Revit 2018.3.0 Update

Autodesk released update 2018.3.0 for Revit on 2018.04(Apr).08. Click here to see a listing of the issues fixed in this and previous updates for Revit 2018,

To download and install the update, refresh your Autodesk Desktop App and updates should appear if you have an active subscription (maintenance plan or annual subscription). The Autodesk Desktop App icon is located in your Windows System Tray if it was installed.

You can also access them from the Product Downloads section of the Autodesk Accounts portal if you are a contract manager or software coordinator in your account.


Autodesk Fabrication: Best Practice #6

Don’t PURGE or COMPACT Your Database When In Use

A Fabrication Database that’s well managed should have changes being made. This can mean things like materials, specifications, services, connectors and such may be occasionally deleted and removed. If there are proxy items in your database that have {brackets} around them, they should be made permanent or removed as well.

The way to do this is to PURGE and/or COMPACT your database, You can do this by typing PURGEDB on AutoCAD’s command line or by selecting File -> Setup -> Manage Database from ESTmep or CAMduct as sown in the following image.

When you initiate this process, you’ll be presented with a standard “Backup Your Database…” warning which you can click OK to.

From there, you are then presented with the following dialog.

Items that show up here are the ones that show up with {Brackets} in your database, They should either be made permanent or removed in a well managed system.

The Make Permanent option is fairly safe. The items are in your database already there and already have indexes assigned.

On the other hand, the Purge Database option will remove them from your database. When you do this, the’s a chance that some of the database indexes will change as those indexes are how the various database tables relate to each other.

If you do this while others are using the database in CADmep, ESTmep or CAMduct, they already have the database tables loaded into memory. Depending what they are doing, some activities may cause parts of the database to be reloaded while others are not. When this happens, strange things can happen to your drawing…your systems might loose their service or change services or connectors change without notice. More times than not, unless you catch it right away,by the time you find the issue you’ll need to remodel your data or retrieve it from a backup.

In a Database, records are not actually deleted so while the Purge command appears to remove items from the database, it  actually just flags them as being unused so those areas in the database can be overwritten with new data later. This is where Compacting the database comes into play. The Compact the Database Now option will rewrite and re-sequence all the database files and their indexes to recapture that unused space. Again, this causes issues for others who are currently referencing the database and doing work.

While there is danger in using these commands, they should be used to properly manage your database. The key here is to use them after hours when other users are not using the database. Another option would be to do your development work in a copy of the database so nobody is ever “using” the database you’re performing administration work in. When you’re done, you can “copy” this database to the production database but again, after hours when nobody is doing work or you could have all users log out temporarily (perhaps at lunch) and copy the database then.

To the best of my knowledge, this issue is NOT present for those of you using Revit with Fabrication parts. Revit loads in your services and content and caches it in the Revit model. It doesn’t reference the database configuration again while you work unless you manually “reload” the configuration, So unlike CADmep, ESTmep or CAMduct which may reload parts of your database just by using the software, Revit won’t do this unless you manually reload in which care it will reload everything and keep all those database sequences sin check.

If you’ve ever opened an AutoCAD drawing and your parts appeared orphaned from their services, connectors changed to things that don’t make sense or your Cast Iron NoHub Waste system suddenly reports as Rectangular Supply Air, this likely was the cause and this Best Practice is for you.

Autodesk Fabrication: Best Practice #5

Don’t Store Estimating Tables in Your CADmep Drawing

If your company uses ESTmep, pay close attention. CADmep stores in the DWG files most of your database with the exception of content that’s not used and reports. What this also means is that by DEFAULT, CADmep stores your Estimating Tables in every Drawing file (DWG) you produce. Most companies using ESTmep use 1.0 Factors for SMACNA, MCAA or other trade labor so exposing that data isn’t as big of a risk…everybody knows what it is. However, if you have pricing multipliers for your vendors, negotiated prices (as opposed to List Pricing) in your tables or have your own custom labor factors and rates, anyone with access to CADmep and your drawing files can EASILY extract that information from your DWG files,

This is easily changed by toggling the “Do NOT Store Est Tables with DWG Database” setting in the Edit Configuration utility as shown on the following image.

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Setting this toggles will prevent CADmep from caching a copy of the Price Tables, Install Tables and Fabrication Tables in your drawing file, These are a few other things to note…

  • While this settings prompts you for which configuration to load (if you have more than one), the setting is not configuration specific. Meaning, it is not stored in your Fabrication Database. The setting applies to ALL configurations so you can pick any one you like to make this change.
  • This change is software VERSION specific. For example, if you run 20017 and 2018 versions of CADmep, you need to make the change in both versions.
  • This issue is NOT present when using Revit with Fabrication Parts. Only CADmep has this issue,
  • Because this setting isn’t stored in the database, that means it’s computer specific. You need to change it on each computer running CADmep.
  • This setting is also USER specific (stored in your Windows profile) so even if you change if for one user, if a different user logs in on the same computer, you’ll need to make the change again.

Because this setting is user specific and computer specific…and because the default setting if you do nothing is the RISKY option, it’s easy for this setting to revert back to it’s original value and save the Estimating Tables to the drawing. For this reason, you many want to consider creating an AutoLISP routine that sets this setting every time you start AutoCAD. You could also have it run from a Batch File or VBScript in the Windows Startup folder each time you log onto Windows or even have your IT Department force the setting via Group Policy or other methods. For any of these solutions, it’s as simple as automating the setting in the following Registry Key.

Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\Fabrication 2018\CADmep
Value: StoreEstDatabase
Type: REG_SZ
Data: FALSE

If you’re interested in a sample LSP, Batch File and/or VBScript to set this, drop me an Email at Dyoung@Mcwi.Com.

MEP System Congestion & Complexity visibility in Revit

The Mechanical Contractors Association of America‘s (MCAA) non-profit foundation MCREF is working to release a Revit tool to help analyze and visualize complexity and congestion in a Revit model. The utility will be free and is expected to be released at the MCAA Technology Conference in Austin, TX on November 8, 2017.

It was developed in partnership with BuildingSP, a San Francisco based software company.

Click here for article or more information

Autodesk Fabrication Resources

I’ve posted a number of Autodesk Fabrication resources for anyone using Autodesk Fabrication CADmep, EDTmep, CAMduct or Fabrication parts in Revit. You can find them using the Resources menu or by following the link here. You can also find this same information on the site XtraCAD.com. In the future, I’ll be compiling and posting additional resources that I’ve collected over the last several years in the course of administering Autodesk Fabrication databases for some large MEP firms.

Fabrication Resources…
  • History of Autodesk Fabrication build numbers for all the versions, service packs and product updates.
  • Pattern/CID Number history lists which Pattern Numbers (CID’s) are supported in which versions of the Fabrication products.
  • Revit Support history lists which Pattern Numbers (CID’s) are supported by which Revit versions.
  • CADmep command history lists which commands where added/removed from the different CADmep versions.
  • AutoLISP function history lists which versions of CADmep support which CADmep specific AutoLISP functions.
  • FabViewer command history lists the commands supported for the FabViewer in each version of Fabrication products.
  • Post Processor history lists which post processors are supported in each version and/or servicepack/update of the Fabrication Products
    • Decoiler/Coil Line Posts (DPL’s)
    • Plasma/Laser/Router/Waterjet Posts (VPL’s)