Sunday, March 4, 2012


I was motivated to comment on Dave Light's blog today.  Quite a lively discussion about Revit families produced by Boon Edam revolving doors.  (yes it's 2 words, despite the fact that their web address misses out the capital letters and spaces)  Good to know that Dave is on their case and promoting active discussions between suppliers and Revit users.  You can find a link to his blog on my side bar.

This prompted me to take a look at the collection of Revit materials given to me by the local Rep for Nora resilient flooring, which is an excellent product range that we are currently specifying for schools projects over here in the Gulf.  It's long lasting, environmentally friendly, easy maintenance ... but about the Revit content.

First of all it's a huge package.  Steven kindly dropped off a flash drive loaded with over 2gb of data. Most of that is in the form of hi res jpegs ... 200Mb worth in the images shown below for example.

The image size doesn't seem to slow the rendering process down, but it's going to fill up your hard drive, and I'm not convinced you're going to see that fine level of detail in architectural renderings.  Not a big deal.  It's version 1, and a fine first effort.

 Product catalogues and read-me files are included in pdf format, which is great.  I was a bit puzzled by the advice on how to make the render appearances accessible to Revit though.  The suggestion is that as long as the images are in a subfolder of your project file everything will work.  This is not what the Revit help says, and it's never worked for me.

What I did was to dump all the jpegs in one folder and add it to the render file path under options.  Works every time.  The Revit files themselves are all in feet and inches, which is a little strange for a German company, but then the files only appear on the US website.  Even on the UK site, searching for Revit draws a blank.  Rather sad considering that the opening page of the US site boldly advertises the Revit content.  Come on Nora UK, join in the fun!  But the good news is that the stuff you really need is all there under the appearance, graphics and identity tabs.  So thank you Nora for a great first attempt.

I can't help thinking though that there must be a better way of delivering Revit materials definitions to Architects.  What about an app embedded in the website that allows you do browse through the range and make a shortlist of possible choices, then lets you specify a destination folder for the jpegs and creates a custom file with just those material swatches that you selected.  This would save you from downloading a massive data set that you have to search through to find what you want and which may well be out of date in a few months time.  Seems to me that cloud-based apps offer a lot of advantages for delivering Revit content, and they are something that a real human being can demonstrate to you when visiting your office.  Also the possibility of tele-conferencing while both seeing the same view of the app. 

Surely there has to be a direct, user friendly, talk-to-a-real-person way of linking suppliers, BIM content and consultants.

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