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Thread: Sharing between two offices

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    Ok, we have on office in the U.S. and one office in the Philippines. With AutoCAD, this is easy to handle, but with Revit, this doesn't seem to work so well.

    What we need is a way for both offices to work on the project at the same time. I have looked at Hamachi, but that fails, I am guessing due to the distance it takes too long to open and times out. I have tried just sending them a local file with the appropriate worksets checked out, but it always gives an error saying that it can't edit some elements due to the central file not being found (why it needs to edit elements to open a file, I don't know) and yes I sent them all the applicable supporting files. We have tried having them login remotely to our computers here (again, this is too slow to really be usable).

    This is something that is extremely important, right now my boss is of the opinion that he hates Revit and based on what I have seen so far, I am going to have to agree with him, it's difficult, if not impossible to make a good looking set of drawings, can't share the work between multiple offices, etc.

    I do see potential for the program, but I am beginning to think that it is about 10 years from being usable, I am not trying to turn this into an I hate Revit thing, only to express how important it is that this is resolved in a timely manner.

    In case it matters at all we are using Revit MEP 2009.

    Sorry, I meant to hit subscribe on this one.
    Last edited by Steve_Stafford; 2008-12-23 at 12:17 AM. Reason: merged posts

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    Default Re: Sharing between two offices

    Okay, nutshell: what you're trying to do, everyone is trying to do. It's being worked on, and taken seriously, some people are out front with solutions coming in 2009.

    What most people do right now is split the systems into separate models, or split the project up by the wings, or the scope of work, etc. And then, co-locate the models with the teams and use something like Robocopy/SecondCopy, etc. to copy the models to the other locations. Then, those copies get referenced/linked back to the files in the local offices for context/scheduling/room bounding, and copy/monitoring elements from.

    For example: split M, E, and P. Put P and E in the Phillipines, and M in the 'States, then copy P&E nightly over to the states, M over to the island. M would link P and E, and P would like E and M, etc... clear.as.mud, I'm sure, but this is effective and a lot of people employ this method.

    HTH,
    LC

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    Default Re: Sharing between two offices

    That method doesn't really work, for example during the day here we have people working on Electrical drawings, then in our evening (the Philippines daytime) they need to work on the exact same sheets.

    Bottom line, is if it can be done in AutoCAD it should be able to be done in Revit.

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    Default Re: Sharing between two offices

    Interesting. Have you approached Autodesk with that statement?

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    Default Re: Sharing between two offices

    Quote Originally Posted by cwade.109269 View Post
    That method doesn't really work, for example during the day here we have people working on Electrical drawings, then in our evening (the Philippines daytime) they need to work on the exact same sheets.

    Bottom line, is if it can be done in AutoCAD it should be able to be done in Revit.
    Ok, well that's a blanket statement! Really, the program is an entirely different animal. In my experience, the more I want my drawings from revit to look or produce like autocad, the more time I spend fudging things and masking and detail lines etc etc. My suggestion here is to come up with some new standards as to how you document your drawings because revit will do it, but it wont look exactly the same.

    Back to your original problem though.
    My office is working on an interdisciplinary model.

    We have used just the one model at this stage and it has worked well, assuming the channels of communication and co-ordination are strictly followed there is no reason why this method wont work for you. A few things to consider with this option though. Saving to central will be slow, if you've got a large team working on the project this will be painful. Increase your STC times to every 4 hours or something, and make sure you sign out your worksets and control elements well and this shouldn't be too much of a drama.

    The only problem is with the file size in interdisciplinary models, and depending on your project this may or may not affect you. I would suggest using a linked model for non-essential items such as fixtures, and joinery as these tend to blow the file size out considerably. Our file blew out to 257MB at one stage and thats when we started getting alot of errors. If you can keep your file under 170MB you should have no dramas. Also make sure you've got your 3GB switch enabled if you have a machine with more than 2GB RAM.

    Next project we might try linking in things like joinery and non-essentials and see if we can minimize our errors this way and file size. This way only the disciplines that need them can load in whats needed.

    You could run your central model on a shared server, however being in different countries you may find this slow, although with different time zones you should find minimal problems with people owning elements and not relinquishing.

    If you do this method I recommend regularly (every 2 or 3 days) creating your local file from central. If you don't do this you risk losing alot of work if you do encounter errors and someone accidentally saves it to central.
    Compact your file regularly (once a week) and purge it in the same process and this will keep your file size to a minimum.

    One thing you should be aware of as MEP is linking models is quite a drawback. You can not show plumbing and toilets etc properly and it becomes a big hassle (I haven't experienced this one myself but I have heard the word is there is alot of troubles with linking services between linked models)

    Otherwise good luck.
    Last edited by karalon10; 2008-12-17 at 05:06 AM.

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    Post Re: Sharing between two offices

    Quote Originally Posted by karalon10 View Post
    One thing you should be aware of as MEP is linking models is quite a drawback. You can not show plumbing and toilets etc properly and it becomes a big hassle (I haven't experienced this one myself but I have heard the word is there is alot of troubles with linking services between linked models)

    Otherwise good luck.
    Linking services model from Revit MEP exposes alot of design crashes. Revit MEP are not as receptive to change, and can cause alot of unexpection when design is changed. If you need to send design model back and forth quickly you need a strategy in dividing the model, like stated by karalon.

    Have you tried services like Aconex? and setup some sort of fast upload/download critieria with them. Although they do charge a bit.
    Q: What is a beancurd?
    The angry revit monster!!...Raaaaar!!

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    Default Re: Sharing between two offices

    If your intent is to share the same data, and you cannot co-locate on the same server, based on your statement that the work is essentially continuous between the time zones, I would think you could use an FTP server to ship the file back and forth. You would always need to use Detach From Central, and Save-as between each office to download the file, however, and then have each office use that central. At the end of their day, upload it back to the FTP and repeat.

    Revit is not at all like CAD, your statement unfortunately dismisses the advantages of how Revit manages its file systems, which is really unlike anything else out there. But, your situation is not suited to take advantage of the inherent structure of Revit, at least not yet.

    There are "farm" technologies being developed that you could purchase access rights to use that would solve this if indeed you cannot split the scope of work between your offices into two (or more) distinct models. These "farms" could host your model and your teams, wherever they are located could access them concurrently, as you intend.

    -LC

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    Smile Re: Sharing between two offices

    Quote Originally Posted by echo View Post
    There are "farm" technologies being developed that you could purchase access rights to use that would solve this if indeed you cannot split the scope of work between your offices into two (or more) distinct models. These "farms" could host your model and your teams, wherever they are located could access them concurrently, as you intend.

    -LC
    Can you give us a link or more insight of this "farm" technology for muah! =0>
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    Default Re: Sharing between two offices

    I want to thank everyone for all of your responses, thanks to tech support from our dealer we were able to figure out that we can create local files (which we had tried before, but had some issues) based on the user names of those working in the remote office, send them those files and then bring them back and save back to central. A little complex, but it appears to be the safest way of working at the moment.

    If we didn't have contracts that require the use of Revit, I don't think that we would be using it at this point, especially after all that I have seen so far. Bottom line is as far as my boss is concerned Revit is just another CAD program and needs to be able to produce the same quality work as CAD. I know it's not, but it still needs to do so.

    Some of the problems that we have with Revit:
    My boss is worried about additional liability
    The additional time spent coordinating the drawings (Read: Who pays for this extra time?)
    The extra time setting up families
    You can't produce a quality set of drawings. (I.E. drawings that look as nice as those in AutoCAD)
    You can't make
    That a Revit MEP drawing takes about 3.5 times as long to produce as with our custom LISP routines in AutoCAD (which require about 30 minutes of training)
    The cost of training
    The additional cost of the program (especially since you can't buy it without AutoCAD MEP)
    The worksharing issues.

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    Default Re: Sharing between two offices

    Quote Originally Posted by cwade.109269 View Post
    Some of the problems that we have with Revit:
    My boss is worried about additional liability
    The additional time spent coordinating the drawings (Read: Who pays for this extra time?)
    The extra time setting up families
    You can't produce a quality set of drawings. (I.E. drawings that look as nice as those in AutoCAD)
    You can't make
    That a Revit MEP drawing takes about 3.5 times as long to produce as with our custom LISP routines in AutoCAD (which require about 30 minutes of training)
    The cost of training
    The additional cost of the program (especially since you can't buy it without AutoCAD MEP)
    The worksharing issues.
    I just wanted to address some of your concerns here.
    Since I have been using Revit, I think that revit has scope to be much faster than CAD and reduce liability in some instances.
    I'm not entirely sure how this translates for MEP services drawings, but as far as structural go there are many advantages. Section Detail, and view references are all dynamically linked, so there is never any double or mis-reference. Change it once and it updates everywhere through all of your sheets. This, to me, is a huge time saver. Imagine a high rise of 70 stories, and the door layout in the core wall changes. In CAD this translates to days of back-drafting. In Revit you change it in plan and the rest takes care of itself. Really you're only getting it right once.

    I'm sure most of these arguments were brought up when the switch was made from drawing board to CAD back in the day.

    As far as building of the families go, you may find that there are vast libraries out there that you can draw on, and much like CAD you will eventually develop your own library of families and detail components. The first 3 or 4 projects you should expect to take a bit of a budget hit on, and then after that you should be having most of your problems worked out and a decent library built.

    Instead of considering the negatives, consider some of the positives that will save you time and decrease liability issues. The main one will be conflict detection. A 3D model allows you to pick up clashes that you probably wouldnt consider in 2D. There is the cross-referencing that I mentioned already, and from a sales perspective to a client, a 3D model usually knocks them out. Consider also that if most companies start to get on board with revit, and your company doesn't, you are certainly going to be well behind the market. You would be remiss not to at least have some in your office capable of utilizing revit as some clients will demand it before you can even win the job.

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