The Next Generation of BIM 360, Part 4: Collaborating in BIM 360

Posted on September 12, 2018 by Synergis Application Consultant, Bill Knittle

In Part 3, I discussed the concepts of Teams and the sharing and consuming of Packages. When it comes to linking, the engineer can now use utilize two methods to link the architect’s Revit model to theirs. There is Live Linking and Controlled Sharing. Live Linking uses the architect’s live working model (similar to classical C4R) while, Controlled Sharing utilizes the Revit model shared or consumed through Packages.

In Live Linking, the engineer is ignoring the use of Packages all together and is linking directly to the Revit Model in the other team’s Team folder. For this method to work, the engineer must be added as a Team member to ‘Team A’ and given “View” permissions by the administrator. Then, the engineer will be able to access the live Revit model to be linked from Team ‘A’s folder.

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In Controlled Sharing, there are two methods of linking. Method 1 of using Controlled Sharing involves linking to the Revit Model of a Package shared by the architectural Team. By sharing a Package, the latest version of the model published to the architect’s Team folder, is copied to the Shared folder. Because the contents of the Shared folder are viewable by all Team Members, the engineer can link to the latest version of the architect’s model shared in the latest Package. With this method, the engineer will always be linked to the latest version of the model provided in the latest Package shared by the architect.

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In Controlled Sharing method 2, the engineer is linking to a model of a Package that they have consumed from the architect. Consuming a Package copies the contents of the Package from the Shared folder to the engineering Team’s Consumed folder. It is this copy of the architect’s model that the engineer has reviewed and approved to link. The benefit of this method allows the engineer to skip versions of Packages that do not provide any value to their workflow.

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I’ll assume that the engineer is using method 2 to consume a Package. However, all three methods will use the same linking process. In Revit, the engineer selects Link Revit on the Insert Tab. In the Import/Link RVT, the engineer selects the External Resource button on the Place List. This gives the engineer access to BIM 360. After selecting the BIM 360 project, the engineer can browse to the folder named after the Team that shared the consumed Revit file located within their team’s Consumed folder. Positioning is very important in BIM 360 Design to ensure that the separate models align. This is also important when using the Project view to explore Packages in the Design Collaboration module.

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As new Packages are shared by the architect, the engineer will need to review the Package and consume the new version. This will add a new version of the Revit model into to the “Consumed” folder. From Revit, a single member can reload the link. This process works in the other direction. The engineer can share a Package to be consumed by the architect.

As changes are implemented in the architect’s Revit model, they can choose when to Publish their model from Manage Cloud Models in order to share a new Package. Publishing will update the architect’s Team Space. The architect can then, share the new Package. The engineer, can now explore newly shared Package and explore it for changes and whether or not they wish to consume the new Package.

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The information in the new Package can be compared to the previsous Package to see if the changes warrants the engineer consuming the Package. The Change Visulization button on the left menu offers insight by color, discipline, and Results. The color and disciplines can be toggled on and off to isolate a given modification or discipline.

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The results area shows a flat list of affected elements while, the tree view shows the hierarchy.

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The missing component to the exchange of Packages is being alerted of their presence when they are shared by the other Teams. This problem can be easily handled at the member level. When a Package is shared, the latest version of the published Revit model is copied to that team’s Team folder in the Shared folder. Therefore, each member responsible for reviewing Packages can Subscribe to •the Shared folder from within the Document Management module. Selecting the “•••” button next to the Team folder within the Shared folder will allow the member to Subscribe to updates that occur in that folder.

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As a subscriber to the engineer’s Team folder in the Shared folder, the architect receives an email notification that a Package is available.

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With BIM 360 Design and Docs, all project members now have more control over their collaborative workflows. BIM 360 Docs offers a secure and centralized cloud-location for anytime and anywhere access while managing document versions and folder-level access rights. BIM 360 Design allows Revit modelers to leverage cloud-worksharing while taking advantage of controlled model information exchanges through the use of Packages. Each Revit team can utilize its own Team Space to view a timeline of Packages being exchanged by other Revit Teams. The recipient Teams can explore with great fidelity changes between Packages as to whether or not the updates are worthy to consume via linking within their Revit model. The linked models that are consumed by the Team can be refreshed repeatedly as the project lifecycle progresses.

Watch the video for a step-by-step tutorial on how to collaborate in BIM 360 Design.

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