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Do you have a quality standard for Revit files?


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I work as an inhouse visualizer for an architectural firm. The usual workflow is to import Revit files via the Simlab plugin to SketchUp, fix them, add context and entourage and then render images with Enscape.

I have been struggling with a file for a rather large building, it comes into SketchUp as 20000 objects and crashes when I try to render in Enscape. The (exported) error report from Revit is nearly 2000 lines, which seems to imply that there are issues with almost 10 % of the geometry. Usually I am able to fix things within SketchUp, but it is really a stupid way to work, as I have to repeat it in the next revision. It also uses my allotted time to fix other peoples mistakes, making the visualization process more expensive than it should be, thus making me less competetive.

The question I have is how many errors or bad modeling in the Revit file do you forum readers accept, and can you really demand that the architects "clean up their own mess" before sending it off to visualization (or other services)?
Do you all get clean, perfect models from your architects, or do you have some sort of quality description/minimum standard for the files you work with? If that is the case, does anyone have the opportunity to share such a description with me?

Earlier, they only messed things up in 2 dimensions, but there is an awful lot more that can go wrong i 3D...

Edited by Karin Skaug
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  • Karin Skaug changed the title to Do you have a quality standard for Revit files?

Why not just stay in Revit and use Enscape there? SketchUp is not always the greatest software to import Revit to, depending on the complexity. It also seems that if Enscape is your target, then you should try to stay into the native software as much as you can. Granted, materials in Revit are a royal pain to deal with.

What we have done in our studio is push the Revit teams to use Enscape at least once a day to walk around their projects, even if it is in the white model override mode. This way they can catch their errors earlier than leaving it up to the viz teams. We'll also schedule a model check before we start the visualization process so that we can walk through the areas of the model. If our internal visualization team is booked and we need to outsource the job, then we go through the model with much more critical eye as many of the outsource studio we work with do enforce some level of model standards.

Getting our Revit teams to use Enscape more hasn't taken work away from me either. In fact, I'm busier than ever but the big key is now I can focus more on creating visualizations and not fixing 2 foot doors that the Revit teams miss because all they are looking at are the plans and not the 3D view. It was pretty funny in the first 6 months to hear them get annoyed at how bad their model was, as if gremlins came in at night and messed it up rather than they were just not paying attention to what the 3D was actually doing. We're constantly striving to change Revit's mindset that the 3D is an offshoot of the 2D plan work. Our goal now is that the 2D plan work is an offshoot of the expertly created 3D work.

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Thank you for the feedback.
One reason I don't stay in Revit is that most often the building is only a part of the illustration (albeit an important part) and there is much landscaping and vegetation happening that I think is better handled by SketchUp and Skatter (plugin). Another reason is that most part of what I do is photomontages and the Revit camera does - to my knowledge - not have the physical parameters I need to correctly match a view to a photograph. Enscape is promising to making the entourage bit more manageable from within Revit, so maybe in the future I'll work more Inside Revit, but for now I need/want my workflow to be via SketchUp.

Walking around in Enscape seems to catch many errors in my firm as well, but it seems I am in no position to really force their behaviour, I can only "encourage" them to do so.

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4 hours ago, Karin Skaug said:


Walking around in Enscape seems to catch many errors in my firm as well, but it seems I am in no position to really force their behaviour, I can only "encourage" them to do so.

I fully understand that spot to be in. One of the ways that I approached it was to show the managing directors that if I can get cleaner models at the start, for the same time and cost I can sometimes double the output. I can spend a week doing fixes and get 2 views out, or I can spend that week doing visuals (which is my job) and get 4 to 5 views out. Hit them with numbers and cost, and they'll start to bring the Revit teams around. Getting the 3D in Revit cleaned up early also helps get in front of any issues in construction sheets and details. If it looks wrong in 3D, it'll look wrong if someone builds it and lead to excessive RFI's during the construction process.

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I appreciate the feedback, 
I am in the process of writing down (what might possibly be no more than) a "wishlist" and I want to ask you what things makes the most trouble when cleaning Revit files for visualization. My points so far is:

- Avoid overlapping geometry. Two different elements can't occupy the same space in real life, it should be the same in the digital model.

- Avoid duplicates for the same reason as mentioned above.

- Be cautious when using models off the internet, check that the detail level is appropiate and the file size is acceptable.

- Whenever possible; use square profiles instead of circular ones for railings and other small details.

- Do a visual check to ensure Revit has snapped the walls together the way you intended.

 

What would you add? 

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I pretty much have all of those as well, but I also push for the Revit teams to have clean worksets so I can easily organize the model for export/import. Things like the exterior shell and interior core must be on proper worksets. This makes import/export easier as if the exterior changes, I only need to export that and not the whole model.

Usually when it comes to models for furniture, I replace those anyways with better versions inside Max. I'm not sure if any sketchup extensions exist for checking things like coplaner faces, but Max has some really handy tools from SiNi that help me automagically clean up the model and it puts less strain on the Revit teams to create meticulous models to make my life easier. 

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All of this makes me thank God that I retired...

The problem with Revit is that architectural firms do not hire NASA Engineers to do their CAD work and they aren't going to start doing so anytime soon. I've never met any architect that can or wants to think the way a person has to think to create near-flawless 3D architectural models for use in high quality visualizations, or even come close - especially in Revit. Mostly they are happy if they can get a reasonable set of CD's out of it.

No offense to anyone but think back a few years - teams couldn't even produce 2D plans that didn't contain errors and/or omissions but now we're supposed to believe those same teams are going to be able to create excellent Revit models...

Everyone knows - you just push a button and the computer does it.

Too many things have to be perfect to make it all work the way people dream it can, if only...

 

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  • 4 months later...

The problems Karin seems to highlite are poor draughtsmanship. I remember issues but they were to do with the fact the software platforms exist for different purposes. The ability to strip all the unecessary information from the revit file for visualising software to display and render efficiently didn't appear to be possible? Having a wall constructed of four or five seperate elements was only useful if you were contemplating rendering a sectional view and wanted to display all the component parts accurately. If all you wanted were the finished surfaces on either side, there seemed to be no way of exporting the revit file in a " one button fix". I had to get the Revit guys to turn off all the unwanted layers prior to export, or go through in max trying to identify layers and freeze off or delete ( to get the viewport to behave). I haven't had the pleasure of trying to read a revit file for many years, it may have improved and my comments now unjustified? I used to do work for a company that specialised in doing exactly what Karin is complaining about, analyse all the drawings from architects, engineers and electricians, find and correct all the errors, clashes and doors projecting through the ceiling. As far as I know they are still doing well so the problems persist, unbelievable because there are plugins out there for revit that should avoid them happening in the first place. Not that Autodesk would adopt them as they still make money from packages to clean them up!

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