Wednesday, August 19, 2009
If you have read my blog in the past, you know that I am a proponent of the add-ons available for the Revit products, including tools available from Structural Integrators for Revit Structure. This month, Structural Integrators has released their tools for Revit Structure 2010. The new version is not only compatible with Revit Structure 2010, but includes several new features:
Beam Systems: When selecting All Beams on a level or for the entire model, the options dialog now lets you specify whether to include all beams, to exclude beams in beam systems, or to only select beams in beam systems.
Level Selection from 3D View: You can now select members at a level without switching to a level view.
Columns and Walls at a Level: You can now select columns and walls at a level based on whether the member's top or base occurs at the level, or both. This can be useful for selecting columns or walls both above and below a level.
Multi-level Select: When selecting members in the entire model, you can now limit the selection to members on any subset of levels.
Installation: The installation now works for Windows Vista without having to disable User Account Control.
A Lite version is available for members of Structural Integrators, and a Pro version is avaialble for purchase. To learn more, go to their website.
Also, don't forget about the SI Xchange for Revit Structure. This allows the interoperability between Revit Structure and STAAD.Pro.
All About Revit: SI Tools Now Available for Revit Structure 2010 - Original post
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Monday, August 31, 2009
Ah, finally, a Revit tip for you
This is another one of those workarounds that I've been doing for a while and wasn't aware that a lot of people didn't know of it. Its a very quick method to creating depth in your elevations/sections without adding masses, using the linework tool, or utilising shadows. (although in Revit 2010, with directx turned on printing of views with shadows has improved exponentially!).
This is my first attempt at uploading a video so please let me know if people have any difficulties viewing. It has been encoded using the Techsmith codec. TSCC in AVI format.
This is my first attempt at uploading a video so please let me know if people have any difficulties viewing. It has been encoded using the Techsmith codec. TSCC in AVI format.
Revit Rants: Revit Elevation/Section View Depth Clipping workaround
Just what I need to post on the blog, another 'BIM is great' article. Even I'm getting bored of all of them. How many people can possibly be left to write an article about the benefits of BIM.
Reposted from: http://www.cadalyst.com/collaboration/building-information-modeling/what039s-bim-deal-12885?print=1
August 26, 2009 By: Robert Green
Understanding building information modeling begins with sorting out fact from fiction.
Reminder: Please participate in the CAD Manager's mini-survey, designed to determine how the economic downturn is affecting CAD managers, at: www.cad-manager.com/survey. This survey won't take you long to complete, as it focuses only on key financial and business questions. With input from a variety of CAD managers like you, I'll be able to provide everyone with an update about what it's really like out there.
If you're at all into CAD you've seen the acronym BIM, short for building information modeling, all over the place the past few years. If you're a CAD manager in an architectural environment you're probably starting to plan for, or even test, BIM technology. If you manage CAD in the construction or building engineering trades your senior management may be asking you how BIM is going to change your company's approach to modeling in the coming years. Even civil engineers are scratching their heads over how they'll integrate BIM models into their site planning databases. It seems only those who do machinery design are immune to the long tentacles of BIM.
So what is all the fuss about? How might BIM affect all of us who manage CAD in the AEC environment? These are good questions, and I plan to explore all of them in the next few issues of the CAD Manager's Newsletter. Here goes.
The Basics: Deciphering the Hype
Any time a new type of software hits the market, a tsunami of promotion is unleashed that paints the trend as the greatest thing since sliced bread. The introduction of BIM has been no different in this regard, with all manner of promises of "ease of use" and "higher productivity" touted without much data to back up the claims.
So how can we separate all the hype from the fundamentals we need to understand to implement and manage BIM technology? To answer those questions, we'll need to learn what BIM can do for our companies, define what the limitations are, and gain a solid understanding of the resources required to deploy BIM.
What BIM Can Do
BIM is building design in 3D — and more. The building information model encompasses all data associated with the building design, including geometry and geographic information and quantities and properties of building components.
Ask five different CAD managers what BIM can do, and you're likely to get five different answers. (And I'm sure I'll receive a good bit of e-mail after I set out my own vision of BIM!) So, for the sake of starting the conversation, I'll lay out the various categories of BIM I see in the marketplace now, along with the core functionalities those products bring to the table.
Architectural BIM. A high-end 3D CAD tool that captures the geometry of walls, foundations, frames, roofs, and window systems of a building. By capturing the properties of the building (glass properties, typical insulation values, etc.) and the climate zone information (based on where the building is located), basic energy computations become possible for passive solar heating, minimization of cooling loads, and optimal building placement to reduce building energy consumption. Most BIM tools also include visualization capabilities for pseudo-realistic rendering of projects as they take shape.
Structural BIM. Takes architectural BIM a step further by allowing the detailed modeling of structural beams, supports, and trusses along with placement of building loads for all the elements of a building that place weight on the structure — think steel members, concrete, equipment, furniture, etc. — to qualify the building structure for load compliance.
BIM for MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing). The ultimate extension of the BIM analysis, since everything from water systems, hot water units, sprinklers, lighting, electrical conduits and trays, and circuits can be fully designed inside the building (BIM) model. BIM systems for MEP are relatively new and, thus, are in the greatest state of flux at present.
Unified BIM Theory
All BIM software tools facilitate the production of 2D construction documentation as a byproduct of the 3D models. Obviously, the type of 2D documentation differs as architectural elevations and reflected ceiling plans aren't the same as conduit and cable tray drawings, but the concept is the same. Like mechanical 3D systems, BIM uses the value proposition that once the building is modeled in 3D the 2D prints are a byproduct of the model.
In other words, BIM is simply a way to aggregate all the information we know about a building into a unified CAD software system instead of a bunch of disparate computer tools. So rather than drawing 2D building floors and elevations in a CAD tool, then performing structural analysis in another tool, electrical computations in a spreadsheet, and energy calculations in yet another platform, BIM seeks to unify the process in a single software environment.
I've read a lot of dissertations on what BIM is, but I believe my summary outlines BIM's potential in a lot fewer words with a lot less hype. (You may even want to pass along these descriptions to your senior management teams if they're asking you about what BIM can do.)
What BIM Is Not
I'll go ahead and make a few statements here that counter the marketing claims you'll likely read about BIM tools.
- BIM isn't an AutoCAD or MicroStation upgrade.
- BIM isn't something you install over the weekend then start using on Monday.
- BIM doesn't design buildings by itself.
- BIM doesn't make architects or engineers obsolete.
- BIM tools don't install and manage themselves.
- BIM tools don't have a "magic button" that automates implementation.
More software. And that software is more expensive than the simple AutoCAD or MicroStation licenses that have carried most of the 2D architectural workload since they replaced pencil and paper 25 years ago.
Better hardware. You won't want to run a thorough energy balance computation on a 3D building model on that old 1.8-GHz single-core Dell in the spare office. For big models, you'll need multicore machines with loads of RAM on 64-bit OS platforms.
User training. Just as 2D CAD didn't replace paper without a lot of user training, BIM won't replace AutoCAD or MicroStation without user training either. BIM is different from 2D CAD and users need time and training to make the switch.
Active management. If you install BIM tools in your company and turn everyone loose without any coordination, standards, or management philosophy, you're going to have a huge mess on your hands in short order. As a CAD manager you need to be intimately involved with how BIM will be implemented and standardized.
A file format strategy. Even if your company has gone all BIM all the time, that doesn't mean the rest of the world has. You'll need to collaborate with a variety of vendors who will most likely use industry-standard DWG files to convey information. How will you translate information to and from partners who aren't using BIM?
New attitudes. To move your company from 2D CAD to BIM, your users must embrace a different way of working. CAD managers know that attitudes don't change overnight, right?
Now that we've defined the basic parameters of BIM and some of the problems BIM can bring, it is time to get ready to manage the transition. Over the next couple of issues we'll do just that by delving into the topic areas we've outlined in this issue and using reader feedback to address key questions. And while getting a BIM strategy in place isn't easy, it is a process that can be managed. I welcome your feedback and questions as we go along.
And don't forget to participate in the CAD manager's mini-survey on how current economics are affecting CAD managers at www.cad-manager.com/survey.
Until next time.
Original Post http://www.cadalyst.com/collaboration/building-information-modeling/what039s-bim-deal-12885?print=1
What's the point? Revit Survey Point - Project Coordinates, Shared Coordinates, and the new Survey Point - AUGI Forums
Here's a little something from AUGI on Revit project coordinates.
It was created by Wes Macaulay and is a great little tutorial
First of all, you have to have Reveal Hidden Elements toggled on, or enable the visibility of these icons under the Site Category. Once you do, you can see the two icons:
- Project Base Boint icon -- a circle with an X thru it
- Survey Point icon -- a Triangle with a + in the middle of it
Let's look at the different modes of these two icons.
First of all, let's look at moving the Survey Point icon around. In its clipped mode, moving the Survey Point moves Shared Coordinates around. If you never move the icon in unclipped mode, this will set the origin of Shared Coordinates. This way, you can coordinate your 0,0 point that your CAD or BIM consultant team is using using Shared Coordinates. This is a very useful new feature in 2010. Note that if you acquire the coordinates of a linked CAD or RVT file, this will move the clipped Survey Point icon as you might expect. If you have linked CAD or Revit files inserted via Shared Coordinates, moving the clipped Survey Point around will also relocate those linked files.
The unclipped mode allows you to move the Survey Point away from the 0,0,0 location of Shared Coordinates. When you export your Revit project to the new .ADSK interoperable file format (big R > Export > Building Site), the origin in that file will respect the location of the Survey Point whether its location is clipped to the Shared Coordinates origin, or unclipped and moved away from the Shared Coordinates origin. Note that in the unclipped mode, the Survey Point icon shows the X,Y and Z offsets of the Survey Point with respect to the Shared Coordinates origin. There doesn't appear to be any way to move the Survey Point back to SC 0,0,0 except by typing 0 into each of the N/S, E/W and Elev fields.
If you're not working with the ADSK file format, then you'll always move the Survey Point icon in clipped mode. You'll need to move it in plan to set the N/S and E/W (X and Y) origin for the site, plus in an elevation view you'll need to move the icon vertically to geodetic Sea Level -- and then I would create a Revit level datum (and plan view) at that same elevation for bringing in the topo from the surveyor so your terrain model will be built at the correct elevation with respect to your project.
Project Base Point
As of Revit 2010, you can unclip and relocate Project Coordinates without moving your level datums. This is a huge increase in functionality as you can move them in X, Y and Z. But let's look at the clipped mode first.
In clipped mode, moving the Project Base Point moves the project with respect to Shared Coordinates. Project Coordinates are not being moved. So moving the clipped Project Base Point down 50' is like moving the clipped Survey Base Point 50' upwards. When moving the clipped Project Base Point, the Shared Coordinates origin (the Survey Base Point) stays where it is, and you move the project with respect to the Shared Coordinates origin. Revit's help files say that moving the clipped Project Base Point is the same thing as using the Relocate Project tool.
In unclipped mode, moving the Project Base Point moves the Project Coordinates of the project. So when you export the project w.r.t. Project Coordinates, moving the unclipped Project Base Point will change the Project Coordinates origin. However, this does not affect the cardinal rule about modeling your project within a one-mile radius from the startup location of Project Coordinates. Revit's help file instructs users to confirm that the model is within this radius. If the PC origin has been moved in this manner, you can return the Project Base Point back to its original location by right-clicking on the unclipped icon and from the right-click menu choosing "Move to Startup Location". The startup location of Project Coordinates cannot ever be changed, and your model must be built within a one mile radius of this point.
The ability to move the unclipped Project Base Point solves some problems for our office. In our template, we set the main floor to 100' Project Coordinates (so subgrade storeys won't have negative level datums), and Shared Coordinates is the geodetic elevation of the project. However, when exporting to Google Earth, Ecotect, or other apps, the project comes may come in 100' too high because exports like these seem to deal with Project Coordinates rather than Shared. So now you can try unclipping the Project Base Point and move it to your main floor elevation, export, then move it back again. Note that the Globe Link export utility looks at your project and exports based on the Startup Location of Project Coordinates, so moving the unclipped Project Base Point will do nothing for this workflow.
So all in all, this new functionality is welcomed, even if it is a little confusing. I hope this treatise helps someone out.
There's a lot of good conversation in the forum, so read the entire forum thread:
Project Coordinates, Shared Coordinates, and the new Survey Point - AUGI Forums
Error: 100,000 photons emitted and none stored, warning: 10,000 photons emitted and none stored #3ds Max
Wasn't this from an episode of Star Trek, 'The attack of the Revit Borg'?
Oops... never mind. Photon torpedos and photons in 3ds Max are not the same thing.
I bet they did use 3ds Max to render the photon torpedos in the tv show though.
Published date: 2009-Aug-31
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2010
Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design 2010
When you render a scene, you get the error message “Error: 100,000 photons emitted and none stored, warning: 10,000 photons emitted and none stored”.
This message means that one of the materials in the scene is absorbing photons instead of bouncing them back.
You can safely ignore this message, but the rendering will be a bit slower. To fix the issue, locate the material that absorbs photons. Usually, it’s a self-illumination material set to black. Set specularity or reflection to the material."
I know...not for Revit, but for those of you export your Revit models to 3ds Max, this may help.
Speeding up camera movement in walkthrough mode
Published date: 2009-Aug-31
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2010
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2009
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2008
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 9
Autodesk® 3ds Max® 8
Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design 2010
Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design 2009
Autodesk 3ds Max Entertainment Creation Suite 2010
Autodesk 3ds Max Real-Time Animation Suite 2010
When you press the Up arrow shortcut to move the camera in the walkthrough mode, the camera movement is slow.
To increase and decrease the movement speed of the camera, use the left bracket “[“ and right bracket “]” shortcut keys."
Here's a little something to start your Monday morning off with a real boom, as in BIM Boom. Working for the oldest Autodesk reseller in the United States, reading the article below confirms and validates everything I've been saying for the past 4 years. It's as if we're starting all over again from scratch. Thank goodness Revit is at least a lot easier to learn and be productive with than AutoCAD ever was.
If you're still bitter and angry that Autodesk took away your .5 Mechanical pencil 26 years ago, well, now there going to take away your AutoCAD from you. Only this time, you're going to thank them and give them a big hug.
Here are my favorite highlights from the article, but please read the whole thing, word for word and print this one out and put it on your wall. If anyone reading this is a displaced architect, email me and you can sit in on our next Revit Essentials class for next to nothing. For the rest of you, I hope you've got your 5 year plan in place to adopt BIM.
- BIM allows the architect to change the business model, spending more time on design and reduced time on contract documents.
- It could be argued that contractors can benefit most from BIM. A building modeled in BIM can tell the contractor exactly how much of each material to order, when each phase of the project can be complete, which subcontractors need to be on site which days, and if any systems will clash before they occur. This saves the contractor time on the construction phase of the project.
- Owners using BIM see a higher return on investment because the design and construction phases are shortened, less material is wasted, emergency re-designs are avoided with clash detection accurately done in advance and they can anticipate post-occupancy performance, maintenance and operation costs.
- Many architectural product manufacturers are having their entire catalog “BIMed” so that they can remain competitive.
- BIM adoption is most challenged by the people whom it would benefit most. People (architects, engineers, contractors or owners) are hesitant to adopt BIM because it seems expensive and complicated to learn and use. But investment in this technology is more of a psychological process shift than anything.
- Even adoption and use by owners is expected to increase. Contractors are quickly realizing the benefits of BIM and expect to see the greatest adoption through 2009 (38 percent expect to be heavy users, up from 23 percent).
- If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
In 2005, when building information modeling (BIM) was being introduced to the mainstream architectural community a survey by the AIA showed that 85 percent of people had never heard of it. Now, only four years later, over 75 percent of architects report to be very heavy or heavy users of BIM in their projects. That’s a 160 percent increase in the use of BIM in only four years.
What is Driving This Change?
Innovation? Fear of irrelevance? Green building? A tough economy? It’s hard to pinpoint one driver, and each firm or adopter of BIM might have done so for a different reason. The bottom line is that BIM is here to stay and estimates put it as the primary design tool and process in as little as eight to ten more years.
What’s So Great About BIM?
The benefits may be too numerous to expand upon in length, but here are ten to start with:
1. Shortened design and development phases
2. Increased interoperability for all project team members
3. Clash detection for building systems
4. Increased ability for prefabrication off of the job site
5. Shortened construction schedule
6. Measurable ROI for users
7. Reducing time spent on contract documents
8. Integration of other software for scheduling, materials, costs, energy consumption, etc.
9. Potential for easing LEED project submittals with calculations and energy estimates
10. Use of the BIM object after design and construction
BIM is Changing the Way Everyone Does Business.
Of the above benefits, one of the most important is the interoperability of the project team; architects, engineers, contractors and owners use BIM. According to McGrawHill Construction’s SmartMarket Report(PDF): Building Information Modeling (BIM): Transforming Design and Construction to Achieve Greater Industry Productivity, published in 2008, architects are the largest users of BIM with over 43 percent using it on more than 60 percent of their projects. Estimates indicate that 43 percent of engineers will be very heavy users of BIM in 2009 (up 9 percent) and 16 percent will be heavy users (up 8 percent).
Even adoption and use by owners is expected to increase. Contractors are quickly realizing the benefits of BIM and expect to see the greatest adoption through 2009 (38 percent expect to be heavy users, up from 23 percent).
BIM for Architects
For the architect, BIM is a design tool. It allows them to show a prospective client exactly what the building will look like, rather than having to explain to them their vision. This improves communication and project expectations between the architect and client. As a design tool, BIM increases the interaction between the architect and the project team. This allows the architect, engineers, contractor and subcontractors to determine the best solution for building systems to ensure that post occupancy performance will be as close to the owner’s project requirements and calculated estimates as possible.
BIM allows the architect to change the business model, spending more time on design and reduced time on contract documents. With more time to design, architects will be able to produce more efficient and innovative designs. In the above report, architectural, structural, mechanical, plumbing and accessibility components were the most modeled elements of a building.
BIM for Engineers
For engineers, BIM allows them to work with an architect in a mutually understandable model. Even work and communication with engineers across disciplines such as civil, environmental, structural and mechanical will improve with adoption of BIM. Engineers are very detail oriented, logical and focused individuals but can be seen as unimaginative outside of their discipline. Bringing everyone together to work on a model that is representative of everyone’s interests will make charettes more productive.
BIM also has the ability to detect clashes between systems. For example, the model can detect and flag a ventilation duct that is going through a structural steel beam. Clash detection allows the engineers, contractors, subcontractors and architects to come up with a solution in the design and modeling phase, rather than on the job site.
BIM also has the ability to estimate energy efficiencies. Architects and engineers can quickly change system elements to compare how different cladding, windows, HVAC systems or building orientation will impact the anticipated energy efficiency of the building. This is a very important consideration in green building. As LEED certification becomes more difficult to achieve, accurate energy consumption estimates will be more imperative to the success of the design.
Of course, the true test is post-occupancy performance of the systems. With paper plans this is hard to estimate, with BIM, the algorithms should produce accurate estimates before the building is built.
BIM for Contractors
It could be argued that contractors can benefit most from BIM. A building modeled in BIM can tell the contractor exactly how much of each material to order, when each phase of the project can be complete, which subcontractors need to be on site which days, and if any systems will clash before they occur. This saves the contractor time on the construction phase of the project.
BIM allows for prefabrication of large components of a building to be brought to the project site. This essentially turns a construction site into an assembly site. Prefabrication saves time and material waste on the construction site.
BIM for Owners
Owners and investors who request BIM on their projects will benefit by being able to become more involved in the design and construction process. They can walk onto a job site on day 213 of construction, view the model to see what is supposed to be complete and then look at the building to make sure that the project is on time. Owners using BIM see a higher return on investment because the design and construction phases are shortened, less material is wasted, emergency re-designs are avoided with clash detection accurately done in advance and they can anticipate post-occupancy performance, maintenance and operation costs.
The aforementioned report states that 48 percent of respondents track BIM return on investment at a moderate level or above. Unmeasured estimates of ROI were between 11 and 30 percent; however, when efforts were made to measure ROI, one third reported ROI greater than 100 percent (page 3). When measuring BIM ROI, firms look at fewer RFI and field coordination problems (79 percent); better communication because of 3D visualization (79 percent); and positive impact on securing projects (66 percent).
BIM for Product Manufacturers
Many architectural product manufacturers are having their entire catalog “BIMed” so that they can remain competitive. Manufacturers recognize that BIM as a building process is becoming more common and that their products won’t be specified if they don’t offer a BIM object to put into the building model. BIM objects offered by manufacturers make the design and specification of products easier for architects designing in a BIM environment. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sweets-type BIM catalog is created in the future. If you’re a manufacturer and you don’t currently offer BIM objects, put it in your budget for 2010 and every year after that.
BIM After Design and Construction
Building models designed in BIM can be used after the design and construction phase are complete. BIM can provide ease for operation and maintenance of the building systems. It could also be used for first response rescues during emergencies such as fires or earthquakes. Rescuers will be able to view the BIM model to locate safe areas of the building to enter and exit to make their rescues easier, safer and potentially timelier.
Why Doesn’t Everyone Use BIM Already?
Good question. BIM adoption is most challenged by the people whom it would benefit most. People (architects, engineers, contractors or owners) are hesitant to adopt BIM because it seems expensive and complicated to learn and use. But investment in this technology is more of a psychological process shift than anything. Everyone involved in the design and construction community from this point forward should give BIM and the benefits associated with it some serious thought.
Change can be daunting, but investment in the future of your career is imperative to success in that field. Like former Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki said, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”
Everything You Need To Know About The Future Of BIM | The LOdown
Well, I guess it was bound to happen. I always add a comment or two to blogs that I repost, so it was especially flattering to have a construction blog writer actually write a blog post about my thoughts on BIM and IPD. I must be on the right track if others are referencing my stories in their articles. I'm glad others are paying attention and taking action, even if it's just the construction blogs for the moment.
So, you know I’ve been ranting lately. I’d like to apologize for it, but I just can’t. The more conversations I have with owners, contractors, subcontractors and LEED firms, the more the conversation turns to liability, refusal to share documents, incomplete drawings, coordination issues and more.READ MORE
At a recent meeting with a contractor, the owner of the firm said to me, “Greg, Revit seems so amazing. Why isn’t every architect using it?” Anyone who wants to, you can call me and I’ll give you my answer. I’m not going to publish that little gem here.
Today, I was talking with a drywall contractor who’s company has offices in several states. During our conversation, he mentioned how much documentation his company does to protect itself…
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Federal Reserve and Treasury officials are scrambling to prevent the commercial-real-estate sector from delivering a roundhouse punch to the U.S. economy just as it struggles to get up off the mat.
Their efforts could be undermined by a surge in foreclosures of commercial property carrying mortgages that were packaged and sold by Wall Street as bonds. Similar mortgage-backed securities created out of home loans played a big role in undoing that sector and triggering the global economic recession. Now the $700 billion of commercial-mortgage-backed securities outstanding are being tested for the first time by a massive downturn, and the outcome so far hasn't been pretty.
The CMBS sector is suffering two kinds of pain, which, according to credit rater Realpoint LLC, sent its delinquency rate to 3.14% in July, more than six times the level a year earlier. One is simply the result of bad underwriting. In the era of looser credit, Wall Street's CMBS machine lent owners money on the assumption that occupancy and rents of their office buildings, hotels, stores or other commercial property would keep rising. In fact, the opposite has happened. The result is that a growing number of properties aren't generating enough cash to make principal and interest payments.
The other kind of hurt is coming from the inability of property owners to refinance loans bundled into CMBS when these loans mature. By the end of 2012, some $153 billion in loans that make up CMBS are coming due, and close to $100 billion of that will face difficulty getting refinanced, according to Deutsche Bank. Even though the cash flows of these properties are enough to pay interest and principal on the debt, their values have fallen so far that borrowers won't be able to extend existing mortgages or replace them with new debt. That means losses not only to the property owners but also to those who bought CMBS -- including hedge funds, pension funds, mutual funds and other financial institutions -- thus exacerbating the economic downturn.
A typical CMBS is stuffed with mortgages on a diverse group of properties, often fewer than 100, with loans ranging from a couple of million dollars to more than $100 million. A CMBS servicer, usually a big financial institution like Wachovia and Wells Fargo, collects monthly payments from the borrowers and passes the money on to the institutional investors that buy the securities.
CMBS, of course, aren't the only kind of commercial-real-estate debt suffering higher defaults. Banks hold $1.7 trillion of commercial mortgages and construction loans, and delinquencies on this debt already have played a role in the increase in bank failures this year.
But banks' losses from commercial mortgages have the potential to mount sharply, and the high foreclosure rate in the CMBS market could play a role in this. Until now, banks have been able to keep a lid on commercial-real-estate losses by extending debt when it has matured as long as the underlying properties are generating enough cash to pay debt service. Banks have had a strong incentive to refinance because relaxed accounting standards have enabled them to avoid marking the value of the loans down.
"There is no incentive for banks to realize losses" on their commercial-real-estate loans, says Jack Foster, head of real estate at Franklin Templeton Real Estate Advisors.
Read the rest...Commercial Real Estate Lurks as Next Potential Mortgage Crisis - WSJ.com:
Ha Ha. Told you so. I've posted before on greenwashing and the inaccuracies of current 2D technologies. Polylines and Excel just don't cut it. This is why you need Revit Architecture, Revit MEP and IES or Ecotect/Green Building Studio for design, engineering and analysis.
Of course, you can keep avoiding telling your engineers to get Revit MEP, and you can pay them a lot more money to do the calculations the old fashioned way (by hand), but why? Now that it's official that 5 years of energy audits must be submitted to the USGBC for LEED certified buildings, and there's more and more examination of buildings' energy performance, let's just say that you really don't have much of a choice. I know I sound like a broken record, but it's for your own good to keep the doors open and open new doors. There's gold in green and these tools will help you make more money and be more successful.
The Federal Building in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, features an extensive use of natural light to illuminate offices and a white roof to reflect heat.
It has LEED certification, the country’s most recognized seal of approval for green buildings.
But the building is hardly a model of energy efficiency. According to an environmental assessment last year, it did not score high enough to qualify for the Energy Star label granted by the Environmental Protection Agency, which ranks buildings after looking at a year’s worth of utility bills. The building’s cooling system, a major gas guzzler, was one culprit. Another was its design: to get its LEED label, it racked up points for things like native landscaping rather than structural energy-saving features, according to a study by the General Services Administration, which owns the building.
Builders covet LEED certification — it stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — as a way to gain tax credits, attract tenants, charge premium rents and project an image of environmental responsibility. But the gap between design and construction, which LEED certifies, and how some buildings actually perform, led the program last week to announce that it would for the first time begin collecting information about energy use from all the buildings it certifies.
Buildings would provide the information voluntarily, said officials with the United States Green Building Council, the nonprofit organization that administers the LEED program, and the data would be kept confidential. But starting this year, the program also is requiring all newly constructed buildings to provide energy and water bills for the first five years of operation as a condition for certification. The label could be rescinded if the data is not produced, the officials said.
The council’s own research suggests that a quarter of the new buildings that have been certified do not save as much energy as their designs predicted and that most do not track energy consumption once in use. And the program has been under attack from architects, engineers and energy experts who argue that because building performance is not tracked, the certification may be falling short in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions tied to global warming.
Some experts have contended that the seal should be withheld until a building proves itself energy efficient, which is the cornerstone of what makes a building green, and that energy-use data from every rated building should be made public.
“The plaque should be installed with removable screws,” said Henry Gifford, an energy consultant in New York City. “Once the plaque is glued on, there’s no incentive to do better.”
Scot Horst, the council’s senior vice president for its certification program, said that any changes in the process would have to be made by consensus to ensure that the building industry would comply. Already, some construction lawyers have said that owners might face additional risk of lawsuits if buildings are found to underperform.
The council is planning several meetings with builders, owners, developers and others around the country in September and October to promote its building performance initiative, which could lead to further revisions in the rating program to ensure buildings reduce energy consumption as much as they can.
Mr. Horst called the issue of performance one of his “absolute priorities.”
“If you’re not reducing carbon, you’re not doing your job,” he said.
The LEED label, developed by the council in 1998 to have a third-party verification of a building’s environmental soundness, certifies new homes, schools and other buildings, as well as existing ones. (The certification for existing buildings is the only one currently tied to energy performance.) Its oldest and largest program, in terms of square footage, is the certification of new commercial and institutional buildings, with 1,946 projects already certified and 15,000 more that have applied for certification. Many other buildings include environmentally friendly features and advertise themselves as “green” but do not seek the LEED label.
The program uses a point system based on a broad checklist of features and buildings can be certified by accumulating points on not just efficient energy use but also water conservation, proximity to public transportation, indoor air quality and use of eco-friendly materials.
Council officials say that these other categories also help reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. And many architects and engineers praise the comprehensiveness of the label. But the wide scope of the program, many in the industry note, also means that buildings have been able to get certified by accumulating most of their points through features like bamboo flooring, while paying little attention to optimizing energy use.
Another problem is that the certification relies on energy models to predict how much energy a planned building will use, but council officials and many experts agree that such models are inexact. Once a building opens, it may use more energy than was predicted by the design. And how a building is used — how many occupants it has, for example — affects its energy consumption.
“If the occupants don’t turn off the lights, the building doesn’t do as well as expected,” said Mark Frankel, technical director for the New Buildings Institute, which promotes improved energy performance in new commercial construction and conducted the research commissioned by the Green Building Council on LEED buildings.
“In the real world, the mechanical systems may have problems, so that increases energy use,” Mr. Frankel said, adding that keeping track of energy use is rarely a priority for owners.
LEED energy standards have grown more stringent over the years, and construction like the Youngstown federal building, built in 2002, would not be certified under the current version of the program, the G.S.A. study noted. The LEED standard goes through periodic revisions, and this year, the minimum energy requirements needed for the basic LEED certification for new buildings were raised.
But in its own study last year of 121 new buildings certified through 2006, the Green Building Council found that more than half — 53 percent — did not qualify for the Energy Star label and 15 percent scored below 30 in that program, meaning they used more energy per square foot than at least 70 percent of comparable buildings in the existing national stock.
Anecdotal information from follow-up research to that study indicated that the best-performing buildings had limited window areas and tended to be smaller.
Sometimes, a building’s inhabitants are the first to notice energy-wasting features.
At the Octagon, a LEED-certified residential rental building on Roosevelt Island in New York City, residents like Alan Siegal say that obvious energy savers, like motion sensors in the hallway, are hard to miss.
But Mr. Siegal, 59, a customs service broker, said his three-bedroom apartment has floor-to-ceiling glass windows that offer great views but also strong drafts.
“If there’s a lot of glass, is that going to be efficient?” he asked.
Bruce Becker, whose company Becker and Becker Associates developed and owns the Octagon, said that the windows offer day lighting but conceded that there were plenty of opportunities to become more energy efficient. He said the Octagon would soon switch to a fuel cell system for heat and electricity, partly to cut energy costs at a time of a depressed rental market.
Mr. Horst, the LEED executive, said that LEED may eventually move toward the E.P.A.’s Energy Star model, which attests to energy efficiency only for the year the label was given, similar to restaurant ratings.
“Ultimately, where we want to be is, once you’re performing at a certain level you continue to be recertified,” Mr. Horst said.
Some Buildings Not Living Up to Green Label - NYTimes.com - Original Link
A must have for all Revit MEP and AutoCAD MEP users. 3D Piping screensaver. Way cool and inspirational.
And now for some fun -- we have a Plant 3D screensaver. It’s like the old windows “Pipes” screensaver, with a Plant Piping twist. To get it, first Download Plant3DSaver.msi (267.0K) and install it.
To Make this your Screensaver:
- Right click on your desktop
- Click Properties
- Click Screen Saver tab
- Choose AutoCAD Plant 3D from drop down menu
- Click Apply
To view without waiting for your PC to go to sleep click the Preview Button. If you are having trouble with preview, please make sure you are not moving your mouse after clicking – if you move your mouse the preview ends immediately. Enjoy!
Original: In the Pipes: Video Survey and Screensaver
I love articles like this one. Makes me so happy I became a LEED AP so my company can sell and train you wonderful people on Ecotect and Green Building Studio.
By Justin Moresco - Earth2Tech
When software is designed well, it can radically improve the way an industry works. That’s the vision behind ongoing efforts at Autodesk to upgrade its building performance modeling software — to make energy retrofits of buildings cheaper and easier. The San Rafael, Calif.-based firm believes the improvements it’s making to its suite of construction industry software will compress the time it takes to do detailed sustainability analysis (energy, water, emissions) from weeks to days and as a result, make such analysis cheap enough to be accessible to a majority of the building market.
More than 100 million buildings in the U.S. are leaky and inefficient and could use an energy makeover with measures like better insulation, heating and air conditioning systems and natural ventilation. But most of these structures are relatively small (homes and offices), and the cost of building accurate computer models to do detailed analysis on them is often too high with current technology, according to John Kennedy, senior manager for sustainable analysis products at Autodesk. He says energy service companies (ESCOs) -– businesses that develop, install and finance energy efficiency projects –- today won’t touch a building less than 10,000 square feet.
But Autodesk believes the economics will dramatically change once engineers and architects can build a model in, say, a day or two and have it automatically spit out recommendations with the impact on cost and performance for each measure. Some of the new or improved features Autodesk is working on include: an increased use of cloud computing that would make sophisticated analysis quicker, more leverage of deep reservoirs of data about local weather conditions and the performance of different building products, more accurate and faster modeling of natural ventilation and water use, and an emphasis on making sure all of this “sustainability criteria” can be easily and accurately shared between the different software used by architects and engineers. Kennedy didn’t provide a timeline for these upgrades.
Autodesk also wants to incorporate the embodied energy of building materials (the total energy used in manufacturing, transporting and installing) more thoroughly into its software models. “It makes no sense to put triple-paned windows in a house in Los Angeles when the energy saved from its use would never exceed the amount needed to build it,” Kennedy said. Few vendors currently supply or even have this data to provide, he added.
Still, even with Autodesk’s planned improvements, it’s unclear how far down into the building market its software can penetrate. At some point, it will always be cheaper for boutique energy retrofitters focused on the residential market to analyze a home than an architectural or engineering firm charging $150 an hour.
Autodesk says that current versions of its software –- such as performance modeler Ecotect Analysis and its on-demand Green Building Studio –- has already shrunk the time it takes for sustainability analysis from months to weeks, and the firm can also boast of a growing customer base. But the use of building performance software, from Autodesk or anyone else, is still relatively uncommon among design firms.
Part of the reason for this slow adoption is the perceived high cost of using these tools. Another reason, however, is that the industry –- broadly speaking -– is still operating collectively as if energy and water use don’t need to be factored in during design. It’s what Dawn Danby, sustainable design program manager at Auodesk, calls a “cultural” problem. While stricter building codes and the growing prominence of green building standards like LEED are pushing the embrace of performance software, widespread adoption won’t happen until architects and engineers change their habits.
That helps to explain Autodesk’s mounting marketing push alongside its software development. As part of that effort, in July the firm announced its “Clean Tech Partner Program” through which it will give away software packages worth up to $150,000 each to 100 early-stage cleantech startups. According to Danby, the firm is working hard to inform designers and building owners that its software is relatively easy to use, inexpensive and gives quick feedback.
Still, changing the construction industry will be a long slog, even when one of the strongest pushes is coming from a fast-moving software company.
Original post: Autodesk’s Ambition to Change the Green Building Industry | Reuters
Saturday, August 29, 2009
A 6 inch mistake? That's what she said. I mean, my wife sent this to me. I guess that makes me her BIM Beau. So we have a construction project where design, coordination and fabrication don't intersect. Welcome to the world of another costly mistake that ends up costing the taxpayers time and money.
Ok, so you may not want to switch to Revit (or perhaps Civil3D in this case), but guys, come on. Let's at least require BIM on any project that comes from taxpayer's pockets. This is getting ridiculous now. There's no reason to have the technology available and not use it where OUR money is affected and we all know how long road construction takes. Your daily commute is affected by not using BIM. If that's not a good enough reason, I don't know what is.
Posted: 5:27 pm EDT August 28, 2009Updated: 6:25 pm EDT August 28, 2009
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- The intersection of SR-50 and 436 is one of Orange County's busiest and it's a complete mess (see map). There are even more problems with the project, because somebody messed up a measurement.
The piece of bridge ordered for 436 and SR-50 is just a little too long. The Florida Department of
The bridge section is six inches too long and now the state contractors are trying to figure out whether it can be cut to fit without jeopardizing safety.At least 62,000 cars a day go through the intersection at SR-50 and Semoran Boulevard (436). It's one of the busiest and most dangerous and, because of the construction configuration right now, drivers say it's even worse."
They're always backed up and the road's uneven. So yeah, I'd say so," commuter Francesca Degirolami said.If you're northbound on 436 turning east on SR-50, the turn lanes are long and there's a sharp bend at the end of the turn. Eastbound, SR-50 travelers turning north on Semoran are also challenged because of poor visibility.Now, a 6-inch mistake involving a bridge section has halted work at the intersection.
Cranes, which cost $10,000 a week to lease, have been idle for three weeks and there's no definite start-up schedule."Who's gonna pay for this?" WFTV reporter asked FDOT Spokesman Steve Olson."It's FDOT's position that the taxpayer is not on the hook for any money," Olson said.FDOT says the specs for the bridge, done by
Eyewitness News' calls to both contractors went unanswered Friday, so it's unknown if they agree.FDOT insists the 6-inch mistake won't hold up the opening of the flyover, because it's not scheduled to open before the rest of the project is done, which is set to be by next July.
Eyewitness News asked why FDOT did not require the contractor to open the bottle-necked intersection as soon as it is done, rather than making commuters wait for the rest of the project three miles down to be done first. FDOT says that would have made the $67 million project even more expensive.
Well, I don't even know what to file this under. They must know something that we don't.
Posted by: Andrew Price on August 27, 2009 at 1:41 pm
From the Department of Mixed Emotions: The New York Times‘ Green, Inc. blog is reporting that a new solar thermal plant is going to be built in Coalinga, California…for Chevron to get oil with.
Unlike “normal” solar power that converts sunlight directly to electricty, solar thermal converts light to steam power (primer here). And that steam power is useful for oil drilling. So a solar thermal company called BrightSource is building a 100-acre plant for Chevron. From Green, Inc.:
Chevron is an investor in BrightSource, a solar power plant builder based in Oakland, Calif., and solar-powered oil extraction offers the oil giant an opportunity to reduce its carbon footprint while gaining a hedge against volatile natural gas prices.
It’d be nicer if this new solar plant was being used to supply energy to the grid for California’s future fleet of awesome electric cars, but the silver lining: This news makes it clear that solar is starting to make real business sense.
Original post: Chevron’s Using Solar Power…to Drill for Oil | GOOD
It almost looks like a job post from the future, but it's current. I do have an issue with the 7-10 years experience as a BIM Manager part. What are there, like 3 people on the planet that meet that qualification?
For all you CAD managers out there, start preparing for the jobs of the future. I don't see anything in here about managing layers and line weights, so you'll have to forget everything you've ever known.
On a similar side note, we had a Mechanical contractor in for Revit MEP training about 3 weeks ago. I was asking him if he had a budget for Navisworks Manage which would run about $10,000. He laughed at me and said he'd never heard of it and they certainly wouldn't be needing it. Well, guess who ordered their copy last week because it's required on a job they just got from a contractor. He was the same guy who wanted to do an AutoCAD legacy upgrade a year and a half ago and I made him buy Revit MEP Suite instead. He said, fine, he's play around with it and have it for the little bit extra it cost to have. Well, two months after that, he called up to order another copy. You naysayers out there can think I'm just trying to get you to buy boxes of software like every other reseller who's knocked on your door, but there's a serious shift going on out there and you really need to start paying attention before it's too late.
Enough of the lecture, check out this job description.
BIM Manager/Navisworks/3D Jobs in Pasadena, California
Our client, an Mechanical Engineering consulting firm, is seeking a Building Information Modeling (BIM) Manager, to join their team and be responsible for implementing BIM technology to improve the firm's processes. Candidates must have worked in an MEP environment and have Navisworks experience.
-Manage support for approx 170 CAD users in 5 offices - from 2D-drafters and engineers to union detailers and foremen.
-Oversee maintenance/upgrading of internal CAD menus and content for 2D and 3D CAD software applications.
-Evaluate and recommend new software related hardware specifications.
-Oversee software procurement
-Evaluation and recommendation of software and hardware configurations
-Oversee detailed review of coordination documents by engineers/detailers/cad designers/coordinators prior to dwg issue
-Liase directly with project teams and clients
-Maintain relationships with key clients regarding 3D coordination
-Oversee administration of 3D coordination process using Navisworks
-Train project teams in the 3D Navisworks coordination process
-Advise project managers/engineering dept/construction dept with regard to 3D/BIM best practices, 'value-for-money' considerations balanced with current manpower capabilities
-Promote increased integration between engineering and construction departments.
-7-10 years of experience as a BIM Manager
-Extensive experience with AutoCAD 3D and Navisworks.
-Must have experience gained through a mechanical or MEP firm.
Required Skills for BIM Manager/Navisworks/3D Job:
* EXPERIENCE WITH NAVISWORKS AND AUTOCAD 3D
* DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN BIM STANDARDS
* MECHANICAL BUILDING BASED CAD AND BIM"
Continuing the series of 10 quick tips, here are 10 tips and videos for tags in Revit. Please note the videos do not have sound and are for reference only….
1. Display the rectangular box in a door tag family
When editing a door tag and the lines around the room number are not visible, verify annotation categories are visible. Open Visibility / Graphics Overrides > Annotation Categories > check Show annotation categories in this view: Video Example
2. Cannot tag top face with spot elevation tag
If you are unable to tag a face with the spot elevation tag, verify Model Graphics Style is not set to Wireframe: Video Example
3. Section tag center line
The section callout head family center line contains a hard-coded parameter for Rotate with Section. This will allow the line to rotate with the section head. While you cannot add this to new lines, you can copy the line and modify as needed: Video Example
4. Nested annotation text readability
If you come across text that is not staying readable in families containing a nested family; verify the Keep text readable setting in the nested family: Video Example
5. Tag all multiple categories
To tag all for multiple object types, use the CTRL key to select as many categories as needed: Video Example
6. Room tag model orientation
When adding a room tag, you can specify Model orientation to have it align with model elements. Simply use the SPACE bar to toggle the elements it will be aligned to: Video Example
7. Design options and view tag visibility
To determine how view tags show when design options are in place, you can specify the visibility of a view tag in the Instance Properties: Video Example
8. Section view hide at scales coarser than
When you add a section view tag, it takes the current view scale and makes this the default for Hide at scales coarser than. This is good to keep in mind if tags drop out of a view when the scale changes: Video Example
9. Add a rotation parameter to project north symbol
To make updating a true north \ project north symbol easier, you can add a type parameter for the rotation of the symbol line: Video Example
10. Add visibility parameter to imported image in annotation family
The Revit Clinic: 10 Revit Tag Tips
Now, this is what I call Green Building. Imagine creating live building that change seasonally. This simply seems de-vine!
When Patrick Blanc was a boy, he suspended plants from his bedroom wall and ran their roots into a fish tank. The greenery received nourishment from the diluted—ahem—fertilizer and purified the water in return. Forty-five years on, the French botanist's gardens have grown massive in scale. One inside a Portuguese shopping mall is larger than four tennis courts, and there's one in Kuwait that's almost as big. But Blanc's recently completed facade for the Athenaeum hotel in London (shown) could be his most high-profile project yet. Looming over Green Park, it's an eight-story antigravity forest composed of 12,000 plants.
Blanc uses a kind of techno-trellis as the underlying structure: A plastic-coated aluminum frame is fastened to the wall and covered with synthetic felt into which plant roots can burrow. A custom irrigation system keeps the felt moist with a fertilizer solution modeled after the rainwater that trickles through forest canopies.
But plants for this vertical landscape must be chosen with care. Because the walls are so high, conditions vary widely. The shade at ground level is perfect for rare Asian nettles; on the brighter upper stories, plants that usually cling to windblown cliff faces brave the blustery British breezes.
Blanc, who still has a fish-tank setup in his apartment, says his creations will always reach upward: "I leave horizontal gardens to others. I only think vertically."
The vertical garden at the Athenaeum, which is eight stories tall, has 260 plant species and more than 12,000 plants
Another great post from RevitOpEd:
http://revitoped.blogspot.com/2009/08/roof-example-slope-and-shape-editing.htmlA post at AUGI asked about a roof condition that followed a curved wall. They wanted the roof to use a 1/12 pitch (1 inch rise per 12 inches of run for metric and slope in degrees folks). This is easy to do by specifying one segment of the roof as Defining Slope. This is the result.
Of all the whacky ideas.....
CAD Forum - Send Twitter messages directly from AutoCAD.: "
Q - question
How can I send Twitter messages directly from AutoCAD.
A - answer With the LISP utility Xanadu Twitter.vlx you can send tweets (status messages) directly from your AutoCAD command line.
Load the TWITTER.VLX in your AutoCAD session (e.g. with the _APPLOAD command). Then run the TWITTER command, enter your Twitter username and password, plus your message to send an update (tweet, status) to your Twitter page (timeline).
You can also use the LISP function (twitter) to automate postings (from scripts, menus, macros...):
(twitter mytwittername mytwitterpassword mymessage)
See examples at our Twitter page
You can download Twitter.vlx from www.xanadu.cz/download
@Revit3D To add 3D mouse support to an application we either need an API so we can write a plug-in or the s/w developer to do it directly.10:09 AM Jul 21st from web in reply to Revit3D
Friday, August 28, 2009
Robin Capper over at rcd.typepad.com, another blogger with way too much free time on his hands, recently found CADMan Ave in his post I've been to CADMAN AVE, anyone been to BIM?
Well, today he found a street called Bims Road. I don't think "Bims" really counts Robin. It's got to be just the word "BIM. I fired up firefox, headed over to Google Maps, and what do you know, there's a BIM Street right here in the US.
View Larger Map
You can drive your CADDy-Lack down BIM Street at 3333 Revitlutions per Model (RPM)
From @vincentcadoret :
@Revit3D LOL I bet there are a lot of BIMmers parked on BIM street because they made more money than the guys with CADDy-lacks.