Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Revit Strikes Back

Alright ladies and gentlemen - so I'm beating my way through piles of bullshit last week (rather than working on my current projects), mostly due to other peoples incompetence, poor planning, and even shittier management of their projects - when I am called to help a teammate with a sizable project that she has been busting her ass on for several months.

I had been curious as to why they hadn't been running into more trouble with Revit (although 90% if the time I would walk past their desk, they would have Navisworks open - probably attempting to see what stuff looked like in 3D since Revit does such a shitty job of navigating models).

As it turns out, while they had been Reviting along, they had been doing their panelboard schedules in ACAD for ease of entry, the ability to actually modify the schedules on the fly as needed, and because 'panelboards that automatically calculate themselves' is not as much of a boon to an electrical designer as an unitiated (and most liklely non-electrical designer) might think.

Anyway, the client is a big one, who had requested Revitized Shiznit (while obviously not knowing or understanding what that meant or entailed)  - but both their contact people and the project manager(s) are horribly stupid (to put it lightly).

The owner's idiocy was evident in the fact that they had specifically requested the drawings be completed in Revit 2012 (apparently not knowing that as of the soon to be 2014 release - that the '12 version will have only another year of support (and knowing these morons - the project will still be in flux long after that.

So, not only can I not use my shiny new Revit 2013, our subscription will eventually make it impossible to open, view, or modify anything in the file without first going through the (painfully slow and glitchy) process of upgrading to a newer format.

Upon pulling up my teammates file (and talking them down from the ledge), I was able to fairly easily get both of us started reproducing the schedules in Revit.  They had been using Revit families for the equipment, and even had Revit panelboards - so they were 1/3 of the way there.

There were a few things that weren't going to work (as is always the case in Revshit), and I wasted a lot of time figuring out various 'workarounds' or other solutions before starting to make anything resembling 'progress'.

Fortunately, since the majority of the layout had already been done, it was just a matter of recreating it.  Once I had a rhythm (and some motherfucking death metal), I was able to straighten out some of it.

It's still totally fucked though, as are my other projects - although they have both been exported to ACAD in the interest of getting them done as well.  Anyone that has anything to say about it is going to get both middle fingers, and quite possibly a beating.

The way that both our project manager(s) and the owner had already been riding this employee - and then rewarded their hard work by taking a shit on their face (and reducing them to tears) is a common theme in the Revitverse.

What they had been attempting to do with her hybrid Revit/ACAD system is what Revbots typically refer to as 'BIM-washing' (in the most derisive tone of voice possible).

Obviously if our client was paying for and expecting 100% Revit, then we would need to provide it. 
In reality, we are not charging the client sufficiently for the amount of extra effort necessary to accomplish this task (mostly because the bullshit lies that Autodesk and Revit Dick Sockets have been telling everyone about how it makes electrical design faster - while simultaneously doing an end run around us and convincing our clients that there is any value added to having a fully integrated and functional 3D model).  

I take it as a personal attack when people who repeatedly prove that they know dick-all about electrical design try to tell me that I'm not doing what they think I'm supposed to be doing - like in the example of expecting us to be responsible for fleshing out their renderings.

It makes me even angrier to watch them take advantage of someone (unlike me) who they know isn't capable of kicking their teeth down their throat for fucking with their ability to do their job -especially when they decided to redefine what that job involves.

It's been an all-too-common situation (one I've touched on before) - with the economy, job market, etc. in flux, they know that they can get away with treating people like fuckdolls, and know that they will keep asking for more.

As I always say - fuck that, fuck them, and if you don't like what I'm saying then FUCK YOU.
Skullfuck out.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ladies & Gentlemen - The Magical Disappearing Revit.

So there I was, running Autodesk's flagship BIM software - the illustrious Revit 2013 'lets just dispense with pretending we give a fuck, and toss MEP into the Architectural/Structural software, continued to pretend like Civil doesn't exist, and act like it should all be sunshine and sparkle-ponies shooting out of our asses' that supposedly represents their absolute best effort.

Between Friday and today I am happy to say that I was able to quickly and effectively use Revit - to export the necessary files, and get two projects the fuck out of Revit so that I can make sure they get done on time, done on budget, and most inportantly - DONE CORRECTLY, in good old dinosaur ACAD.

But in the meantime, I'm sitting here fixing someone else's fuckups - and after waiting for this piece of crap to load, skipping past half a dozen apocryphal messages, making the necessary changes, and slapping a revision cloud on, when 'voila'.

No more Revit.

Now you see it, now you don't.

I've commented more than once on how great Revit is - at closing.  It can disappear faster than any program I have ever seen before in my life - especially when it is taking work with it.  Now, to be fair, this project is the aforementioned clusterfuck of interfucked files - and it did actually handle fairly stably while I was doing the project (besides the inordinate amount of time waiting for it to load/save/update links/etc.).

It's sad though, that while they have been doing better with not having their garbage crash quite as often - it wasn't even remotely surprising to me when it went 'poof'.  It didn't shock me, or make do a double-take, or even actually register on a level that made me mad.  It also didn't surprise me that Revit didn't seem to think anything was out of the ordinary when I restarted it, and re-opened the file.

It was only a few minutes of work - but it was as few minutes of work that I was done with, and certainly not the first time I have had to redo things simply because Revit decides to take a shit.  I got it back on track, and issued it (before anyone else - which may be a mistake, because if there's one thing that people who fuck up do well - it's fuck up some more.

I'll be going two different directions with the two projects I just exported - but fortunately I've done something similar to each, and now that I can apply my tools and processes without Revit getting in the way (besides having to be vigilant about updating my floor plans), there is a 100% chance of Construction Documents.

I might even be so nice as to import the ACAD drawings into the Revit model, put them on sheets, plot them out, and then hit 'explode' - because seriously.  Fuck these people.

Friday, May 3, 2013


The latest project I have attempted to undertake in Revit is a restaurant.

It should have been a breeze compared to the medical project that I completed - which is currently going through various revisions - and now 'value engineering' because the architects WAY overshot the owner's budget (which, of course, means that they need to use cheaper light fixtures - go figure...)

I was able to get the file set up fairly easily, primarily because it is a brand new building, doesn't have a bunch of files linked to it, and is only one floor - but as soon as I started attempting to work on it, I was back to square -135138956 when it came to getting anything accomplished.

I started with lights in the kitchen - simple, 2x4 grid, 2x4 fixtures, something I've done hundreds and hundreds of times before.  Oh wait - since I'm in my Electrical file with the Architectural linked in, I can't adjust the ceiling grid, so I have to basically ignore it and try to lay out the fixtures to avoid the hoods, partition walls, etc.

I got something resembling a layout done in the kitchen (more accurately - something resembling total fucking shit, especially considering the amount of time I spent fucking with it), so I decided to take a look at the dining room.  The owner is selecting a bunch of custom fixtures (that I can guarantee they can't fucking afford - and will probably end up 'value engineering' out later - and that ran me up against my next problem.

None of the manufacturers of the fixtures they are selecting have 3d models of them (in any format, much less Revit).  Now - I could spend hours in the family editor making some passable models of them - but not only is that not my fucking job, it adds exactly ZERO to the electrical schematics, and only serves to flesh out the architects 'rendering'.

I will be blown away if those fixtures end up being the same ones they end up installing (whether they get taken out because of budget, or changed because restaurant owners are notoriously flaky as hell), so I'm given two choices - the one above, or trying to put some kind of place holder in the model so that I can actually get my drawings done sometime this decade.

The problem being - if I put place holders in the model, people immediately start treating them like gospel, and doing their design around them.  In ACAD I wouldn't give a fuck - I would show a circle, square, rectangle, what-the-fuck-ever, and give it a letter so they can refer to the fixture schedule (which will have important information like mounting height, wall vs. ceiling, etc.) since the 3d aspect means fuck all when you print out a 2d lighting plan.  If I try to just slap something in this dining room so I can actually get work done, it will be a clusterfuck faster than you can say 'clusterfuck'.

So, as usual, I'm sitting here pissed off, being unproductive, and pondering the 'unthinkable', which is reverting this fucking thing to ACAD, and letting the goddamned architects worry about fleshing out their pretty little dollhouse.  Now - I can understand some designers not having a problem with (and even enjoying) working hand-in-hand with the architects and other disciplines in order to develop an amazing 3d working model, complete with 'intelligence', and whatnot.

I can understand this primarily because that I know statistically, a certain percentage of designers are going to have some kind of mental defect that prevents them from realizing that what they are doing is a waste of fucking time and money.  This mental defect also prevents them from being able to understand my point of view - which is productivity above all.  Even most seasoned Reviteers will admit (under pressure) that they spend a lot of time flailing, chasing 'workarounds', and basically fucking off.

The ones making the specious claims of 'omg - Revit is so much more productive' (as I have said before) are a bunch of fucking liars.  I have no doubt of this, because I have seen 'plans' from several firms that were developed in Revit, and besides their presentation graphics looking like total ass, taking up several sheets to show something that could have been done in one sheet (and still have more clarity than their bullshit), AND be totally fucking wrong - over and over, because the 'designer' was dicking with Revit instead of actually coordinating with people, and spending their time doing electrical design (or whatever their discipline is).

Maybe some of these people work at firms where their work is spoon fed to them, to where they never have to do any actual 'design' work, and are strictly glorified drafters.  I could see that being the case, because it would explain the dismissive attitude, and the blank stares when I start trying to explain the tools I need to do my job (which is a hell of lot more difficult than simply drafting/modeling something where someone else has already done all of the thinking).

To them, Revit might also be 'teh awesome' because (as I've probably said previously), it allows them to fuck off for hours and hours at a time, and not really have anyone be able to know whether they were busy putting the finishing touches on a family, or playing 'farmville' or some equally stupid shit on Facebook.  If anyone calls them out as being unproductive, then they have the 'well, Revit takes more time' excuse (which I have heard used at my firm, and at other firms as well).

They've (both users and Autodesk) basically taken it upon themselves to redefine the job that electrical designers are responsible for - claiming that in the future there will be rainbows and sparkle-ponies shooting out of your ass, when in reality, in a shitty economy, we need to be cranking out as many projects as possible - with as little overhead as possible.  The reasoning has been that while we are 'slow' (read: unprofitable) we should retool for the (equally unprofitable) future.

All we are really doing is wasting fucking time, money, mental effort, and pissing me the fuck off.

I've mentioned before that I only ended up in this line of work by a fluke - and while I still enjoy doing what I do, this Revit bullshit has been seriously testing my patience.  It might be time for me to move on - and let the Reviteers keep on wasting obscene amounts of time and money until they either finally demand that Revit stop sucking balls (and hold Autodesk to it), or admit that will never happen because too many sell-out fucks and corporate shills have managed to smokescreen everyone into thinking it is the 'shiznit'.

I could understand someone arguing for Revit, even defending it's myriad shortcomings to a point, but when they start to get the blank stare, and refuse to admit anything is wrong, they become apologists.

And I fucking hate apologists.