Friday, April 13, 2012

Long Lists: The Death of Revit Productivity

Revit project files are massive repositories for information. Views, data rich model geometry, annotation elements, schedules all existing in one location putting a stunning amount of information at your fingertips. This amount of stuff to understand introduces some productivity challenges. These challenges are not overcome without some well practiced methods and a deep understanding of where your model bottlenecks for the users. One of the most tangible metrics to measure a progressive Revit process and standards adherence is to look at the length of the different lists in the project file. This is about ease of use and standardizing your views and content.

Type Selector  - Lists seem to bloat for a couple of reasons: There are a ton of objects loaded into the model  including duplicate types and Type properties have been used to define important, schedulable object properties. Purging periodically works as long as you don't have the duplicate types placed somewhere in the file. The other thing to consider is if type properties have been used too heavily when an instance property might provide a useful flexibility. There are pros and cons to shifting your parameters around so do so where benefit is most easily gained (e.g. door schedule)

Line Styles - Even in a default template this list starts longer than I would like with few options to delete or rename the out of the box line styles. One can only hope to intelligently order the line style types so that they easily and logically sort themselves. If you begin the custom line styles with a number (e.g. 1-Solid, 2- Hidden) they are easy to sift through and order themselves at the top of the line styles list. Tip: The number doesn't have to directly correspond to the specified line weight, reserve the thinnest line weights for patterns and items in the distance.

Project Browser - There are a few areas here to pay close attention. First duplicating view types (in 2013 available for Floor Plan, Ceiling Plan, and 3D views) was always something that worked well for architectural sets. Many firms have a custom view and sheet browser organization often utilizing custom parameters sorted. My only tip here is not to overload your views with multiple view purpose parameters. Keep it simple with Discipline, and Sub-discipline, and duplicated view types to shorten up those view lists. The Project Browser can also be useful when placing families because they are all organized by their object category. For instance, when placing a component from the type selector you have a list that includes plumbing fixtures, generic models, planting, etc. all in one place. The project browser allows you to see the list expand by category you can click and drag the types into the view to place an instance.

Detail Components - These components are all the same object category so you have to be very mindful of naming conventions as you populate you model with these 2D components. These lists can be very long and without a naming convention to sort the list of components users will really struggle to work quickly and consistently with these.

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