Clarifying the CodeBook-Revit connections at RTC USA

For this week’s Revit Technology Conference, we produced some new banner stands, and on one of them we have tried to summarise up the CodeBook offering in a single graphic:

CodeBook summarised

We think it captures most of the key points we usually make about CodeBook, and, on the evidence of the first day at RTC, it seems to quickly grab the attention of people walking past our stand (#14).

Today, CodeBook Solutions’ chief operating officer Cyril Verley will be presenting at the conference, describing how, using CodeBook, BIM and CAD data can be seamlessly exchanged with key owner/operator applications for FM, GIS, etc. Such talks normally stimulate a surge of interest on the stand, so we are looking forward to it!


Cyril has also been participating in online conversations in a LinkedIn group about healthcare use of Codebook and Revit, responding to a posting about Revit. In one contribution, he sums up the differences between CodeBook and other tools:

Here is why CodeBook is the perfect addition to any project using Revit, Autocad or Microstation…

  1. CodeBook allows the “comparison & validation” between the “required FF+E program per room” vs the families in the Revit model. Revit does not.
  2. CodeBook can manage data from files using Revit, Autocad and Microstation at the same time. Revit, Autocad and Microstation do not.
  3. CodeBook exposes and links the BIM and CAD data to FM programs (like Maximo) and GIS programs (like ArcGIS). Revit, Autocad and Microstation do not.
  4. CodeBook manages and updates parameter data across multiple Revit models and families automatically. In Revit this is a manual process.
  5. CodeBook keeps the Revit model size down because the “parameter BIM data” is managed outside BIM.
  6. CodeBook now has a “web app” for handheld devices that allows the editing of “instance parameters” of all BIM assets on a room for the GC’s commissioning needs and the Owner’s FM and GIS needs. No need to open Revit or even know Revit.

CodeBook attacked by drone at RTC Aus!

Phew! RTC 2012 at Woollongong Beach last week (post) was really busy for CodeBook. There were lots of CodeBook users there, we had a constant flow of interest through the CodeBook stand, and every break was peppered with 10 to 30 minute demonstrations. Most evenings also saw me doing demonstrations under the heat lamps.

last demo at RTC 2012There was a real sense of community among CodeBook users too. Our stand became the natural ‘meeting place’ where existing clients would freely talk to other Revit user delegates about CodeBook if I was tied up with a group. I also found that delegates were being escorted to the booth by existing users and encouraged to ask questions and take information away with them.

CodeBook was mentioned in numerous presentations. Chris Razzell (Hassell) and David Foley (Norman Disney Young) did an outstanding case study presentation on a current project – where they have used linked models and CodeBook to capture the service-related equipment and validate it alongside the architectural FF&E. It was a very positive outcome and the audience were impressed.

Talking BIM (and CodeBook)Danielle Currie and Andrew Harp (both Silver Thomas Hanley) did a presentation about how the responsibilities have changed and improved with the move from CAD to BIM and the implementation of CodeBook on their projects. The discussion produced another flock of delegates to the booth wanting to see a demonstration, ask questions or set up future appointments after the event.

CodeBook attacked by drone!

Lastly…. Wesley Benn (chairman, from BD Group / RTC Events Management) nearly erased Danielle and I during a test flight of a Parrot AR.Drone 2 in the exhibition hall. This is a four heli-bladed device (like this) with a wireless live camera feed, controlled from an iPad. The out-of-control Parrot hit the CodeBook stand rear wall where Danielle and I were taking down the posters – it was travelling around 80kph when it crashed. Dani employed the drop-and-roll technique while I opted for the matrix lean. Wes copped a great deal of flack for further endangering a rare RTC species: women. On the flipside – our fabulous booth got even MORE attention….

CodeBook Mobile: Taking to the tablets at RTC US 2012

RTC US 2012We will be showing off a prototype of our new CodeBook Mobile application for building information modeling (BIM) data management on stand 14 at the 2012 Revit Technology Conference (RTC US 2012) at Stone Mountain, Georgia next month (June 28-30). And CodeBook Solutions’ Cyril Verley will also be presenting at the conference – on Friday 29 June.

I am really looking to RTC. It is a great event for users to get an independent overview of the whole Revit and BIM ecosystem. Its focus on ‘by users, for users’ reflects our own CodeBook philosophy as hands-on developers of software for design professionals.

We are also excited about our support for new hardware. As iPads and other tablet devices have become more widely used in the AEC workplace, we have looked to provide mobile access to CodeBook in line with our 2012 roadmap to support more distributed team-working. Using browser-based tools for real-time remote access to CodeBook-managed BIM data, architects, engineers and contractors will be able to get faster and more detailed reports and to share new data with fellow designers, constructors, suppliers and building owners and operators.

CodeBook v10 and the new mobile application will be on stand 14, and we look forward to meeting both existing and prospective new users of the CodeBook information-sharing and data management system.

On the Friday, Cyril will show how BIM and computer-aided design data can be combined with geospatial information system (GIS) data to create a rich data resource for facilities managers and other owner/operator professionals involved in managing large or complex buildings.

Expanding in the US

CodeBook International has established a new US-based business, CodeBook Solutions Inc to provide sales, consultancy and support for our north American architecture, engineering and construction and operation (AECO) customers (read our news release here). This step has also coincided with some management changes.

Peter MannMost importantly, CodeBook International founder Peter Mann is now focused on product development as Chief Technology Officer, applying his design experience and expertise to the development of our next generation of enterprise-class software. Day-to-day running of the business is in my hands, as the new chief executive officer of both companies.

During the 18 months that I have been working with CodeBook, it has became clear that the business needed additional manpower to capitalize upon its growth opportunities. We have new resellers, partners, customers and prospects, and I will be nurturing these relationships while Peter drives forward delivery of new product functionality.

CodeBook Solutions Inc

I am pleased that our long-standing partner Cyril Verley has joined as Chief Operating Officer of CodeBook Solutions Inc, which is based in San Diego, California.

Cyril has substantial previous experience with CodeBook, having founded CDV Systems, the technology systems consultancy and North America distributor of CodeBook.

We have established this new US-based corporation in order to bring sales, consultancy and support under one umbrella to better serve client needs. It will provide project scoping, sales, implementation, training, mentoring and product support services, and – critically – help relate the customer’s introduction of CodeBook to the related implementation of its BIM software. Cyril’s involvement will help ensure continuity with our customers’ project teams.

CodeBook used on shortlisted HOK London BIM project

AECbytesPlease forgive yet another AU2011-related blog post – and another plug for Lachmi Khemlani’s AECbytes newsletter – but CodeBook is mentioned in her description of the project finalists in HOK’s second Annual BIM Awards. This is an internal competition to evaluate and award projects within global architectural firm HOK that have exhibited exemplary use of BIM technology in four main categories: design, delivery, collaboration and visualisation, and Lachmi was one of the judges prior to a special awards ceremony at Autodesk University.

As a UK-based company, we were especially pleased to see HOK shortlist a London project, a biomedical research facility for the Francis Crick Institute, in the collaboration category. On this project, the design team, HOK, was co-located with the client, project manager and contractor, and all parties had access to a large number of BIM tools – including CodeBook – and adopted a shared BIM strategy. Lachmi highlights the role of CodeBook:

“The use of a Codebook database was also important, as it allowed the connection of room and furniture data with the main models. The vision was to allow this data to be used for procurement as well as downstream for asset management later.”

The project did not win the overall award, but it was a close-run thing; Lachmi noted “the overall quality of the projects was so high [that] the choice of winner in each of the four categories was far from unanimous among the jury members.” Well done to the Francis Crick Institute team for getting to the final shortlist (and thanks for using CodeBook as part of your collaborative effort).

AECbytes AU2011 review features CodeBook

We were delighted to welcome Dr Lachmi Khemlani of AECbytes to the CodeBook International booth at Autodesk University last month, and version 10 of CodeBook gets a whole paragraph in the latest edition of AECbytes Newsletter: AEC Exhibitor Highlights from Autodesk University 2011.

CodeBook International showed the new version 10 of its CodeBook platform, which now supports SQL Server database tools and adds CAD and BIM support for Revit Architecture 2011 and 2012 and Revit MEP 2011 and 2012, in addition to ArchiCAD 15, AutoCAD Architecture 2011 and 2012, Bentley Architecture V8i, and MicroGDS 2011. CodeBook was displayed for the first time at Autodesk University 2004, where it was exhibited as a project manager’s tool that organized the entire project program in an Access database, linked it directly with the project CAD drawings, and then compared and validated the textual, programmatic database with the CAD files. Now it works with BIM and links to models, shares data, and gives detailed reports and validations throughout the design and construction phases of a project, thus managing information from project inception through to facilities management after project completion.

As we mentioned last week, we were delighted with the interest shown in CodeBook by the many visitors to our stand – some of them shown in our picture gallery….

CodeBook and geoparametricinfotegrity

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.