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« The Relevance of Darkness to Balance the Light | Main | What's the Use Case? For Revit Users and Autodesk... Part 1 »
Tuesday
Apr052011

What's the Use Case? For Revit Users and Autodesk... Part 2

So, how does one explain a use case?  One needs to explain what does not work or what is needed to enhance current workflows, what needs to change or be added and how this will benefit teams.  From what I hear, the "our employees waste X amount of time each week because of Y" is one of the best benefit explinations since X always = $.  Screen caps and mockups will also speak more for what you need than any words could ever explain.

So here is one use case that I had, let me know what you think:

Rooms NEED to be seen and operate in 3D as they do in 2D plans.

There are many times where the users I support spend a tremendous amount of time duplicating work so that "fake" rooms can be seen in a 3D view since the actual room cannot be seen in 3D.  This duplication work is done each time the plan changes creating more time to follow the changes with the "fake" elements than it takes to make the change to the room in the first place.  Some of the areas of the design process that would benefit from 3D room visibility include planning, conceptual design, visualizing space use and verifying that the room volume is correct.  Don Rudder at Revit .NET Development even created an API to deal with the issues we all face due to the inability to see 3D rooms.  Part 1 & Part 2 His API creates masses based on rooms which is what we have done for a long time manually.

Use Case 1:

There are many times that we need to see just the program in 3D.  Walls obscure the actual focus of what is important in the planning stages, the program and adjacencies.  If we could see the rooms in 3D and color them like we do in 2D plans, then we would not need to duplicate work and coordinate all of the rooms with masses in the same location.  This would reduce the duplication work in the conceptual phases of a project and make the teams much more efficient.  I would figure that about a half day goes into coordinating the masses to match the rooms before each presentation (internally or externally). Probably two meetings per month over six months would be 6 wasted days of time.

Use Case 2:

During the schematic design and design development phases, we are asked by the clients, management and the designers to show the rooms in 3D.  Since Revit cannot show or color a room in 3D, we are forced to create one of two very time consuming work-arounds:

  1. Fake Ceiling: A separate ceiling that is colored based on the program and slightly transparent so that one can see the room beyond.  This allows one to see the program or departments and the spaces as the project develops.
  2. In-Place Masses: Since one may have already created in-place Masses to show the program, this could be continued throught the project. Again, the coordination can be quite time consuming.

This is a huge time sink for the project teams when they could be doing more to advance the project and make it more efficient.  Another option would be to just not do it in Revit... gasp! I know, I know, I am a big supporter of one place, one software is more efficient workflow but this may actually be faster if done in an Adobe product.  A shame, since for all intents and purposes the room object is 3D but you just cannot use it like you do in plan.

Use Case 3:  Energy Analysis

It is critical for energy analysis to have the rooms fill the space.  To do this currently, we need to cut numerous sections which is prone to error and not as easy to see all conditions.  The ability to see Rooms in 3D would help make sure that our models are ready for analysis.  Harlan Brumm (Autodesk) had a session at Autodesk University 2010 called Fixing Bad BIM for Energy Analysis and he shows how one must cut numerous sections to see how the room fills the space.  If rooms were able to be shown in 3D, this would not be so difficult.  Here is an image from his handout:

 

By nailing down the basics of what does not work and how a new workflow would benefit different aspects of the design process, it is easier to make a case within the management at Autodesk to put some effort into it.  If I were to just say, "It is rediculous that one cannot see a room in 3D, it is a failure in the use of the software."  That would not provide much information for them to go by.  

Check back for Part 3... coming soon!

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