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Monday, 29 May 2017

Scope Box Visibility Control

Using a Scope Box is a great way to control the crop regions of multiple views at the same time; Very similar to View Templates. This Revit Recess entry will delve into the pro's and con's of using this method.

The Scope Box command can be found from the View Tab > Create Panel.

Multiple scope boxes can be created to quickly indicate crop regions for certain rooms and/or areas. This can take place in view which has been created from a level: Floor Plan, Reflected Ceiling Plan, or Structural Plan.

But how do we control the visibility of these scope boxes in views which are unrelated to the area you would like to crop? Simply select the scope boxes you would like to hide in certain views, and have a look at the properties palette. In here we can Edit the views in which the scope boxes will show or be hidden.

By overriding the selected scope boxes' visibility state for selected views, you will notice within the tiled windows in the drawing area, we will be in full control of what we see. Happy? I am.

However: I do have a wish - Currently we have no other alternative to aligning scope box boundaries than to zoom in quite close and manually stretch or contract the scope box edge lines. Autodesk, please allow us to align scope box boundaries using the Align tool?

Friday, 19 May 2017

Cut Pattern Orientation

Every once in a while, I get requests for support from clients whose wall cut patterns are graphically shown as per the image below. Luckily, there is a quick and easy way to fix this.

The change one needs to make can be found in the wall's material cut pattern properties. Typically, the hatch pattern applied will have an Orientation in Host Layers setting of Align with Element.  

Once this is changed to Orient to View, the graphical display problem is solved.

Have a great weekend, folks! 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Infraworks > Navisworks > Revit = Master Site Planning

One of the Revit 2018 New Features which I am very excited about is the Navisworks Underlay one can now use in Revit. This Revit Recess entry will explain the steps required to have an Infraworks model brought into Revit to assist with your Master Site Planning.

Using the Infraworks Model Builder, an area in Cape Town's CBD was extracted.

To use this Infraworks file in Navisworks, we need to export the model to a FBX file format.

 The exported FBX file can now be appended to a new Navisworks Project.

Part of the New Features in Revit 2018 is that one can now Link a Coordination Model (Navisworks file) to your Revit project.

The Coordination Models window is very similar to your normal Manage Links command, so there shouldn't be any problems adjusting to this new feature.

The entire Infraworks model will now be linked to your Revit Project. Granted, the material mapping from Infraworks to Navisworks to Revit needs some improvements, and the Navisworks link is a static object (i.e. an in-editable block). However: Imagine if we can generate topography from this Navisworks link - Much like we can generate topography from CSV files and CAD Imports? That would be brilliant!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Net-Zero Energy Buildings: Attainable or Not?

"A zero-energy building, also known as a zero net energy (ZNE) building, net-zero energy building (NZEB), or net zero building, is a building with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site, or in other definitions by renewable energy sources elsewhere. These buildings consequently contribute less overall greenhouse gas to the atmosphere than similar non-ZNE buildings. They do at times consume non-renewable energy and produce greenhouse gases, but at other times reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas production elsewhere by the same amount." - Wikipedia
Theewaterskloof Dam level at 15.7% as of 2017/05/08: A major component of the Western Cape Water Supply System

As with everything in life, we will always have two opposing sides when it comes to opinions. In this case, if we look at Net-Zero Energy Buildings, you will have people, professionals, and academics vehemently advocating Zero Net Energy Buildings for the numerous long-term benefits it has (Guess in which camp I am), while the other side will vehemently argue that the initial capital expenditure is way too high, that the payback period is way too long, that the client will always look for the cheapest design and construction costs, etc. etc. – Hence designing Net Zero Energy Buildings may not be worth the effort.

My opinion is that we have no other choice but to change our mindsets and design for zero energy consumption. What do I mean by we? Simply put, everyone: We need the buy in from the average Joe and Jill on the street, from professionals working in the industry, from professional bodies and government institutions, and most importantly, from our private and corporate clients.
"In 1896 the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius published a new idea. As humanity burned fossil fuels such as coal, which added carbon dioxide gas to the Earth’s atmosphere, we would raise the planet’s average temperature. This “greenhouse effect” was only one of many speculations about climate change, however, and not the most plausible. Scientists found technical reasons to argue that our emissions could not change the climate. Indeed most thought it was obvious that puny humanity could never affect the vast climate cycles, which were governed by a benign “balance of nature.” In any case major change seemed impossible except over tens of thousands of years." - Scientific American

The Internet is literally littered with famous quotes on incorrect predictions about technology and the effects thereof. Someone once said, "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home". The same someone claimed that what he said was taken out of context: "...he was not referring to personal computers but to a household computer that would control the home". Ouch.... #IOT.

Will we be also be quoted on incorrect predictions in future? "Global warming is just a weather pattern which will pass"

We need to stop looking at the now and start looking at the future. Imagine if Orville and Wilbur Wright never bothered inventing the airplane - 'Because humans were not meant to fly'; 'It would be too expensive'; or 'Who actually wants to fly halfway around the world - That's what ships are there for!'

The aim of this post is not to try and convince you to become a Green Warrior. Nor is it to recruit you to join environmental organisations. The aim is to have you look past the daily challenges you face, like budgets, payback periods, etc., and start thinking about your entire design process. How can you overcome these daily challenges. How can you make a change through doing what you do best? Are you designing for yourself, or designing for future generations? If there are no future generations, who will appreciate the space you have created?

David Thorne believes that The Internet is a Playground. There are thousands of articles on, let's call it the "human effect" but sifting through the truths, half-truths, and outright lies can take quite a long time (Ever tried to YouTube Revit tutorials? You'll know what I mean!).

However, if you are in the business of design and would like more information on designing for the future, I invite you to register for the Building Performance Analysis Certificate through Autodesk's Sustainabilty Workshop website. It's a online, for free and even after 4 years since I completed the course, I still remain as passionate as I was then about making a change in whatever way I can.