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August 11, 2009

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It is a great Idea Erick we really need this feature, I think a function for Drawing Index to include Consultant Sheet list typed by user or linked from an Excel file ...etc, at the same time flexible enough to mark date of each submission would be great.

We have come to think of a project as ultimately being composed of multiple, issued sets of drawings, some that originate in our office (architects), and others that we either contract out (engineers) or provide for reference (surveys). Common points of issue are the end of schematic design, end of design development, maybe two progress sets during construction documents, and finally a bid set, and a permit set. The last two may be the same.

The model evolves, so maintaining previously issued sheets is not a big deal; we archive pdfs for that purpose. But since there may be multiple, active sets (bid, permit), we may want more than one sheet list.

We ask that drawings be provided as pdfs, so that we don't get dragged into cad file pen weight vs. plotter issues.

I would call any sheet not in the Revit model an "External Sheet". It might be nice to maintain links to those pdfs / dwfs within the Revit file, so that they can be pulled up for reference. Or maybe that's just more hassle.

Sheet Schedule is the right term for that type of schedule; we will name it as we deem appropriate. The term "drawing" aligns more with views, while sheet is the term Revit already uses for views composed with title blocks.

Further, sheets need some additional parameters to aid in sorting, and they might as well be common across offices, rather than everyone having to add them (rooms, ahem, need finishes specified for each wall independantly, everyone adds this a little differently, interoperability is hampered). Sheets need at the very least a "discipline" parameter. Then sorting of sheets needs flexibility in organizing these disciplines. A "deliverable" parameter would allow flexibility in creating sheet sets by particular deliverable, or multiple deliverables, and would replace the current check box "include in Drawing List".

To attempt to keep this brief...

1.) I would love to be able to send a template of a word or excel doc for consultants to fill out with Sheet info, or we could internally fill out external to Revit (means the receptionist can do it). This would need to support "asynchronous" transfer where it might not even be the same file from update to update and it may be multiple files for each discipline. Being able to create a "list" in Revit based on a set of properly named PDF files would be way cool, linking to the PDF (and DWF) would be even cooler.

2.) I could care less about the name, functionality is more important.

3.) External Sheet is a good term. It would be useful to be able to sort the project browser by "External", "Linked" and "Native"

4.) Sort and organizing sheets is not simply a matter of adding additional hard coded parameters, thought "discipline" I think would be welcome. We also need better concatenation functionality in schedules (this is where scope creep shows up). It would be handy to be able to have discipline, issue package(s) and sheet number all be separate parameters that could be concatenated to form a single "sheet number". This however gets into a sticky situation as you would now have sheets that could have the same "number" ie: 100, 200, 302, etc. What would perhaps be more useful would be to have Sheet Sets, or some way to organize sheets into "packages" fitting with whatever "delivery", deadlines or "issuances" that you project has. In this way a Multiple Sheet sets could all have a sheet 100, which may or may not be the same sheet with the same views from Set to Set. Discipline would be a critical parameter to divide the different sheets. Users should be able to use the "Set" to which a sheet belongs as part of the overall "sheet" number if they so choose with some sort of concatenate functionality. Such functionality could not actually live in the schedule perse as the schedule (and its calculations) come after the objects, and the concatenation really needs to occur with in the "object" in this case the Sheet. So the concatenation may need to be a project setting the defines Sheet Numbering behavior. Of course, if you're going to go to the trouble of coding concatenation, it should show up in schedules too. ;)

Thanks for the detailed replies. I agree whenever possible enhancements should be generalized to gain the maximum benefit. Has anyone created project parameters to add meta data to sheets?

"Sheet Index"

We need control of Delta (Revision) bubbles/tagging into the schedule. Control must be parametric with instance customization since not all sheets may have a live link revision (i.e dummy sheets).

In general, all schedules are way too rigid. We need so much more graphical/ flex control.

we have added sheet index as well as parameters for about 5 drawing packages (by default in our template). Users of course can add more if their project requires it. Its annoying as we have to send shared parameter file to consultants in order to have their files work with ours if we want to schedule sheets across linked files.

I've added Drawn By (Becuase its not the same as Designed By), Sheet Group Order (Because I want G sheets to come before A's and S sheets to come before E's), and something we call Confo, which I think would be equivalent to others phases of design (or drawing packages) like bid set or construction documents. See next comment for a related note.

I agree with Sheet Schedule/List terminology. I could see Drawing as a term being eliminated or phased out as it's more about views rather than drawing in Revit.

We have no need for Including other firms sheets in our set, but I think I could see that this would be helpfult to those that prefer to do so. Pulling the info in via excel, text, etc. could be a huge time saver if one has a lot of sheets to deal with.

Concatenation is needed in way more places than just sheets. As well as number of sorting/grouping parameters... 4 just isn't enough for some things I'd like to do.

While we're in the neighborhood... well maybe the next block down anyway... It would be really nice to be have the options to print "all sheets", "selected sheets", "selected sheet set", or even by "sheet parameter(s)" (maybe even print in order of several parameters) and not have to go into a dialog to select sheets. Only go into dialog if wanting to set up a sheet set to print. For selected sheets a user could just select the sheets/views they want to print from the project browser prior to clicking on print. (or in a modeless print dialog, they could select them after they click print ;D) Often times I want to print all the sheets or a specific sheet set in a project and for some reason someone has created a new sheet, but they didn't update the saved sheet set and now I or the customer will be missing a very important information. A way to save a print order would also be handy and save lots of time sorting pdf files, and paper prints.

Mainaining the Sheet Index is the reponsabiity of the Architects (by contract); so in this mean we would like to be able to maintain a bi-directional link with the External sheets from the consultants (especially the non-revit consultants; obviously) What are the format we are getting from them? Excel in majority and PDF/DWF for some, we could ultimately aske them to send their sheet index only in Excel if we have insurance that we would have a bi-directional integration into RAC.
Meta-data: we are creating key schedules to work around to be able to manage submission dates/packages comments etc...so yes we need to include meta data as shared parameters to the entire Sheet Index (we prefer this terminology) List a list where index intend to be more inclusive with additional information like revisions, milestone dates, package dates etc...Thanks for sharing Erik.

I apologize for the typos! Brain working faster than my netbook!

At the very least, the "glaring" gap in the 2010 functionality needs to be fix, namely, allowing the Date of a revision to be included in the Drawing List. Currently, only the Revision number, and revision description are available. Why 2/3 and not all three? To most contractor the "latest" date that a sheet has been modified/issued is the most critical. In a fast track project, you need to preserve the date the sheet was originally issued, but you also need to show the latest date a sheet might have been modified.

As for the consultant's list, yes, allowing some sort of "Key Schedule" like schedule to add data to the Drawing List would save time and effort. Especially if ALL sheet parameters would be available for inclusion it in.

Why not provide the function to link in a multipage PDF or DWF, and on it's own tab in Manage Links (called External PDF/DWF)edit their scheduleable properties such as: Use link name; new name; revision name/number/date. This would be most Revit like, to have a direct tie in so if something changes in the PDF/DWF (sheet name changes or resorted or deleted/added) it could issue a warning when the link is reloaded and the information in Manage Links can be manually updated.

Perhaps this could expand someday to the capability to view and print them inside Revit. They could always be linked into a separate Revit file that is linked into your model file if necessary to manage file size.


Many of these issues also coincide with Construction Administration, and issuing sketches, etc. (more scope creep). However if you think of the process of issuing sketches and bulletins an extension of the idea of dealing with managing packages, or phase deliverables, or bid sets, then we're still talking about a single feature with related attributes.

While yes some items are scope creep they are still good to review and evaluate as they may be possible and the design needs to be sure it doesn't preclude future implementation - get painted into a corner so to say.

I sure like the idea of linking in PDF/DWFs as sheets.

So, speaking of scope creep...

I'd sure like this thinking to be applied to other objects in the database, maybe it should even be that all entities can be represented as "unplaced". I often run into occasions where I need to schedule a door (or a bunch of doors) that will never have a geometric representation in the model. In particular, on remodel projects (and more and more on new buildings) we are utilizing re-claimed doors and materials, so we are working from an inventory. For reclaiming doors, it would be quite handy to be able to add them to the data base, and then place the geometric representation as the design progresses. There are also occasions where you need to schedule attic stock of items (ceiling tiles, doors, carpet tiles). Some of these are particularly a pain as we do QTY takeoffs from the model to produce cost and LEED calcs...since we can't currently account for overages, stuff that isn't in the model, we can't do these things directly in Revit. Bah! There would obviously need to be indication that something does or does not have a geometric representation.

Back to sheets, I like "Sheet Schedule" as a terminology because 1.they aren't drawings (the sooner we can get that out of peoples heads the faster we can move along) and 2.we would sure like to be able to schedule info about the sheets (rather than simply listing the sheets...semantics). So, because we are calling it a schedule, we would like to be able to schedule each time a particulr sheet is revised (not just the current revision or the issuance date...different things).

Finally: Hmm...with a model server strategy, and one model for all trades, this problem would go away

Regarding re-claimed doors, if they're coming from existing conditions, what you really need to be able to do is "move" an object's physical location phase to phase.

If you're talking about reclaimed materials that have come from a "Stock inventory" then what you really want is some way to connect an external inventory database with Revit, so that you can create a "new" door in Revit that draws info/data from the inventory database when revit creates the object/creates the placeholder.

Lately, we have been getting reclaimed doors (but mostly other materials, doors were just an easy example) from building being demolished. We currently keep an external spreadsheet of these materials, but if we were able to keep it in Revit, coordination would be way simpler (it would be a lot more obvious for example when you go to place a door, that you have depleted the inventory of reclaimed doors of a particular size, style, material, or construction).

At the top of our list is to have the drawing list also show what sheets were issued with different revisions.

So happy to see this topic being looked at. We do very large projects and have what I like to think is a extremely complex issue when it comes to the "INDEX OF DRAWINGS" (IOD). We have consultants that use Revit and others that do not. Our IOD shows all the sheets on the project. The consultants information comes in several different forms but if we had a xls file I am sure we could get them to fill it out. Today we make a separate Revit file called consultants sheet that has fake sheets in it. We link that to the Revit file that hosts the IOD and schedule them together.
Our projects are fast/hyper track / design build, so we have to keep track of each delta/ASI release and the date it was released. Today we have added parameters for each release date with a check box. When the release is ready to go the user must go to each sheet in the release and check the date box. What we need is the IOD to read the cloud and tag information and the revision list the same as the revision schedule does and list those as fields in the IOD. Just for a reference a complete set of drawings on one project can easily be more than 5000 sheets. Of course they do not fit on one sheet so the breaking schedules over several sheets becomes an issue as well.

The aspect of the Drawing List that I would like to see is the ability to show which issuances each sheet was issued with.

For example, if a Sheet was issued for the following sets: "Issued for Schematic Design", Issued for BID" "Issued for Construction", "Addendum 2" but not issued for "Addendum 1" it would have a mark in every cell except the Addendum 1 cell.

The only way we have been able to see this work is by creating extra parameters for each sheet and either marking it or not. We have been unable to get it to work automatically by using the Revisions that have been included on the sheet

If I dare to drag some other vendor's software into the discussion, I found VectorWorks worksheets very handy for managing these types of things.

In a worksheet (or "schedule" in Revit terms), you can designate rows as either regular rows or database rows. Regular rows function like regular Excel cells (with formulas, formatting, etc) and database rows, as you might expect, pull up items from the database based on user-set criteria (e.g. "list all doors in phase 1 on level 3"). This allows you to

(1) schedule things from your project
(2) include external data (albeit manually entered or cut-and-pasted from a text file, e-mail, spreadsheet, etc), and
(3) have more control over formatting (headings, linebreaks, bold/italic, etc).

In Revit, I've found it handy to add at least two Project Parameters for sheets: One is "Sheet Folder" which I use to sort the sheets in the project browser as (at minimum) "Current" and "Not Issued". If I have sets of sheets for SD, DD, tender, presentation, etc, I fill this value in.

The second is "Sheet Type" which is only for cosmetic reasons, so I can sort my "sheet schedule/drawing list" into sections headed "A1 PLANS", "A2 RCP", "A3 SECTIONS", and so on. Otherwise, once your set gets big, having everything smashed together in one giant list without subheadings is just sloppy.

However, the fact I need to set up custom parameters to get pretty basic functionality points to some obvious shortcomings of the current implementation (i.e. why can't I just have folders of sheets in the project browser and drag/drop sheets between them? And why are my sheets grouped in one giant list with all the other model data? [Hint: The project browser needs some work, yo.)

I personally think requiring a link to an external, proprietary file format (i.e. Excel) is irresponsible. The further I can get away from Office, the better. Just sayin'...

Thanks. Importing from Excel would only exist to supplement rather than replace any feature requirements. the project browser is a good future topic. More ability to separate data and organize data are common. Of the items you mentioned I can only state that the folder approach while convenient could require a lot of maintenance. The current organization is automatic.

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