March 17, 2011

Ideate Health Check - QC for Your BIM, Part 2

Last month Glynnis Patterson and I presented at the Seattle Revit User Group, SeaRUG. Our topic of discussion was the increasing need to quality control/quality check Building Information Models. More and more we’re seeing our customers continuing to push BIM and Revit further. Larger, more sophisticated, and advanced building information models are being created; and as a result, these models are gradually included in the deliverables in addition to the 2D documentation required for typical projects. More and more Building Information Models are being used by construction managers, estimators, fabricators and facilities management. Therefore the accuracy of these models is more important than ever before.

Simultaneously other areas of the industry are also recognizing this need as well. With the arrival of the AIA Document E202 BIM Model Protocol and the Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) the foundation is being laid to standardize and regulate the collaboration between all parties involved in the design, construction and management within a BIM project and beyond.

We’ve begun to see our customers spending an increasing amount of time managing these data rich models whether it’s for performance reasons or ensuring accurate data. To address this need we offer the Ideate Health Check.

One of the tools we use extensively for our Ideate Health Check is the Autodesk Revit Model Review. This tool is available through the Autodesk Subscription Center as part of the Revit Extensions for Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP. Once downloaded it’s installed under the Add-Ins tab in the ribbon.

The Revit Model Review Utility allows you to review the contents of a Revit model and linked models against your established firm/project standards, produce a detailed report and in some cases even allow you to fix the inaccuracies. The utility uses Check Files based on a multitude of parameters and filters. The utility includes several pre-built Check Files to review everything from model contents and naming conventions to energy modeling.

One of the most useful check files included with the utility is the GSA Autodesk Check. For anyone who has worked on a GSA project you know how important it is to follow their established standards. The GSA Autodesk check file is designed to be run at regular intervals throughout the life of the project; and used to review the contents of the Revit model so that it is up-to-date with current GSA Standards. It reviews items such as GSA Occupant Organization Names, Room Names, STAR Space Types/Categories, Security Zones and Preservation Zones as outlined in the GSA National 3D-4D-BIM Program. Using the the Model Review Utility coupled with the Autodesk GSA Revit Template is a quick and efficient way to manage GSA projects in Revit; ensuring all content is up-to-date with GSA Standards.

In addition to the pre-built Check Files that are included with the Revit Model Review we’ve created several of our own. They’re designed to be run quickly, yet pull detailed information from the model. One of my favorites is the Ideate Health Check_In Place Families Check File. A common mistake we see Revit users make is the use of in place families. In place families are intended to be used for unique “one time occurrence” elements, are unable to reference shared information as do regular families and can lead to performance issues. For more information take a look at the Autodesk Revit Model Performance Technical Note. It’s a great reference document Autodesk created in 2010. It goes into depth and offers best practices when working with Revit.

When we run our In Place Families Check and we see multiple instances of an in place family it tells us this object should really be created as regular family. Take a look below.

The Family Pavilion is copied eight times within this one project. I would use the Select By ID tool in the Manage tab and determine if these Pavilions are legitimate objects used in the model or if they were copied accidentally. If they are being used then I recommend creating this object as a true .rfa family.

We also use the Revit Model Review to quickly pick out case sensitive text. We built our Ideate Health Check_TextCaseFix Check File to quickly assess which annotative text, room/space name text and view text need to be changed to upper case or lower case. The best part of this Check File is Model Review will fix the text for you! You don’t have to manually search through the project selecting and editing the text. This is a huge timesaver! The screenshot below shows the results after running the check. Notice the “magic wand” icon under the fix column. Clicking the “magic wand” will fix all of the Room Names in the entire project that are in lower case or mixed to upper case in a matter of seconds. Awesome!

I highly recommend downloading and installing the Autodesk Model Review. It can be an indispensable tool to quickly assess your model and fix potential issues. When used in conjunction with Ideate Explorer for Revit and Ideate BIMLink, Autodesk Model Review allows you to produce increasingly data rich models while keeping them lean and manageable.

Is your project feeling a little under the weather? Contact Ideate, Inc. about a Health Check: 888.662.7238 or

Derek Wielkopolski
Technical Support Manager/Application Specialist

Derek holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Roger Williams University, Rhode Island. He is experienced working within the AEC industry from concept design through construction administration for both small and large scale projects. As Ideate’s Support Manager he ensures a timely and quality response to support requests and questions. Follow Derek on Twitter: @dwielk