Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Copy/Monitor & Batch Copy for MEP

NOTE: This is a re-post from the HOK BIM Solutions blog

The Copy/Monitor tools tend to be a Love/Hate relationship in that very order. In fact we have recently been using the batch copy functionality because we sincerely love it due to its flexibility. But that love is fading quickly due to some unexpected repercussions.

A common scenario to employ this tool on, has been when a Lighting consultant/designer is working in a separate model (for design purposes only, not for documentation) and our Electrical Engineers need to circuit these lighting fixtures and document them in their power and equipment drawings. These fixtures need to be hosted in the electrical model for proper circuiting. Copying and pasting fixtures one by one from the linked lighting model is highly inefficient. Opening the source model to copy and paste into the documentation model also doesn’t work due to hosting issues (most of these families are face-based and cannot be pasted) and also due to the fact that Paste >> Aligned to Same Place uses the Internal Coordinates to determine location and this is not always consistent between models. On a side note, best practice dictates that you link other discipline models via Auto – Origin to Origin to avoid these problems.

We have received several reports and anecdotes of performance degradation when copy/monitored fixture counts are high, so we have been disabling monitoring soon after the copying is complete and resume with manual coordination from that point on.

Stop Monitoring

Unfortunately when you stop monitoring by using the dedicated tool, MEP categories become pretty much useless as they can no longer be modified!

Cannot moveNo HostEDIT: Refer to this post. If you try re-hosting, you have to use the workplane positioning option, which is not desirable. I am not sure why Revit even asks you to do this because copy/monitored elements do not have a host in their properties.

There seems to be no work-around, short of deleting all fixtures and starting over, which is really bad. Lesson learned: Do not stop monitoring with the dedicated tool! If you want to stop monitoring, remove the link. Once you do this, none of the MEP categories will behave as shown above and you can freely move them around and re-monitor at will. These categories then pretty much start behaving as Levels, Grids, Columns, Walls and Floors, which we can stop monitoring at any point without experiencing the same repercussions.

At least we now have a plausible workflow for future projects and the love for the batch-copy tool has been (cautiously) restored.

Coordination Settings

The nice thing is that you can specify type mapping and only batch-copy one fixture type at a time. Just make sure that if you want to use this as a pure copy tool with no monitoring, to then remove the link soon after. You can re-link it back in, but this is currently the only safe way to stop monitoring without putting future revisions to the position of these fixtures in jeopardy. Autodesk has recorded this behavior but there is no estimate when this will be addressed.



Unknown said...

Yes!! These fixtures need to be hosted in the electrical model for proper circuiting.

Komatsu Parts

Shadow said...

The problem with using face based hosting is when the architects modify the ceiling or furniture/walls, your hosted families can go off into the ether or rotate (usually they orphan and you have to rehost them one by one :(). I have learned to use generic family templates for everything. Note that generic family templates assigned as Lighting Fixtures still have the option to host. In addition you get an offset parameter.
Why would you design in one model and document in another is beyond my understanding. We do design and doc in one and therefore there is no need to copy/monitor. Generally speaking copy/monitor is used for architectural/structural elements, levels/grids etc. I strongly advise against the methodology you have used.
Bruce, circuiting (I assume you mean electrical, ie power) has nothing to do with hosting. They are two separate things.

Dave Baldacchino said...

If you worked on large projects, especially ones with distributed teams, you would understand a bit better :) Sometimes we use lighting designers and so the circuiting (the electrical engineering side of the work) happens in another model. There are legitimate reasons (again, mostly size dictates this) where documentation happens in a separate model. With electrical this is usually not possible.

Unknown said...

Hi Dave,
I learned about the limitations of batch copy from this blog and am writing because I have come across something totally unexpected for me.

After batch copy, one of my families is reproduced at a different vertical location and another is reproduced vertically inverted. The only commonality between the two families is that they are made of nested fixtures. The ones that are simple individual fixtures batch copy perfectly. I will really appreciate if you would guide me as to what I am doing incorrectly.

Here are the files and the images.

Any help will be much appreciated.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Hello, thanks for the article. Really interesting.
One question, there is any way to batch copy not MEP elements?
We create a generic model penetration family and the Structural eng wants to batch copy and monitoring all of the to check.
Any idea?

Dave Baldacchino said...

Hi Virat, sorry for the late reply but I posted a comment on Revitforum.

German, unfortunately only those MEP categories are available for batch copy/monitor. It would be fantastic if others were available instead of limiting to just this list, such as Grids for example. This would then mean that newly created grids would be monitored. With the current manual workflow, you have to be constantly checking.

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