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Friday, 30 June 2017

All About BIM Event: What a great turnout!

Yesterday, Modena Design Centres - Cape Town hosted one of their quarterly events called All About BIM. The turnout at this event has exceeded all of our expectations and I would like to personally thank each and every delegate for setting aside some of their valuable time attending this event. I trust that you have learnt a lot, and that we have managed to invigorate your passion for design using Autodesk software.

Below are a few selected photos of the event, which I hope you will enjoy. Special thanks to my colleagues Arlene Whittaker, Mitchel Parsonage, Anria Erasmus, Gary Graham, our Director: Vincent Modena, Wian Wilson and the Modena Group Sales and Marketing Manager: Wendy Schoeman.

Have a great weekend folks!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Piping and Ducting in Basements

Gore Vidal once said: "Overcrowding in the cities is producing a collective madness in which irrational violence flourishes because man needs more space in which to be than the modern city allows."

The population growth in the world poses a huge challenge for designers. Basic psychology: The smaller a space gets, the more constrained, restricted one starts to feel. There are people who love apartment living in NYC. There are people, like me, who just wants to get out of the "concrete jungle". Each to their own, I guess. However, there are certain health risks that designers need to constantly keep in mind; as highlighted in this Atlantic post.

One of the most important considerations for "high-rise living" is fire protection. This has recently been highlighted by the Grenfell Fire - My sincerest condolences to the families and loved ones involved in this tragedy. Now, the topic of high-rise living safety factors are emotive and expansive to say the least; Something which I will leave to the experts.

This Revit Recess entry will focus on Fire Protection in Revit. Often when working on sloping basement levels and the like, one will see piping below on every upper level. This is due to the view range constraints. Now we know that the View Range property is a global change - Thus affecting every area on a floor plan. However: By making use of Plan Regions, this process becomes a lot easier.

Take this as an example: We have a sloping pipe travelling from level 1 to level 2. Adding a plan region to the area where the pipe segment passes through the 2nd level and modifying the view range does not show any change. This is due to the fact that we are working with one pipe segment.

By modifying the default coupling family to become 1mm in thickness, we can split the pipes where it passes through a level (Hint: Reference Planes are great!) By splitting the pipe in two segments, the pipe will behave as we expect it should, once we adjust the plan region's view range.

On level 1, changing the plan region's view range where it should actually only show piping on level 1 as per the image below solves the problem.

Happy? I am.

Have a great weekend folks!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Missing Ribbon Icons?

"People often associate complexity with deeper meaning, when often after precious time has been lost, it is realized that simplicity is the key to everything" - Gary Hopkins

Wait... I'm sure there are icons missing! This was running through my mind yesterday while providing BIM services to a client. Long story short, I was explaining the process of converting an electrical wall-based family to an electrical face-based family when... BAM! The ribbon looked "off" - Some icons were not where the were supposed to be.

Shouldn't there be a Coordination Settings and Batch Copy icon in the Copy/Monitor contextual ribbon as well?

Some of you might have already found the simple solution based on the images above. The Systems tab panels for the Electrical Discipline was turned off in Revit's Options. Quick and easy fix!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Modena's All About BIM Event: Ramping up to AU South Africa

And so the excitement for Autodesk University South Africa starts! Modena Design Centres Cape Town will be hosting an event on the 29th of June: All About BIM at The River Club in Observatory, Cape Town. We have some great sessions is store for you, with some nice discounts on the ticket price for AU SA if you attend the event and register at the event.

If you would like to attend and have not received the invitation via email, feel free to send an email to, with the subject line: "REGISTRATION_All About BIM".

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Internet of Things: Accessibility or Major Threat?

"The Internet of Things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referref to as "connected devices" and "smart devices"). buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data" - Wikipedia

For those of us born in the 1980's and early 1990's (Otherwise known as Millenials or Generation Y), technology is no stranger. We were fortunate enough to experience most of the major technological introductions and advancements we today expect should be present everywhere we are. Timetoast provides quite an interesting timeline showing which major technologies were introduced from 1980 to 2013.

The idea of IOT seemed to have started in 1999, and snowballed into the multi-billion dollar industry we know today. Autodesk released a video a while ago, explaining their vision of improving the world through the use of their software solutions. There are thousands of visionaries out there asking those provocative questions like: "What's next?" and "How can I change things?" - The future is now, after all!

However, there is a darker side to the IOT as well, recently highlighted by the cyber attacks in the UK and Russia, among many other countries. A short history by The Telegraph of high profile hacks that took place the last few years is disturbing to say the least...

Interestingly enough, back in 2014 James van de Zande from HOK and All Things BIM, raised the issue of Hacking BIM. Similarly, John Lovell (A former US Army Ranger with his own Youtube channel) recently released a thought provoking interview with a white hat hacker (The good kind, a Warrior Poet). I would highly recommend watching this video, as the information provided fully ties into the possible threats of the IOT. 

Imagine one virus, one malware gaining access to all of our connected devices? How will this affect the BIM industry? I am certain that there are threats to the IOT. I am also certain that I can get into an accident every time I get in my car or walk across the road. This is the era we are living in. However, there are so many organisations fighting the black cap hackers every hour of the day. And to be honest, every month there is a newer, better, more efficient laptop, cellphone, or tablet which is released. Every month there is a newer, better, more efficient anti-virus software program or update released.

Our equipment enable us to do our work. If we maintain our equipment on a regular basis by updating to the latest service pack, hotfix or update release, we will decrease the chance of something going wrong. If you can regularly service your vehicle, regularly water your plants, regularly feed yourself... What is the excuse for not regularly maintaining your equipment?