Saturday, April 5, 2014

How we drown in stylistic audacity

Change the Common Ground

It's April...and a young BIMmer's heart turns towards new software releases.

I find this time of year amusing...or anytime any new software comes out from any vendor.  The "Woot!" 's , the "Oh, darn!" 's , the "There's nothing in this!"...

I love to watch the stamping of the feet and hemming and hawing, and then...nothing.  The loudest of voices are usually the most passionate, and the ones most firmly entrenched.

In my last post, I challenged you to get out off your comfort zone.  I'll go you one more...if you are so mad at whatever someone did or did not do to your software, why not look elsewhere?  Even if it's for hedging your bet or for the sake of learning and you have no intention of changing...

Every good business in their business plan has diversification.  I was at an meeting a few years ago with many leaders from various AEC firms, and one vendor challenged them to diversify their BIM technology..."Put 10% of your projects in a different platform." they challenged.   Most won't (due to cost, or because they just don't want to, don't see a need, whatever), but look at what happened in 2008 when many single-business line AEC firms went diversification.

Side note:
Personally, and my pal Rob Jackson at Bond Bryan can back me up on this term...I am "Agnostic, with Preference."  I really don't care what technology or process you use, nor should you care which ones I use.  From an RFP or Requirements standpoint, I will do whatever is required (of course, "delivery of" and "using" are two different things.)  BUT if you give me a choice, and it fits the bill for the project, I'll choose what I am most familiar will you, and probably a good choice.

My point:  stop complaining if you aren't going to do something about it, and consider BIM Diversity.

(OK, slings and arrows time for those who will argue "We need Cross Platform BIM Interoperability so I don't need BIM Diversity" point is various technologies have various process and capabilities that you won't know about if you aren't aware.)


So, while others have been writing about Revit 2015 features, and ArchiCAD features...I'll do the AECOsim side of the house here.

Now, if you go to  you'll find the main list of the items that will be released in the AECOsim Building Design SELECT Series 5...and there may not seem to be a lot here:

Building Platform:

  • Windows 8.1 Compatibility 
  • Microsoft Office 2013 Compatibility 
  • RFA Interpreter 
  • Reporting Enhancements 
  • Replicate Drawing Option 
  • IFC Export Enhancements 
  • Create Plan View(s) Tool Enhancement 
  • Label Coordinate Annotation Tool 
  • Sneak Preview of Future Enhancements 

o Mechanical:

  • Duct Sizer (New and Improved) 
  • New Mechanical Content 
  • Drawing Enhancements 

o Structural:

  • Steel Deck Enhancements 
But I want to focus on one in particular:  RFA Interpreter.


Make once, use many

Many who I have talked about has asked:  why would Bentley create an RFA Interpreter...does that mean they are giving up on making content?  I don't think so, but you can't deny the wave that is Revit, and you can't deny that many manufacturers are creating their content in RFA (Revit Family).  

Would you want to recreate all that content, or just come up with a way to use it?  Ding, work smarter, not harder.

The RFA Interpreter reads the RFA file, and retains the geometry and parametric controls that are defined in the original RFA but behaves like native components in AECOsim.  The properties and parameters of the RFA are listed out so you can map them to their Datagroup counterparts in your Workspace (or just accept the defaults).    The parametrics are retained, the business intelligence is retained...

You can do import one at a time for placement as a massing-type object and just "place it", you can import one at a time and map the parameters to Datagroups, or you can batch convert bunches at a time for your use.

I'm not going to rehash what is in the Help File above...but I want to focus on one thing here...and I'm not sure people are seeing it.  There's no IFC here, there's no DWG, there's no "translation" per se...AECOSim is READING the RFA File and making it available for use OUTSIDE OF REVIT.

Think about that for a second...really think about it.  Do you see what I see?  Let me know if you see what I see in the comments below.

I'll most likely focus on two more items in coming posts: the IFC enhancements and the Reporting enhancements.

Enjoy the day!

Blog Title comes from the Yes song "Hold On" from 90125


Tara Imani said...

Okay, I'll go out on a limb here and answer your question "do you see what I see here?"

I think you're talking about a Bentley product and its ability to basically create or convert any manufacturer's CAD drawing and product data into a file that can be used and incorporated into the drawing at the will of the CAD operator.

I could be waaayyy off base, so I look forward to reading your reply and learning the correct answer.

Thanks for the indulgence.


ShawnF said...

Hi Tara: thanks for the comment.

I was going a bit bigger in scope, but you're on the right track. From your comment: yes, you can convert almost any content into a format that can be used and at the will of the user.

Here's what I was thinking...with Revit, you basically have to have...well.. Revit! You can't manipulate or modify or do anything with a Revit file UNLESS you have or use Revit.

Bentley, through the use of AECOsim, has figured out a way to consume an RFA file without using Revit as a converter...and the RFA family file and the main RVT file are basically the same format.

This means someone has cracked the Revit file me, that's huge. The ability to use a RVT file without RVT opens up a host of possibilities.