Monday, March 25, 2013

Revit Doesn't Know When Linked Things Have Been Updated

Ok, so you are ticking along - making good time, Reviting your ass off.

Meanwhile, so has someone else - and they just fucked you out of every single second that you wasted trying to convince Revit to do what it was advertised to do.

Back in the ACAD days of yore (after we were done tilling the fields and fighting off the velociraptors) when someone made a change to a linked file you got a little message 'hey dude - you might want to reload this XREF because someone has opened it, most likely changed something, and then saved it again' (or something to that effect, I was always too busy with my alchemy experiments to actually read it).

This was immensely helpful, because if an architect suddenly realized that the ceiling that they had originally shown was nothing like what they were supposed to have drawn (key term: *supposed* to have drawn), then you knew exactly when they 'fixed' it, and when to go start yelling at them.

While changes are inevitable, they become much worse when someone just slaps a placeholder in there to make it look more complete (to cover for the fact that they've been slacking off), or took off on a flight of architectural fancy (forgetting that there isn't budget, schedule, and most importantly - hasn't been a customer request to do so).

I completed a check set for a bank project last week, one that I was late starting on, but I was able to get lights into a Revit model, export everything else out into ACAD, and am now ahead of schedule (and way under budget).

They are somewhat prototypical - which is my main reason for keeping it in CAD (along with the fact that the customer isn't actually paying for, or requesting, 3D BIM design - see above).  The customer is also fairly well known for being more than a little bit of a flake - resulting in constant revisions to any design we do (regardless of how much we attempt to coordinate before issuing drawings).

I've probably mentioned my highly attuned bullshit detector in the past - it slams the needle into the red the second I start listening to either her speak, or the project manager (who is otherwise very capable and intelligent) repeating what she has said - because it immediately goes from 'these are specific locations for equipment that we have thought about, discussed, coordinated, and decided on' to 'well, maybe we could sort of kinda like you know - like the other one, only not like that'.

That little change in tone and certainty is a fucking guarantee right there that you are going to be playing a never-ending game of tweak and bump with your drawings until the thing is built (and maybe longer after they move in and realize that they didn't purchase the same equipment that we painstakingly based everything off of).

So - after I submit the check set, I find out that they had been busting ass for the last couple of hours to make my carefully crafted lighting plan into a completely outdated piece of shit, with half of the lights I had inserted into the drawing missing (or worse - hiding somewhere in the ceiling/soffits), but I was completely 100% unaware of these changes, and left in the dark (if I hadn't personally gone up to deliver drawings, I wouldn't have noticed their new layout strewn all over their desk).

Why the fuck when someone makes some major changes to a Revit model that I have linked in, do I not find out about them until I specifically go in and reload them?  Saving my model doesn't reload them - and I usually only find out about changes when I close out of and (spend an inordinate amount of time waiting to) re-open the model.  When I pointed it out to someone, they were like 'well - you don't necessarily always want it updating... blah blah', which is way off point.  Xrefs didn't automatically update either - but they gave you a little ding to let you know something might've changed.

It takes as long to reload the linked models as it does to open the drawing in most cases - which, depending on the model, and how fucked up some bunch of architect lackeys managed to make the thing - can be several minutes (and that's if you baby sit the fucking thing so you can click 'ok' on all of the apocryphal errors and messages that it throws up).


I might reload - only to find out that nothing has changed (which - if this happens enough times, is usually a sign that they have made a new model without bothering to fucking tell anyone), or - I might attempt to issue a checkset (or even a set of construction documents) where someone has simultaneously been busting their ass to play 'catch up', making my drawings appear out of date, and me to appear like a complete fucking idiot - despite wasting considerable time to play the bullshit Revit game.

It's the lack of coordination that bothers me the most - because as I have repeatedly said, the only way coordination happens is when people coordinate.  If someone makes major changes to a layout, and doesn't stop for a second to consider who and what they are affecting, then they are being dangerously stupid.

In many cases, the domino effect triggered by what someone might consider (at first glance especially) to be a 'small change' will cause so much additional expense (both in design and construction) that an educated (and slightly longer) second glance by someone with decision making power in the project will end up causing that change not to be made.

This is part of the 'magic' of Revit - it allows changes to be made that will supposedly ripple through the system and work themselves out.  What actually happens is the changes careen headlong through the project like a bull in a china shop (only the bull might be loud enough for it to be impossible to not notice).

There is an argument for putting everything into one central model, which would eliminate the need for linking in all of the various models - but of course, back over here in reality, even with servers and workstations that far exceed the suggested requirements, and even with a relatively small project, this is a recipe for a massive, unstable file that is guaranteed to lag, crash, and leave everyone fucked (even more than usual).

In the meantime, the simplicity with which an architect can throw an otherwise steadily progressing project into complete and utter chaos with a (sometimes accidental) click is disturbing.  The 'sin of omission' they commit when they do this without telling anyone (especially when they break something) is unforgiveable.

As is attempting to muscle or coerce everyone into using their broke-ass, piece of shit software.  Fuck's sake, it can't even update the date on my goddamned titleblock - I have to do that manually ?!?!?!

Fuck Them, Fuck Revit, and as always - if you don't like what I'm saying - then Fuck You.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Ok - based on a 'Timesaver' clip from 2010 I just found, Autodesks flagship architectural/engineering design software was (and apparently still is) incapable of importing a .pdf file - but if you can listen to this motherfuckers squeaky-ass voice for a few minutes, you will find out that you use a 3rd party application like snagit to make a .jpg and import that instead (searching for 2013 Revit import .pdf comes up with nothing - so I assume it's still fucked):

Presented by Patrick Villella, LEED AP, AEC Application Engineer:

Now - clipping tools are one of the most awesome advancements I've seen in recent years, light years ahead of trying to do screen-shots and edit them.  The fact that they are basically free (unlimited trial) is hard to conceive of, especially when you consider that they come in tiny files that download quickly, install fast, function flawlessly, and accomplish the tasks that they claim to be able to.  For free - in a world where a $5,000 a seat set of bloatware is what we are expected to do our actual design with.

Obviously, this guy is coming at it from the architectural perspective - which is that you now have linework that you can snap 3d walls to.  I can use the same trick to import stuff into my electrical drawings that I just need to see, and that is apparently what I am stuck doing since nobody gives a fuck about compatibility with one of the most common file formats that I receive or have access to for information/details on various pieces of equipment, fixtures, etc.

Falling back on the creative use of 3rd party applications seems to be a common theme in the 'practical' use of Revit (if anything this ass-backwards can be considered 'practical'.  Now they can sit back and try to pretend like there was never a gaping hole in the functionality of their software that had to be filled with the ingenuity of someone else.  So - one problem solved.  But now we are on the the next problem, and the next problem. 

It's never ending with Revit.  I have had to fake it so much on this project that I feel like Patrick Villella's wife.

Fuck Autodesk, fuck Revit, and if you don't like it, FUCK YOU.