Forget the saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” We’ve come back from Autodesk University 2011 (post) with lots of business cards and requests for further information about CodeBook.
An AU session by Elizabeth Chodosh (senior associate and BIM specialist at Cannon Design‘s Phoenix, Arizona office) prompted a massive increase in traffic to the CodeBook stand. I don’t think I have ever completed so many back-to-back demonstrations in my life! In fact we didn’t leave the hall until way past 10pm that evening! (Cannon Design is deploying CodeBook on a major Canadian hospital project too.)
We asked Elizabeth what she had said about CodeBook and she summed it up as follows:
I was presenting on a topic that is near and dear to me: “geoparametricinfotegrity.” Of course, this is a nonsense word that I use to get people thinking beyond the acronyms of BIM or CAD. It’s meant to suggest that in order to have good information, you need good geometry; you have to consider geography (not only in terms of the Earth, but also in terms of relationships between objects, macro and micro concepts).
Data is parametric and also has associated parameters, but the only way to do that is to have a sense of integrity of purpose in your work in Revit. This means employing Revit, rather than using it. This is where CodeBook comes into play: it augments Revit and enhances our planning and programming and tracking capabilities as designers.
I mentioned CodeBook in my presentation in relation to how we are leveraging evidenced-based design knowledge in Revit. We are creating what we call “Tools and Libraries,” and by adding CodeBook to our toolkit, we have taken our abilities to track compliance and standardize planning and programming information to a whole new level.
The class was not a class on CodeBook, and therefore I was fair and balanced about the application itself as a resource that does something useful. It provides a strong database that can be connected to geometries that hold more information than we can get out of manufacturer-provided equipment; it allows us to adapt to client requirements fluidly with our own flexible placeholders and quickly reach a level of compliance to their requirements.
CodeBook is the first product we’ve seen that’s allowed us to leverage this much information across a very large project. By employing Revit’s Type Catalogs to drive simple shapes that represent objects in space and their required installation area (“no fly zones”) and tie those to parameters, we can count, quantify and track them in CodeBook as they are placed in Rooms. We can then organize coordinated visual representations of room layouts with room data sheets where the same information is reported visually and in text.
When attendees asked about CodeBook, we described it as “a handshake” between Revit and the accumulated information about any given building, allowing users to connect objects in a smart manner.
The key question I got that probably took CodeBook beyond general discussion was in relationship to embedding Families and using Groups. An attendee asked about embedding Families to achieve more smart objects that are reusable. I said: yes, indeed, that is a successful method, but our research and experience suggested effectiveness was limited as there are only so many levels of embedding you can employ before you can no longer track the embedded object as an individual instance. The ‘Union’ command through CodeBook excels at allowing us to “prefab” groupings of elements that have standard relationships to each other.
Many thanks to Elizabeth for extolling the virtues of Codebook in her class.