Monday, 21 August 2017

How to Manage Rebar Numbering with Dynamo

Before we move into the Dynamo part let me quickly highlight rebar numbering and partitioning in Revit.

In Revit, numbering allows identical reinforcement elements to be matched for schedules and tags.

Partitioning in Revit gives you the ability to define a common parameter for reinforcing elements within a certain construction sequence. Rebar elements are automatically given a unique number within same partition based on their type, shape & geometrical parameters.

Partitioning for reinforcement identification serves a number of organizational purposes depending on how a building is designed or how it will be constructed. Any rebar, rebar set, or fabric sheet instance in a model can only be assigned to one partition.

The number for a rebar or fabric sheet instance as well as its partition may be viewed in the Properties palette under Construction.

You can use the Reinforcement Numbering dialog to make adjustments to rebar numbering sequences.
Using this dialog you ran quickly and easily rename your partitions and renumber rebar elements within a specific partition.

The Minimum number of digits for reinforcement numbers option specifies the minimum number of digits to display in a sequence. For example, when set to 3 digits; rebar number 2 displays as 002.

Minimum number of digits for reinforcement numbers

The Remove Gaps option becomes active when one or more gaps exist in a sequence. The checkbox removes gaps in the numbering sequence of rebar and fabric sheets in a partition.

Remove Gaps

This is a very convenient tool to manage rebar numbering however sometimes we need apply some specific, more sophisticated rules for how our rebars should be numbered. This is a common problem for many structural detailers.

For example, let’s image a situation where we would like to have all rebars numbered within the same partition from the shortest rebar to the longest one…

If you have already started thinking how you could do this in Revit, I have to tell you to stop. This is an instance where Dynamo for Revit comes in handy and is the right tool at the right time!

Let me show you how helpful Dynamo is for this issue.

I made a few assumptions:

  • In my Dynamo script I want to select all rebars from a specified partition automatically (this is so there is no need to select any rebars in my model).
  • All rebars from the given partition will be renumbered from the shortest rebar to the longest one.
  • I want to be able define a starting number of the shortest rebar.

Because the Rebar Number parameter is read-only, first I need to create a project parameter which I call “New Rebar Number” and then I end up with the following Dynamo script:

As the first step I need to select all rebars from a partition I specify.

Next, it’s time to get information about the lengths of my rebars. Even though my project is metric I need to make a units conversion to have them presented in millimeters rather than in feet.

Knowing lengths of my rebars, now I am able to sort the list of rebars by lengths.

… and finally it’s time to renumber the rebars:

Now I can create a rebar bending schedule based on the New Rebar Number parameter!!

For more posts on Revit’s rebar features, check out these past articles on BIM and Beam:


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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Steel and Stone: Autodesk Advance Steel helps structural steel company reduce schedule by 50%

3D Autodesk Advance Steel model of The Lucas

Several years ago, Lawton Welding Co. Ltd., a miscellaneous metals and small structural steel company based in Topsfield, Massachusetts, took on a project detailing and fabricating the steelwork for an old stone church that was being renovated and repurposed. The project was fraught with rework orders — largely due to the irregularities of the stone structure — and took nearly three months to complete.

More recently, Lawton tackled a similar – but much larger – project, detailing and fabricating the steel for a former church in downtown Boston. The late-1800s stone structure, which was being converted into eight stories of condominiums, presented many of the same challenges as the previous project. Lawton finished the newer project in around six weeks.

The difference? In the interval between the two projects, Lawton gained the ability to detail steelwork in three dimensions by adopting Autodesk Advance Steel detailing software.

“This project was probably ten times bigger than the previous one, and we got it done in less time,” says Derek Michaud, detailing supervisor at Lawton. “With this one, we had almost no rework. Before, I would get frantic phone calls from my install crews when changes were needed,” Michaud adds. “In the new system, you make the change, and everything automatically moves with it. It’s a much cleaner process. It’s night and day.”

The Project

The Lucas, an 80,000-square-foot development located in Boston’s South End and designed by Finegold Alexander Architects, is the transformation of an 1874 German Trinity Catholic Church into a unique residential development.

The Lucas

Before it was high end residential housing, The Lucas was an 1874 German Trinity Catholic Church. Image courtesy of Lawton Welding, Co., Ltd.

The design maintains the church’s existing puddingstone fa├žade and exterior walls, but also places a new eight-story building in the center of the church’s footprint. The glass and steel rising up from behind the original stone creates a dramatic visual contrast, but it also presented formidable challenges for Lawton’s detailing team.

“The design makes things far more complicated, because we have to interact with the existing structure,” says Michaud. “On a new building, you control everything. If a column is off by a quarter inch, all my steel matches that column no matter what. In existing buildings, you don’t have that luxury. You have to be close enough to the walls, but not hit them. You can’t be too far away, because then you don’t get the performance of the design.

Rapid Return on Investment

One of the chief benefits of adopting 3D detailing software, Michaud says, is the dramatic time savings that the new method enables – at nearly every step of the detailing and fabrication processes. “It allows us to do more work in the same amount of time, without increasing payroll,” Michaud says.

3D Autodesk Advance Steel model of The Lucas

3D model of the steel frame for The Lucas residential development in Boston’s South End. The development is a renovation and reimagining of the original structure. Image courtesy of Lawton Welding, Co., Ltd.

Not only does the detailing work itself go more quickly in Advance Steel, but the software also prevents employees from having to double back over their work to fix mistakes. Additionally, Advance Steel automatically generates computer numerical control (CNC) fabrication files, eliminating another time-intensive step.

On The Lucas, Lawton shared its detailing plans with the project’s plumbing and HVAC contractors. These contractors then told Lawton where in the beams to put additional holes. Consequently, Lawton was able to cut the holes in the fabrication shop, rather than sending employees out to do the work in the field.

Improved Accuracy

One number, more than any other metric, illustrates the impact of Lawton’s move to Advance Steel: 10 percent. That was the firm’s average error rate on the steel it fabricated before making the switch. Today, Lawton’s error rate has dropped to under 1 percent. Michaud estimates that the firm has an error on only one or two out of every 250 beams produced.

“With so many human steps, holes would be off all the time,” Michaud says. “We would drill holes, check the layout, and then we would have to fill the holes back in and re-drill them by hand. That was a constant problem.”

“All of that is on us,” he adds. “Any fabrication error, any material waste, all of that is 100 percent on us. You can damage a profit line pretty quickly if you’re not careful.”

Before Lawton made the switch, Michaud says, there was little standardization in fabrication drawings, which contributed to the higher error rate – and to frustration on the part of the fabricators. “We had seven guys who drew seven different ways,” Michaud says. “Now our drawings all come out exactly the same. Our fabrication shop likes it better, and we no longer have errors being calculated by humans along the way.”

The software also helps prevent connection problems by allowing detailers to better see how their drawings will work in the real world. “Working in three dimensions allowed us to visually see everything, to make sure we had room for bolts, to make sure the plan was strong enough before we sent it to our engineer. We saved time on our engineering re-design work, and everything fit together smoothly.”

On The Lucas, detailers needed to draw around the existing walls, which bowed in and out at various spots. A field crew provided a three-dimensional survey of the interior walls, and Lawton imported that data into Advance Steel, allowing detailers to draw with precision down to a quarter of an inch. This level of precision, Michaud says, helped to drastically reduce rework.

The Power of BIM

On The Lucas project, architects didn’t provide Lawton with a three-dimensional design model from a building information modeling (BIM) software such as Revit. If the firm had started with such a model, Michaud says, the detailing would probably have gone even more quickly. “If we would have started with a Revit model, we probably would have cut about a week off,” he says.

Increasingly, Michaud says, BIM tools are becoming an industry standard. “A lot of the companies we work with now require BIM compatibility,” he says. “If you can’t draw in 3D, you can’t even quote the job. It’s definitely giving us an advantage.”

Kinked Beam in Autodesk Advance Steel

Steel detail of a kinked beam in Autodesk Advance Steel. Image courtesy of Lawton Welding, Co., Ltd.

Tools like Advance Steel not only help Lawton win more jobs and complete those jobs more quickly, but Michaud says that BIM solutions also reduce stress on him and his workers while increasing client satisfaction. On The Lucas project, for example, concrete anchors were placed an inch and a half off from where they were supposed to be, requiring Michaud and his team to make that same shift in the plans for the entire project.

“We had to move the whole building an inch and a half, right before we started fabricating it,” Michaud recalls. “With Advance Steel, we were able to do that in twenty minutes. In two dimensions, it probably would have taken one or two days, and then we would have had to hope that we didn’t make a mistake during the rush. We definitely would have missed our install date.”

“With BIM,” Michaud adds, “it’s amazing how smooth and how fast things can go.”

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Friday, 4 August 2017

Partnership Between IDEA StatiCa and Graitec

As the structural steel industry adopts more BIM-based solutions, technology providers are finding creative ways to deliver more integrated solutions to their customers. An example of this is a new international collaboration and partnership between the software providers IDEA RS and GRAITEC Group.

The 2018 release of GRAITEC’s Advance Design platform will deliver a new, powerful application for structural engineers involved in steel joint design called Advance Design ConnectionAdvance Design Connection is a unique version of IDEA StatiCa Connection, rebranded and tailor-made for GRAITEC users in France, UK, Germany, USA, Canada, Brazil, Poland, Italy, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia. You can learn more about this partnership and their new technology here.

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