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How Revit Dynamo can improve BIM workflows

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How Revit Dynamo can improve BIM workflows
Revit Dynamo leverages project data and logic to enable designers, modelers and architects to automate repetitive tasks. Dynamo’s analysis- based parametric modeling, streamlined workflows and generative design capabilities improve construction efficiencies.

Spending hundreds of hours on repetitive or mundane design and documentation processes can be unproductive and inefficient. Revit is an excellent tool for designers to create accurate and information-rich BIM models, but its integration with Dynamo amplifies its capabilities.

Revit Dynamo automation enables designers to simplify BIM workflows and processes through computational design and data-driven automation. Exploring multiple design options without having to build them manually is how Dynamo is used in a logical data environment.

Challenges in BIM workflow efficiencies

While executing repetitive tasks to design, draft, or coordinate a BIM project are documented challenges, here are a few others:

How automating workflows addresses these challenges

Automating workflows eliminates the need to perform repetitive tasks and frees up time for other project tasks. It helps isolate low value BIM activities that run in the background, thereby freeing designers and engineers to perform high-value tasks.

Architects, engineers, and designing firms need to prioritize deadlines and enhanced productivity in reduced time scales. Customized workflows based on automation with Dynamo and other Revit Plugins simplify complex modeling. Automated workflows include a list of customized tools that enhance various BIM aspects such as 3D models, Revit enforcement, data extraction etc.

Understanding Dynamo better

What is Dynamo?

Dynamo is an open-source platform that provides architects, designers, and engineers to extend BIM and Revit API capabilities through visual programming. Dynamo-based solutions are customized to quickly execute iterative and dynamic tasks.

With little programming knowledge and skills required, Dynamo enables greater visual simplicity, script performance, improved information flow for greater detail and added complexities. Compounding every benefit of Dynamo can significantly help reduce costs and project risks, improve BIM workflows, and enhance ROI.

Dynamo with Python

Python extends the capabilities of Dynamo through concise code and attainable writing for loops and conditional statements. Python nodes use a scripting interface through visual programming that makes writing code quick, easy, and effortless.

The benefits of using Python-based capabilities with Dynamo include:

  • Faster running scripts for complex tasks or operations
  • Greater productivity in designing workflows by replacing various nodes with a single script
  • Complete access to web API’s through customized Python libraries
  • Better programming capabilities for conditional branching, loops, and recursions

Save 18% on project costs with Dynamo automation.

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Benefits of Dynamo

Dynamo model automation helps reduce fragmented and repetitive tasks and increase design efficiency through a myriad of possibilities to connect the dots.

Automate repetitive tasks

Automate repetitive tasks

Dynamo serves as a great solution to automate hundreds of tasks. Using Dynamo-based tools helps designers and engineers identify low-level tasks, and focus on high-level BIM as a priority.

Working on a single task is easy, but replicating those tasks can be quite cumbersome. For example, creating a single sheet can be easy, but generating hundreds can be quite challenging.

Other repetitive tasks that can be achieved using Dynamo include:

  • Batch insert families
  • Adding revisions to sheets
  • Rename sheet sequences
  • Change cases
  • Automate object placement
  • Add levels above selected levels
  • Rotate various columns on their axis

Easily access your building data

Easily access your building data

Combining and accessing information from various parameters becomes easier with Dynamo.

Generating bi-directional communication between the BIM model and Excel can help export and modify data as intended.

Furthermore, this data can be pushed back into the model. This positions Dynamo as a great tool for data-specific activities.

Explore multiple design options

Explore multiple design options

Aside from exceptional task automation and data access capabilities, Dynamo is known to build accurate, detailed, and efficient design prototypes based on generative rules.

Dynamo assists designers and engineers create designs and layouts for restrooms, glazing patterns on curtain walls, furniture, mechanical rooms, etc. There’s a huge gamut of design-related capabilities users can leverage using Dynamo.

Test Performance

Test Performance

Testing design performance is crucial before actual construction begins. Making changes in the design phase helps save on costs.

Evaluating Revit models for file size, families, views, etc. helps enhance performance and quality control.

Think Computationally

Think Computationally

A systematic approach based on parameters helps architects, designers, and engineers encode the design or workflow through evaluation, revision, and improvements.

By creating a chain of input and output nodes, processes can be streamlined and repeated quickly and efficiently.

Automated Dynamo Scripts save 50% construction time and 18% construction cost

final deliverables in dynamo parameter test
final deliverables in dynamo parameter test

A European architectural and engineering services company outsourced analysis and digitization of housing property data to manage and maintain buildings. Hundreds of 2D drawings and property data were provided to Hitech as input to build 3D models.

The deliverables created by Hitech CADD Services would serve as a residential portfolio and inventory for the building project. 300 BIM models were created with BOQ’s and 2D drawings for each model.

All the tasks were completed within 6 months with process optimization based on automated Dynamo Scripts. Time savings of 50% and a total cost savings of 18% were achieved for this project.

Read Complete Case Study  »

Integrating Dynamo into BIM workflow

Incorporating Dynamo into the BIM workflow helps achieve various repetitive, yet crucial tasks through generative design automation. Here is the 6-step process.

1. Add levels above selected levels

Creating a single level for a complex building is realizable. But, what if hundreds of levels were required?

Building designers can leverage a simple tool-set to achieve this task with a few buttons clicks. Specifying the distance between levels and adding in the total number of levels is all that is required for Dynamo to add new levels above the selected level.

2. Rotate multiple columns on their axis

Rotating an array of columns in a project can be taxing and time-consuming.

Dynamo enables column rotation through customized visual programming based on rotation angles and model elements. Running this script helps rotate all the identical columns simultaneously.

3. Output Data

Equipment to Excel

This graph example helps encapsulate all the elements of a specific category, enables parameter reporting, and exports that report into Excel with headers.

Scope Box Review

The application of Scope Box Review identifies every view plan, and exports various sheet parameters viz. number, name, and its scope box including the headers.

View range manager

View range manager can be used by designers and engineers to identify view plan elements and export those parameters to an Excel file. A string value helps filter the view based on requirements.

Work set reporter

This graph can be used by QA/QC teams to review the organization of model elements based on the selection of elements in the active view. All the workset elements are exported to Excel for a detailed workset report.

4. Visualization

Column Splicing

Multiple column-splicing can be time-consuming, this graph helps splice multiple columns based on various parameters such as splice offsets, elevations, column level, and other Revit elements.

Span to depth

QA/QC teams can leverage this Dynamo graph to confirm the span-to-depth ratio for structural design.

Slider Sun Settings

Users can modify various slider sun settings based on an axonometric view and various parameters such as Year, Month, Day, Shadow Intensity, and more.

5. Process data

Write to Mechanical equipment

Large data values can be included without building schedules, and retrieve elements of Mechanical components.

Auto-set all equipment location by space name

Space or Room category elements can be set with a bounding box and evaluated in the specified category.

Pipe height adjust

Objects belonging to the pipe category can be selected to modify the current offset height to a new one.

Space and room data clear

This graph is used to reset space and room names to a new input value.

6. Auto-update sheets

Sheet creator

New sheets in Revit can be created using this graph by taking a user-defined Excel file with parameters that include sheet index, title block family, etc.

Area boundary-to-floor element

Data from the object can be transferred to a floor by generating boundary contours. These boundaries are converted into new floor objects.

Rename sheets

Manually renaming every sheet in alphabetical order is prone to errors and time-consuming. Dynamo enables quick sheet renaming through a simple process including adding a suffix in the project browser.

Auto-dimension grid lines

This graph is capable of creating a view through scripts that run auto-dimension generation for horizontal and vertical grid lines.

Place a legend on multiple sheets

Placing legends on a collection of sheets becomes easy with Dynamo. Designers and engineers can simply select the sheet range, required legend, and the point of insertion.

Create sheets from views

New sheets can be generated by accessing and placing a collection of views on the sheets. This enables a quick review of the views to build a drawing set.

Text to upper or lower case

Changing every case to lower or upper through manual methods may not be accurate and consistent, and it is time-compelling. Dynamo changes that through automated scripts that enable complete case change in the model to upper or lower case.

Automate your processes and save 50% time on project delivery.

Call our Dynamo specialists  »

The Dynamo/Revit relationship

How does Dynamo work with Revit?

As Dynamo is a visual programming platform, it augments Revit capabilities through Revit API. Using nodes, programs and tasks can be created by manipulating objects quickly and efficiently. Each node performs a unique task and is connected to another node using wires.

Program flowing out though one node can act as an input for another node. A series of input and output nodes form the complete structure to visual Dynamo programming and end design.

How do I connect Dynamo to Revit?

The Bi-directional nature of Dynamo Revit Add-in can be quite parametric. Changes witnessed in Revit are automatically updated in Dynamo, and vice-versa. Nodes connected to Revit are built with a unique programming code, and objects can be assigned to the Revit backend. For example, differences can be identified between various families such as System and Loadable, Family Types, Instances, Elements, etc.

Running a Dynamo script requires a user to click on the Dynamo Add-In for an open file in Revit and use Revit-specific nodes. Project teams also need to understand the organization of graphs with their color coding for better usage.

Particular functions can be performed within the graph by creating a group of node routines. Setting these groups in various timelines helps understand the flow of one group to another till the end.

Limitations of Dynamo

Despite being Revit intuitive, lightweight, extensible, data-friendly, and connected, Dynamo does produce its share of limitations in application. If not understood and applied correctly, designers and engineers could face a maze of nodes and connecting lines in the graph.

Creating a software interface to enable compatibility is not achieved by Dynamo, meaning other users need to install Dynamo to access or use the existing Dynamo graph created by another user. Compiling Dynamo graphs can be slower for data-rich tasks or applications.

Conclusion

The key element to greater BIM progression lies in the need to integrate various processes and tools within the complete lifecycle and AEC organization. The integration of Dynamo as a Revit Add-in augments project workflows through efficiency improvement and greater productivity. Making processes quicker in Revit through automation helps project teams individualize tasks, fuel better collaboration, and enhance team communication and collaboration.

The ability to produce high-end project deliverables, reduce costs and timelines using a Dynamo toolset can benefit architects, designers, and engineers with optimized project delivery. Clear and collaborative workflows will certainly breakdown design barriers to make processes more fluidic, reliable, and progressive. In an era of great connectivity between various stakeholders, the tools are set in place to focus on automation, simplicity of use, and the ability to achieve the desired design deliverables.

Tags:
BIM workflowsDynamo with PythonDynamo/Revit relationshipLimitations of DynamoRevit automationRevit Dynamo
Authored by:
Harika Singh

is an academician and published writer. Her passion for engineering and technology reflects in the in-depth coverage she provides on technology trends. 20 years of work association with institutes of repute across India and the US positions her to provide valuable insights to business stakeholders on achieving scalability and operational efficiencies through digitalization.

Nirav Vyas

is a BIM Manager at Hitech CADD Services and has over 14 years of experience in the AEC sector. His innovative approach to Revit Dynamo automation has led to successful completion of various commercial and residential projects in Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey, US, Germany, Dubai and Oman. Nirav’s primary focus is to automate client workflows and processes, while looking for ways to enhance business productivity through BIM automation.

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