Skip to content

How to Get your City into Revit (via Flux Site Extractor)

Did you ever find yourself in the position where you badly needed the surroundings of your project but didn’t have any? That’s right. My heart goes to our fellow surveyors, but sadly enough you rarely ind yourself in a position where clients are willing to pay handsome money merely to give you what you need in order to work on your project. Life ain’t easy.
Therefore, usually you find yourself cursing horrible curses while you model randomly with less than scientific data taken from Google Earth.

You might as well hit your computer with a club, for the good you’re doing.

2001 space odyssey

Well, you always had alternatives. A couple of them have already been illustrated by my BIM manager here and here. One of them involves Dynamo. The other one… well, the other one involves a lot of lateral thinking. Should those n0t be enough, our buddies at Flux recently provided us with yet another way and it’s called Flux Site Extractor. If you don’t remember how Flux works, I gave you a brief yet painful example of application here and I’m not going to do it again.

– What does Site Extractor do? –

What you always dreamed of while looking at Google Maps: it gives you access to all that beautiful data, in terms of terrain, buildings and streets.
I’m not kidding.

2016-08-24 17_32_47-Flux_ Site Extractor

– How does that work? –

Well, first of all I suggest you register on Flux (not explaining again, as I said). Then, go straight unto the Site Extractor and pick your area of interesti by searching in the tab on the right. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll do my experiment with an area nearby the office. If you allow Flux to look at your current location, you’ll get your office too as default. And nobody cares where you work, trust me.

2016-08-24 16_54_56-Flux_ Site Extractor

In the right tab, you can also turn on and off the different set of datas you want to export.
Building Footprints will export just the… well, the building footprints, in 2d;
Building Models will export the accurate and surveyed shape of buildings;
– Topography takes care of terrain, where available;
Contour Lines is for topography, of course;
Roads, Parks and Water features export, on different layers, elements pertaining to landscape.

When no data is available, you’ll be able to generate buildings at random heights (just for the LULz, I guess) between a given customizable range. That’s what the Generate Other Buildings is for, and we’ll have a couple of laughs about that later.

2016-08-24 16_55_40-Flux_ Site Extractor


Anyways, once you have made your choices you’ll be asked to which Flux project you want to send data to, and I picked an uncleverly-named “Flux Site Project”. Once you do that, Flux will be very happy indeed.

2016-08-24 16_55_25-Flux_ Site Extractor



– What do I do next? –

Well, you open it in Flux, of course.

The data keys you’ll find there are corresponding to the set of datas you chose to export from the Site Extractor and that’s easy enough, right?

2016-08-24 17_43_19-Flux Site Project

In the Data tab you’ll be able to get a preview of what you actually exported, and let me show what I got.

2016-08-24 17_45_00-Flux Site Project


Building Profiles

Building Profiles

2016-08-24 17_46_56-Flux Site Project

Water (like for real)

2016-08-24 17_49_42-Flux Site Project


Aside from the water thing, which is like a hundread years old, everything seems rather accurate.
Well, almost everything.

Buildings: randomized heights (I'll get to it, I promise)

Buildings: randomized heights (I’ll get to it, I promise)

If you drag one set of data on top of the other, you’ll also be able to get a superposition of the different sets.

2016-08-24 17_54_14-Flux Site Project

Pretty, right?

It’s a blast. You couldn’t do anything like this before, or at least you couldn’t with such a small effort and the same degree of accuracy. I might actually cry.


– How do I get it into Revit? –

Well, this is where it gets less pretty.
The Site Extractor is still a Demo and they are doing a wonderful job in developing it, but still the preferred channel of implementation is SketchUp. We Revit guys and gals are very much loved and considered but still have to play a little around in order to get our buildings into our preferred software. In this case I did almost everything via Dynamo and I’m sure there’s a better way, so I’m open to each and every remark.

1. I created a new project, ’cause I find that existing conditions are always best if modeled in a linked file.
2. I opened Dynamo.

And that’s easy enough.

Now, you might remember how the Flux Dynamo nodes work. If you don’t, I’ll do a brief recap.

2016-08-24 18_33_19-

1. log-in into Flux;
2. drop a “Flux Projects” node;
3. connect it to a “Select from List” node (and select your project);
4. drop a “Data Keys” node and connect to the previous one;
5. connect it to another “Select from List” node (and select the daya key”).

2016-08-24 18_35_45-Dynamo

Now, I choose the “Buildings (accurate heights)” data set. You might not have anything in it, therefore you might be forced to go for the “randomized heights” data set. You do remember, don’t you? It’s the one that generated buildings at random between a height of 10 and 20 meters.
Anyway, lucky or not, what you’ll get is a mesh.

Use a Watch node to verify it, if you don’t believe me.

2016-08-24 18_54_57-Dynamo

Therefore, I used the DirectShape.ByMesh node to throw elements from the Geometry Array into Revit.
Not that I’m a particular fan of the Direct Shape set of functions: it just was the fastest way. Still, pressing the “Run” botton might take a while.

Should you want a step-by-step walkthrough, I suggest you read this. It features an expensive car.

Now, this is where things get less pretty.
First of all, meshes in Revit suck. Like a lot.

Should you wish to use the Building Profiles data set and extrude from those your own masses, I have another bad news for you.

2016-08-24 19_01_05-Dynamo

Yeah, that’s right.


– What do I do now? –

Well, you have a couple of options.
The easier one is to use the data you just got as a basis and remodel your stuff.
There’s also a couple of very nerdy alternatives. Hold on: it’s going to get bumpy.

1. Via SketchUp.
Yeah, you heard me right.
If you use Flux to throw those lines into SketchUp, you can export a dwg and BAM, you can explode everything, transform lines into closed polycurves, then surfaces and easy peasy extrude your buildings.

2. Via a more complicated Dynamo
You have your meshes, right? Right. You can extract meshes vertexes by coordinates, right? Right. Well, you should be able to use them, and their z value, in order to recreate a more polished native geometry for your context.
If you have troubles with meshes I suggest you read this. It features a bunny.


– What was that about random and accurate heights? –

Oh, you remembered. This is going to be fun.
Have you noticed it mention heights, but not shapes?
I didn’t notice it at first, but then I did when I saw Milan’s cathedral looking like this, when I got into the “accurate heights” set of data.

2016-08-26 18_54_06-Alarms & Clock

Should you not know, Milan’s cathedral looks like this.

Milan cathedral dome

I wasn’t sure it totally depended on the system, so I did a small test.

I went here and extracted data from that site.

2016-08-26 19_06_29-Alarms & Clock

This is what I got.

2016-08-26 19_06_39-Alarms & Clock

Therefore the morale is: keep calm, trust nobody and, as usual, always rely on your BIM coordinator.


Suicide Squad was truthful to its name (and committed suicide)

As usual, spoilers are in white.
As usual, feed readers ya be warned.


I know it’s wrong and I know I shouldn’t have, but I actually had expectations.
Not that I have ever been a DC fan, at all: the only in-depth knowledge I have about those comics is the one needed to look smart(er) in a discussion about comics in general and since this might turn out to be a discussion about comics I’ll do my best to look smart but trust me: my disappointment doesn’t have anything to do with comics.

Suicide Squad was presented, in a certain way, as DC’s response to Marvel’s Deadpool and for that I couldn’t be more happy.

Still we have to remember the basic difference between a Marvel movie and a DC movie, before I continue, and in order to do that I’m going to have to resort to Leo.

I don't think I need to translate this, right?


You see where the problem is, right?

Still there was enough suffering, in the basic materials showcased about Suicide Squad: there was El Diablo, with his whole “I killed my wife and children, like for real” thing; there was Deadshot, with his whole “They have my daughter and mysteriously I’m not going to shoot everybody in the face for this”; there was Captain Boomerang, with his… his… ok, I can’t think of anything tragic about Captain Boomerang aside from the fact that he has a pink stuffed unicorn but still you get my drift. And then there was them.

alex ross_joker Harley

Merely by watching the trailers and listening to the soundtrack you could get this feeling that a lot of Suicide Squad was going to be about them. And, to reverse-quote Deadpool, this would have made Suicide Squad so much not a love story movie.
If done right, the Joker and Harley’s story is a story of twisted love, of domestic violence, of how things can go horribly wrong when two twisted souls meet. And the colourful graphics, the whole marketing campaign of Suicide Squad was screaming “Harley” from its every orifice.

You see what I mean, right?

Still, something went wrong. And I don’t mean to start a rampage about how things in the movie are different from comics: that’s not the point. The point is that this movie seems to have been edited by a drunkyard to whom somebody gave a chainsaw. It has explosions, alright, and shootings, and things going boom. It also has unforgivably useless flashbacks, and plot twists that make no sense.
The best plot surprise in the movie (the fact that El Diablo is an Aztec god as much as the Empress) is actually taken from the comics, and more accurately from the second Diablo. Aside from that, the movie is rather free from emotions of any kind.
Which is rather unforgivable, for a movie that was supposed to be filled with disturbances.
I would like to know what got them so scared.

Falling Stars

I’ve got a feeling

While listening to the soundtrack, I’ve got the feeling the Suicide Squad movie is actually going to be a movie about them.


Summer mode /on

Ok, guys, today I officially entered my summer mode.
It doesn’t mean I’m not going to write here and it doesn’t mean I’m not going to write about BIM: I still have something to say about the amazing Flux Site Extractor to say and… have you read yet this collection of papers? They present rather interesting experiments conducted by Ciribini and Angi at Brescia and have a couple of extra guests including me and my BIM manager. I’ll tell you something about it, promise.

And here I go, I digress again.
As I was saying, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to write here.
It just means I’m going to do it from a vacation venue, with water, sun and all those things you people like when you go on vacation.
News is I’m not here strictly on vacation: it would be more proper to say I’m here in a proper retreat, like a proper football match. It’s me and Gabriele Gallo, screenwriter and game designer, and dear friend of mine. I can’t tell you much about it. What I can tell you is that we are working on a book about BIM and from our odd coupling you can guess it’s not going to be something traditional. Be prepared to be surprised. I promise we’ll give you hints to what we’re doing during these weeks, between an ice-cold beer and a boat tour.

Meanwhile, be sure to enjoy your vacations, ’cause it’s going to be a dazzling fall.

Autodesk Live

I recently did a test on Enscape, and I was thrilled by its smoothness and many functionalities.

Autodesk guys must have heard me, since a few days later they launched a service called Autodesk Live, which seems to be doing something similar. It takes your Revit model and allows you to:
– render it better than you would within Revit;
– walk through it more smoothly than you would with Revit.
(let’s just remember that Revit already does both of those things: it’s just not very good at it).

Since I was curious (and for once I was super-sober), I did a couple of tests.
This is what I found out.



1. Install and Run
This easy. All you need is an A360 account and you can download a trial version of the Autodesk LIVE Viewer from the dedicated Apps page.


Once you’ve done so, LIVE places itself in the Revit Addin tab. It might take a while to find it, since the logo doesn’t have anything to do with the icon.

2016-07-26 16_06_14-Autodesk Revit 2016 - [3D View_ {3D -} - I-201651_INT_



2. How the trial works

Let’s just be clear, so you don’t waste your tries: the trial has two limitations. It lasts 10 days and you can only upload 10 jobs.
Use them wisely.


3. Upload?

LIVE doesn’t work locally: it asks you to upload your Revit file to a cloud service and then to download it again in a mysterious lvmd format.

2016-07-26 16_09_53-Proprietà - 2014158_Westfield_detached-_3D - chiara.rizzarda@gmail.com_-


The good thing is that the Addin does a preliminary check before allowing you to upload your model.
For instance it checkes:
– if you have a proper 3d view set;
– if your 3d view is in “Fine” detail mode and asks you if it’s intentional;
– if you have scope boxes activated and asks you if it’s intentional;
– if you have a phase filter enabled;
– if you have some materials without any image associated to its asset.

2016-07-26 15_58_45-Go LIVE

2016-07-26 15_59_46-Go LIVE

This is cool.


While uploading your stuff, a nice neat panel will present itself. You’ll be able to minimize it and continue working on your model. It’s a relatively smooth process: the file I chose for the 1st test wasn’t small (200 Mb) but it took just a couple of minute to upload.

2016-07-26 14_50_18-Go LIVE




The “preparing” mode can be a little longer.

2016-07-26 14_57_23-Autodesk Revit 2016 - [3D View_ {3D -} - 2014158_Westf


If you stand still, the model downloads all by itself in a brand new “Autodesk LIVE” folder in your user folder. With the “Open” button you can open it directly in the LIVE viewer. With the “Locate”, you can open the folder.

2016-07-26 15_00_47-Autodesk Revit 2016 - [Floor Plan_ L07 - I-201651_INT_L7_chiara.rizzarda@gmail.c

Regardless, LIVE sends you an e-mail warning you that your file has been downloaded, and provides you with a link to download it again in case something went wrong.

2016-07-26 15_06_48-2014158_Westfield_detached is ready. - - Gmail




4. (Try to) view your Project

Ok, I’ll admit it: I wasn’t very succesful. Everything was apparently good and I launched my LIVE viewer.

2016-07-26 15_01_20-Launching Autodesk LIVE Editor...


Then it went on importing my file. Incitentally, what used to be a 212 Mb Revit model became a 172 Mb LIVE model. Slightly smaller.


2016-07-26 15_02_07-Autodesk LIVE Editor


What happened then was this.

2016-07-26 15_02_21-Autodesk LIVE Error Report


And this.

2016-07-26 15_03_08-Autodesk LIVE Editor

And this.

2016-07-26 15_03_34-Autodesk LIVE Editor


I was a little worried, therefore I uninstalled everything and then installed it back again.
Same results.
I ran a repair.
Same results.

2016-07-26 16_46_06-Autodesk LIVE Editor


5. (Try to) view your project – Part 2

All of a sudden, as sometimes happens in life, I was succesful. For no apparent reason.

2016-07-26 15_26_16-Autodesk LIVE Editor

The main concept is simple: you can either orbit your model or jump into it. Assuming you prepared a bunch of cameras within Revit, with the “tap & go” mode you can jump from one point to the other, as if they were saving points of a videogame.
Which is cool.
The presentation Mode (top bar) allows you to flick through these views as if you were flicking through a book of renderings.
Which is very cool for presentations.

2016-07-26 15_31_36-Autodesk LIVE Editor

Among the styles, you can find something very similar to Enscape’s “polystyrol mode”, although you don’t have many settings when it comes to color temperature, contrast and such.

So, how did my project look like?
I wish I could tell you.
My project loaded and opened and… ok, well, there was just a part of my project. To be specific there were pillars, view locations and a bunch of pink question marks where my architectural elements should have been.

2016-07-26 15_29_02-Autodesk LIVE Editor


6. View your project (at last)

I started from scratch again, reinstalled everything and tried with a new project. Something significantly smaller. Here’s how it looks in Revit. Some of you already know this: it was the dataset for an old training session.

Bruno Taut


Bruno Taut_3dview1


This time I was succesful and here you go, here’s the result.

2016-07-27 11_22_06-Autodesk LIVE Editor

By playing around with a couple of settings in the actual model, I found out that:
– you can set the height from ground and the field of view, which is cool;



– you can play with the sun both in matter of hour and of season;

2016-07-27 11_25_01-Autodesk LIVE Editor

– you can get rather romantic.

2016-07-27 11_26_18-Autodesk LIVE Editor

Also, here are the three different styles. The second one looks interesting: it’s some sort of polystyrol mode in a coloured environment. Should be very good for concept views.

2016-07-27 11_28_37-Autodesk LIVE Editor



7. The pros (and the cons)

1. It seems to be rather good for presentations. Though it’s not standalone, I love the presentation mode, and the way you can jump from one view to the other by simply clicking on a symbol.
2. It seems to be very bad for design review. I don’t like the fact that you need to export your model and you can’t see the effect of your changes real-time.


8. How much?

2016-07-27 11_31_35-Autodesk LIVE Subscription _ Buy Autodesk LIVE for Revit

18.06.2016 – BIM: non chiedeteci “se”

Scusandoci per il ritardo (è stato un mese inclemente, sotto molti punti di vista), riusciamo finalmente a ringraziare come si deve tutti coloro che sono intervenuti sabato 18 mattina a Salerno, sdegnando una giornata di sole in favore di un’aula universitaria.

Non possiamo condividere le slide dell’intera presentazione, ma ci sentiamo di mettere on-line alcuni principi generali. Il materiale è come sempre riutilizzabile, purché non a scopo commerciale e ne venga citata la fonte.


1. Un contesto: i livelli del BIM

BIM level 1

…il professionista lavora sul proprio modello e consegna in chiusura di fase, tipicamente degli elaborati estratti dal modello stesso: la fase successiva non opera in BIM.


BIM level 2

…diversi professionisti appartenenti a diverse discipline lavorano ciascuno su un proprio modello, condividendolo periodicamente nel “Common Data Environment”. Si tratta del modello collaborativo che promuoviamo in questo momento, e su cui si è concentrato il nostro racconto.


BIM level 3

La soluzione “hardcore”: i professionisti delle varie discipline lavorano contemporaneamente sullo stesso modello. Sconsigliabile, in questo momento, per limitazioni legali e tecnologiche, a meno che non si tratti di collaborazione tra sedi diverse della stessa entità societaria.


2. Una premessa: la differenza nel Workflow

BIM Workflow vs Typical Workflow

Non si ragiona più per fase, ma è necessario che tutti gli attori vengano coinvolti nel processo sin dall’inizio dei lavori.


3. Documenti necessari all’avvio di un progetto BIM

Consultant Capabilities Assessment: non vi mostreremo il nostro, ma esistono diversi modelli on-line, disponibili per il pubblico utilizzo. Primo fra tutti, quello sviluppato dal Construction Project Information Committee britannico, da cui è preso questo screenshot.

Il Consultant Capabilities Assessment è un questionario, indispensabile in fase di contratto, in cui è necessario che il BIM leading consultant rivolga ai suoi consulenti una serie di domande imbarazzanti: esistono diversi modelli on-line, disponibili per il pubblico utilizzo. Primo fra tutti, quello sviluppato dal Construction Project Information Committee britannico, da cui è preso questo screenshot.


La Model Production and Delivery Table è una tabella in cui il modello viene suddiviso in parti e fasi: di ogni parte vengono individuati uno o più responsabili, e per ogni parte nella rispettiva fase viene indicato il Level of Development cui quell’elemento deve essere portato. Anche in questo caso esistono diversi modelli disponibili on-line: lo screenshot è preso dalla tabella del Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists britannico.

Il BIM execution plan è il documento in cui confluiscono le linee guida per la realizzazione e il coordinamento del progetto. Il Construction Project Information Committee mette a disposizione due template, uno per il BIM execution plan preliminare al contratto e uno per il documento che accompagnerà il progetto durante tutto il suo svolgimento.

Il BIM Execution Plan è il documento in cui confluiscono le linee guida per la realizzazione e il coordinamento del progetto. Il Construction Project Information Committee mette a disposizione due template, uno per il BIM execution plan preliminare al contratto e uno per il documento che accompagnerà il progetto durante tutto il suo svolgimento.


4. Common Data Environment e il suo breakdown

Il Common Data Environment (CDE) è uno spazio condiviso e accessibile a tutti, tipicamente suddiviso in parti, in cui in una collaborazione al Level 2 vengono caricati i modelli e i relativi eventuali documenti. Uno schema di suddivisione è suggerito dalla PAS 1192-2.

Il Common Data Environment (CDE) è uno spazio condiviso e accessibile a tutti, tipicamente suddiviso in parti, in cui in una collaborazione al Level 2 vengono caricati i modelli e i relativi eventuali documenti. Uno schema di suddivisione è suggerito dalla PAS 1192-2.



5. Imprevisti e probabilità

BIM peso edificio

Il peso medio di un file, scherzosamente calcolato per metro lineare di sviluppo in altezza, può costituire un collo di bottiglia critico nelle procedure collaborative.


Punto di Panico

Il momento del panico corrisponde tipicamente alla prima consegna in BIM e deriva da una falsa aspettativa: la progressione del lavoro è in CAD, mentre le fasi iniziali di un lavoro in BIM hanno uno sviluppo più lento.



6. La componente umana

L'efficienza nella progettazione è pregiudicata dalla maestria nell'uso degli strumenti, ma non si tratta di un concetto introdotto dal BIM. Si assiste semmai un ritorno a ciò che era necessario conoscere prima del CAD.

L’efficienza nella progettazione è pregiudicata dalla maestria nell’uso degli strumenti, ma non si tratta di un concetto introdotto dal BIM. Si assiste semmai un ritorno a ciò che era necessario conoscere prima del CAD.


Gli "stadi evolutivi" di un esperto BIM

Gli “stadi evolutivi” di un esperto BIM


BIM beginner user power user

Da beginner a power user: non si diventa autonomi in una settimana.


BIM half and half

Due persone con visioni parziali del processo non sostituiscono una persona che padroneggi il quadro d’insieme.


BIM manager e coordinator - principio di decadimento

L’importanza di avere power user e il principio di decadimento: se il team è insufficiente in numero o insufficientemente autonomo, parte delle loro mansioni di modellazione/progettazione ricadono sul BIM coordinator, che dovrà chiedere aiuto al BIM manager per svolgere mansioni di coordinamento a livello di progetto. Questo implica, a livello aziendale, che il BIM manager avrà meno tempo per occuparsi delle strategie e delle infrastrutture aziendali.


BIM formazione

A livello di implementazione e dovendo potenziare un team esistente con una figura aggiuntiva, è bene non dimenticare la necessità di operare parallelamente un piano di formazione sulle risorse esistenti. E’ conveniente che la figura aggiuntiva inserita sia in grado di fare formazione sul team. La formazione è uno dei ruoli del BIM coordinator.



7. La componente informativa: oneri e onori nell’inserimento delle corrette informazioni

BIM parametri di un muro

La proporzione tra le informazioni direttamente ricavate dalla geometria di un elemento (altezza, lunghezza), le informazioni precompilate dal software ma da verificare (vincoli, categorie, assorbimenti) e le informazioni completamente da compilare.


Il vantaggio nel compilare le corrette informazioni: secondo la Stanford University, i computi in BIM possono essere realizzati con un margine di errore del 3%

Il vantaggio nel compilare le corrette informazioni: secondo la Stanford University, i computi in BIM possono essere realizzati molto più rapidamente, e con un margine di errore del 3%.



8. Riassunto: pratiche di buona implementazione

Il downtime: quando si implementa una nuova tecnologia o un nuovo metodo, esiste un tempo fisiologico di assorbimento che determina un calo della produttività dell'organico. Superato il punto di break-even, se il metodo è migliorativo si osserverà un incremento della produttività rispetto al punto di partenza.

Il downtime: quando si implementa una nuova tecnologia o un nuovo metodo, esiste un tempo fisiologico di assorbimento che determina un calo della produttività dell’organico. Superato il punto di break-even, se il metodo è migliorativo si osserverà un incremento della produttività rispetto al punto di partenza.


Calo di produttività

Tenete in considerazione che si verificherà un calo di produttività


Tenete in considerazione che il reclutamento sarà più oneroso che in passato

Tenete in considerazione che il reclutamento sarà più oneroso che in passato


La transizione BIM va operata gradualmente in modo da consentire ai primi di diventare operativi

La transizione BIM va operata gradualmente in modo da consentire ai primi di diventare operativi


Errata Corrige al Codice Appalti: cosa cambia all’articolo 23

All’articolo 23:

2016-07-20 10_57_38-Text Compare

Confronto rispetto al testo originale

2016-07-20 11_06_07-Text Compare

Confronto rispetto al parere delle commissioni

A parte l’eliminazione di una ripetizione, viene stralciato il riferimento a “idonei sistemi di monitoraggio” di cui le stazioni appaltanti dovrebbero essere dotate per gestire il BIM. Viene inoltre aggiunta una data per il decreto del ministero, specificato che la Commissione non vedrà un soldo e aggiunti, agli oneri della commissione, le responsabilità di definire non solo i tempi ma anche i modi della transizione. Amministrazioni Concedenti ed operatori economici vengono aggiunti ai gruppi presso i quali la transizione dovrà essere adeguatamente gestita. Modi e tempi della transizione dovranno essere valutati anche tenendo conto “della strategia di digitalizzazione delle amministrazioni pubbliche e del settore delle costruzioni”.
Rispetto al parere delle commissioni, viene nuovamente stralciato il riferimento al “personale adeguatamente formato nel tempo mediante specifici corsi di formazione”.

Il testo diventa quindi:

13. Le stazioni appaltanti possono richiedere per le nuove opere nonche’ per interventi di recupero, riqualificazione o varianti, prioritariamente per i lavori complessi, l’uso dei metodi e strumenti elettronici specifici di cui al comma 1, lettera h). Tali strumenti utilizzano piattaforme interoperabili a mezzo di formati aperti non proprietari, al fine di non limitare la concorrenza tra i fornitori di tecnologie e il coinvolgimento di specifiche progettualita’ tra i progettisti. L’uso dei metodi e strumenti elettronici puo’ essere richiesto soltanto dalle stazioni appaltanti dotate di personale adeguatamente formato. Con decreto del Ministero delle infrastrutture e dei trasporti, da adottare entro il 31 luglio 2016, anche avvalendosi di una Commissione appositamente istituita presso il medesimo Ministero, senza oneri aggiuntivi a carico della finanza pubblica sono definiti le modalita’ e i tempi di progressiva introduzione dell’obbligatorieta’ dei suddetti metodi presso le stazioni appaltanti, le amministrazioni concedenti e gli operatori economici, valutata in relazione alla tipologia delle opere da affidare e della strategia di digitalizzazione delle amministrazioni pubbliche e del settore delle costruzioni. L’utilizzo di tali metodologie costituisce parametro di valutazione dei requisiti premianti di cui all’articolo 38.


Gli screenshot di confronto nell’articolo sono realizzati da Text Compare.

National BIM report for manufacturers (2016)

2016-07-20 09_41_22-manufacturers-bim-report-2016.pdf

Il regalo di inizio estate da parte dell’NBS è il seguito a un report dell’anno scorso, rivolto ai produttori.
Come sempre è scaricabile gratuitamente a questo indirizzo.

Change is constant.
Over the past five years, the construction sector has embarked
on a period of rapid change as it transforms into a truly digital industry.

1. Scopo del documento
L’obiettivo del report è evidentemente sensibilizzare i produttori alla realizzazione di oggetti BIM e al loro inserimento sulla piattaforma nazionale. Rientra in quella vasta gamma di documenti di marketing e sensibilizzazione che puntano a spingere l’intera industria, qualcosa che in molti altri paesi, inclusa l’Italia, ancora manca.

2016-07-20 09_42_57-manufacturers-bim-report-2016.pdf

2. Certificazioni e certificazioni
Nonostante il documento parli di altro, anche nel Regno Unito non si rinuncia a un contributo sulle cosiddette certificazioni BIM, e in questo caso si tratta di un contributo a firma di Anthony Harte, direttore della società di consulenza architettonica James & WARD.

Before we can standardise and demonstrate compliance in the ‘BIM world’,
we first need to have concise documentation
that lists the standards required to meet the various ‘levels’.

2016-07-20 09_46_48-manufacturers-bim-report-2016.pdf

3. Il problema delle informazioni
Drew Wigget, capo del dipartimento product information all’NBS, discute l’importanza di un template universale per gli oggetti, un template di tabella da compilare con il numero minimo di informazioni necessarie a comunicare i propri prodotti ai progettisti. La teoria di Wigget è che il BIM non abbia cambiato la comunicazione delle informazioni («Architects have been delivering construction information, drawings and specifications for centuries, so why now the focus on the importance of ‘data’? What has changed?») ma abbia soprattutto costretto i produttori a sistematizzare queste informazioni, a riflettere sul modo in cui queste informazioni vengono comunicate.

Product data templates were a key
deliverable of the NBS BIM Toolkit and
enable product information to be provided
in a standard format.

2016-07-20 09_49_22-manufacturers-bim-report-2016.pdf

4. I dati rilevati
Essendo un report destinati ai produttori per incentivarli a produrre oggetti BIM, e non un’indagine condotta sui produttori, la maggior parte dei dati fa riferimento ai progettisti, alla loro consapevolezza del BIM, al loro utilizzo di oggetti realizzati dai produttori. Molti dei grafici sono mutuati dal National Report, di cui già ho parlato.

2016-07-20 10_01_39-manufacturers-bim-report-2016.pdf


“The construction industry needs access to
BIM objects that can be used freely, safe in
the knowledge that they contain the right
levels of information with the appropriate
geometry, all wrapped up in a consistent,
yet structured and easy to use format.”
Richard Waterhouse,
CEO, NBS and RIBA Enterprises

L’incrocio tra il dato relativo a quanti progettisti si realizzano “in casa” i propri oggetti BIM (il 67%) e il desiderio dei progettisti di ricevere tali oggetti dai produttori viene presentato come spinta motivatrice, senza mai perdere di vista la questione della coerenza tra i dati forniti. Il framework fornito dall’NBS consente di:
– sistematizzare i dati all’interno del template per poi realizzare gli oggetti nel formato che si ritiene più opportuno;
– caricare le librerie su una piattaforma nazionale;
– certificarne la coerenza allo standard.

2016-07-20 10_04_22-manufacturers-bim-report-2016.pdf


Tutto questo senza perdere di vista i quattro obiettivi del mandato nazionale per la transizione al BIM, ovvero:
– abbattere i costi;
– accorciare i tempi di consegna;
– progettare e costruire in modo da abbattere le emissioni;
– ridurre il disavanzo commerciale per i materiali da costruzione.


Exploring Enscape

A friend of mine recently told me that I seem to be writing with more enthusiasm about the things I don’t like rather than about the ones I do like.
Now, providing I don’t agree with this assumption, and after a good deal of self-judgement, I decided it would be good for the soul to add yet another small piece to the amount of things I reviewed positively, so here I am, talking about this little guy.

– What is that? –

Well, let’s start with what it’s not.
And to tell you that, I have to introduce you to a cool guy named Albert.

Now, Albert has everything you might expect him to have giving his profession is an intersection of architecture and IT. He has tattoos, kids, a garden to his house, a motorbike. He even has a twin brother and a cool t-shirt saying “I am the other one”. To pay the bills, like everybody else has to, Albert does this weird job: he gets 2d drawings from his collegues at the firm, does a 3d model from those, curses a lot ’cause things are never aligned, plays a little with materials and bam! produces these amazing pictures that seem real.
Albert is a renderist.
He is super-cool.
He earns a lot of money.

When BIM (or just Revit) got into the picture, somebody thought this would steal Albert’s job.
Didn’t happen.
Now albert gets 3d models from his collegues in the firm, instead of 2d drawings, and if everything goes right he has more time to play with materials. I switched firm, meanwhile, but as far as they tell me he still produces these amazing pictures that seem real.
He still is super-cool.
Still earns a lot of money.

Now, you have to believe me when I tell you that somebody thinks this Enscape thing will steal Albert’s job.
It won’t.
Nothing allows you to simply push one button and produce amazing pictures that seem real, and the reason is quite simple: no software can render cool something that is not there.
You still need Albert to do what Albert does best: choose and apply the right material map, choose the camera, play with lights.
Also, you need to understand that Albert cheats.
Like a lot.
He cheats with lights, to start with, and that’s why he doesn’t use Revit: Revit doesn’t allow to assume you have a light source where there isn’t one, and can’t seem to be able to understand that renderings get done in the earlier stages of the project, therefore nobody is placing those damn lights yet. But Albert cheats with spaces as well: sometimes a wall needs to be torn down for the camera to be moved a little backwards, and sometimes furniture need to be rearranged.
You don’t want Albert playing around in your Revit model, trust me.
And Albert doesn’t want you protesting all the time ’cause he’s messing up your numbers while he cheats.
As Cary Grant would say, a good rendering is like streaptease: don’t ask yourself how they do it, just sit back and enjoy the show.

So, if Enscape doesn’t do renderings, what does it do?
Well, it’s a rendering plug-in, that’s true.
But what it really does is pimp your Revit model and allow you to walk through it, and visualize it in a semi-realistic way.


– What do you need to do to make that happen –

If you work like I do, you set up materials for one goal and one goal only, and it’s not renderings. You have people like Albert for that, and honestly you don’t give a damn about the whole photorealistic stuff. You need data and shapes, and that’s what you do.
Now, for Enscape to behave correctly you need to make an extra effort, ’cause it looks at what you never care for. The appearance of materials.


This is what you usually care for


You have to care for this as well

If you don’t remember how materials work in Revit, just try to focus on the Image under “generic”, which is the texture Enscape will see applied to your material. Also try and care for transparency and reflectivity, ok?

Now, all you need is to download the Enscape plug-in. It’s free for 14 days, and I promise you’ll want to buy that when the trial expires.


– How does Enscape work –

When you have your model, and once you’ve set up materials, all you need to do is installing Enscape and launching it.
It’s simple.
Enscape will add a ribbon to your Revit and all you’ll need to do is press the Start button.


From the drop-down menu on the side, you’ll also be able to choose one of your pre-set 3d views, in case you feel squeamish. This will only place you in the same position of your camera when you placed it in Revit. It’s going to be like a starting point.


You’ll find yourself in this virtual environment, and your model will be looking right at you.



– Surfing around your model –

It’s like playing a videogame. Well, amost, since you can’t shoot things up and the only monster that will pop up is your BIM manager telling you to stop playing around with your new toy.


In case you don’t like how controls behave, you can try and change things from both the General and Input panels of Settings.


Once you are in the model, you have two modes you can choose from: the superhero mode and the regular guy mode.
In the regular guy mode, you can walk through your building using regular controls (oh, come on, have you ever played a videogame in your life? Even q*bert counts: controls were the same).
In the superhedo mode (ok, that’s not its real name: only how I call it) you can fly, walk through walls and see people naked. I usually pick the superhero mode.

You have a setting panel you can pop up, and while you play with it, things get updated in your model.


First of all, you have a couple of settings to win easily: the polystirole mode and the papermodel mode. They both disregard whatever mess you might have made with the material appearance in your model: the first turns everything white, and the second one applies a series of filters to reach some sort of watercolour/artistic effect. Please see below, ’cause I can’t explain it without recurring to offending metaphores.


Polystirole mode


Papermodel mode

The “image” settings are a little trickier and if you aren’t Albert you might have troubles around them. If you just play with them, you’ll understand what they do soon enough.

Contrast (from 100 to 200)

MoSF_Contrast100 MoSF_Contrast200

Saturation (from o to 200)

MoSF_Saturation0 MoSF_Saturation200

Sharpening (from 0 to 100)

MoSF_Sharpening0 MoSF_Sharpening100

Brightness (from 0.1 to 10)

MoSF_Brightness01 MoSF_Brightness10

Different colour temperatures

MoSF_Color1500K MoSF_Color3824K MoSF_Color8008K MoSF_Color13214K MoSF_Color18234K

Also, in case you’re milanese like me, you might want to add some strong fog and Enscape allows you to do that. So yeah, thumbs up. Must be part of why I like it.

– What is it for –

I bet some of you are confused. I just told you this isn’t something to do renderings with, and then I showed you a bunch of rendered pictures (yeah, that’s an X-wing, in case you’re wondering).
So yeah, let me get one point clear, you can use to to produce some conceptual renderings and you can export them by hitting the Screenshot button on the Enscape ribbon.


It’s just not the most recommended usage I would advise for.

Here is my top 5, anyway. Just take your pick.

1. design review. You get to roam around in your model (literally, if you have a device like an oculus, but more on that later) and you can check everything, you can crawl through vent pipes like Bruce Willis and fly over buildings like Magneto. And take screenshots of what doesn’t look right, for your team to fix it.

2. virtual reality. Once you have a bullet-proof model (good luck with that) you might want to put your client into an oculus and tell him “come on, try it out” (meaning the building).

3. check variations and options. You should know it, by now, as we keep repeating it: there is a world of possibilities to explore while you’re working in BIM. Enscape allows you to render infinite variations as it keeps contact with your model: you can move things in Revit and see the effect in Enscape. Real time. Like for real. Seriously.

4. work-in-progress renderings. Ok, I’ll say it: if Albert is too busy, or if the client isn’t paying enough for his services, you might use Enscape as a replacement for him. Just remember it’s not able to cheat and isn’t half as fun, so don’t expect these things from it.

5. make your families chirp. That I never tried, but apparently you can add a sound to your families and hear it in Dolby Surround while you walk-around. Therefore you can have the BIMstore cow go moo, your x-wing will pew pew pew and your minions will be able to go bananas. And things like that. Don’t ask me where the revenue is: I don’t know. Still, it’s good.



– Thing you should know –

1. Enscape doesn’t take care of cropping, so don’t expect it to render the exact same picture you have in your pre-set 3d view. As I said, it’s not about rendering: it’s about 3d real-time walk-through rendering. Therefore the pre-set 3d view you pick is just the starting point of your navigation.


3d view in Revit (yeah, that’s an X-Wing)


Same view in Enscape

2. Enscape keeps getting better. The first picture you see is a first attempt at rendering, and it might be a little bluured. Try standing still, and Enscape keeps working on the quality, up to 200 rendering cicles. You can customize how far you want to push it, with the Settings panel.

Enscape_rendering enhancement cycles