Thursday, June 27, 2013

Design Options & Phases: Post #1

The use of Design Options and Phases is similar.  Some of the same challenges are present that I believe shared concepts can solve. This post assumes you already have some exposure to the Design Options and Phases tools and that you think the Split Element and Linework tools are the only tools available for exploring design options and phases.

MANY CONTAINERS: I'm sure you're aware that when you place an element into a view it is always relative to some reference (A workplane, a reference plane, a level, a host, a face). Well, did you also know that when you place an element into a view it is typically going into three "containers" at the same time?
  • A Workset container (ex. Workset1)
  • A Design Options container (ex. Main Model)
  • And a Phase container (ex. New Construction). A phase container is different in that an element can cross-over into other phase containers (see phase created/phase demolished parameters)
USING SPLIT ELEMENT AND LINEWORK: Most beginners will split walls to explore new wall shapes in design options or to explore additions/reductions to as-built walls, because the split element tool is just so easy to use and looks great in my plan view!

Well, if you are doing that on a very regularly basis you will get to be best friends with another tool in Revit... the Linework tool, particularly when you're trying to keep up with all the elevation cleanup issues that can result from continuously splitting walls with every study. The split element tool IS great if you are deleting a split off wall or changing the wall type of the split off wall, but you might consider an alternative to the Split Element tool if you are using it to explore design options or a proposed remodel on a wall that is really the same wall type from end to end and floor to ceiling.

ACCEPTING REASONABLE REDUNDANCY: If a wall type is consistent from end to end, consider copying the wall and it's host doors/windows into another container and reshaping, rather than split (a split is restricted to vertical & horizontal lines anyway).  A wall split into 7 walls... of the same type... in the same plane... and trying to join geometry in the same container can cause unwanted elevation cleanups, while a reshaped copy means just two walls in two separate containers... no multiplying of connection cleanups to deal with in elevations later (not really redundant because elements are separated into containers).

Because you now have a copy of your wall in another container you can now freely reshape that copy as often as you need, with every design change, all while preserving the integrity of your proposed and as-built elevations, thank you very much!

Keep in mind that when you copy a wall into another design option or phase container it will also copy all families cutting it & possibly any sweeps/reveals hosted on it.  Obviously the more families you build that are cutting the wall the more unnecessary redundancy you will run into.

DESIGN OPTIONS REDUNDANCY: Copy a wall into another design option container and reshape. There will be some redundancy of doors/windows in the design option scenario, which is ok, because at the end of the day all but the one design option will be deleted anyway (teaser: secondary design option walls DO cleanup at intersections with the main model walls if you are willing to accept some redundancy at variable intersections. If you give up, there's always the Linework tool ;) Remember to include rooms as part of both design options if the room boundary is expected to change.

PHASES REDUNDANCY: Copy the wall into a future phase container, demo the as-built wall, and reshape the proposed copy. There will also be some redundancy of doors/windows in the phased remodel scenario, which is ok, because renumbering of doors/windows and overriding of plan graphics with view filters and filled regions is manageable. We expect to be cleaning up plans anyway... we would rather elevations and perspectives mostly cleanup themselves.

Having a demo phase has helped me to sort out the required filters here, but "this can all be done without a demo phase." Yes, you heard me right.

THE BEST PART: Your as-built model is also preserved and intact in the active model, should you need to update it to benefit proposed plans or to reprint a clean as-built set later.

At project completion, the deleting of demo'd elements and combining of phases into a presentable and final record model can result in a pretty darn clean final product (if you haven't been splitting walls on the same model for 18 months).

And, if you want to explore design options and phases in the same model and you're really worried about someone accidentally deleting elements of an as-built model as proposed changes move forward, consider grouping and pinning the as-built model before proceeding with design option studies and phases (hint: you can still demo elements of a grouped and pinned as-built model, without someone accidentally splitting them ;)

More to follow...