Revit Add-Ins for Data Extraction- My personal choice

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Note, these are my personal views and I am getting no remuneration from any of the products organizations below.

There usually pops up a post/article about a list of add-ins  for Revit that you find to help you in your workflow.
Most of the ones are directed at day to day design workflow.

ArchSmarter via ArchDaily POST.  Another was an AU presentation, Top 10 Revit Apps for Under $100 with HANDOUT

I generally agree with the Free ones and a couple of the others that they mention, but I feel that some have been neglected.

This is my List

See below the issues why these tools are used. They are not in any specific order.

  1. Free CASE Apps. Free.
  2. WhiteFeet. $100 US. 60 day free trial.
  3. RTV Reporter. $75US. 30 day free trial.
  4. RTV Reporter Pro.This is linked to a Database & has a bespoke export configuration & is tailored to your specific needs. Expensive but very good & robust. Talk to RTV Tools about your needs.
  5. RTV Xporter Pro. $49US. 30 day free trial.
  6. Rushforth Tools. $99.99. 30 day free trial.
  7. Color Splasher. Free. Brilliant Quality Assurance/Checker Tool
  8. Isolate Warnings.Free. Brilliant Quality Assurance/Checker Tool for Revit file.
  9. RDBK_AutoNumber FREE.Free. Great for numbering/Renumbering. Really useful tool.
  10. Import/Export Excel. Free
  11. SimLab 3D PDF Exporter is a plugin for Autodesk Revit. $199 US for 2 machines (same user). Trial for 30 times of use.
  12. Total NET Room Wall Area Plugin. This was developed initially by Caduceus in conjunction with KiwiCodes, then further developed by SMRTConsulting.  Contact Matt Cantwell to discuss.

Free CASE Apps.

I use the 3D Room Tag (Modified Tag from Cube to only one Face) to show Room Name/Number and code in Room for 3D PDF’s.

In Revit, the Room Entity only shows up in 2D, not in 3D, so how does someone know which room is which? Using the 3D Room Tags the Room identities are clear. I also use these to Store Room Parameter Data associated with a particular room.

WhiteFeet.

I have found this tool is exceptionally good at creating Room Data Sheets. See How to Set Up Room Data Sheets in Revit with WhiteFeet add-in.

It also has a Database connection for a 2 way process. I would love to have this operational to explore another method of connecting with a Database for Data Extraction from BIM. Unfortunately, to date I have not been able to get this to work.

It also has other tools that I haven’t explored to date and there seem to be linkages with Excel for 2 way transfer of particular types of data.

RTV Reporter/RTV Reporter Pro & RTV Xporter Pro

RTV Reporter

You can select specific Revit categories

It will then generate Tables of this data. You can manipulate the Column order (or hide columns) of the Categories you have selected and generated (below for Air Terminals/Doors/Rooms/Windows

This is the tough part. Setting up a Report in Report Designer with Correct Headers/Tables & Footers.

Once you have this setup to how you want your data ( you can save the templates for reuse on all properties) you then RUN THE REPORT

Once the Report is generated, you have the option to Export it in a number of Formats, including Excel

I am not that familiar with the Report Designer & spent a Very Long time trying to sertup Reports. Once you have the format though, it generates them with minimal efforts.

NOTE: If you have Warnings in your revit file in a specific category you are using, it may lock up, you have to clean up these warnings (Use Isolate Warnings add-in) otherwise it just stops at this point.

RTV Reporter Pro

This is a more sophisticated tool than the RTV Reporter.

It is configured specifically for the organizations requirements, this is why I mention the RTV Reporter programme where you can test out the process to see if you want a more elaborate configuration.

The front interface is the same. You select the Categories that you want and generate Tables of data

The difference is there are 2 TABS. Home & Settings.

The Home tab is for operations. You can send this programme out to Architects/Contractors with a Parameter file and they can generate the data in their Office & Validate it.

All that they have is the HOME TAB. From that they can select the categories and generate the Tables of the Data,

The Parameters are set by the overarching organisation that is using this data. In the parameter file is Data pertaining to each parameter( Item 2)  to allow for a PULL DOWN TABLE (item 3) so that ONLY CORRECT DATA can be inputted into the Tables. Once the tables have been filled out there is a Validation Button (Item 1) which will then check the inputs against a Lookup table to see that the parameters have been filled in correctly.

If you look on the sheet below, GREEN is correct, Amber is Empty & Red is ERROR that needs to be fixed before the Data can be exported to the DataBase.

A Validation Report can be generated and saved and issued with the model (see below).

In the SETTINGS TAB ( for User Organisation or their Agents) this is where:

  • the Setup of Shared Parameters can be created for items they want extracted from the models
  • Connection with DataBase Server ( SQL Express)
  • Exporting to DataBase (only if the Data all validated (ie either Green or Orange, NO reds)
  • Export to output for other AMIS System in preferred format. ( This system has been setup to export to 3 different Asset Management Information Systems, one for Roading & 2 for Building)

 

The SQL Express Database has all the Revit Categories as Tables, so exporting from RTV Reporter Pro populates the appropriate table. There is a button in the main programme that exports information to the AMIS which first reads the Database tables and re-configures the data into the AMIS format and into an appropriate file type for upload to the AMIS. It can be configured to talk directly to some AMIS API to transfer the data across directly between databases.

 

RTV Xporter Pro

This is a good document management tool.

  1. It reads all the Sheets (item 1)  & Views (item 2) in the model and displays them. This is the HOME TAB where all the main tools are, (item 3) is for Exporting (see later). (item 4) Is document Transmittal for issuing revision sets of drawings. (item 5) Is where you can set up the different revisions on the sheets. (item 6) Is a tool for Batch updating Revit files from a different year (eg updating from 2016 to 2017 . This can also run at a specified time on specified Models & sheet sets.
  2. You can use it to create all sheet views in a variety of formats and issue them to the team overnight, so there is a fresh set each day. Useful on large projects.

 

For issuing Transmittal use the issue button.

This shows you previous issues and who you are issuing the specific Revision to.

It creates a Transmittal that can be in a variety of formats, here it is set to PDF.

This shows the Export process where it will generate sets of Sheets/Views in multiple formats (can also print to two printers at the same time too if you require a hard copy) & can send to FTP site or a specific folder with specific naming convention of your choosing

The Xporter Pro has a SQL Express database at the back end and creates a database for each model/project that you create documentation from.

 

Rushforth Tools.

This has a number of tools. The one I specifically needed was Export/Import from Excel as I was transferring data from one Category to another.

What I like about this tool is that it already has the filters pre-set on the columns so you can sort straight away.

I haven’t really utilised the other tools in the process for Data Extraction. I am a bit of a sucker for multi-tools, they are a bit swiss army knifeish. Tools to explore at a later time

You could use the Import/Export Excel add-in which is free. Other members of the team used that instead. I also found HotGear Project – Parameter Explorer can do this, though a bit slow, I hadn’t seen this add-in before I may test it out later.

I initially was going to use it for Parameter Development but Because RTV Reporter Pro ended up doing this I did not exploit that part of the programme. One could say that I could have saved the price of the tool but I do like the Export/Import function and it is pretty robust, even on large tables of data.

Color Splasher.

This is such a great tool. Open it up, select a category you want to inspect, select a parameter you want to inspect

It shows you a list instances of that parameter , check which one you want to inspect and click on the colour, it then comes up with a pop-up box to choose another colour, choose one that stands out,

then Apply Colour Set.

Go into model, isolate the category and you will see the highlighted colour one you wanted. Use the Clear Set button in Bottom Right corner when finished.

This is a great tool for:

  • Seeing if there are 2 instances on top of each other
  • Seeing if data has not gone into the parameter ( we use some tools to push data into parameters and sometimes it does not get to all of them, so NULL value
  • Finding elements that repeat, say MARK is the same when you need to make sure each MARK is different.
  • Importing from Archicad via IFC is a double translation. This tool is very good at checking to see that elements have positive areas and are not NULL.

RDBK_AutoNumber FREE.

This is a great numbering tool. Later on in the project we wanted to individually number doors and windows. So if there were multiple windows in a room you can increment them, so each has a unique ID.

SimLab 3D PDF Exporter is a plugin for Autodesk Revit.

Refer to this post How to use 3D PDF’s & Excel Macro’s to manage your assets part 3 of 3- Export from BIM on how the 3D PDF add-in works.

Total NET Room Wall Area Plugin.

This tool works on the thermal calculation tool inside Revit API. It removes Door & Window Openings to be left with the NET wall area.

 

These are two other app suppliers I would like to try but they have subscription licensing rather than perpetual licensing so they could be the greatest apps but I will not use them. If you are into being bled annually then I would recommend you look at their offerings, they both offer a wide variety of productivity tools.

  1. Rockit. $99/Year. 30 day free trial.
  2. KiwiCodes Solutions Ltd. Multiple Apps. 21 day free trial.

Two other Add-Ins

  1. IFC Component Replacer.$100US. No trial.
  2. Scale text in older documents (pre 2017). $10US. No trial.

IFC Component Replacer.

When importing from ArchiCad via IFC to Revit a lot of components re orientated , so WC,s and sinks were not connected to walls. This is a later development tool but handy in saving time tediously replacing components in a model from outside. I haven’t used this updated toll but used it in a previous incarnation.

Scale text in older documents (pre 2017).

A lot of the work we were doing was in Revit 2015. Updating from earlier versions to Revit 2017 has caused chaos with text in  Legacy models from earlier versions. This will hopefully solve this issue. I have not personally tested this add in, but its a great idea. I hope the tool is robust.

Asset & Facilities Management Information

In working in the area of modifying the BIM output for Asset & Facilities Management the main considerations are:

  1. Populating the BIM (Building Information Model) with data that is captured in Design/Construction phase of the project & exporting it to a user friendly format for use in Asset Management & Facilities Management phases of the buildings life.
  2. Information that may be relevant at construction phase is not necessarily of much practical use at Facilites Management phase on a year to year basis, an example of this is say Piles & its reinforcing. Good to know , but unless there is some subsidence and the piles are under designed, they will not play much of a part in the day to day affairs of the FM manager. If there is major subsidence then they will need to be re-engineered and a major re-design will be needed that falls into a Refurbishment Process (Major Upgrade).
  3. Generally for FM you will need the Room Space quantities and conditions, Fabric (Walls, Floor, Ceilings) & finishes, components such as Doors/Windows (and possibly hardware components), Components such as Joinery & Cabinetry  & Services such as HVAC/Electrical/Lighting/Fire Control/Security. These are the elements that are used on a day to day basis by the building users & need to be maintained at a FIT for PURPOSE state. Also External Fabric (Roof, Wall cladding etc).
  4. Back capturing information on existing buildings. This is because most facilities may create some new buildings but the main part of their portfolio will be existing buildings. So capturing information about these buildings is important so that you have a complete Asset Management Information System.
  5. New Buildings can be delivered in a variety of programmes. CAD or BIM , and within BIM from different programmes, such as ArchiCAD or VectorWorks or BricsCAD BIM. This issue has been addressed by the IFC format (see BuildingSMART) where the different programmes have a common export format of IFC’s. These need to be migrated to allow for a common extraction process. Some do it in the IFC arena with tools such as Solibri. At WCC we migrated to Revit and extracted from there.

When Wellington City Council looked to do Asset Capture on its 2000 odd social housing units and 400 odd Facility Buildings they looked to use current BIM tools rather than CAD tools. This is because the act of documentation provides a lot of information ( Room Area, volume & perimeter automatically in the Room Entitiy in Revit) unlike CAD which gives you lines and polylines as part of the drawing process.

Also, using current BIM techniques you can back capture buildings for Fundamental Data (Building/Room quantities and basic elements of spaces) and then later revisit the model and add more information such as Services at a later date, and so you can add and extract the amount of information that you need & mine the BIM in the future.

During the Asset Capture Process Revit was chosen as the tool for Back Capturing existing buildings with the minimum of documentation. Data was then Extracted from the model to an Asset Management Information System for use and also a set of 2d plans with basic room quantities was created for over 1800 units & later the 400 other buildings in the facilities portfolio.

New or recent buildings that were done in BIM came from 2 sources. Either Revit files or ArchiCAD files. The Archicad files were exported to IFC and then Imported into Revit where the Quantities were extracted in the normal Revit Export process.  See Revit asset data extraction for Asset Management Information System (AMIS) for the process.

Process

  1. Finding existing plan documentation of buildings
  2. Modelling buildings in Revit & exporting 2D plans for surveyors to inspect and check building physically (a process already set-up prior to the BIM extraction process).
  3. Developing shared parameters to place in models.
  4. Filling out parameters so that data is consistant
  5. Validating Data
  6. (Fixing when validation fails) and Quality Assurance processes ( Color Splasher & Isolate Warnings)
  7. Exporting Data to AMIS (Asset Management Information System).
  8. Creating Document Set , 2D or 3D PDF’s for use by FM team and contractors.

The BIM to AMIS process gives you a ROBUST  QUANTIFICATION PROCESS but you still need an inspection regime for QUALITATIVE PROCESS. See Accuracy of Data from Physical Survey compared to Extraction from BIM.

Add a Comment