Author Archives: Håvard Vasshaug

About Håvard Vasshaug

Founder at Reope.

Night Runner

One of the biggest challenges with delivering consistent data with Revit lies in the fact that the only way to solve it’s many performance issues is to split projects up in separate files. Once any cross disciplinary building design is separated into multiple files, each one of the files start living their own lives. On day one. Revit is great for small houses. Not so much for large hospitals and airports.

Luckily, this is not only my opinion. It is shared among a growing list of people. One of them is called Morten Ræder. Morten experienced this problem while working on an airport, and once he was done with the airport, and started working on the next big project, the two of us sat down to talk about how to solve this problem.

Fast forward a few years and there’s a tool in the market. It’s called Night Runner, its built by Dynamo Legend Dimitar Venkov and is being sold at a symbolic price as part of the Reope Toolbox – our combined installer for Revit automation.

The Reope Revit Automation Toolbox

How does it work, you ask, dear BIM manager?

You create one Revit file that contain all your standard Revit design elements, and any changes you apply to these elements get’s automatically distributed to theoretically unlimited number of Revit project files. We call that file a “Type File”. The “automatically” part above is driven by Revit Batch Processor and the settings that are controlled by you using the Revit addin UI.

The Revit UI Night Run settings

We also built in manual Push and Pull functions that let’s you easily move and update content to and from any Revit model in your organization, through a simple UI. This does two things: it makes it much easier for your team to take ownership to the contents of the Type File, as they can easily Push changes they make in their project model to the Type File and eventually all project models. It also makes it much easier for you to manually distribute and update any changes you make in the Type File instantly to any project models.

An interesting side effect that this workflow has for me, is that I spend more time working in the Type File than the actual design models. This is great because it only contain one instance of every family, type and setting and is therefor quite light on it’s feet. One pro tip is to use Push to Many to instantly distribute design content changes:)

The wonderful Push to Many, for mass distribution of Revit content

The list of things that Night Runner can automatically standardize is a rather long one, so please bear with me here:

  • Families (Model and Annotation, anything from Doors to Title Blocks)
  • System Families (Model and Annotation – anything from Ducts with Routing Preferences to Dimension Types)
  • Types
  • Materials (and their parameters)
  • Object Styles
  • View Types (Floor Plans, Elevations, Sections, Sheets, etc.)
  • Fill Patterns
  • Color Fill Legends
  • Levels & Grids
  • Legends
  • Line Patterns
  • Lines
  • Project Information
  • Group content (not Groups themselves)
  • Schedule Graphics
  • Scope & Section Boxes
  • Text Types
  • Units
  • View Filters
  • View Templates
  • Worksets
  • …and more.

I have to say that this automation workflow is not an anonymous one, like your data extraction scripts, etc. Your team will notice it, and ideally they will both interact with it and like it. They will like the effectiveness. But it’s a different way of working with Revit, and the key to success (as always) lies in a good implementation. Here are my tips for how to do that:

  • Start small. Have few element types in your Type File in the beginning. Use the Category Filters to deselect Categories you dont need to Sync in the beginning.
  • Turn on Sync as early as possible. Using Night Runner for only reporting has very low ROI, and the sooner your turn on synchronization, the earlier your teams get’s used to the way it works.
  • Give your Type File the TLC it deserves. The quality of the outcome, which is consistent design data, depends on the quality of your Type File.
  • Write documentation and guidelines for usage for your team. Our documentation will never be as good as the one you have, where you describe how it works in your project.
  • Train, train and train your team, through short and precise sessions with QA at the end. It’s a scary workflow for people who are not used to it, but when you explain that changing the content in a Type File is no different from changing the content of a Revit file, just at a higher level, it demystifies it.

Morten and I presented Night Runner as one of three Revit automation workflows we built and implemented on the new Norwegian Government Quarter project in Oslo, Norway at Autodesk University 2022 in New Orleans, US. The session was given the Top Rated Case Study Award, and we received a long list of positive feedback. I wrote about it here a few days ago.

If you want to test this workflow, I suggest the following procedure:

  • First decide if you want, should and can. If your project contains more than 1 file per discipline, is just about to get started and you feel motivated by automation, you’re good to go. If not, your contributions are probably better spend doing something else.
  • Download the installer and activate the 30-day trial.
  • Send us an email on toolbox@reope.com and say that you want to talk with us about how it works and how to best implement it with your team.

Good luck automating the biggest ‘sucks’ of Revit!

Autodesk University 2022

I was just notified that both the presentations I did at Autodesk University (AU) 2022 won the Top-Rated Class Award. This was my first AU since the last physical event was held in Vegas in 2019. I therefore put in a lot of work in the presentations and I am grateful, relieved and very very happy that the people who attended the sessions liked them.

Automating the New Government Quarter in Norway

In this class Morten Ræder from Nordic Office of Architecture and I shared the background, challenges, development and implementation we executed for Revit automation on one of the biggest and certainly the most politically, strategically and emotionally complex building projects in recent Norwegian history.

Credit: Team Urbis

The automation workflows we built saved, and continues to save, the project team, building owner and in turn the Norwegian society, unimaginable expenses in reducing wasted time by automating BIM-related tasks that no architect or engineer should ever do. We also increased the quality of model data outputs that now manifests as the most successful model-based construction project in Norwegian history.

As a side note, the session resulted in a surge of requests for information about Night Runner, the first tools we built on this project. Night Runner standardizes Revit models using a Type File strategy, meaning you make one model and control the content of all other project model from it, automatically. Nicolas Catellier attended the class and graciousely wrote about it on his blog. Check out https://reope.com/nightrunner and fill out the form at the bottom if you want more information about how it works.

Here is a link to the recording that we finished a month before the event, in addition to the presentation and handout PDF’s.

Here are the ratings and reviews we received:

Session content rating: 4.73 (out of 5)
Speaker rating: 4.77
Supporting material rating: 4.68

Number of people in the room: 161

  • Absolutely amazing session, insanely good work. DEVELOPPERS!
  • Excellent presentation on innovative workflow and process
  • Morten is hot as hell.
  • Norway is world leading in BIM! More of this.
  • So much useful info! One of my favorite sessions this year.
  • These are my favourite speakers I was very excited to be able to sign up for this class. Only when I walked in the room was 90% jamb packed like a can of sardines full!!! Not sure if the organizers knew that the chair allotted space is only 18" square which means each and everyone in a full room gets to cuddle hip to hip shoulder to shoulder with a complete stranger. I walked as out odds of manspreading is still high at this conference. I missed standing or sitting on the floor at Vegas.
  • Very interesting method!
  • Very interesting topic and good knowledgeable presenters
  • Well structured, well presented, well done! I enjoyed the focus of specific aspects that were pain points and how they were resolved.

From Drawings to Data

On the final day of AU, Harsh Kedia and I presented the work we have done the last year on creating better workflows for digital construction. The construction industry is moving from dead paper to live databases, and in that process a lot of people struggle with delivering the quality that is required for this change to happen fast. If a contractor doesn’t trust that the property you produce is correct, she will stop using the model for her work.

Photo: Krzysztof Jedrzejewski

We have invested a lot of time and resources in creating an alternative way of creating and validating construction data, using web and database technology. This work has resulted in the product Anker, that we now distribute and implement in many large projects with digital construction on the menu.

In our presentation, Harsh and I talked through the difficulties Revit users face when they are asked to deliver large consistent datasets. We also discussed the lack of good validations processes, and how strange it is that not more tool providers build in native automation. We discussed the use of Dynamo and Grasshopper, and I think I may have broken some hearts when I stated “it’s hard for me to imagine an entire industry’s digital transformation done with Dynamo”.

Photo: Krzysztof Jedrzejewski

If you are interested in testing Anker, you can do that from https://reope.com/anker or simply writing harsh@reope.com an email. Today it has live Revit integration with our Dimitar Venkov-built addin, and IFC import. It also has an amazing validation process that I hope will make more contractors trust data.

Here is a link to the recording that we finished a month before the event, in addition to the presentation and handout PDF’s.

Here are the ratings and reviews that we are so happy to see today:

Session content rating: 4.6
Speaker rating: 4.67
Supporting material rating: 4.53

Number of people in the room: 149

• Great class. Always glad to attend a Reope class.
• Very interesting concept. Looking forward to seeing where it goes.

I have presented at AU almost yearly during more than a decade now, but this is the first time I get two top rated classes at the event. THANK YOU everyone who attended and gave us feedback, and thank you Morten and Harsh for the collaboration:)