The Blogger reborn?? comes alive!

Hey readers (yes, both of you!)

Well, I am back on the blogging bandwagon, with a reborn and rebuilt site.


See you there! :-) m@

"and now ... the end is near ... "

Dear readers ... if any of you are out there still.

Yes, its been a while, almost the longest break in blogging history.

Last post, 8th of Feburary 2007 ... 15 months in the blogging/working/marrying/honeymooning/job changing/life changing/travelling wilderness ... yes, its hard to imagine, but I have had better things to do.

And in that time, a plethora (you should try to use that word at least once a day - thats my count achieved) of fantastic blogs, logs, groups and sites have popped up, as well as this new fandangled thing called Facebook!! It wont catch on :-)

So now, as the end is near, I am passing the batton (he already took it without asking!) to Gregory Arkin, better known as Revit 1.0, or man.

If there is a more active blogger out there, please let me know. But I seriously, seriously doubt it.
Congratulations Gregory for taking the undisputed lead, and, in all seriousness, creating an amazing resource. And for having almost as many gadgets as me!!

So, "do yourself a favour" and bookmark his blog instead, and either delete this link, or save it for your grandkids!

And whilst your at Gregory's site, dont forget to vote for our AU paper! Gregory and Matt live on stage ... clothes on!

Lastly, thanks for reading ... and watch this (cyber) space!!

Cheers, m@

Download the Latest Version of FlexLM (LMTOOLS)

When updating your version of Revit on a network licence installation, dont forget to update the Licence Manager program that resides on the server. FlemLM otherwise known as LMTools.
The appropriate version will be included on the installation CD/DVD.
However, to ensure you have the latest version, this link if very handy.

iTunes for Revit family files!! Content Highway (beta)

OK, perhaps that comparison is little over the top, but the potential is certainly there.

Addressing a major limitation with managing family file content with the Revit interface, Digital Building Solutions has released a beta of a program called Content Highway.

Content Highway Desktop is a content management solution for Autodesk Revit that allows you to manage Revit family (RFA) files on your computer and optionally publish them to Content Highway Web for sharing and collaboration. Key features are:

  • manage Revit families on your computer and network
  • publish your families to the internet for communal sharing
  • simultaneous grid and thumbnail dualview
  • dynamic resizing of thumbnails using a slider
  • find families using instantaneous "search as you type" methods
  • assign and edit family properties
  • sort families by any number of fields, including Supplier, Uniformat, Masterformat, Path, Filename, Cost, etc.
  • associate custom images to families
  • associate multiple URLs to families
  • create URL 'thumbshots'
  • link Suppliers products to families
  • create local Suppliers list
  • classification by Revit Category, Supplier, Uniformat, Masterformat 95, Masterformat 04
  • drag drop families into Revit
  • type catalog editor
  • manage types from catalog files (coming later)
  • manage types from Revit (RVT) project files (coming later)
Too good to be true?? Lets hope not.

Visit the beta download site at:

Happy New Year - and a belated Xmas gift

Happy New Year! Well, whilst most of us are eagerly awaiting Revit 10 (late March 2007 so the traps have it) - Autodesk are still not finished with Revit 9.1.

They have just released a new build, imaginatively titled 120206.

This build, (20061202_0700), addresses several support requests concerning revit-based release 9.1 project files.Support requests related to the following areas have been addressed:
  • Export of projects with linked RVT files to the 3D DWF™ file format
  • Occasional corruptions within default template files
  • “Cannot load element” messages preventing the ability to Save To Central
  • Behavior of dimension witness lines for cropped objects
  • Visual fidelity of objects when printing files with linked files
  • Door swings from linked RVT files that would not vector print or export
  • Selecting of level annotations
  • Anomalies invoked by exceeding maximum array size
  • Loading of families into local files
The link for the latest build is here - sorry about the lack of wrapping paper and a card.

What Grounded the Airbus A380?

No, not Revit (thankfully!). But this article is about a cornerstone of the digital architecture promise; digital collaboration and design development.

According to, "[Airbus] engineers in Germany and Spain stuck with an earlier version of Paris-based Dassault Systemes' CATIA design software, even though the French and British offices had upgraded to CATIA 5. That meant the German teams couldn't add their design changes for the electrical wiring back into the common three-dimensional digital mockup being produced in Toulouse. ..." ("Airbus Vows Computers Will Speak Same Language After A380 Delay").

Revit, unlike most BIM and CAD applications, is now positioned as a collaboration and digital prototyping tool within the AEC segment, specifically through the offerings of Revit Building (Architecture), Revit Structure (Structural Engineering) and now Revit Systems (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing/Hydraulics, Air Handling, Heating and Cooling). In addition to this suite of products, there is the ability to export to gbXML, IFC, and a host of third party applications.

What does this mean for digital collaboration within AEC? The potential is enormous and fantastic. However, the risks, if everyone is not "on the same page" in terms of software versions and capability as highlighted with the Airbus A380 senario, as equally as great.

>What Grounded the Airbus A380?

>Lessons for All CAD Users

OGLE: Have to see it to believe it!

Stumbled across this gem on Jeffrey McGrew's blog when looking for some info on Revit topography (more on that later).

This tool called Ogle (get it - Open GL - Ogle ...) apparently lets you screen capture 3d information from an Open GL complient application direct from the Open GL video card, and import it into REVIT!!

When I get a moment I will try it out ... but it looks amazing! >>Read more>>

Revit Perfomance & Hardware - what you need to know

Many users are keen to push Revit to its limits to fully exploit the potential of BIM.
Given the incredible amount of computations that this requires, we are often asked about the "best" hardware spec for Revit.

The minimum system requirements for Revit 9.1 are actually quite manageable, however seeing that in Australia, most Revit seats are purchased as the Series option (share licence with AutoCAD 2007), the minimum (and higher) system spec's of ACAD2007 take precedence.

This is particularly the case with recommended Graphics Cards. Whilst Revit doesn't have a restriction as such, it is HIGHLY recommended that you utilise a certified AutoCAD graphics card to avoid any possible issues (and to future proof your investment.) **

Recently an excellent about this was posted by David Duarte on his blog Revit for Beginners.

Does Revit take full advantage of 64bit processors?
Does Revit take full advantage of dual processors?
Does Revit take full advantage of high-end graphics cards?

Read on here for the answers

Autodesk Discussions. Look right here!

I am sure that many users have discovered the Autodesk discussion groups whenever they are "googling" for program help, so I thought I would post the link to the discussion directories.
All you could ever want to know and more!
Congratulations and thank you to the tireless work of the moderators and contributors that make the discussion groups happen. I am sure an often thankless but crucial task.

Autodesk Discussion Listing

Autodesk Revit Building

Autodesk AutoCAD 2007

Autodesk Network Licencing (NLM / LMTools)

The new - version 2.0!

Since may of 2003, when was launched, many of users have requested upgrades and improvements to the site. After 3 years it was decided it was time for a major overhaul. It is hoped version 2.0 will prove to be an even better experience for users than before. Below you will find a list of the improvements, upgrades and additions to the site.

  • New Design
  • Printable versions of Tutorials
  • Improved chat system, with chat admins to help control activity there
  • Invite other users that are currently online to chat with you
  • Site Polls
  • Edit/Delete gallery images that you've posted
  • Improved site searching with more relevant results
  • Ability for user to customize the home page
The organization of families and patterns has undergone a major overhaul. Patterns and families have been combined into a single group now called objects, this will allow for better control and organization of the objects. Objects can now be sorted in the folder tree by CSI MasterFormat 04, and the organization system you are already used to. In addition, the content tree can also be sorted by manufacturer and manufacturer logo's can be displayed on the site.

Below is a brief list of the major upgrades to the downloadable content system:

  • Users can edit their own uploaded content.
  • Versioning of objects if replacments are uploaded.
  • Ability to add the version of Revit used to create the content.
  • Manufacturer Tree
  • Tree
  • CSI MasterFormat 04 Tree
  • Accepted upload file types include .rfa, .rfa, .rvt, .rvg, .rte, .dwf, .pat, .mlib, .txt, .jpg, .gif, .tif, .png, .bmp, .csv and more.
  • CSV spreadsheet files can provide additional information about objects.
  • 2D & 3D DWF files can be uploaded to provide 3D previewing before downloading.
  • Zip Cart allows up to 10 objects to be zipped and downloaded at once.
  • Improved Object search engine.
  • Objects are scored based on rating and the number of downloads it reward users who contribute more useful content.

Autodesk® CREATE > SHARE > MANAGE Philosophy

As a technical constultant for a national Autodesk® reseller, I have had the opportunity lately to see a welcome "repositioning" of Autodesk's attitude to the Architecture and Building segment.
Privately, I think this is a "vertical" influence of the success that Autodesk products have had in the engineering and manufacturing segement, where collaboration at the "design" phase of any project is standard - not just desirable.

Therefore, with the recent announcement of products like Impressions®, the adoption of products like Constructware®, FM Desktop®, and the re-investigation of Autodesk products such as Vault® and Buzzsaw®, there is certainly a complete scope of products that can assist all areas of the Architecture and Building industry.

CREATE > SHARE > MANAGE as per the Autodesk website here.

Interesting times indeed ....

"A wicked web we weave ..." : Browser Organisation in Revit

Just like layer organisation in good old 'CAD, Project Browser organistation (and naming) becomes critical for any Revit implementation and adoption.
Here is an excellent article on just how (and why) you can control the listing and use of the Project Browser for good, not evil.

"In big Projects, Browzer Organization is an absolute “No Brainer”. It allows you to effectively streamline the otherwise out of control and massive list of views that go with the territory.
The method for Browzer Organization that I have found suites our offices the most effectively is by organizing the views by scale then by associated level. This allows us to work on the parts of the project that are required in that instance of the project time line ..." >>Read more here>>

Pen-widths and line-weights in REVIT?? Of course ...

For those contemplating the move from 2D CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) to 3D CADD (Computer Aided Design and Documentation**), the question I am asked often is how does Revit handle line-weights and pen-widths? The assumption being that default view that Revit uses to display cut and projects of the 3D object can't possibly suit all to the people all of the time.
In my experience, its almost does, but for those amongst you who need the finite control, this posting from L.A.CAD is a great entry to the display (and then printing) variables at your finger tips.

In Revit we may not be aware of the fact that we CAN change the default way the components show up in different views, i.e. Plan, Section, etc. and at different scales ... >> Read more here >>

** Acronyms abound in all industries, but in Architecture and Design, they are absolutely everywhere. From my research, CADD was unfortunately replaced by CAD (which consigned the computer to a drawing board with a screen for almost 20 years.) But now with the advancement in affordable computing power (more so then software), CADD returns again to the fore, joining BIM and a whole new raft of terms.

"CAD is dead - long live CADD" Wiki

CAD Geometry & Building Analysis : Green design using BIM

This is an excellent background article by West Australian (now based in Wales UK) Dr Andrew Marsh, the developer of Ecotect environmental modeling software.
Having worked with Dr Marsh during my tenure at the University of South Australia, and then privately in London with Hamilton Associates UK, it would be hard to find a more dedicated and knowledgeable person in the field of environmental simulations and analysis.
I commend everyone to take some time out and asorb the enormous amount of information on both the Ecotect site, the Squ1 site, and the new site Natural Frequency.

"With an increasing regulatory emphasis on energy efficiency and building performance analysis within the design process, the need for a smooth and hassle-free conversion from CAD tool to analysis engine is becoming critical. This article considers the issues associated with such a transition, looking in detail at the kind of information required by different performance analysis / simulation tools and what is actually available in a typical CAD drawing. It looks at the various options available, including the growing influence of Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs) and gbXML, and what their impacts might be." >>Read more here >>

**Update: Read here for an annoucement by Autodesk at a recent Green Building conference. >>Read more here>>

AEC CAD Management Day : November 2nd Melbourne AU

As part of my role as Senior Technical Consultant, I will be involved with a National CAD Management Day in Melbourne. More information including registration can be found on the following site :

Date : Thursday 2nd November - Registration 8.30 am for 9am start
The annual CAD Management Day is designed to help you to evaluate new developments within the Architecture, Engineering and Construction sectors. This is an exciting opportunity to join with industry experts and focus on important CAD Management information and technology updates. Who should attend? Information Officers, CAD Managers, senior documenters and technicians. AEC will be examining industry trends, new products and management techniques

Rialto Hotel on Collins
Rialto Function Room One, Two & Three
495 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

DWF : Busted Browser: IE 7 and DWF at Odds


Cadalyst has discovered that Microsoft’s just-released Internet Explorer 7 is causing problems with Autodesk’s DWF format. Autodesk blogger Steve Shepard reports that DWF Viewer, Design Review and TrueView are not compatible with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7. Uninstalling Internet Explorer 7 and reverting to Internet Explorer 6 does not restore Autodesk functionality, because the supporting libraries from Internet Explorer 7 are left in place. Microsoft does offer a Blocker Toolkit so system administrators can disable automatic delivery of IE 7.

DWF is a full 3D and 2D exhange format that is built into Revit. For more information on DWF, see the excellent Autodesk site for Desgin Review (formally DWF Composer).

Update: Autodesk have released a HOTFIX for this issue which can be found on the "Beyond Paper" blog. Very interesting.

Revit for Google Earth - now the world IS your oyster ..

In response to user feedback, as well as to support Revit 9.1, Avatech Solutions have released an updated version of their Earth Connector for Revit, downloadable here. This version provides:

  • Improved Material Colors on Compound Structures, such as walls and roofs
  • Improved handling of curved surfaces
  • Support for Revit 8.1, 9.0 and 9.1
For more information about Revit Google Earth Connector visit the product link here.

New Revit Building "build" public release - 2006_0928_2300

Hopefully the wait is worth it ... as Autodesk has finally released for public download the long-awaiting 9.1 "update" build. 2006_0928_2300.
This build addresses the following issues.

  • File inconsistencies stemming from the upgrade process
  • Behavior of Rooms with Plan regions
  • Improvements in snap to DWG
  • Filtering as it relates to the Save-to-Central function
  • Unexpected behavior when using the spacebar
  • Placing revision tables inside of titleblock families issue
  • Irregularities within the Keynote function
  • Inconsistencies when upgrading template
  • Issues with portable license utility
Clients of mine have been using the pre-release build (posted below) without issue. I have used it for the last 2 days ... so far so good! m@

Make an Impression® (Preview Now Available)

"Impress colleagues and clients with presentation-ready graphics created directly from your CAD drawings. With Autodesk® Impression, you can add everything from distinct linetypes to textured color fills using prebuilt styles or styles that you create by editing strokes, effects, texture, patterns, and more."

Now the wraps have finally come off the worst kept secret in Autodesk (on purpose probably), I am please to post a link to the public Technology Preview (like a Beta) of Autodesk Impressions® - Autodesk's answer to 2D visualisations and renders, and a pretty good pitch for traditional Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Freehand users.

I have been on the Beta developement for this and I am particularly impressed (especially as its a big shift for Autodesk into the vector graphics realm). But so far so good. At one stage Autodesk asks for feedback on some "bylines" for the marketing effort. I am now thinking it should be:

Autodesk Impressions® : Colouring-in for Big Kids!

Revit® Landscape?

No, unfortunately there isn't any word on a Revit® Landscape, but the amount of excellent landscape components around suggests it wouldn't be hard to do.
There are 2 excellent resources for additional landscape or planting content, namely RPC (from Archvision) and Bionatics.

Importantly, both services offer Australian content, the RPC pack having a special pack for US$129.

Some RPC content ships with the Revit installation, and has both a cut and projection "symbol" or symbolic block, and a high resolution image map for rendering (with foilage and shadow casting!). Additional packs can be purchased direct from Archvision at

Bionatics is a French company that specialise in trees and landscape items, through a service called a virtural nursery. The content looks amazing, although they dont list Revit models as such, they are VIZ, ADT and MAX compatible.

I'd be keen to hear about other resources that have Australian content.

More Revit Blogs - the community keeps growing.

Discovered more Revit blogs lately, one being dedicated to ability of Revit to export to environmental analysis packages such as Ecotect.
I am hoping to post more about this feature of Revit soon, as there are a huge need for architects to be able to utilise the BIM workflow to include energy ratings, thermal analysis and other building performance data without having to re-input (or model) in stand-alone packages.

Green Revit : Revit Building and Green Design - Avatech tree hugger! :-)

BIM-Wit : Writting by a 9 year+ Senior Applications Expert - Avatech

Revit update (9.1) and AutoCAD 2007 SP1

Autodesk have recently released Revit 9.1, which is a combination of the 4 build releases and a few new features in the AUSENU default template**
Addiontally, a service pack (SP1) has been released for AutoCAD2007, and a particular one for AutoCAD2007 as part of Revit Series (Revit and AutoCAD 'bundle'.)
Both are available from the link(s) below:

AutoCAD 2007 (Revit Series) Service Pack 1

Revit Building 9.1 Release

**You will note that the default AUSENU template .rte is a whopping 16mb! Yes, its a "oversight" that slipped through according to the Revit developers I emailed. It will revert to the normal 8mb in V10. I will hope to post a revised AUSENU template on the site which has purged the offending component or family file.

Revit Tip - Degrees Minutes and Seconds ...

Finally able to solve this for a client the other day.

Apparently, in Western Australia, all roofing measurements are given in documentation as Degrees Mintues and Seconds (Do M' S").
You can change your units and measurements settings in Revit to DMS**, but then actually inputting the data seems difficult as there is no 'o' symbol key (or easily memorable shortcut key).

However, in Revit wisdom, if you input the data as 45 45 45 (45o 45' 45") with spaces between the values, Revit will automatically assume the degrees, minutes and the seconds. Easy!!
Yes, it would be nice if this was a little more obvious, and I have made that suggestion direct to the Revit team.

** Revit > Settings > Project Units > Angle > select DMS from the drop down.

DG CAD: Great content - Great guy!! ;-)

While the site looks like it was designed by someones grandchild, it is up to date with the latest REVIT 9 release. A good source of free tutorials which you can view online or download.
Lets hope some graphic style and taste finds its way into the site at some stage.

UPDATED: Well, who would have thought. Daryl, the owner and editor of DG CAD, saw my post and replied to me. OK, so calling the design of his website "crap" is a little harsh in hindsight ... and I have certainly learnt my lesson that nothing you say on the internet is "private". And I cant talk about this site at the moment, as I am "between templates" ... Thanks Daryl, and certainly keep up the great work! m@

BIM World; Bad name - good site

Unfortunately not the most orginially named, but a great site for manufacturer content (US centric at the moment). Family files are "hidden" under BIMLibrary > Downloads > and then arranged by manufacturer (sponsor).
Hosts components for all BIM capable packages, like ArchiCAD and Revit (and some AutoCAD DWG's - not that AutoCAD is true BIM).
Lets hope more Australian manufacturers get onboard - or start up a rival site.

REVITCity - one of the first and still the best

Amazing site, with the best family file search tool "Family Explorer" (sounds like a car), and a fantastic collection of links, relevant articles, and tutorials.
Free registration and worth making it a part of your daily Revit roundups!

BHP / Bluescope supports Revit through

Great news! BHP (through Bluescope, Lysaghts, Fielders and every other steel manufacturer they now own) supports REVIT by hosting steel profiles, components and material maps in REVIT family format.

Register for free, then use either the flash based CAD Panel, or search for you steel profile using the Advance search and selecting REVIT as your program type. Incredibly comprehensive, and let's hope other manufacturers get the hint and incorporate REVIT in their product resources. Stay tuned.

Bruce Gow, Revit Specialist: Brisbane, Australia


Bruce Gow, Revit Specialist: Brisbane, Australia

Bruce is a practicing architect as well as an application specialist with an Autodesk reseller. According to his site, he loves using Revit and showing others how to get the best from it. And his blog REVITALIZE shows it. Good source of tech tips and other links.