Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Revit Fan Chimes In.


ACHTUNG!!!

So there I am, minding my own business, when an anonymous reader posts a fairly extensive rundown of their experience over the last 30 years in the field of Architecture.  I was intrigued, since it's fairly rare that anyone who isn't a full-on hater of Revit comments here (unless they are trolling or spamming), so I allowed myself to give them an impartial read.

Their over-arching premise seems to be that, despite ungodly amounts of time, effort, and money having been invested in it over the years, nobody has ever actually managed to take into account the needs of the design professional.  I would probably add (as I have in the past) that trying to quantify such elaborate disciplines so that any moron with a computer and a software license can do it is fairly impossible.

Pencil, rapidograph, Versacad, Microstation, Autocad, Revit (pin bar mylar drafting - thanks for the update!) overlays, etc. etc. are simply tools or techniques, each with their own advantages/disadvantages and learning curves.  The ones that have gone by the wayside (especially manual methods) had obvious constraints, but early computer systems also had their own limitations.

While my attitude towards Revit should be fairly clear to anyone with even a passing familiarity with my rants, I've always tried to stress that it is the electrical portion of the software specifically that is the focus of my disdain.  It was obvious from the get-go that it had started as an architectural tool, with the Engineering portions slapped on as an afterthought.

Obviously the Architectural/Structural portions were developed more thoroughly, so it wasn't surprising when Architects and Structural Engineers took to it like pedophiles at a poorly chaperoned field trip. It was the first time most of the people I worked with had been exposed to a 3D design tool (as I've mentioned before, I had spent years designing site and interior lighting in 3D).


Besides the advantage of more fully developed software for their disciplines, they also had the combined efforts of dozens of Architects, designers/drafters, and even one Mechanical designer who literally damned near killed himself beating his head against the Revit machine to make it work (at least something) like it was advertised.

All I had were a dozen projects at any given time to get the fuck out the door - and a couple of shitty 'tutorials' that didn't even come close to addressing what to do when you were dropped head first into the pool of shit that were early (and even later on) Revit models in a never-ending process of flux (and ironically, taking longer and longer to complete).


In theory, this would've given me longer to complete them - and made up for the extra time necessary to overcome the plethora of obstacles Revit would throw up at any given moment.  In reality, I no longer had any way of knowing what the status of my projects were any given time.  If I walk away from a CAD file, and come back to it later, it's exactly the fuck where I left it.

Even if the Architects had been busy rearranging the floor plan - as soon as I exported a new one and dropped it in, the worst that could happen is that I would need to rearrange or maybe add/delete a few things, and adjust my circuits accordingly.  If I walked away from a Revit file for even a day or two, I might come back to find everything fucked.

And that's just goddamned unacceptable.

Anyway, back to what this guy was saying.  I honestly don't know what doing large scale architecture
projects was like in ACAD, and I can imagine it could turn into an unholy nightmare - but the 'how many fucking layers does it take to design an outhouse?' comment struck me as funny, because I had developed a set of field house drawings for a school (including architectural, structural, mechanical, plumbing AND electrical).

I did the whole project in one file - without paper space, and when I was done I had maybe a dozen layers for each discipline just to keep everything straight.  Out of all of the other functions and minutiae ACAD can get you stuck fucking with, I simply don't use 99% of it.  I know quite a few of the settings/commands that can be tweaked to get the results I want (but I don't have to keep them in my head, because the Internet is a massive repository of information on ACAD).

I was amazed when I first started at my current job to find that someone had somehow allowed a metric fuckton of layers (and other junk) to invade their template - and refused to be purged.  I noticed that their files would run into trouble after a few times of cutting/pasting information (you would go to 'paste' and nothing would happen - no error, just 'derp').  I knew there had to be some relation between this and all the extra junk (that was bloating the file size).

Fortunately, after a few minutes of browsing the Internet, I ran across a command called 'write block' (-wblock), which I already knew about, but when you go to write the block, you can specify '*' and it will basically create a new file with everything in it - sans all of the embedded blocks/layers/bullshit.  The result was a smaller/leaner file without all of the bazillion layers/linetypes/etc. - and you could now cut/paste to your hearts delight.

I will admit, there are a number of commands/toggles that could be better arranged, or have better defaults (and maybe some prompts), but having been around computers (and CAD) since way before there were mice connected to them, I'm fairly adept at working my way through things - and the ACAD text window gives you a running tab of what is happening at any given time (so you know that it is having a problem instead of Revit just fucking dinging at you).

I don't use the 'ribbon' or even the classic menus - just a handful of commands in the QAT, and a few pop up menus (properties, the text window, layer manager, etc. that come up on a second screen - leaving me with just... all kinds of room to see what I'm doing.  I also love the ability to flip on viewports and be able to simultaneously look at up to eight different places in my drawing.

How I operate mostly just depends on where my left hand is at any given moment (I'm left handed - although I do keep my mouse buttons set up the same as a right hander)  if it's on the mouse, I will click a command, but if it's on the keyboard, I can quickly type a command (or shortcut - and not have to worry about hitting two keys and starting a fucking unwanted command like in Revit). 

Now, the funniest comment - having to do with pulling up an older project.  Try to do it in Revit.

The first thing you will be doing is waiting for half an hour (or more) while it upgrades to your current version (and good luck if it has any problem doing so).  Obviously if the CAD user didn't know about 'relative path' then it's easy for xrefs to get fucked up (I can feel you - because I just got done fixing nearly 200 sheets that some idiots handed over to us to do 'as builts' - including some details that the morons had saved onto their desktop instead of the folder with the rest of the files.

As far as having to drill down through every drawing and change everything to black - could you not simply plot monochrome?  (Maybe not)  But in Revit it wouldn't have been 15 seconds, because you would STILL be waiting for it to convert.  I could see where it would be a bitch to have to go back and use ACAD after having gotten to your level of Revit mastery though - I can imagine it would be like trying to issue a set of drawings on a typewriter.

I like to complain about the garbage files I get from Architects - but I do realize that the files they are sending me are dependent on Revit being able to export to CAD correctly.  What makes me amused is when I see an actual set of their sheets or .pdfs - and it's plain to see right there in their drawings due to view range fuckups (from the 16 quadrillion view range settings).  Honestly, I actually enjoy going through and cleaning up a set of drawings for my use - and it's a great way to get familiar with the building.

To tell the truth, in my current job, I usually have less problems out of Architects, and more out of Electrical Engineers/Designers (the ones whose job I used to do) who don't understand what is necessary for the systems I am designing to meet code (or even work at all).  I just got done issuing a building for a college that was showing zero sprinkler equipment, and had conflicting information for the elevator (due to a typical detail they dropped in - and nonsense on their drawing).

Hopefully one day you will get to have the pleasure of dealing with an MEP firm that is tying the Revit anchor around their balls.  Most simply can't justify the cost - especially since many are using older 'stand alone' copies of CAD (nothing that Autodesk has added in the last decade really has much affect on drafters - and you can download the latest version of TrueView for free if you need to open a newer .dwg file).

It was enough of a pain in the ass to keep up with Revit when all of the disciplines were in the same building - have fun constantly uploading/downloading massive files and watching as it eats itself (especially as Revit newbies attempt to figure out how the hell to use it, quickly burn out, and start to resent you - more than they probably already do).

Everyone can take Revit and stick it up their ass (sideways) - or use it (fuck it - it's no longer my problem).

Extraordinarily,
S.F.

Next Time: The Ever Morphing Nature Of The Revit Model

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

An Open Letter To The Revitards Who Designed This Fucking Hotel

Cheerio - Pip Pip!

I spent a few days playing 'catch-up' with the never-ending barrage of comments coming from the layers and layers of bureaucracy involved on the half-dozen or so government projects I've been trying to finish for the last year or so - and then got started on a seven story, 50,000+ s.f. hotel.

Unlike the last project I worked on, it was immediately evident this one had been modeled by a team of Revitards operating at maybe 35% brain function.  Fortunately, having spent years unfucking Revitized garbage for my use, it wasn't too difficult to get them cleaned up.

That didn't mean they weren't chock full of just... fucking sad attempts at forcing Revit to vomit up something resembling floor plans (including importing linework for kitchen/bar plans - but not bothering to look at them closely enough to actually provide a coordinated set of plans.

Then on top of that, other discipline's engineers/designers had gotten their hands on it, meaning piles of overlapping, conflicting, and otherwise view-range challenged garbage strewn everywhere.  On the upside, rather than extract 'typical' plans, the equipment I needed was all on the overall plans.

As usual, it was extremely difficult to suss out which units were accessible - since it is apparently impossible to simply label them as such (although they did have symbols denoting which ones were hearing impaired - one of which was comically disappearing under a bed).

Also, as usual, the equipment shown in the guest units didn't make logical sense - meaning that no matter how much thought I put into my design, it will be extremely surprising if I don't end up revisiting the project at least once (minimum).

I'm going to second-guess at least one thing that would require considerable reworking if the AHJ rejects the current design (which I'm almost certain they will) by calculating a heavier load for some devices, then going back and lowering it to match what they show.

I've mentioned doing this before - when equally retarded fucksticks were simply leaving necessary equipment off.  The repetition necessary to recreate the same systems unit after unit (whether doing typical units - or overall as in this case) always shows cracks.

The irony being that Revit is supposed to make it easier/faster (lies/damned lies) but as always, I go unit to unit and floor to floor and find where instead of being able to simply copy and tweak, every single device is placed in every single unit, meaning every time is a chance to overlook something.


I'm seeing lights disappear beneath sink counters (because they are mounted at the wrong height), receptacles and other devices strewn everywhere as they attached to things other than the walls they should have been attached to.  Things floating in space, things stuck halfway in walls.

And that's before you get to the myriad minor (unnecessary, and almost certainly unintended) changes from unit to unit/floor to floor - that only become clear when a template is applied to them.  Again - every wall has to be drawn, every window inserted, every piece of millwork placed.

Many times, when dealing with architects, I was able to show them that their Reviteers were fucking this type of stuff up - and in almost every case, they would make them go back and fix it (but only after it was pointed out).

There were a few project managers (that were still stuck Reviting because they wanted their projects not to be complete suckholes) who knew how to use tools in Revit to keep things consistent, but that had more to do with their experience in architecture, rather than reliance on software.

They were definitely in the minority though, as the vast majority of Revit cheerleaders were obviously having to cut any number of corners to pretend like they were successfully turning out work on par with what their non-Revit predecessors had done.


You've probably heard the old saying 'to err is human, but to really fuck things up requires a computer'.  Well - burying something in shit and destroying any chance at ever digging your way out definitely requires Revit.

It also doesn't hurt if you never leave the office, and never have to see the result of your fucktarded 'designs' being implemented by people who have to figure out how to unfuck them as millwork, countertops, and entire sections of rooms have to be custom built and/or modified.

Anyone bidding a job would do well to find out if it was designed in Revit, and include a little extra in their bid for exactly these types of contingencies.  In years past, if you were doing multiple 'identical' units, you could simply figure out the first one, and reuse those calculations.

This made for considerably faster and more consistent work - but enter the Revitized building, and every trade is having to make countless adjustments as 'coordinated' plans turn out to be sad attempts by Reviteers at cramming everything into a model at the last second.

The people in the field are left with a dilemma - build as shown (i.e. - wrong), or correct, and risk causing problems that require them to go back and adjust to what was shown (at their own expense).  I know if I were doing it, every single fuckup would be written up as a change order.

Knowing where those fuckups stemmed from would be key - as would getting past the first layer of Revit apologists who are going to try to hide those fuckups from their superiors (after adamantly denying that the fuckups exist in the first place).

Fuck inconsistency.  Fuck the Revit lies - and fuck anyone selling those lies.

And if you don't like it - Fuck You.

-SF

Next Time: A Revit Fan Chimes In.