Big news: I’m moving my ramblings from revit.com.au to digitalbbq.au! This change is more than just a URL – it’s a complete refresh in content and approach. I’ll be honest, revit.com.au started to feel a bit limiting for me over the past couple of years, and it’s time for a change.
I’m breaking free from the shackles of revit.com.au with digitalBBQ, where I can dive into everything from the nitty-gritty of digital delivery to the broader strokes of our industry, and even the odd tale from life outside of work (because let’s face it, there’s a lot more to me than BIM).
The Revit batch unit conversion tool has been updated to work with Revit 2021. For those not familiar with the tool, it allows you to convert the current document, or to batch process families to convert them from metric to imperial.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you download model source files from BIM360, sometimes they’re a singular Revit model and sometimes they’re a bundled ZIP package containing the Revit links?
Ever wondered why, or how to change this to get just the singular model?
They’re generally pretty easy to spot in the BIM360 web portal, you just need to look at the file size.
The files highlighted in green which have a much smaller file size will be downloaded as the singular Revit file, while the files highlighted in red with the larger file size will pull down the file plus it’s links in a ZIP package.
But what’s the difference between these files? Are there particular publish settings that are required?
Well.. sort of.. you’ll kick yourself when you realise how simple it is, but then you’ll also be annoyed at how time consuming it could be on a large project.
Unload your links prior to publishing!
The model in the top screenshot is the 11mb model, it doesn’t have it’s links loaded and this is the way that it is published.
Meanwhile, the file with three links loaded is the 297mb model, so in reality the ZIP package could be much larger if all the links were currently loaded.
The problem I see with this is that with large projects, to achieve this you will need to unload the links, synchronise and then publish. That’s a lot of work when you have a lot of models but as always, there is potential to automate the mundane tasks.
Top tip from a co-worker, the new Desktop Connector 13.x allows you to clear the Desktop Connector cache, so if you’re someone that is limited on space or wants to clear up old project data, then this is for you!
This isn’t the same cache as your C4R/BIM360 cloud model cache, but rather the cache of files from Desktop Connector. This cache would include items such as non-workshared RVT links, DWG, IFC, NWC links or other files that you have been accessing through desktop connector.
It’s a simple enough process to clear up the space, and unlike my C4R Cache Cleaner, you cannot delete individual files, it simply deletes the entire cache for a given project.
Right click on your project of choice, and from there the only menu option that you’re presented with is to free up space.
Confirm that you want to clear the cache and you’re away. Once you see the confirmation notification, you’re all done.
I personally only had 2.9gb of cache for this particular project, but others on my team are reporting upwards of 25gb of files they no longer needed locally cached.
Need to reclaim more space?
If you’re struggling with available space on your system and a hard drive upgrade isn’t an option, I highly recommend Space Sniffer if you’re on Windows. It gives an easy to follow visual representation of what is taking up space on your system and where.
You can take a visual deep dive through your folders to see where data is stored. Just keep in mind some things are critical to the operation of Windows and can’t be deleted, but if you have 7 versions of Revit installed for example, when you see how much room they take up it might finally give you the nudge that you need to uninstall a few versions that you no longer use.
Alrighty, calm down! I know C4R is the old and BIM360 is what we mostly work with now, but it was a long time ago when I created this handy little tool.. and “BIM360 Cache Cleaner” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
But explaining to the average user how to clear these models by searching journals and digging through their appdata folder, not to mention don’t forget your PacCache folder.. man.. it’s hard work!
As I’ve been getting involved in big projects again, I’ve already had two instances where I have had corrupted local files. This could be caused by all sorts of things, but I find usually the culprits are
Dropped internet connection during open or sync
Project partners running different patch versions of Revit (i.e. 2020.1 and 2020.2.1)
Corrupt family elements
Realistically though it could be caused by any number of bad Revit practices and the bigger the project, well, the more chance you’re going to stumble across things that break models.
All that aside though, a long time ago I decided to create a tool that would assist with this local cache cleaning process, and as I’ve found that I’ve needed to use it recently, I thought I would provide it free of charge for anyone that might find it useful.
It’s pretty easy to use, and it’s premise is simple. C4R Cache Cleaner is a standalone program that reads the journal files saved on your local machine to discover local copies of BIM360 files stored on your machine.
It won’t tell you what models are corrupt, and it doesn’t save a list of files that you’ve opened over time. If the project or the file isn’t found in a journal file.. well.. it just won’t show up.
The reason for this is that when you want to fix up a locally corrupted model, it’s something that you have been working on just now. There is no point to over complicate the tool to record a history of models through Revit addins and other fun stuff.
Most people should be able to figure out how to use the tool without any further instruction, but just in case you want a little more direction on how to clean your cache, I present you with probably the least pretty diagram I’ve created.
Hopefully someone else out there will find this little tool helpful, I know I do.. but I’m kind of biased.
Think this tool is worth something? Consider donating to support the operation of the site and the development of further tools in the future.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’d be aware that almost globally the British Standards are the benchmark for all things BIM.
The international standard ISO19650 is based on the British BS and PAS1192 documents. Most naming conventions out there are based on BS 8451-1:2012. BS8451-1 covers naming and classification of BIM objects for architectural and engineering and construction. Natspec Open BIM Object Standard (OBOS), ANZRS? Yep you guessed it. They’re based on or derived from BS 8451.
There are two options in the British Standard. Objects that contain classification parameters and objects that don’t. What does this mean for you though? In it’s most basic sense if you drop the required classification information into parameters within the objects themselves, then you can have far simpler object names.
Don’t want to populate classification parameters? Well you’re naming content the long way.
Objects that contain classification attributes
If your object contains classification information within parameters, you don’t need to repeat that information in the family name. Providing data just because technology allows you to isn’t the right way to approach BIM.
BS8451-1 calls for “at least one classification to a UK convention” or “a classification from an equivalent generic classification text” so if you’re using Uniclass, Omniclass, Master Spec, it doesn’t matter as long as it is what your client has requested or you project team has agreed to.
The source or author is the library author, such as a company or the manufacturer themselves. This could be an abbreviated code, or it could be the full name.
It’s also not both the author and the manufacturer, it should be one or the other. It is who created the content. If the manufacturer had their content created by a third party, this is when it should the the manufacturer’s name or abbreviation. And if you’re not sure how to abbreviate your company name, if they’re listed on the stock exchange, that’s a good place to start!
The type is the first level of specialisation. A lot of people in the Revit world make the mistake of this being the Revit family category, which if we come back to the concept of “don’t repeat information just because you can” if you use the category as the type portion of the name, you’d missed an opportunity.
The subtype or product is optional but in my opinion it’s quite useful. It’s used to convey information not captured in attribute data.
An example of an object named in this manner could be my floorwaste gully family. In this instance the name might be:
Or say in the instance of a surface mount troffer lighting fixture, you might name it:
or better yet because our objects are already categorised, we can skip “LightFixture” from the name and run with something like this:
In each instance, the remainder of the classification information and any other required information is contained within the object itself.
Objects that do not contain classification attributes
So this is where the naming can get tricky, and oddly enough much of the content I’ve seen over the years uses this long form of naming or some hybrid of this system to name their content, even if the object contain relevant classification parameters.
There isn’t a problem with this, if you want to use the long form naming convention that’s great, but just remember you want to keep your content and it’s naming simple and easy so your team is more likely to use it.
For these kinds of objects, the standard adds extra information to the front end of the object name.
The role is the role of the object owner on the project based upon the BS1192:2007 requirements for defined roles and responsibilities, for example LB for library provider and MN for manufacturer.
The classification is the coding from the classification system that your client has requested or the project has agreed to. Using my previous content examples
23-31 27 00
23-35 47 11 11 11
BS8541-1 also permits the text description of the classification code to be included and separated by a colon, for example: Pr_70_70_48_85:Surface luminaires
Presentation is optional and describes the level of detail that the object is presented in.
The remainder of the fields remain the same, covering the Source or Author, Type and Subtype or Product.
Using the same families again, using this long form approach the families would be named as follows:
It’s arguably more agreeable naming convention as the first portion of the name has no risk of becoming an endless list of redundant company abbreviations that make it impossible to search for object alphabetically.
The FunctionalType portion of the name is the broadest descriptor that can be used. In the example of our floorwaste, that would be FloorWaste. It’ is made very clear in the ANZRS documentation that the functional type or the type have nothing to do with the Revit family category.
The Subtype contains the next logical level of information to descibe the element. In the example of my floor waste, I would want to know what kind of material it is made from, so I would use PVC.
This might vary greatly depending on the type of object and the kind of information you wish to convey.
The Manufacturer is obvious, if the object is intended to be generic, then simply enter Generic.
Descriptor is entirely optional, but it’s where you can provide additional information to help describe the object.
As with other naming conventions there are no allowances for spaces or hyphens. Underscores should be used to separate descriptors and multiple word descriptors should use PascalCase.
Using our same objects as examples again, using ANZRS they would be named as follows:
LightFixture_Troffer_Acme_SurfaceMounted or more in line with the ANZRS descriptors would be:
The Natspec Open BIM Object Standard flips the BS8541-1 naming on it’s head in the same way ANZRS does, but OBOS gets a little more descriptive.
The Type, Subtype and Source are the same as the ANZRS functional type, type and manufacturer.
OBOS then continues to add further descriptors, starting with Product/Range Identifier which is used to identify the manufacturer’s product range or product identifier. This could be a part number.
The Differentiator is to provide additional information as required to describe the object or it’s material.
Finally, the Originator is a 3-6 character code to indicate who has authored the object.
Again taking our same families, they would now be named
As I’ll always argue, you need to make it easy for the team working with the content. In my opinion don’t overload the naming convention with coded abbreviations, especially if you’re using teams overseas.
My main two arguments when naming content will always be:
Don’t prefix your content with your company name or the author name (sorry BS8541, you’re doing it wrong). Not every company has a content management system to make searching easier. If you’re using Revit or file explorer to search for content, drop the author/company descriptor to the back of the filename like they do in ANZRS or OBOS.
Don’t waste your type or subtype descriptors by using the Revit family category. Use something that actually adds value to your content naming rather than something redundant. Again, it needs to be something that is easy to find without a content management system. Revit already sorts content by family category, adding that family category to the name of the object is a waste.
Another consideration to working with teams overseas and content naming, make sure that you understand some of the nuances in their use of English. For example, the Philippines is Americanised so many of the terms used in Australia or Europe may not be directly understood without explanation.
At the end of the day, it’s whatever works for you and your team. Make sure the naming convention is discussed with all stakeholders, that everyone can come to a compromise for the greater good.
Finally, make sure that it is all adequately documented so that anyone can jump in and understand what is going on.
So even though in the BIM world we produce models, guaranteed every project that you’re currently working on you’re also contractually obliged to produce drawings.
Drawings require things like notes and symbols, legends and linestyles.. and sheet or view references.
When you have a large architectural background or piece of linear infrastructure, you need to split your plans up over multiple sheets. When this happens, it’s best practice to include a sheet reference so whoever is reading the drawing knows where to go to keep on reading.
Usually this is common sense, it’s the next sheet in the drawing set. Even when this is the case though, you still need to provide a sheet reference.
With all the data you have at your fingertips in the model, for some reason people still insist on using text notes. That’s dumb text for those playing at home.
So let’s paint a picture. You’re working on a piece of linear infrastructure, and there is now a requirement for an additional 3 or 4 drawings at the front end of the set. You have text notes to update, across 58 drawings!
Why are you torturing yourself (and me)?
Use view references. They’re a handy dandy little family type that you can reference the view itself, which then provides the sheet number that the view resides on. If the drawing numbers change, then everything is updated automatically. No need to edit dumb text notes.
It might seem like a chore when you first set it all up and link the references to the correct views, but then for the rest of the project it’s smooth sailing. Why make life harder for yourself in the long run?
Don’t get mad. Get view referencing.
After fixing up an entire series of drawings and sending a few astounded and frustrated messages to some mates over WhatsApp (sorry guys!), I got to the end of my list of views and realised there was an out of sequence view.
Ignoring that there is clearly an extra step in the scope box naming vs. the view naming, the very last view in the list “Sheet 37” had scope box 23 applied to it.
Well.. no need to get mad, after renaming the incorrect views in Excel and slipping the new view 24 into the sequence, I only had to fix up the view references on views 23 and 25 to reference the new 24 and create the new references on view 24.
Could you just imagine if you had to fix that up if it was a dumb text note? Especially after you had just run through the entire sequence of views.
This is one I have unfortunately come across too many times, you notice that you can’t access BIM360 in Revit 2020, you check your version and you have plain old 2020 which is before the critical TLS patch was released. Easy, I’ll install the 2020.1 patch.
But Revit says no. Update to 2020.2 right? Well.. no. The project you’re working on for the short term is locked into 2020.1 to keep versions consistent. So what are we going to do?