met.  Endlessly fascinated with what Revit is theoretically capable of doing, and completely incapable of accomplishing even the simplest tasks in anything resembling a reasonable time frame.

I pity those who are subjected to this guy at work (assuming he still has a job anywhere that doesn't involve getting down on his knees and going to town on some knob - in which case, that's a lucky guy - because this dude loves the cock).  He is guaranteed to be the darling of the True Revit Believers - and the bane of anyone wanting to do something productive instead of the Revit circle jerk all day, every day.

Seriously, fuck this guy.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Back to another basic concept that seems to have escaped Autodesks attention is the ability to easily find things.

The project browser in Revit attempts to make this simple by giving you a hierarchy of drawings, ceilings, sheets, etc. - however they neglected to take into account that architects would be using it, so you might end up digging through piles of views, and depending on who set up the model, it might be almost impossible to figure out what the hell is going on.

Now, take a handful of architects, project managers, and architect lackeys all with their hands in the Revit pot, and god only knows what in the hell the result will be.  Sometimes you get a well-organized, stripped back to functional, easy to navigate model - but most of the time you get 'WHERE IN THE FUCK IS EVERYTHING AT?!!?!?!' (thus the title of this post).

And that's before you start trying to put shit into the model - and depending on how you attempt to use Revit (because nobody seems to be able to agree on how to make it function in a group setting) it can become a constant battle to keep track of what the fuck is going on, and - this is key, where the fuck you stand.

In ACAD, I know where the fuck I stand, always.

It doesn't matter how many people try to fuck me up, change things, expand or change scope, it doesn't matter if they 'forget' to tell me things until the last minute - I know that I had shit to a certain point, and I know what I have to do to get it to where it needs to be next.

And I know I've got the tools to make it happen.

Part of it may be the way that I use ACAD, where I can view the whole goddamned project in one place at one time, with no brower, tabs, menus, or anything else to keep me from having the birds eye view of the entire project - including site plans, details, floor plans, notes (not to mention the ability to keep different versions of something drawn in case they get reverted, important notes, etc. off in the margins).

Obviously I am still very drawing oriented, rather than model oriented - but the problem is that the model is a work in progress, and I simply do not have the time, energy (or fee) to sit and fuck with a 3d dollhouse all day long - especially when the program for interfacing with it is such an unapologetic piece of shit, and every day when I come in I have to figure out 'who fucked me over today?'

Give me a functional set of software that is intuitive, and where I'm not staring at a ribbon with 'Wall', 'Door', 'Window', 'Component', 'Column', 'Roof', 'Ceiling', 'Floor', 'Curtain System', 'Curtain Grid', 'Mullion', 'Railing', 'Ramp', 'Stair' when I'm supposed to be doing ELECTRICAL FUCKING DESIGN.  I believe that this ribbon might be able to be modified in this release (if I can't figure out a way to eliminate it completely because seriously - fuck the ribbon).

And, as always, fuck the Revit division at Autodesk, fuck Revit users, fuck the people responsible for implementing it, and fuck anyone who wants their project done with it.  If they are stupid enough to buy into the 'BIM Revolution', they are guaranteed to be stupid the whole time you are working for them - and for years afterwards as magic revit rainbows shoot out of everyone's ass (but basic information gets left out).

Fuck 'em.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting For Revot

Another goddamned thing - I've mentioned this before (probably more than once).

What the fuck is up with this program going into outer fucking space whenever I click on it.

It sits, it does nothing, it pretends to do something, it dicks around, it fucks off, it makes me forget what the fuck it was I opened it for in the first place (usually to get shit the fuck out of it - or to appease some idiot by slapping some 3d bullshit into their half-ass fuckfest).

 I always wondered - is this typical?  Is everyone using this program having the same sit and stare at nothing for minutes at a time?  Is it my machine? (I can assure you its not my machine) Is it my Windows software? (If so, it's the only program affected by it), is it my network?  Again - everything else runs like a scalded dog.  Is it some settings or integration between all of these necessary to make everything run smoothly?

If so, nobody seems to be figuring it out (or telling anyone), but as far as I can tell - this is as good as it gets, and nobody seems to care.  You hear the occasional admission that the software is deathly slow to do anything, but either these people have really bought into the bullshit, or they are just suffering in silence (which seems to be a fairly commonplace occurrence - especially because of the threat of being laid off or fired during a continued slow economy - I still run around with both middle fingers up because I don't give a single fuck).

And I'm still calling bullshit -this thing could probably run like a top, if (and only if) people demanded it, and accepted no less from Autodesk.  Instead, they have bent over and accepted it, ever since the first release.  Why would Autodesk waste time and money (i.e. - profits) refining or lubricating something that people are apparently content to have rammed up their ass rough and dry?

It would be like if people suddenly didn't care if their cars had any performance or reliability anymore - and were still willing to shell out 20-30K a pop for a 2 cylinder weedwacker motor connected by a rubber band to a rollerskate (as long as it had their favorite automakers badging on it).  It could be steered by slapping your dick against the ground.

And you would still have something more functional than Revit.

Instead people fetishize their cars, and would be aghast at the idea of replacing their shiny, expensive, ego-stroking pieces of shit with anything else.

But they will still putt around in the Ford Pinto of design software...  sad...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Automatic Update Hate

I think I might've mentioned this before, but it really deserves its own post.

I open Revit, attempt to open a file (usually just to take a quick look at something - since I still refuse to waste my fucking time and mental energy dicking with the half-ass piece of shit that is Revit), and it informs me that a 'one time process' of upgrading is occuring.

That's pretty fucking cool right?  I don't have to do anything - and it automatically updates.

That is, unless there are other people using older releases - which will fuck them up if I allow it to update and then save it.

Besides taking a LONG FUCKING TIME to do it, it can't ask me if I want to do it first?  Why the fuck not?  There might be a setting that can be changed to prevent this from happening, or to at least ask the fucking question 'do you really want to do this?' (it's got enough other useless apocryphal errors and messages) but after a quick search online, I'm not wasting another second trying to figure it out, or digging through the thousands upon thousands of useless fucking settings in this goddamn cocksucking piece of shit.

I just go to task manager and end that fucker.  I do give Revit credit for one thing though - it closes extremely quickly when you tell it to fuck off (I've probably mentioned before - but it seems to close especially quickly when you accidentally close the last view you have open - another time a little 'you are about to close this file, which means you are going to have to waste 5 minutes waiting for it come back up again' mesage would be goddamned helpful).

Fortunately I still have access to older Revit, but if I don't know what version a file is in, the process usually goes like this:

Step 1) Open Revit 2013
Step 2) Come back from a coffee break, and open the file.
Step 3) Notice that it is automatically trying to update the file (hopefully right away - since I usually go take another coffee break, use the bathroom, re-arrange all of my files, rotate the tires on my car, and water the plants while waiting for it to open).
Step 4) Kill that fucker.
Step 5) Open older Revit, and repeat the whole process over again.

All this, just so I can find out that an architect has fucked something up beyond all recognition, so I'm dead in the fucking water... again.



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Revit Post-Implementation Blues

The last post got off on a fairly disconnected rant about the lack of information flow that I (and most designers) get faced with on just about every project.  There are exceptions, but for the most part I just assume that I'm not going to get the information I need until the last second (if at all - and even then it's a crapshoot whether or not the information is correct), and that the scope of a project will creep out of control - especially in the final days before (and for some time after) a project gets issued.

I attempted to tie it back in at the end - or at least explain (again) how important rock-solid, no-bullshit tools are for having a chance in hell of keeping up.  It's not Revit or Autodesks fault that some of the people I work with (and that we work for) are incompetent, or that the processes that are being put in place are counterproductive and pointless - but it is clear to me that they did not have this kind of work environment in mind when they shat out this piece of crap.

I don't know what kind of work environment they had in mind - government type work if I had to guess (where a lack of productivity actually gets rewarded in most cases).  It certainly wasn't made for someone who needs to get anything done this year.  The ironic part is, I complete yet another project on time, and then watch the Reviteers drag along for another couple of days, weeks, months, or years (and I'm not exaggerating in the least).

I'm not fucking around - part of a lot of projects that people don't realize, is that if you get it done, and get paid, that's what the fuck we're here to do.  Instead, these people waste massive amounts of time detailing out their model, instead of getting the damn thing out the door and it drives many of us nuts (even some of the Revit users).

I've thought about it long and hard, and the only conclusion I've been able to find is that the program simply breeds complacence.  It tricks people into thinking they are doing something that they aren't - and that is being productive.  Yes, they have some happy bullshit to wave around - No, they don't have the goddamned project done (meaning everyone gets fucked).

They don't care, because they can keep bullshitting people that don't understand it - although I've watched a few of them have to start facing the harsh reality that they have gotten themselves in over their heads.  I constantly see large-scale projects that had reasonably long schedules and fees when they started out, and it's still down to the wire to get something even remotely passable out of the Revit box (and even then it necessitates taking shortcuts and just slapping it together at the last second.

 It's fucked - and it's getting worse.

Fudge Packing

On every project I have ever done (and there have been many), I have had to make certain assumptions.

I hate having to 'assume' anything due to the cheesy old adage of making an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'.  If I have to assume something, then I make sure that as many people that are involved with the project know I am making that assumption (and if possible - why I am making that assumption), so that hopefully if anyone has information that counters my assumption that they will bring it to my attention.

Unfortunately, this means that I often have to 'fudge' something on my drawings - hopefully just as a place holder for when more accurate information comes along, but in a lot of cases, it just ends up going out like that.  The biggest concern is that the contractor puts money in the job for whatever is necessary - and I end up with a lot of 'Cover Your Ass'(CYA) notes.

As I have mentioned about notes before - some of them sound retarded, but if I don't explicitly state that the contractor needs to verify, coordinate, field-verify, field-measure, etc. - they will ALWAYS come back looking for more money, and claiming that we didn't tell them about something (even though I know they knew).

Here's a typical scenario - project "A" has some piece of owner-supplied equipment that we are responsible for providing with power.  I am told about this piece of equipment when the project kicks-off, and informed that the owner will be supplying information about it.

Fast-forward to the due date - and I have received one or all of the following:

1) A brochure for the piece of equipment that has every single piece of information you could ever want to know about it - except for the electrical load.  This is usually because brochures don't get into specifics due to all of the various options, configurations, etc. for any given piece of equipment.

2) A scribbled piece of paper or hastily written e-mail with 'information' that the owner supposedly got from the equipment supplier, manufacturer, factory rep, or maybe just some guy they ran into in the hall.  This will almost always be incomplete, and suspect to begin with (in most cases this information has gone through several peoples hands, and like a game of 'telephone' degrades or becomes less factual each time it does so).

3) An out-dated cut sheet or catalog page on a piece of equipment that is no longer being manufactured.

And yet still not a single actual piece of information that I feel confident hanging my hat on, so I have to switch from ultra-specific (which is my normal mode 99.9% of the time) to ultra-vague mode so that they can't come back and say 'well, you said to do that, and so I did that - but I was actually supposed to do this'.

Repeated phone calls, e-mails, and even live meetings - always with promises of 'getting you that information', but it is never forthcoming.  I can't just 'pick something' (as the architect or project manager might suggest) since I am not the one ordering the piece of equipment, and whoever is responsible for selecting it is NEVER in contact with me (despite my attempts at making contact with them - and so it is fairly common for them to select equipment with voltages that aren't available - picking a 480V 3-Phase piece of equipment in a building that only has 208V 3-phase for example, or a piece of equipment that runs on residential 240V 1-Phase (I run into a lot of sewer lift pumps like that), or that needs some special voltage like 230V, 220V, etc.

Some pieces of equipment will function just fine (or at least function) with 208V, even if the nameplate calls for 240V/230V/220V, etc.  but some do not - especially equipment that comes from other countries.  This can necessitate buck-boost transformers or step-down transformers to derive the exact voltage listed on the piece of equipment.  Just in our own office we had a new plotter installed that asked for 230V, and were assured by the manufacturer (who we contacted prior to purchase and installation of the receptacle/wiring/breaker) that it was 'no problem'.  Several months of sheer hell trying to get the plotter to function properly later, they determined 'oh - it's not getting enough voltage', and installed a buck-boost transformer and got it up and running (the thing is still a piece of shit though - NEVER get a KIP plotter).

So, the project goes out - and rather than having a nice clear plan of action for 'use this panel, breaker size, disconnect size, wire size, receptacle size/type - and this how much load it puts on the panel, my drawing (or at least that portion of it) basically says 'Do Electrical Stuff Here - Ask Somebody What'.  I don't give a fuck if that's what ends up happening, at least as long as we don't get a fucking phone call when shit doesn't magically work properly.  The problem is, it will be months (or even years) later when we get that call, and then we have to figure out what the/who/when/where/why the fuck we didn't have specific information on our drawings (even then - still with a catch-all note in case they change their minds, use a different model or manufacturer, etc.).

My notes and e-mails usually cover my ass, because there will be 400 of them asking for the information, and informing them that the 'information' I have received so far has been total shit, but it still looks like I fucked up, which makes it look like my firm fucked up (and that's absolutely what the contractor will tell the owner - who won't have any recollection of almost purposefully preventing me from getting a few simple pieces of information).

Now - it's one thing if it's a piece of equipment or two.  Imagine (or recall - if you've been there) a whole building full of equipment (let's say a kitchen) where this game is being played.  Any kitchen equipment supplier (or restaurant franchise) worth two shits or even half a fuck will provide a detailed (excessively detailed in some cases) spreadsheet/schedule of equipment.  The best ones will take that schedule and distill it down to just electrical information for the pieces of equipment that require power (so I'm not having to sort through three pages of racks, tables, brackets, etc.).

This schedule is god - because it is the only sure fire way to make sure that every single piece of information regarding every single piece of equipment has been addressed - or there will be a glaring empty box where it should be.  I still want cut sheets too - because sometimes there is information that I need to know that exceeds the ability to easily be put on a schedule (and I sometimes catch errors, or things that weren't taken into consideration by the supplier).

Now, get some back-woods dumbass fuckhead who is 'helping' a school system select equipment for their kitchens - and you not only won't get a schedule, you will actually get bitched at for suggesting that it might be their responsibility.  By offering their 'help' they are either replacing (or getting in the way of) someone who can actually help - and then redefining what their role needs to be.  They don't have any liability - nobodies going to be calling their ass when the shit hits the fan.  Fuck them and the 6-burner grill they rode in on (as you can tell - I have had this happen on more than one occasions).

 HVAC equipment runs into similar problems, but at least I have mechanical engineers/designers whose responsibility it is to provide me with information (of course, this can also have mistakes/typos/missing bits).  While they try to get me the information as quickly as possible, it's still usually right at the end of a project - and it's the first time I find out what it looks like, how much power it needs, and where.

Elevators and powered doors are probably the worst, because these are the responsibility of the architect - and if the other people I've been describing are frustrating - architects can be downright murder-inducing.  An elevator affects everyone - architectural, structural, mechanical (cooling/ventilation), electrical - even civil if it is going to have a hydraulic piston that requires drilling.  There are a variety of manufacturers and models - each with different requirements, depending on speed, number of stops, finishes (adding special finishes can add weight), etc. - and the reps are usually very helpful with information (they want to sell them some elevator!), and yet - the elevator (and equipment room) is usually an afterthought for most architects - usually only getting selected when I come near to threatening them with physical violence if they don't stop fucking around.

So how does all of this relate to Revit?  Like I've mentioned before, if I go into a project and start trying to detail out things, only to realize that I don't have any of the information I need, then I'm at a dead end unless I can fudge something together (and I don't want anyone taking that shit as the gospel about where it is, what it looks like, etc).  I can sketch, doodle, move, redraw completely, try out things, show people what I'm trying out (pictures worth a thousand words and all), get feedback on what I've drawn (quickly - because I was able to draw it fast and get it to them, and then make the changes they asked for fast and get it back to them for approval. 

Hell - I had a file error require me to completely redo a (small, but still fairly elaborate) project just this morning - fortunately I had .pdf's of it, and while it took a few minutes to put back together, it would have taken 10 times as long in Revit as it took me to do it twice in ACAD - even for a seasoned Revit veteran.

I can represent ANYTHING in ACAD without being at the mercy of a stupid program and its users that don't give a fuck about my ability (and the necessity) of getting things done quickly, accurately, and without undue stress.  The users are the worst - none of them can agree to do things the same way, and you will have a half-ass model that is next to unusable due to tons of errors, but that I am expected to use (whether in Revit or in ACAD) - while dipshit sits there and details out a stair railing to the Nth degree (only to find out that despite the pretty model, it's at the wrong height, wrong distance from the wall, and isn't even the type of rail that's going to be used.

It's fucked, and it's getting worse.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Physical Evidence

I've talked about the concept of paperless offices before, and I have to admit, it's an impressive task for those who can convert to a totally digital format.

Unfortunately - most of what my job still consists of is distilling information and getting it on paper.

Paper obviously has its draw-backs - the most expensive being maintenance and supplies for printers/plotters, ink, paper (of course) letter/ledger and 18"/30"/36" rolls, and handling paper (especially large format plots) can be a pain in the ass.  Paper tears, it can burn, it can cut, it gets crumpled easily, water damages paper/ink, long-term storage can require special humidity, temperature, and light conditions - even insects and rodents are a concern.  Physical storage can become an issue, figuring out where the hell something went is another.  Digging through it all and trying to figure out what the/when the/why the fuck can be time consuming, and so can putting it all back where it belongs (and god help you if the last person didn't).

Still, despite its many drawbacks, there's a reason paper persists into the digital age - and it's not just a sadistic desire to kill trees, it's that paper provides you with *physical* evidence.  People (including people with jurisdictional authority, who can make or break a project by approving/denying proposed designs, building permits, or certificates of occupancy) like paper for the way it provides a physical record that can be accessed and reviewed, anywhere, at any time, by anyone without the need of a computer, pad, phone, program, reader or reader.

You will never open a roll of drawings and find a sticky note that says 'I'm sorry - you need to download/update/purchase blah blah blah in order to view these drawings (or write on them).  There are no 'versions', no compatibility issues, no resolution problems. There are no 'load times' (although unrolling a set of drawings, rolling it backwards to flatten it out, and then flip to the drawings you need can take a bit - but we'll get to the many advantages of digital in a minute), there is no need to pan/zoom, stretch onto multiple monitors, or make use of viewports in order to be able to see the whole drawing at once.

I can print out a project, take it into a meeting, mark on it, get other people to mark on it, and people take it with them without the need for e-mail, USB stick, CD, or any other kind of media, - no cables/adapters, no network, wi-fi, or bluetooth, no corrupted files, no lagged out downloads, no files that exceed maximum size for someones cheap-ass free-mail, no need for a user name/password to log into an ftp server - AND at any time it can be scanned/copied to digital format too!

Now, with all of that said - I obviously use digital formats constantly while in contact with clients, client representatives, equipment suppliers, factory reps, contractors, sub-contractors, planners, developers, and of course the aforementioned authorities having jurisdiction, utility companies, and people within my own company, and the ability to share .pdf files, document and image files, CAD (and even Revit) files is irreplaceable.

Digital files give you easy access to what would require hours of digging through vast piles of crap.  You don't have to wait for a physical package to arrive (although we do occasionally still get CD's or thumb-drives with larger (or bloated) files - hello again Revit!), as long as they are consistently backed up, with off-site storage, and are organized in such a way that you can actually locate what you are looking for (if I'm looking through the sixth folder named 'EXISTING' filled with files called XBDD009234.PDF trying to find an existing drawing that somebody scanned in, then somebody dropped the fucking ball (not the digital formats fault). 

Another thing to keep in mind is the physical server and network in an office - I've griped about the ridiculous demand that Revit places on a network/server due to the massive files it generates, and even aside from that - unless you double as the IT guy at your office, then you are almost certainly at the mercy of an IT guy (or guys) for your ability to have a functioning computer, software, network, server, as well as security, data redundancy, and as I always warn people - NEVER piss off the IT guy.

They come in a wide variety - in the time I've been at this firm, there have been several iterations (always be aware that your IT guy(s) can change at any time - things might stay the same, they might improve, or they might become totally fucked.).  When I started it was one laid back older guy and one stereotypical overweight geek - they could barely handle the demand.  Part of the problem was that the older guy was taking the money budgeted for building computers and upgrading equipment, picking up the cheapest crap he could find, and pocketing the difference.  I had the power supply fail in my computer one time, and he was convinced that it was my battery backup.  I finally showed him that even plugged directly into the wall, that after a few minutes of run time, that the thermal overload would trip, give it a few minutes to cool down, and it would come back on.  He replaced my perfectly functional battery backup with an either non-functioning (or undersized) one, before finally conceding and putting a new power supply in my machine.  Then a few weeks later a power flicker informed me that my computer was no longer actually backed up with a battery anymore (and yes - I had it plugged into the right side of the power strip on the backup - I'm not a fucking idiot).

The next iteration was just the fat kid - that didn't last long because he basically refused to do anything that required him to stand up and walk, and he was quickly replaced by a (basically waaaay overqualified) guy who stepped in, and managed to get things under control somewhat, but it was obvious he had no intention of staying - so it wasn't surprising when he took a job a few months later doing network security for a government agency.  We had a guy switch gears from design to IT, and despite trying really hard, he was flailing until they brought on our current IT guru - this dudes network kung fu is VERY strong!  It took him a while to get all of the bugs worked out of the cobbled together system, but now things are like clockwork.

This all relates to the topic at hand, because once you go digital, you are opening yourself up to risk, some (if not all) of which is not under your own control.  It pays to know who the fuck has control of it, and if there is any question, then take necessary measures.  If I have an important project nearing completion and I've been pounding the shit out of it every day for 10+ hours, I will make my own goddamned backups, because I don't trust anyone (not even the guru) to care about my files as much as I do.

Anyway, whether you can keep people doing things consistently or not, the digital aspect of this kind of work is here to stay,  and since I've never done a single project 'by hand' in my life, you won't hear me defending that kind of throwback, but just the same, I do caution against over-dependence on (or falling for the various myths about) technology. 

I keep ledger-sized hard copies of everything I am working on - for quick review with anyone who walks into my office, calls me, or if I get pulled into a meeting.  I have to keep them updated, but it gives me confidence that I have a miniature set of the actual deliverable in my hands.  If there are any mistakes, they are right there in black and white.  I have caught things on printed drawings that I would have missed - no matter how long I (or anyone else) stared at them on the screen (in CAD, Revit, or .pdf).

I do keep a hand written project list. I've got due dates and whatnot in Outlook, but I can refer to this concise sheet and see (or show someone) all of the projects I currently have going on, with notes about the status, what I'm missing, etc.  When it starts to get messy I will take a minute to copy it over fresh, and I can see exactly where I stand.  I figure it's the only real handwriting that I do anymore (besides scribbling notes on stuff), and stuff seems to stay with me longer if I hand write it (better than typing it - although that helps too).  Once projects are issued, they go into my archive list (word document - so I can format it however the fuck I want - although I'm surprised I don't keep it in a CAD file), for ease of searching by job# or project name.

Digital formats are awesome, and have already eliminated a lot of paper from my job, but I don't see myself (or my boss - who isn't so much anti-technology as he is anti-bullshit) carrying around a pad.  I've seen them put to excellent use around the office, and in the field - but they don't fill any 'void' in my life, and still seem to come across as a fancy toy for douchebags (sort of like blackberries and smart phones when they first came out - or.. even now).  For every guy I've seen using one to efficiently combine a camera, notebook, and miniature computer, marking up drawings, etc. - I've seen dozens of guys dragging them everywhere and wasting time trying to do things that would take seconds with a simple piece of paper and pen (while looking exceedingly douchebaggy while doing it).

I think  my problem comes less from technology than it does from people who fall for the sales pitch, and then seem to suffer from the need to have their choice to shell out cash and change the way they do everything validated by those around them.  If they are able to do things more efficiently, then more power to them, but I don't give a fuck, and won't be giving one anytime soon.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Over the decade plus that I have been doing Electrical Design, Engineering, Drafting, (and beating information out of people who seem bound and determined to fuck me over - despite it being in both of our best interests if they share it), I have done dozens of different types of projects, totaling in excess of 500  -just in the 8 years I have been at my present firm.

While most of the Construction Documents I issue are alike in many ways - they vary widely in scope and complexity.  Every single attempt I have ever seen someone make at grabbing a project 'similar' to the one they are currently working on fails miserably.

They will say 'oh - we did one just like this', and pull out something that bears little to no resemblance to what the end result of their current project will be, and in many cases, this false 'leg up' will be worse than useless, as it allows a lot of assumptions to be made in the similarity to questions that were asked during the old projects design (not to mention designs that are no longer viable due to code changes or local ordinances).

We do a modicum of 'protypical' work that involves doing an initial design and then reusing it (hopefully as many times as possible), however this can also turn into a nightmare as the first one gets built, they come back with some field changes that they want to incorporate into the half a dozen jobs that have been issued since then (and that's before they start tweaking them endlessly).

Sometimes you end up doing as much work on each individual instance of a 'prototypical' job than you would if they were just totally separate projects (this works in the owners favor because they are only paying us a small re-use fee for our prototype and nobody has the sackage to demand that they pay for substantial changes - whether they be all at once or stretched out over the course of several years), although we occasionally get hired to do a 'new' prototype when even the owner has to admit that things are changing too radically for it to just be another (basically free) 'tweak'.

Now - I'm all about saving time, mental effort, and most importantly - maximizing profit, and I will always take a minute to assess whether or not I would be better served by attempting to shoehorn something in versus starting from 'scratch'.  I might, at the very least, bring in the old drawings and strip out some useful details, schedules, layouts, etc. to make sure all my bases are covered.

Combined with the tools that I drop into every new project (which really prevent me from ever really starting from scratch - although I kind of regret not creating a set of job-specific tools - although I could at any time), I have a system for taking a project through design development, construction documents, and beyond.  The real 'from scratch' comes when you attempt to switch up to Revit.  No matter how detailed your template, there are always going to be things that require individual attention on every job, no matter how many times you have done them before.

Speaking of my toolbox, it has gone through several iterations.  It started off a simple set of blocks that made it more convenient when starting a new project than having to load them individually (the Revit template can be set up similarly - with commonly used fixtures/equipment), but it soon became much more than that.

I have mentioned before how I can have basic tools set up on a machine with freshly loaded vanilla ACAD in a matter of minutes (even if I don't dump them off a USB stick or download them), but my extended 'Ubertools' (Copyrighted 2012 - Copy it, and Get Beaten to Death), has everything from typical lighting spacing (based on different ceiling heights), fire alarm a/v device sizing and spacing, typical schedules, legends, notes, and details - including highlighted sections for information to be verified.

It works from a 'put everything in there and then delete what you don't need' mentality.  Nearly every situation that might come up is addressed, and if something unique comes up - it can go in there for future reference.  The 'Revit Is God' argument will occasionally take into account the fact that ACAD users had LISP routines and other ways of doing things that limit the increased amount of productivity they should expect to see in Revit, but none can argue with the fact that you are basically starting from scratch every time you go into a new Revit file, no matter how much work you put into that template.

 Now - with all of that said, cutting and pasting shit (especially old shit) into drawings is one of the fastest ways to fuck yourself over royally.  My tools make use of a couple of elaborate techniques to make sure that misleading information doesn't make it's way into my projects - the first is called 'putting a circle around it', the next is 'changing the color of the text'.  I often have multiple options already entered, and simply delete the ones that don't apply.  If there are circles or off-colored text - then I know there is still information that needs to be verified so they can be updated or removed.

Again - using ACAD to design a set of drawings is not limited to the drawing itself.  You can leave copious notes to yourself, sketch out multiple options for consideration (or so you can simply slap in the one that they end up choosing - and they didn't take a week each, so you can justify it).  Lets say I have half a building worth of lights laid out, and they decide they want 2' x 2' fixtures instad of 2' x 4' - in Revit, I would basically be stuck deleting everything and putting the larger fixtures in (since you can't just do a 1 for 1 swap and still have an actual design).

ACAD also requires deleting the old fixtures and putting the new ones in, but besides being able to do this almost comically faster in ACAD than in Revit, I can also copy the old layout to the side, or save it into a separate file - that way when they decide 'oh - we actually wanted 2' x 2' fixtures after all' and  <BANG> the old layout is back, baby.  (Oh, and this shit happens - All. The. Fucking. Time - no matter how hard you try to keep your boot on the neck of the people making the decision - or passing on this information).

At any rate - I usually (just for my own amusement if for no other reason) start projects off and crank them as far along as I can without actually looking at any other projects (especially the ones that I was told to use as a 'go by').  This guarantees that I will have my head in the game, and not thinking about stuff that may not even apply.  I will eventually go back and look at the older project(s), but I'm usually quite pleased with how much I can remember (or use my tools to keep from having to remember).

Besides being able to sketch things out and start floating ideas for stuff (without having all of it popping up in 3d for other people to mistakenly take as 'gospel' and attempt to coordinate with it), I am guaranteed that no matter what kind of project I am faced with (even if I haven't done anything remotely like it before) I am armed to the teeth, and ready to tear its fucking head off.

Revit just doesn't give me that kind of confidence - and it's not my attitude or skill level with it, it's just not fucking there.  I've been told that in order to use it my approach would have to change, but none of the people telling me that know what my approach currently is, and most couldn't comprehend it even if they did.

So in the meantime - fuck them, and fuck it.

'Project Upgrade'

What in the fuck is the matter with these people?

Attempting to open an older file - even just for viewing shouldn't require me to either: a) go open an older version of the software, or b) wait for half a fucking an hour while the project is 'upgraded to the latest file format'.

I shouldn't have to 'be patient', and the only question that I'm contacting Autodesk support about is whose testicles are getting crushed first.

One of my long-time beefs with the Revit is the inability the thing seems to have to actually open a file sometime this decade (let alone the program itself).  In earlier versions (on older computers - albeit state-of-the-art at the time and loaded with more RAM than WIN XP even knew what to do with out of the box), I was 'hesitant' to open multiple files at the same time because one was already about all it could handle. 

I have opened multiple files on newer versions (on newer machines) without incident - which is probably more of a testament to how little I use the stupid piece of shit, however even if a file isn't attempting to 'upgrade' for 15 minutes (without asking first), it still takes a good chunk of time, during which time my concentration is thoroughly broken.

For some people, this may seem like a non-issue, because they come in to work in the morning, open their Revit model, work on it all day (saving locally and to central occasionally, updating the model - maybe closing out of it at lunch) and turn it off when they leave.  They might have a question come up on another project that requires jumping into it for a few minutes, but then it's back to project #1.

I have, on occasion, been into as many as two-dozen different projects within the course of an hour - made in too many versions of ACAD and Revit to even name, spanning over a decade.  I literally never know what I might need to access at any point in time.  Our archive directories were made kind of hack-and-slash, and apparently not everybody knew about XREF relative path back in the day.

I am confident knowing that if I open ACAD, and go on a search (for anything other than files I know are in Revit) I can have 24 files open in the time it takes for Revit to open even a single, relatively small model, and 'convert' the stupid thing.  My drawings take an extra second - but as I have mentioned previously, I've got the whole damn project right there in model space where I can wrap my head completely around the scope of the project - even if I haven't seen the fucking thing in a year and a half, instead of fumbling with the idiotic 'project manager' in Revit that nobody seems to give a fuck how buried in shit it gets (especially if I share an Architectural or MEP model).

Someone calls with a question? <BANG> the whole fucking project is on my screen, and I'm ready to answer, clarify, tell them I have to research it further, or tell them to fuck off and stop bothering me with stupid shit.  I can zoom to any part of it instantly, or use Viewports to zoom to four points at the same time - I don't have to make idle chit-chat with them while it loads and waste additional time on top of already having been pulled out of whatever three projects I was juggling at that particular moment.

My boss shouts that he has someone on the phone and needs this that or the other thing?  <BANG>  it's open and printing or .pdf(ing?) whatever he needs to see/send.  I don't have to stall or worry that if I do something else while it loads that I won't notice when it finally does.  A dimension?  I can have it in seconds - even if it was from a project I did seven years and seven releases ago.  A panel demand load? Same.  Anything, and it's all right there at my fingertips.

And that's before we even get to the re-usability of portions of projects that I have completed in the past - but we'll save that for next time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Opening Shit In Revit

Okay, so Revit is slow as shit, and makes massive bloated files.

Besides putting massive amounts of stress on servers, networks, and computers (much of which was never considered by the average firm that took the Revit dick full in their eyesocket), it also manages to waste untold amounts of time opening a project - often throwing up idiotic messages, and sometimes even just refusing to open a file because... well just because.

Our Revit-Faggots have spent ungodly amounts of time trying to unfuck projects that have become corrupted, refuse to open, screw up links, and this all leads to even more of a clusterfuck for everyone involved (even if they have wisely chosen to stay the fuck away from Revit).

On top of this, trying to find workarounds for what should be simple stuff, finding out that it doesn't actually do a lot of the stuff it was advertised to do, and then figuring out what the fuck you are going to do about it in the meantime (only to waste even more time trying to get everyone else 'coordinated' with your half-ass fucked up workarounds.

Jesus Fucking Christ - it never ends.

So you open a Revit file.  You can either sit there and watch it open, or you can go do something else while it opens (only to come back and find that it has stopped on some stupid message) or sort of half-babysit it until you've got your file open.

Whether its the first time you've been in the file, or the hundredth, then you get to try to track down where in the fuck everything is at.  The 'project browser' acts sort of like windows explorer, giving you a run down of all of the floor plans, ceiling plans, etc. - including the sheets that the drawings will end up being laid out on (speaking of which - every time you add a new sheet, you have to go through the same fucking process).

The problem is - no two Reviteers use it the same way, and even if they do, the ONE GODDAMNED THING you are trying to find is buried under two metric fucktons of useless bullshit, dozens of views that they had to make in order to even be able to see what the fuck is going on (without having to export to Navisworks), and just... shit.  Everywhere.

A simple solution would be to have the 'project browser' be the GODDAMNED BUILDING.  If you want to see ceiling plans - you click on a ceiling and select 'reflected ceiling plan', if you want a floor, roof, elevation, etc. - you click on it, and go there.  I can't remember if I have addressed this before, but out of the THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of 3D design programs, games, etc. - CERTAINLY these fucking Autodesk retards could have figured out an interface that let you easily maneuver through a project, manipulate objects, and get something done this fucking decade.

I guess fucking not though - so instead we're stuck with a sack overflowing with shit covered dicks.

(Or we continue to use ACAD like an good, intelligent, and productive people).

More SkullFuckery Involving Printing & Documents

That last clusterfuck was just one example of how the dickless morons at Autodesk that 'developed' Revit made it next to impossible to actually get anything useful out of their goddamned program without having to first export it to CAD.

From day one, I was amazed how brain damaged and fucked up just getting a simple piece of paper out of the fucking thing was.  I was equally amazed by how the 'batch plot' could manage to bury our plotter in a pile of shit.

A Reviteer would send their project to the plotter, run the fucking thing clean out of paper, and because they never bother to actually check and see what the result of sending several dozen sheets of paper to the plotter might be - the results were usually FUBAR.

Some of it had to do with the plotters - almost every one I have ever used has to be babysat in order to keep from jamming up when it gets too many plots stacked up on it.  In order to keep 24", 30" & 36" rolls in our plotter, a setting had to be disabled that would force it to stop plotting if it ran out of a particular roll.

The result was that when it ran out of whatever paper size you were using, it would make its best effort to keep on plotting (despite it being more important that the sheets get plotted on the correct size of paper/orientation than to just 'get plotted').

As long as you were aware of the necessity to keep an eye on it, then it was usually no problem - but along came Revit, (Revit Users), & batch-plotting, and you could occasionally walk into the room with the plotter to find it had run off dozens (if not hundreds) of plots on the wrong size paper, and was continuing to crank them out despite the tray in the back being so full that it was crumpling up sheets and jamming the plotter.

This problem was obviously partially the plotter, partially the way our firm was using the plotter - but was exacerbated considerably by Revit and it's idiot users.  We have since replaced the old plotter with a new (albeit quite shitty) one.  I could probably write a whole blog on that topic alone (in fact I might).

Now, despite the pipe-dream that crack-smoking BIM loving pedophile cocksuckers have of 'a magical time where we just hand the Revit model over to the contractor who puts it on a tablet PC and wanders around a dirty and hazardous job site and builds it without any paper drawings', there is the reality that a lot of people want to see the actual drawings, with actual *wet* signatures, to prevent some dickless fuckstick from slapping some half-ass bullshit on a drawing and making a .pdf of it.

These people include fire marshall's offices, electrical inspectors, not to mention many owners/developers, and almost every single contractor that I have ever dealt with WANTS THAT SHIT ON PAPER - even if they have electronic copies, the physical piece of paper is a guarantee to them that this is EXACTLY what was handed off to them, and that's EXACTLY what they are going to base their work on.

Since most of the Revit-Dick-Sucking-Fuckheads that I know have rarely (if ever) seen an actual job site, then I am aware that they have probably never seen the set of drawings that a contractor compiles during construction.  They are immense - combining original drawings, revised drawings, cut sheets, notes, changes, unforeseen problems, etc. - and when it is all over, that stack of paper (which in some cases we get hired to do an 'as built' set from) is the real record of what happened - not some douchbags Revit model.

I do know people that have gone 'paperless' in their offices - Engineers that review, mark-up, and sign/seal drawings on iPad, but even they aren't of the delusion that once the drawings leave their department or office, that they aren't going on paper.  It does save them considerable time in printing, handling, and scanning large-scale plots, but even they are occasionally forced back into the old-school way because of the requirement for 'wet' signed drawings by some states, counties, or jurisdictions.

Okay - even once you've gotten past the problems of getting Revit to plot an actual piece of fucking paper, now you've got the fact that the developers never seemed to consider that you might want something that doesn't look like total shit on that sheet.

ACAD is to blame for some of that - it was so easy to get whatever you wanted, whenever you needed it, that it set the bar extremely high for Revit.  There was obviously some initial line-weight setup, but once you had that figured out, and had layers/colors that allowed you to be able to see what the fuck was going on in your drawing AND have it come out looking sweet, then you were totally rocking.

It took a long time before anyone even seemed to consider that the drawings that Revit vomited forth needed some help - and even now I never know what the hell it's going to puke up next.  It has a massive amount of control in 'Visibility Graphics', filters, etc., but still pretty much gives you whatever it wants - which is total shit.

Snaps & 256ths???

Why the fuck does Revit want to snap to every goddamned thing?

Why in the fuck does it creep along 1', 2', 3', and then when I get close to the correct location of something it jumps into 137/256ths???


Fuck Revit, fuck its developers and users - and fuck their mothers, their mothers mothers, their fathers, grandfathers, wives/husbands, children, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, friends, and any else they hold dear.

They have knowingly, willingly, and gleefully fucked me over - so fuck them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Printing Shit from Cocksucking Revit God Damn It.

I don't even know why I bother to break down Revit into individual problems anymore - it's like trying to figure out why one of the cabin doors on the Titanic doesn't close smoothly while the whole fucking thing is upending and being sucked down into the freezing fucking ocean.

At any rate - I'm not even using the goddamn thing, but somebody asks me about a project, I go into where it is supposed to be located, and what do you fucking know - there is nothing there.  I find a Revit architectural model, so I figure 'what the hell - I need to waste some fucking time' and open it.

Voila - there are the Electrical sheets in the Architectural model (not an altogether bad idea, since it keeps you from having to use an Electrical or MEP template and then chase your dick in a circle).  I just want to print out three fucking sheets - so I open the first one, change a few settings, and BANG it's on the printer - just the way I wanted it.

I knew something was up - but I figured, okay two more sheets, no big deal right?

Fucking WRONG.

I try to print the second sheet, and it won't let me preview it.  Some setting had changed between the first time I printed and the second time I printed (view based?), and so I was like 'fuck it' - all the settings look the same, so it should come out relatively correct, and if not, I'll give it another shot.

I click 'print' (which - by the way, why in the fuck does clicking 'print' from the 'preview' screen take you back to the print settings screen instead of just fucking printing?  Were they specifically going out of their way to make it *just* different enough from ACAD to make someone want to hunt them down and beat them to fucking death???), and my screen starts to flip out as it opens EVERY SINGLE DETAIL FROM EVERY SINGLE SHEET IN THE ENTIRE GODDAMNED PROJECT AND STARTS DUMPING THEM ONTO THE PRINTER.

Seriously - WHAT THE FUCK???

It's not just the sheets - it's every single detail on its own sheet.  I run to the printer, try to cancel it, but they are dumping and overrunning it.  I run back to my comptuer, there are almost TWO HUNDRED FUCKING ITEMS GOING TO THE GODDAMNED PRINTER.  I cancel them, run back to the printer, and clear out the rest.  30-40 pages of wasted paper and toner.  Thanks fuckfaces! 

Maybe a 'are you sure you want to print every goddamned detail on its own sheet of paper' from the program that loves to throw up confusing and meaningless error messages and other bullshit every time you click on or move anything.

I figure out what changed, and print the other two sheets.  Now I'm 20 minutes of time wasted finding a file, opening it, printing 3 goddamned sheets, and so pissed off that I nearly punch a bookshelf in half and kick a vending machine into next century.  FOR A PROJECT THAT ISN'T EVEN MINE TO BEGIN WITH but that I figured 'I'll do somebody a favor'.  I can't even see straight, and sure as hell am not getting anything done on the projects that I should be working on.

This may seem like a minor gripe - or something that I should have known about if I had jumped on the Revit bandwagon from the get-go, but I've stopped caring.  And guess what?  Fuck doing anyone any favors from this point on.  Especially if it's in Revit - then fuck them.

If they ask me to do anything in Revit - fuck them.

In fact, any mention of Revit around me ever again will probably result in that person having something (possibly heavy and/or sharp) thrown at them at a high velocity.  I'm done putting lights in their models, I'm done exporting shit out of it - if they want a project done, they will treat me like an outside fucking consultant who has to have files issued to them and regularly updated - or I will not work on them anymore.

If they ask me 'how's that project coming' I will say 'Are there up-to-date ACAD background(s) and a titleblock in the folder?' and if the answer is anything other than 'yes' then I will tell them to get fucked.  If they try to tell me that I should be working on it in Revit, I will punch them in the fucking throat (especially if they try to go over my head again - which still has one guy *this* close to being strung up by his nutsack and his face belt-sanded).

The Revit Skullfuck is BACK BABY!!!!


I think it's time we ratchet up the tension again - I've been getting a little bit too metaphysical, and losing the focus of why I started writing this.

Seriously - FUCK EVERY SINGLE PERSON that has anything to do with this program - developers, salespeople, end users, cheerleaders, and kool-aid drinkers.

Fuck them, fuck their mothers, fuck their mothers mothers.  Fuck their children, fuck their wives, fuck their brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.

I tend to be a fairly rational person - but I also tend to know when I am being bullshitted - and this sack of shit-eating cocksuckery called 'Revit' is bullshit, and every single person propagating it is a shit-eating bullshitter.

Fuck it, and fuck them.

This program seems to only exist to fuck people in the ass (but only after it is done fucking their eyesockets into oblivion).  Nothing works the way it is supposed to.  It is an empty shell of a promise made by limp-dick motherfuckers who need to have their heads blown off, their throats shit down, and every drop of blood drained from their goddamned corpses.

I honestly can't overstate this enough - FUCK THIS PROGRAM.

That is all for now.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Just today I was upgraded to the 2013 versions of ACAD MEP and Revit (which is apparently now a 'design suite' - I guess that makes sense...). 

While I always save my settings in case of a crash, I almost never import them - but thanks to having just set up ACAD 2012 on my new computer a few weeks ago, I had it 100% ready to rock in about 10-15 minutes (the only mistake I made when setting up the QAT was having 'extend' and 'trim'  backwards, which made me do a doubletake for a second the first time I did it.  A handful of other settings were easy to fix - getting a BLACK background (not washed out gray), right click as enter (all the time), up arrow displaying snaps instead of previous coordinates, turned off the 'ribbon', etc.

I will tackle Revit in the morning, which (if I am not mistaken) should FINALLY have the ability to modify the 'ribbon' so that I can at least get 'M' and 'P' crap out of my way (although I'm *this* close to eliminating any dependence on the ribbon through the use of keyboard shortcuts and the QAT).  I don't know if I can turn it off, but there is supposed to be a way to revert it back to pre-ribbon (I may or may not fuck with that - especially if I am able to modify the 'ribbon' to my liking (it's going to be minimized 99% of the time though).

It will take a few minutes to set up all of my Revit keyboard shortcuts again (I still don't understand why so many aren't set to anything by default...), but I have a list of the most important ones (it also helps that I can still access the 2012 releases of both programs if I need to see how I had something set).

I'm not holdng out any hope that this ths release of Revit will be any kind of noticeable improvement though.  Autodesk has already done what it set out to do - fuck over everybody.  In the meantime I'll keep cranking out jobs in ACAD, make tons of money for my firm, and laugh at all of the losers who get to spend all day with their dicks in their hands attempting to Revit.

It really would be funny if it weren't for the fact that I carry these idiots on most jobs - with any profits being eaten up by the time it takes them to model endlessly and pointlessly.  Seriously - fuck Autodesk, fuck Revit, and fuck these people.


I've gotten a lot of my chest, but I still feel I have barely scratched the surface - I really lack the words to explain exactly how much I despise Revit, so for a change, I'm going to talk about things that I actually like about Revit (this should be a short one).

First we'll talk about it from the design aspect.

Looking at some of the designs that  people have done with it, especially when they export them out to other programs to flesh them out, complete with textures, lighting, etc. (or even before that in some cases) - I have to be somewhat impressed.  They still strike me as being an inefficient way of making what basically breaks down to being a rendering - but I do understand the excitement of seeing your design 'come to life' in the digital realm.

While I complain about all of the things that architects don't understand about my designs, they are more likely to have to deal with the client.  They like to dazzle the client, and 2D pieces of paper (while they are still what ends up being issued for construction) just don't do that.  Giving them a walkthrough of a fully rendered design blows their minds - and the fact that it has 'intelligence' and can be manipulated in real time gives it a serious edge over a 'dumb' rendering.

The passion that somebody like 'The Revit Kid' (although, seriously - he can still go fuck himself) shows for their design work is awesome.  Even a fairly basic design looks considerably more impressive when you can orbit it in 3D - even if it isn't necessarily an elaborate piece of work.  If someone is really enjoying the way that Revit allows them to design - then more power to them.

It varies from firm to firm, but some architects only ever get to do a tiny handful of actual 'architecture' projects (if any), while they spend the rest of their careers cranking out boxes to pay the bills.  The same goes for me when it comes to lighting design.  I might get to slap a few decorative fixtures on a project from time to time, but it is rare that I get to break out the really cool fixtures (and even rarer that they don't get 'value engineered' out of the project (another topic for another day).

I guess the main thing about Revit is that it has the potential to be an incredible design tool - if its users would simply hold Autodesks feet to the fire and force them to back up all of their talk with a real set of software instead of the half-ass bullshit that the've been pushing.