Tuesday, July 12, 2016

BIM Scrubbing

Greetings and Salutations from outside the Revitsphere!

It's another warm sunny day - with no Revit being forced into all of my orifices and ocular cavities.

I received another project consisting of laughable construction documents - and was especially amused to see that they had included several sheets dedicated to various 3D views. 

I had seen a number of firms include an overall 3D view on their cover sheet - but this was the first time I had seen one dedicate space to showing off their model.

It makes sense from their perspective (pun intended) since they have gone through the trouble of fully detailing out a model - which you almost wouldn't know if you just looked at the 2D plans and elevations (and then wondered to yourself why those plans and elevations looked like excrement). 

There are even cases where it might be helpful for a contractor to be able to see what something is intended to look like before finding out that the details are shown incorrectly because there wasn't enough time to check them thoroughly.

To an untrained eye, this seems much more helpful than it actually is - since 2D details (with accurate dimensions and other information)  are what a contractor will be looking at after they staple or clip the unnecessary sheets together so they aren't constantly having to flip through several extra pages of useless details.

I could see an owner or other person not directly involved with construction (that doesn't know how to read a set of plans) finding 3D views to be helpful in visualizing the finished project - but in reality it just pads out the set, meaning more sheets to keep up with (almost none of which are going to be of any use to the AHJ's reviewing and approving them).

Combine that with the fact that making changes in Revit often results in unexpected dumbfuckery - and now you have even more views you have to doublecheck to prevent sending out idiotic looking drawings (not that most Reviteers seem to give a fuck).

It's been two days since they sent us a more or less useless .PDF set and we requested CAD drawings (thank fucking god we don't have to request the massive clusterfuck of a Revit model), so I've been catching up on some 'As-Builts' - including a fairly decent sized library.

As soon as I opened the drawing I knew it had a background that originated in Revit, and whoever had set it up originally hadn't bothered to give it a thorough 'BIM Scrubbing' (my take on the derisive term 'BIM Washing'  that Reviteers use for anyone 'faking it' in Revit).

'BIM Scrubbing' starts with getting rid of the pointlessly elaborate 3D models that some moron got from a manufacturer or Revit circlejerk website.  What looks really slick in 3D (to cover up the fact that your design is shit) turns a 2D view into total garbage.

Obviously a 'properly' designed family should include both a 3D model AND a 2D symbol to allow you to keep it turned on (and even have options to have it show up differently based on how much detail you want in a given view) but this is lost on many users and content developers, and so I end up with an exported CAD drawing with chairs that have meticulously crafted casters, legs, seats, backs, brackets, adjustment levers (and in the case of some of the chairs on this project - adjustable cup holders and desk surfaces) that end up looking like black blobs and obscure anything nearby.

Some people just turn off furniture altogether - but then you run into problems with what you need to see to coordinate various systems with the way the space is intended to be used - so I start by tracing an outline (using arcs for what started off as hundreds of lines approximating a curve - often with several overlapping lines) to a final shape consisting of 2-3 dozen lines instead of quite literally tens of thousands of line segments (multiplied by how many instances there are in the drawing). 

Once the blobs of crap are cleaned up, I turn to cleaning up walls, doorways, etc. - which even the most skilled of Revit Gurus seem to have trouble convincing to show up correctly (much less the average Reviteer).

I'm obsessed with keeping doorways and other openings clean and devoid of unnecessary lines showing walls above - I've seen a number of Architectural CD's where designers failed to notice that various openings into rooms/corridors were completely obscured.

The clarity that a well-designed piece of software like ACAD gives you when zoomed in shows numerous flaws in Revit models that you would never notice - unintentional overlaps, door frames in wall sections too small to accomodate them, and equipment, racks, etc. that are going to require extensive field modification to fit in the spaces allotted.

These oversights often negate the major selling point of Revit - it's ability to do 'collision detection' between disciplines.  If there are major (or even minor) flaws in a model that claims to be the 'gospel'  you end up out in the field trying to pack an air handling unit, panel, etc. into a space that only looked sufficient because part of it extended through a wall.

Anyway, after thoroughly scrubbing the background (including exploding blocks, homogenizing layers, colors, line types, etc.), and eliminating any other unnecessary, redundant, or otherwise confusing linework, I have a file that is smaller, opens/saves faster, crashes almost never, and most importantly of all - looks fantastic, while clearly and accurately conveying the necessary information to construct the project.

Fortunately I had extensive experience at my last job cleaning up Revit nonsense.  The end result is a much clearer set of drawings that allow me to design without distraction, and eliminates any ambiguity as to how my systems are to be installed. At the end of the day, my drawings are (and always have been) partially schematical (with contractors/installers being tasked with 'means and methods'),  which allows me to convey information much more thoroughly.

I take a lot of pride in my work - and I'll be damned  if anyone (or anything) is going to stand between me and my ability to complete it to my exacting standards.

As always - fuck this stupid fucking Revit shit.  (And if you don't like it - fuck your stupid fucking  shit too).


Next time: I finally figure out wtf is wrong with that goddamned piece of software I had to circumvent! 

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