Thursday, September 17, 2009

Starting a Project Advice - My Two Cents

I am re-posting this here because I think that it is great advice which as structural engineers, we are not always included in on the decision process. One of those topics that should be discussed each and every project before you start. The below blip is one of two pieces of advice that Steve Stafford. posted on his blog regarding Advice for starting a project.

"There are lots of things to consider when starting a project. Doing so with Revit is no different. Here's a couple comments that will save you some trouble later.

Number One - Forget about True North!

Revit has a bias or assumption that you are going to ignore True North when you start out, probably because you don't have a survey yet. Sustainable design demands that you think about True North for proper sun orientation but let's just pretend for a moment that you are more interested in making it easy to document the building than its sun orientation. This means that Revit has assigned every plan oriented view (stock templates) to Project North. Model your building so that it is easy, horizontal or vertical as opposed to at 45 degrees. Don't worry about True North because you can define the True North orientation quite easily later, using a couple different approaches."

These approaches can be found in Steve's original post.

I would like to add another which involves the elevation of the project, Project or Shared elevation. By know means will I say I am an expert in this area, but I know that the workflow you choose to use can determine whether or not you will have a headache at the end of the day when things decide to change. I see to many times that our architects are adjusting their "Project Elevation" to set how their levels display an elevation reference. Will the documentation be using a reference of level 1 = 0'-0", 100'-0", 860'-0", or 810.8'? If known up front this is fine, but some projects have this requirement change in mid stream, so what happens? They move their project elevation up to that elevation. Most will find that after they do this all of their geometry may go with levels, but their annotations and view crops stay put. The task is not always easy and can be a tedious task.

Revit offers a tool for this and you will find forum post and blogs talking about it. The Relocate Project tool is the tool you are looking for. It sets up a shared coordinate for your elevations. Basically saying that "Project Elevation" 0'-0" now equals "Shared Elevation" 860'-0". Your project is still at 0'-0", but your levels will now display the Shared Elevation as long as within the Type properties of a Level you set the "Elevation Base" paramete to "Shared" The same settings will have to be set in other tools that use annotations that display elevations from the model. When a new and improved survey comes along and your elevation reference changes, you just redo the Shared Elevation in lieu of moving all of your modeled elements and annotations to the new elevations.

Reading the comments from Steve's blog tells me that their will be users who disagree with this, but this is my findings in our day to day workflow. Always interested to here the other side of the story.