Wednesday, July 27, 2011

To More You Know: Don't forget the FREE Stuff!!!

Autodesk Labs

Autodesk Labs provides free technology they are currently testing, not to be mistaken for beta testing.  They are relevant tools to the industry, and they look for feedback from clients to verify whether or not the tools would be good for to put out or add to existing software products, like Revit.  Project Vasari and Photofly both are on the site, and functionality from Project Vasari have been added to the Revit platform because of feedback and excitement.  

Autodesk Seek

Autodesk Seek was created to share Manufacturer specific content created in Revit to the AEC community.  Free to the AEC community, many clients have benefit from using the Revit Families up on this site.  Each Revit platform has a direct link to Autodesk Seek.  There are guidelines and technical requirements for Manufacturers.

Green Building Studio

Green Building Studio is a web-based program that comes free for clients on subscription using any of the Revit platforms or Ecotect (there may be others, but those are the ones I am familiar with). 

This program is a whole building analysis software that assists in qualification for LEED 8.1 Daylighting credit, water usage and cost, Energy Star scoring, natural ventilation potential, carbon emission reporting and more. 

Revit Extensions

All three Revit platforms have extensions available.  I find those for Revit Structure to have the most extensions that will provide an immense amount of efficiency for the client.  The Reinforcement Extension alone will help any client looking to model the rebar in more than one element at a time.  The Wood Framing extension (also beneficial for Revit Architecture), Freeze View extension, and many more are fantastic!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The More You Know: BIMAssist for Revit

Many people are familiar with the extensions for Revit from Autodesk.  For Revit Architecture, Revit MEP and Revit Structure, they have been available since June 20, 2011.  If you have not downloaded them already, I hightly recommend you do, as many of them will help you considerably. 

In additon to the extensions for Revit from Autodesk, several channel partners have also created add on tools.  Advanced Solutions has the BIMAssist Tools, available FREE to our Revit Subscription clients.  The utilities include the following:
  • Case Update
  • Door Mark Manger
  • Fire Rating Coordinator
  • Match Instance Parameters Feeatures
  • Note Block Creator
  • Room Phase Replicator
  • Room Renumber
  • Room Surface Parameter Extractor
  • Sheet Number Update
  • Space Synchronizer
  • Text Find and Replace Features
There is a short video for each utility, or you can find them on our YouTube site.  In August, we will have two webcasts during which ASI Application Engineer Brenda Thomas will demonstrate each of the twelve productivity enhancing utilities of BIMAssist™ for Revit®.

Optimize Your Productivity with BIMAssist for Revit on Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Optimize Your Productivity with BIMAssist for Revit on Wednesday, August 10, 2011

About Advanced Solutions, Inc.
Advanced Solutions, Inc. is an award-winning Autodesk Gold Partner in Manufacturing, Architecture, Engineering and Construction, Authorized Autodesk Training Center (ATC) and Authorized Autodesk Consulting Services Partner (CSP). For more than 24 years, the company has focused its business model on helping customers realize industry-leading return on investment with their 2D and 3D design software. Beyond the box of software, Advanced Solutions helps customers gain a competitive advantage through innovative design software work flows, enabling customers to realize higher revenues and improving their operational efficiency. For additional information about Advanced Solutions, Inc., please visit our website at

Autodesk, AutoCAD, Civil 3D and ATC are registered trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

eTransmit is Now Available on Autodesk Labs!

As some of you are familiar, Autodesk Labs is a free website Autodesk created to explore and develop technology for you, the user of Autodesk software:

Recently, they have made eTransmit for Revit available, allowing you to:

1) Copy and detach a Revit model and associated files to a single folder for internet transmission. T

2) Locate dependent files automatically and include them in the transmittal folder, reducing the possibility of error.

3) Choose to include related dependent files such as linked Revit models, CAD files, DWF markups, decal images, and external keynote files.

4) Transmit models that are using file-based worksharing or server-based worksharing.

Learn more at:

Remember, this technology preview will only be available until December 31, 2011! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Revit Structure 2012 Visual Improvements: Analytical model

Many improvements have been made to Revit Structure 2012, including the visual enhancements of the analytical model.  Although it continues to be built at the same time as the physical representation of the model is being created, now, the analytical model can be viewed separated.

We now have an added command in the View Control bar, a visibility specifically the analytical model:

This will now only show the analytical mode without having to use the Visibility/Graphics dialog.  Also, the analytical flooring will now highlight the whole face of the element, instead of just the outline of the element:

However, you CAN go into the Visibility/Graphics dialog box and find a new tab for the Analytical model!

Work more efficiently with the analytical prtion of the Revit Structure model! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Learn about the Basics of Revit Parameters

Written by David Kaldy

There are 3 main types of Parameters as well as 3 subtypes, or ways the main Parameters are executed within a Project or Family.

The 3 main Parameter types are:

1.    Family Parameters – Non schedulable, and do not appear in tags or schedules. These are typically used as visibility Parameters, as well as dimensional values that do not need to be scheduled.

2.    Shared Parameter – Established from a Shared Parameter file, are associated only within the Families that utilize the Shared Parameter (unless the same Shared Parameter is also added as a Project Parameter), and can be viewed in schedules and tags.

3.    Project Parameters – Established within a Project, which add Parameters to entire object categories and can be used in schedules, but cannot be used in tags. Project Parameters can be generated from Shared Parameters and cannot be added to Families.

The 3 subtypes, all of which can be made from any of the 3 main Parameter types:

1.    Type – Appear in the Type Properties palette of elements and apply to all Instances of an element within a Project.

2.    Instance – Appear in the Properties palette and apply to only currently selected elements in a Project.

3.    Reporting (Instance) - Used to reference and display measurements within Families. Note: Can only be added in the Family Editor. These can be set up as Family or Shared Parameters.

A couple of notes about Shared Parameters:

-The Shared Parameter file can be created within a Project or a Family.

-Ensure the use of one Shared Parameter file. This helps with reducing duplicated Shared Parameters with the same name. If there are duplicate Shared Parameters (which can also occur from making a new Shared Parameter file every time a Shared Parameter is needed) then this can potentially cause duplicate Parameter fields to show up in schedules, and tags may not function correctly.

-Some Manufacturers add Shared Parameters to their content. It is best practice to swap out these Shared Parameters with Shared Parameters that you made in your Shared Parameter file, prior to loading that Family into a Project.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Revit Architecture Suite 2012 Upgrade: Feedback from a Client

I wanted to forward my thoughts so-as to help others going forward with Revit Architecture Suite 2012.

My thanks to NVIDA, PNY, Newegg, Microsoft, Apple, and Autodesk for I tried their patience as they worked with me through various issues required for this year's upgrade.


Original Specifications:

  • Apple Mac Pro 3.1 2-2.8ghz XENON E5462 - 6gig RAM - 8800gt video
  • 2 hd's - 1T mac o.s. 10.5.7, 2T Vista 64 bit SP2
  • Revit Arch Suite 2011 with files to 100meg in size



  • Use Autodesk website for correct video drivers (makes a huge difference)
  • Once files are over 100 meg in size, forget it - also renderings only to 300dpi max and file size to 2meg
  • Get use to system crashes due to known video card issues - so save often!
  • It will take a long time to open Revit and update files from previous versions
  • Big Tip:
    Place all of your content on a separate HD and load Families as you need them. Once you have finished your model, purge content for it will save you ALOT of time rendering
  • Do not even try to load Autodesk 2012 anything with these specifications - it isn't anywhere, anything close to a productive environment. RAM is the biggest thing the 8gig listed as a minimum has to be a mistake - try 16gig or better


New Specifications:

  • Same Mac Pro 3.1 2-2.8ghz xenon E5462
  • Upgrade to 24 gig ram - PNY Quatro 4000 video
  • Upgrade to Windows 7 64-bit
  • Upgrade Revit Architecture Suite 2012


Note: Bootcamp needs Vista to 7 utility and PNY Quatro needs a driver from the manufacturer.



  • Files larger than 200meg run fast
  • Renderings done in 1/8 the time or better
  • No system crashes with added benefit of multiple applications open i.e. Adobe Photoshop


Investment: Autodesk renewal $725; upgrades listed $1500; original Mac Pro $2800 = $5025


Lessons Learned:

  • If you are doing anything beyond VERY simple small file models in Revit, you will need a professionally build computer (Call HP or Apple)
  • There is no such thing as too much RAM, so forget about the 8meg RAM minimum, you really need 16meg RAM minimum
  • High End workstation cards are worth every penny!!!! Gaming cards are just not designed for what Revit does; check Autodesk for support drivers and you figure this out very quickly - so in short you must now pay to play or rather work (Call Newegg for upgrades)


I also want to thank Joanna for her patience and ability to listen, and then deliver Autodesk Products with exceptional service vital for my company's success.


*The information above has been given by Ross Billiter - AIA, ALA, NCARB of Ross Billiter Architect - Architechstyles, PLLC. Any views or opinions presented in this blog post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Advanced Solutions, Inc.*


Ross Billiter - AIA, ALA, NCARB

Ross Billiter Architect - Architechstyles, PLLC

Durham, NC

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why Won't My Power Loads Calculate?!?!?!?

A client came to me this week with an issue.  He is working with Color Scheme Legends in Revit MEP.  He created a Color Scheme Legend for Lighting Loads and it works fine.  However, when checking for the Power Loads, the Color Scheme Legend has a zero calculation! 

I knew this had worked for me in the past, but when I tried to recreate the issue in a new file, low and behold, my Power Load calculated as zero as well!  Jay Ayala to the rescue!  Sometimes 2 heads are better than one...although I did slap my palm to my forehead that I didn't think if checking this setting myself...Watch the video below:

For some reason, the option is no longer checked on by Default, but checked off...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Security software Norton 360, by Symantec, is incompatible with ALL Autodesk software

One of our Technical Suppose Specialists, Jeffrey Maffeo, was currently troubleshooting with Autodesk on a recent case. Apparently, Autodesk reports that the security software Norton 360, by Symantec, is incompatible with ALL Autodesk software. 

"The customer has AutoCAD LT 2011 & 2012.  The software would work fine upon first use after installation.  However, upon second or subsequent uses, AutoCAD LT would become unresponsive in either version when trying to open any drawing, providing no error or clue to the problem whatsoever. 

After exhaustive troubleshooting, which included a “clean” uninstall of ALL Autodesk products in selective startup mode, I contacted Autodesk Partner Support who had the answer quickly.  Needless to say, I was very surprised with their answer, but I and the customer were very pleased to finally have a resolution to the problem."

There are currently two options:

Unregister a Norton file, buShell.dll. Be aware that unregistering buShell.dll disables the Norton 360 backup context menu options, backup status overlay icons, and Norton Backup Drive.

Turn off Norton Tamper Protection

1) Start Norton 360. Click Settings.
2) In the Settings window, under Quick Controls, uncheck Norton Tamper Protection.
3) In the Security Request window, from the drop down menu, select a duration and click OKClick Close.

Unregister buShell.dll

1) Navigate to the following folder: C:\WINDOWS\system32
2) Depending on your version of Windows, do one of the following:
  • In Windows 7 or Vista: Locate and right-click the cmd file, and then click Run as administrator.
  • In Windows XP: Locate and double-click the cmd file.
3) Depending on your version of Norton 360, do one of the following:
  • For Norton 360 Standard Edition in Windows 7/Vista/XP 32-bit: Type the following text, and then press Enter.
    cd C:\Program Files\Norton 360\Engine\5.*
  • For Norton 360 Standard Edition in Windows 7/Vista 64-bit: Type the following text, and then press Enter.
    cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Norton 360\Engine64\5.*
  • For Norton 360 Premier Edition in Windows 7/Vista/XP 32-bit: Type the following text, and then press Enter.
    cd C:\Program Files\Norton 360 Premier Edition\Engine\5.*
  • For Norton 360 Premier Edition in Windows 7/Vista 64-bit: Type the following text, and then press Enter.
    cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Norton 360 Premier Edition\Engine64\5.*
4) Type the following text, and then press Enter. regsvr32 /u buShell.dll
5) In the RegSvr32 window, click OKExit the Command Prompt.

Turn on Norton Tamper Protection

1) Start Norton 360. Click Settings.
2) In the Settings window, under Quick Controls, check Norton Tamper ProtectionClick Close.
Note: If you downloaded your product from your service provider, you do not have a Product Key. Please skip Step 1 and continue with Step 3 below.

Save your Product Key

Note: You may also find your Product Key at the back of the CD sleeve, or in the confirmation email that you received from Symantec for your download purchase. Once you write down the Product Key, go to Step 2.
1) Start Norton 360. On the top of the main product window, click My Account.
2) Click Access Norton AccountType in your email address and password for your Norton Account, then click Sign In.
Note: If you do not have a Norton Account set up already, click Get Started, complete the form, and then click Submit.
3) Under Products, click Norton 360Write down the Product Key.
4) Sign out of your Norton Account, then continue with Step 2 below.

Download and run BUdump.exe

1)Click the button to download BUdump.exe. DOWNLOAD

2) Click Save. Save the file onto your Windows desktop.
3) On the desktop, double-click the BUdump.exe file. Click Run. BUdump.exe will run quickly and silently.

Download and run the Norton Removal Tool

Note: The Norton Removal Tool uninstalls all Norton 2003 and later products, Norton 360, and Norton SystemWorks 12.0 from your computer. Before you continue, make sure that you have the installation CDs or downloaded installation files for any Norton products that you want to reinstall. If you have pcAnywhere or WinFAX, uninstall it using Add or Remove Programs before running the Norton Removal Tool. Also, if you use ACT! or WinFAX, back up those databases and uninstall those products.

1) Download the Norton Removal Tool. Save the file to the Windows desktop. DOWNLOAD

2) On the Windows desktop, double-click the Norton Removal Tool icon.
3) Follow the on-screen instructions. Restart the computer.

Note: Your computer may be restarted more than once, and you will be provided the instructions on how to reinstall your Norton product. After you reinstall your Norton product, run LiveUpdate and install all the available updates. Run LiveUpdate again until there are no updates available, and then restart the computer.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Troubleshooting Revit to NavisWorks

Have you ever tried to Export a model to Navisworks, but none of the Instance Parameters show up once you bring it into Navisworks?

One of our Application Engineers, David Kaldy may have a solution!  

Download and install the Navisworks NMC Export Utility:

Then open the Revit > go to the Addins > External Tools > Navisworks 2011.

Select the Navisworks settings… > make the following changes:

You can also experiment with going to the Interface category > Selection > Resolution (using Layer seems to work well)
Then export.

Open this file in Navisworks > select the object then Select Same > Select the appropriate setting:

Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter!  Our January 2011 Newsletter is out!

For the month of February, if you "Like" us on our Advanced Solutions Facebook page, you will be entered into a contest to win 3 FREE months of PILOT Training ...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Defining Parameters of Mechanical Equipment

Have you ever wondered what the Flow Configuration vaules really mean and what each value type represents?  The Flow Configuration defines whether or not a Connection will be the defining factor of Flow for attached equipment.  The two used most often is the Preset and Calculated. 

When a Supply System is created with the Diffusers and the VAV Box, the Flow inherited in each Diffuser can be used to calculate the Flow upstream to the VAV Box.  The Flow Configuration for each Diffuser will be Preset, meaning the Diffusers will be the defining elements of the connected elements, namely, the VAV box they are connected to.  The Flow Configuration for the VAV Box will be defined as Calcuate, as the Flow value is calculated based on the Diffusers connected to it. 

The calculated Flow value of the VAV Box will update as the Diffuser Flow value changes.

Simple and useful.  More questions?  Please feel free to comment!

Where did this thought come from?  Well, Autodesk has a wonderful Blog called Inside-the-System.  A while back, they had two parts explaining, in more depth, what I discussed above:

Learn to the videos...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Where are the Project Parameters I added in my last Project?

As you begin working on projects in Revit, your first project will have additions that you will probably want to use over and over again in each additional project.  The best way to add the modifications is to transfer them to your existing template before starting your next project.  Using the Transfer Project Standards tool, numerous changes can be transfered, including Project Parameters, View Templates, Wire Sizes and Dimension Styles.

Note: Make sure you have the project that you just finished open behind the existing template file. 

On the Manage tab>Transfer Project Standards

Keep the items you want trasfered checked on.  There are so many, if you only want a few items transfered, select the 'Check None' button first, and then manually add the desired items.

Click OK until you are back at the original screen and save the template for future use.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Troubleshooting: Why isn't my Pipe Filter Working?

Have you been diligently creating Filters for your Pipes?   Are you hitting a wall when you try to make a Filter on a Pipe connected to a System that you want to be a different color, like a Vent Pipe that is connected to a Sanitary System connection?  Well, there is a simple answer:Filter List Order Makes a Difference!!!

The order that Filters are listed in the Visibility/Graphics Override, Filters tab provides an additional display control. Filters are ranked by the order they appear on the list. Filters higher on the list have display priority over all filters listed below them. If the Pipe you selected to change has not changed, we need to move the newly created Pipe Filter above the System Filter the Pipe is connected to on the list. 

Note the blue Pipe connected to the Hot Water connection:

There are two Filters already assigned to the horizontal Pipe.  However, the System Filter is above the new Pipe Filter we created, hindering the change.  

1. Type in VV or VG to go back to the Visibility/Graphics Overrides dialog > click the Filter tab.

2. Click the Pipe Filter > click the Up button near the bottom of the dialog to move the new Pipe Filter listing above the original Filter listing > click OK to exit the Visibility/Graphics dialog.

Note that now the horizontal pipe is magenta, exactly what we wanted.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Roombook Extension for Revit Architecture 2011

I was reviewing the subscription site today, and came across the newest extension (Roombook) for Revit Architecture, released December 9.  According to Autodesk, the program calculates the surface of walls, floors and ceilings, and will also calculate the number of furnishings in the room.  The calculated quantities can be exported to excel, as a DWF file to use in Autodesk Quantity Takeoff and as a CSV file.

To begin, a floorplan with walls and rooms are required.  Floors, ceilings and furnishings will only be calculated if they exist, but are not required.  There ar two Calcuations Standards supported, International or German VOB.  The International Standard calculates the real quantities with no specific rules.

When you select to Calculate the Room Quantities, the Type Properties if the extension appears:

Once calculated, the full Room Quantities of each room can be displayed and/or edited:

For each element, Sub Areas can also be reviewed, including the locations and sized of windows and doors:

Lastly, below is a partial example of the results when exported to an Excel spreadsheet (without any manipulation):

This extension continues to improve the use of Revit information.  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Engineers Can Save Time Using Green Building Studio (GBS)

The Green Building XML schema, better known as "gbXML", was developed by Green Building Studio, Inc. back in 1999.  The first version of the gbXML schema was published in June of 2000...since then, it has been integrated into a range of CAD and engineering tools to facilitate the transfer of information.  

Mechanical engineers may use several different applications for their heating and cooling load analysis, energy analysis, code review, etc.  Manually entering in the information about a building, especially since the building design will change quite frequently, can be extremely time consuming.  There are two ways to save time, reducing the time it takes to manually enter in data:

1) If the architect is using Revit Architecture, they can export their model as a gbXML file.  If the engineer does not want to yet import the architect's model into Revit MEP and begin their project, they can request the gbXML file from the architect.  If the engineers are on subscription with Revit MEP, they have the ability to bring this file into Green Building Studio (GBS) then use it to export the model information to several of their analysis programs, including Trane Trace 700, eQuest and EnergyPlus.

2) If the analysis is done after the engineer creates his model by linking in the architect's Revit Architecture model, he can himself export his model as a gbXML file and bring it into Trane Trace directly.  However, to bring the model into eQuest or EnergyPlus, the engineer must still bring the gbXML file into GBS.

Revit Architecture does not have as much information embedded in their Rooms as Revit MEP has embedded in their Spaces, as seen in the images below:

Revit Architecture Room Information

Revit MEP Space Information

When a gbXML file is imported into GBS, the program will identify additional information based on the location of the project.  When exported from Revit Architecture, more information is defined through GBS because of the lack of information in the Rooms, versus Space information brought in from Revit MEP, as shown in the images above.

When the engineer is ready, select the Export and Download Data Files Tab:

This will bring the engineer to the location where the types of files to be exported can be selected. 

Notice this includes the gbXML file to use when the original file was brought in from Revit Architecutre, as well as the option to create a DOE-2 file for eQuest and the EnergyPlus file type.

Whether you chose to utilize any of the tools in Green Building Studio itself or not, the program can lend a hand in bridging the gap between Revit and analysis tools you already use.  If you have any architectural models created in Revit Architecture and have already completed, or are close to completing the project, test the workflow of using GBS.  Compare the results you obtained through manual data entry with the results of the digital may be surprised!
Need more information?  Check out Getting Started with Green Building Studio Web Service.