Sunday, December 11, 2011

Family Counseling

When I open Revit files, I am usually part humored and part frustrated at the amount of 'rogue' data I find. Room Tag 2 - small 2, EQ-1234 - clay, etc. These families are frustrating usually because the intelligence exists in the the family to create new types on the fly or exist already in type catalogs, but not in the user. That's not to say they are not intelligent at all, it's really a reflection on need and comfort with the tool. In the AutoCAD days, a quick explode, edit, wblock was all you needed to accomplish the task at hand sometimes, and the 'requirement' of Revit is a bit different. Take for instance: doors.
The new Project Architect. 

Doors always seem to start simply enough; "We only have 10 types on any given project, those should be our standard" really means, "I can only think of 10 right now, but I'm sure we'll need 37 by the time we're done". This dilemma exists in most families, so replace 'door' with whatever rfa you can think of, and we're on the same page.

The problem occurs when that 11th door needs to be inserted, and the basic info known at that time is probably limited to its width and maybe some instance info like hardware (hardware is not a type parameter here). So what is a user to do other than revert and grab the 3'-0" door, edit, save as, rename, reload? That's not to say that you have to know everything about the door before you can place it. Our doors are built in such a way that all you need is to know one thing about it, then swap out for new types (from a catalog) as you discover more about it. Not everyone uses them that way; that's why I am writing this.
My door. Seriously, it does everything!

Before, all that extra data is covered in a tag sitting on a block (maybe that block even had attributes) filled out by a PA whose main job it was to manage and coordinate the drawings. Now it's embedded into the family itself and that nice door schedule that's running in the background looks all wrong, and it's Revit's fault.

The big picture is how BIM is changing us as architects into something different. DWOB (Drafting WithOut Brains) was a phrase that I heard a lot going way back into the AutcCAD days, but was more easily managed by our team leads who simply 'fixed' it in CDs. Now that management of the information starts at the beginning (honestly, where it should have been already) and our youngest architects are affecting our workflows in ways most aren't comfortable with.

My take is that, rather than preventing them, we should be enabling them. Communication and education (mentoring) is key.

1 comment:

  1. Family counseling is very beneficial to strengthen their relationships as a family.
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