September 29, 2009

Ideate Congratulates Our Customers - 2009 Best Structural Firms to Work For

Ideate congratulates several of our customers for being recognized on the 2009 Best Structural Engineering Firms To Work For list:

  • Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
  • Barrish Pelham & Associates, Inc.
  • Degenkolb Engineers
  • Magnusson Klemencic Associates
  • Cary Kopczynski & Company, Inc.

Best Firms List
September 30, 2009

Stagnito Media, publisher of Structural Engineer, in collaboration with management consulting and research firm ZweigWhite, is pleased to announce the 2009 Best Structural Engineering Firms To Work For list. Distinguished firms were honored during an awards celebration on Sept. 22 during the 2009 Best Firms Summit in Chicago. Conference attendees representing civil and structural engineering, architectural, environmental service, and multi-discipline firms enjoyed the award-filled evening honoring 18 structural engineering firms — the Top 15 and 3 Honorable Mentions. Also celebrated were the civil engineering, architecture, environmental service, and multi-discipline firms who earned a spot on their respective lists.

The Top 15 2009 Best Structural Engineering Firms To Work For
1. Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Waltham, Mass., 413 employees,
2. Barrish Pelham & Associates, Inc., Sacramento, Calif., 20 employees,
3. KL&A, Inc., Golden, Colo., 44 employees,
4. PCS Structural Solutions, Tacoma, Wash., 59 employees,
5. Degenkolb Engineers, San Francisco 130 employees,
6. Walter P Moore, Houston,, 367 employees,
7. RW Armstrong, Indianapolis, 470 employees,
8. Ehlert/Bryan, Inc., Mclean, Va., 31 employees,
9. Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Inc., Seattle, 144 employees,
10. Jaster-Quintanilla, Austin, Texas, 120 employees,
11. Douglas Wood & Associates, Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., 14 employees,
12. Cary Kopczynski & Company, Inc., Bellevue, Wash., 28 employees,
13. The Di Salvo Ericson Group, Ridgefield, Conn., 20 employees,
14. Reaveley Engineers + Associates, Salt Lake City, 41 employees,
15. Clark Western Design, West Chester, Ohio, 21 employees,

2009 Honorable Mention

BHB Consulting Engineers, Salt Lake City, 22 employees,
MacIntosh Engineering, Wilmington, Del., 27 employees,
Nagamine Okawa, Engineers Honolulu, 16 employees,

September 28, 2009

Ideate Sponsors Refract House Solar Decathlon Team

Did you know that Ideate, Inc. is a Bronze Level sponsor of Refract House?

The Refract House team is collaboration of Santa Clara University and California College of the Arts in their bid to win the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Solar Decathlon. Refract House is one of the 20 university-led teams selected from around the globe to compete in the DOE's fourth Solar Decathlon. Teams represent the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Germany, Spain and Canada. The competition is being on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Ideate’s sponsored team is built on the recognition that the problem of fossil fuel depletion is one we all must address. The team is comprised of a wide range of students from diverse educational disciplines working with expert faculty members. These students, majoring in everything from engineering to communications, have come together to build a solar home, the Refract House.

Glynnis Patterson, Ideate, Inc. Director, Services Development, says, “All of the technical staff at Ideate are interested in sustainable design and building information modeling (BIM), so when we got the request for help from CCA, we knew we had to jump in. Anytime you take on a project like the Refract House, with its unconventional construction and design criteria, it's an opportunity to test your own capabilities and the capabilities of the software. Pulling our staff together to help this team was well worth the effort.”

In the Solar Decathlon, selected college and university student teams are competing to design, build and operate the most attractive, livable, marketable and energy-efficient solar-powered house. 10 specific areas are judged: architecture, engineering, market viability, communications, comfort, appliances, hot water, lighting, energy balance, and transportation. Each team is provided $100,000 seed money from DOE and must obtain sponsors for additional required funds. The Solar Decathlon complements the President's Solar America Initiative, which seeks to make solar power cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015.

Each project house must provide enough electricity and hot water to perform all the functions of a home, from powering lights and electronics to cooking, washing clothes and dishes, plus produce enough surplus energy to power an electric car.

Ideate, Inc.’s Bronze Level sponsorship includes an Ideate a training team staffed with team members educated at Cornell, Carnegie-Mellon, and Georgia Institute of Technology. Along with training, Ideate provided books and materials to assist the SCU-CCA team with their construction of a Revit-based BIM for the SCU-CCA Refract House.

Public tours of the Solar Decathlon entries will be available on the National Mall from Oct. 8 through Oct. 18, 2009. During public tour hours, some of the team houses may be closed for competition purposes until an overall winner is announced. The Refract House will be moved, re-assembled and on display after the competition in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For an overview of the competition and project

For up to the minute news from the competition, follow @Refracthouse on Twitter.

September 25, 2009

Transcending the BIM Hype: How to Make Sense and Dollars from Building Information Modeling

Eric Lamb, Dean Reed and Atul Khanzode
DPR Construction, Inc.

These days it's virtually impossible to make it through an architecture, engineering or construction event without hearing about Building Information Modeling (BIM). Most people tout substantial cost benefits from adopting BIM. Some are even sounding the warning that those who fail to jump aboard the BIM bandwagon will be quickly left in the dust.
BIM, which is often used interchangeably with Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), is the process of creating and managing a dynamic, three-dimensional, computer-generated model for the design, construction and operation of a building or project. The virtual model details the physical and functional characteristics of the building, such as the structure's geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, and the quantities and properties of components. All of those characteristics can be analyzed, manipulated and corrected digitally before being used to facilitate the construction, fabrication, procurement and other activities necessary to convert the virtual model into the real thing.

Excerpt reprinted by permission of

For complete article

September 23, 2009

Model Based Estimating to Inform Target Value Design

Saurabh Tiwari, Josh Odelson, Alan Watt, Atul Khanzode
DPR Construction

The use of Target Value Design (TVD) or Target Costing is one of the focus areas of the application of Lean Construction methods to large healthcare projects. The Lean Construction Institute defines Target Costing as a practice which incorporates cost as a factor in design to minimize waste and create value. The cardinal rule is that the Target Cost for a project should never be exceeded. In most traditional project delivery approaches, cost follows design, but on projects where the TVD approach is used, cost should dictate what gets designed to ensure that the target cost is not exceeded. As a result, rapid cost feedback to the design team is paramount in this process. One mechanism for providing this rapid cost feedback is extracting quantities from the virtual model and model-based estimates. In this article, we discuss the lessons currently being learned in applying Building Information Modeling (BIM) tools, such as model-based estimating, for TVD on a large healthcare project in Northern California.

Project Background
Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley (SMCCV) is a $320 million, six-story, 130-patient bed replacement hospital in Castro Valley, CA, for Sutter Health. Sutter Health adopted Lean Project Delivery for all its projects in early 2003 and has been promoting the use of the Integrated Form of Agreement (IFOA) as the contract method for project delivery. The IFOA approach is similar to the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) framework promoted by the AIA. DPR Construction is the general contractor and one of 11 members of this IFOA/IPD team for the SMCCV project. DPR was selected as the builder and part of the IPD team for this project having successfully completed a variety of Sutter Health projects, including the Camino Medical Office Building in Mountain View, CA. The Camino Mountain View project has served as an early, and very successful, example of the implementation of Lean Construction methods and the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) for healthcare projects.

excerpt reprinted by permission of For the complete article click

Nearly half of construction industry now using BIM

Report: Nearly half of construction industry now using BIM

September 22, 2009
Building Design and Construction

McGraw-Hill Construction’s latest SmartMarket Report, “The Business Value of BIM: Getting Building Information Modeling (BIM) to the Bottom Line,” produced with Autodesk and 26 other industry organizations, profiles adoption of BIM in North America and examines the real business values that users are experiencing. Nearly half of respondents (49%) report that they are using BIM tools— a 75% increase over the 28% BIM adoption rate measured in 2007. A follow-up to the authoritative 2008 BIM report, the 2009 Business Value of BIM Report was released today at the Business of BIM Conference in San Francisco.

Complete article available

September 21, 2009

Study in Success - TLCD Architecture (Part 3 excerpt)

TLCD Architecture and the “I” in the Future of BIM

Excerpt from Ideate Study in Success
Part Three of a Three Part Series

As TLCD looks to its future, the firm pays close attention to the “I” in BIM. Information only increases in importance, for a number of reasons.

Revit provides realism early.

In Revit, even at a very early design stage, the TLCD design team can create highly detailed, realistic and precise room diagrams, establish an accurate envelope for the building then enjoy the flexibility of moving the diagrams easily, arranging them to establish correct adjacencies.

Revit generates statistics toward funding.

Agencies want and need to know how efficient the building is and how much square footage is dedicated to various areas. TLCD is able to imbed pertinent statistics about the project into the model.

Revit encourages collaboration with live updates.

The TLCD design team orchestrates the work of consultants in harmony. Revit allows TLCD architects to communicate interactively with consultants via GoToMeeting. All contribute to a common accessible model simultaneously.

Revit provides a realistic, constant reference point.

Decisions are made and implemented throughout the model with the updated effects visible immediately. Everyone involved knows what the whole project looks like. The model is realistic and has a level of detail that resembles construction.

In the pre-Revit world, information of interest to the mechanical/electrical/plumbing engineers who need to know adjacencies, statistics, characteristics and important specific features, used to reside in a cumbersome-to-change, inconvenient-to-access Program Document. With Revit, the information imbedded in the model is available instantly to everyone involved in the project no matter where they are located and is also accessible later to those who own and operate the building.

TLCD envisions a seamless future with Revit. With the modeling capabilities of Revit, TLCD is able to design buildings that would have been future fantasy with pre-BIM technology. Integration of BIM into the design process opens new possibilities for a seamless transition between design and fabrication, between designer and fabricator. The firm looks forward to a not too distant future when interoperability permits the Revit model to guide the machining and manufacturing processes for building elements.

As Guy Messick, TLCD Director of Design Technology says, “Design is an innovative process to determine the best way to arrange elements, and Revit is the tool that TLCD uses to implement the design.”

To read the complete text of the Ideate Study in Success

To learn more about TLCD Architecture

Study in Success - TLCD Architecture (excerpt Part 2)

How TLCD Architecture Capitalizes on BIM

Excerpt from Ideate Study in Success
Part Two of a Three Part Series

By 2002, new TLCD projects were being modeled in Revit. By 2006, BIM was the firm’s core methodology for project delivery. The well-known Revit advantages of consensus building and collaboration solidified the firm’s commitment. TLCD also found that the visualization, scheduling, analysis and phasing capabilities of Revit underpinned many successes.

Visualization and Leveraging

With Revit, TLCD can produce strong, striking images at any point in the process, and the visualization capabilities alone make the tool invaluable. Leveraging Revit in combination with other software increases its value further.

As one example, to help clients visualize, the TLCD team uses a familiar imaging tool, Google Earth. From an outer space perspective, they zoom toward the targeted continent, country and region until recognizable area landmarks orient the client to the location, then they drop the 3D Revit model into its proposed site.


With Revit, schedules and quantities are live views of the building database. With interior design for example, what-if scenarios facilitate exploration of design options for cost efficiencies and other criteria. Human counting errors shrink to virtually nothing. Preliminary costs grow in accuracy. The client sees the 3D use of space, the functionality earlier in the process in surprising detail. Redundant work disappears. TLCD can offer alternatives and suggest scenarios for customizations and cost-efficiencies.

Estimating and Cost Benefit Analysis

Revit has the ability to extract and summarize quantities of materials, a capability that points to a future where cost benefit analyses facilitate sustainable designs. Historically, estimating was done at fixed episodic points. Now, TLCD is focused on a new model where cost and quantity data are fluid in real time.

Real time estimating will enable the firm to determine a measurable value for virtually any and all design features, to test them in the model and weigh their benefits. Given this data, at any point in the process from conceptual to construction, the firm will be able to extract information and quantify its effect on the overall cost of the building.


Since tenant improvements (TIs) proceed in phases, TLCD renovations of existing spaces make the phasing capabilities of Revit very useful. Revit enables tracking so that a sequential approach for each stage of the project can be established.

The snapshot of the construction process Revit provides and the capability of Revit to organize the project are especially useful in TIs for medical facilities. Hospitals never shut down, so the design team must provide disruption planning to allow operation during construction. In the specific design of medical clinic examination rooms, health practitioners need to see details such as placement of sinks and electrical outlets in proximity to exam tables to accommodate issues such as patient safety.

Revit helps orchestrate phasing, enabling the client to coordinate staffing and plan for materials management throughout the project. By using GoToMeeting and Sketch Up with Revit, TLCD is able to facilitate client communication. Utilizing Revit for phasing also helps the contractor visualize what a space will look like.

With Revit, TLCD is able to provide visualizations, scheduling, analyses and phasing. It is in the what-if scenarios that the client discovers what works, what doesn’t work, and what are the best alternatives.

As Stephen Peakes, TLCD Project Manager – Healthcare Projects explains, “With Revit, you have changed the paradigm for the industry.”

To read the complete text of the Ideate Study in Success
To learn more about TLCD Architecture

Study in Success - TLCD Architecture (excerpt Part 1)

How TLCD Architecture Pioneered Adoption of BIM

Excerpt from Ideate Study in Success
Part One of a Three Part Series

In 2000, when Revit was a barely emerging solution, TLCD recognized the potential of BIM and blazed uncharted territory. The firm initiated Revit implementation and took a four-faceted approach to its firm-wide commitment. As one of the earliest adopters of BIM, TLCD has mandated BIM as its core methodology for project delivery since 2006.

Company Backgrounder: TLCD Architecture is an architectural and interior design practice founded on collaboration, exploration and innovation. The company has a strong commitment to design excellence and social responsibility; its core values are People, Place and Craft. TLCD designs buildings that comprise the core infrastructure of society, from cultural, civic, educational and medical centers, to hospitality, mixed-use and commercial projects that serve their communities.

Founded in 1965, TLCD Architecture is a 50-person practice based in Santa Rosa, California. The company provides expertise in planning and programming, architectural and interior design, furniture planning and selection. Its work evidences a strong commitment to sustainability, with 22 members of the TLCD staff LEED accredited.

The Software on Board: Autodesk Revit Architecture, Globe Link Plug-in for Revit, Autodesk AutoCAD, Autodesk 3ds Max Design, Google SketchUp Pro, V-Ray for SketchUp from ASGvis, LLC, Google Earth, GoToMeeting, modo® from Luxology, LLC, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office Suite

Challenges inspire creative solutions.

TLCD staff members tinkered with a demo copy of Revit in 2000. They hailed the newcomer software solution as “cool” and began implementing it on a project.

The firm recognized that project managers and principals must be acquainted with Revit at a depth-appropriate level. The primer the firm developed with Ideate later evolved to become Ideate’s one-day course, Revit Architecture for Project Managers.

Staff members confirmed what TLCD principals expected. Revit works the way architects think. Autodesk snapped up Revit the following year, and TLCD purchased Autodesk Revit from Ideate, Inc.

At the outset, barriers to BIM arose on a number of fronts. Prospective clients, unaware and inexperienced, perceived stunning 3D visualizations as perhaps unnecessary “high-ticket” items. They needed education and TLCD became committed to educate.

As a pioneer, TLCD needed to cultivate awareness, build proficiency and encourage collaboration among professional colleagues. As a creative experimenter, TLCD needed and retained a resource for timely expert support, Ideate. As a firm adopting a new methodology, TLCD determined that having an in-house BIM champion was paramount. The firm embarked on a series of initiatives.

Create a position. TLCD Director of Design Technology spearheads BIM as a project delivery system, to intercept, evaluate and implement emerging technologies that contribute to meaningful interoperability.

Commit to training and support. New TLCD staff members complete the Ideate three-day Revit Architecture Fundamentals course. Others with responsibility for managing Revit projects take the Ideate Revit Architecture for Project Managers course. Ideate Support also proves essential for a firm that experiments and tries new approaches.

Cross pollinate within the industry. Revit user group events hosted at TLCD with Ideate have helped the firm exchange information with other trailblazing companies and consultants. In fact, leadership in the adoption of BIM has led to the cultivation of more consultants who are valuable BIM-adept resources for TLCD.

All-in commitment. TLCD opted not to run BIM pilot projects parallel with traditional projects but instead jumped into Revit with both feet.

As Guy Messick, TLCD Director of Design Technology says, “Now Revit is part of our firm’s culture.”

To read the complete text of the Ideate Study in Success

To learn more about TLCD Architecture

September 17, 2009

Autodesk CDV 2009: Call for Participants

AutoCAD Sneak Peek
If you are located in the San Francisco, Sacramento or Seattle areas, you have a rare opportunity to test drive some new features in AutoCAD and contribute your feedback to future releases.

The AutoCAD Product Design and Usability team, in conjunction with Ideate, Inc. would like to invite you to join them for a sneak peek and test drive of a future version of AutoCAD, focusing on changes to the user interface and productivity enhancements. Members of the AutoCAD team will be there to introduce you to new and enhanced AutoCAD features.

In a casual focus group style, the design team wants to share with you their design-ideas-in-progress and ask for your input as they solidify their ideas for an upcoming release. They’ll include time at the end of the session for general feedback and they’ll be happy to discuss any issues or wish list items with you at that time. Your input is critical in shaping the future of AutoCAD and the AutoCAD team depends on and values your ideas. After this session the design team will make key decisions based on your input.

Plan on spending the day (9am to 5pm) to meet the team and participate in hands-on sessions with a future release. You will learn valuable tips and get step by step instructions. Snacks and lunch will be provided.

The customer events this year are hosted by Ideate in the following locations:

San Francisco - October 12 or 13, 2009
Sacramento - October 15 or 16, 2009
Seattle - October 15 or 16, 2009

Interested in attending the event? Here’s what Autodesk is looking for:

• Day to day users of AutoCAD or LT
• Users interested in or proficient in 3D modeling
• All levels – beginning to advanced

Seats are limited so please take a brief survey so we know your user profile. Click Here to take survey

We will send your event confirmation via e-mail by October 1.

We hope to see you there!

September 16, 2009

Autodesk Subscription Center Tour

Autodesk Subscription gives you a clear advantage. Ideate, Inc. can help you renew your Subscription – ensuring that you continue to get the most out of your Autodesk software.

- Lower Cost
- Exclusive Downloads
- Easier Upgrades
- Greater Expertise
- Flexible Licensing

If you have already renewed, but haven’t yet explored the Autodesk Subscription Center, where some of your most valuable privileges and opportunities as a subscriber reside, here’s a great opportunity.

Attend either of two Autodesk Subscription Center Tour Webcasts on Wednesday, September 23. During the 30-minute virtual tour, Emily Crane, Autodesk Worldwide Subscription Sales Support Representative, will acquaint you with the privileges and benefits of your Autodesk Subscription and show you how to get the most from the Subscription Center. Afterward, there will be a full half-hour devoted to answering subscriber questions.

Here is your Autodesk Subscription Center Tour sign-in information:

Morning Session: 9:00 a.m. PDT
Meeting ID: ASTC_AM
Meeting Key: Audience
Audio: toll-free 1-866-814-7241
Participant code: 4505086

Afternoon Session: 12:00 PM PDT
Meeting ID: ASCT_1
Meeting Key: Audience
Audio: Toll-free: 1-866-814-7241
Participant code: 4505086

See you there!

Service Packs Available Now

Autodesk released three new Service Packs this week:

Autodesk Navisworks 2010 Service Pack 1

AutoCAD Architecture 2010 Product Update 1 available now.

AutoCAD MEP 2010 Update 1

September 10, 2009

Civil Engineering Solutions

Civil Engineers...did you know that Autodesk has a Resource Center with screencasts, videos and more? Check it out at

Contact to get your free trial of AutoCAD Civil 3D, Navisworks or other quality software products today.

September 9, 2009

Revit - Changing the size of temporary dimensions

In answer to a recent question:
You want to change the size of temporary dimensions.

To change the size of temporary dimensions

1. Exit Revit® Architecture.

2. Using Windows Explorer, browse to and the open the Revit.ini file, which is located by default in the following folder: C:\Program Files\Revit Architecture 2008\Program

3. Add the following two lines at the end of the Revit.ini file:[Graphics]TempDimFontSizeInPoints = Nwhere N represents the size of the text. The default value is 8. To increase the size of the text, change the N value to a larger number. A good starting point is twice the default value, or 16.

4. Save the file.

5. Restart Revit Architecture.

Originally published by Autodesk: 2007-Aug-23
ID: TS1074426
Applies to:Revit® Architecture 2008

September 3, 2009

Revit Tip - Adding graphic detail references to Door/Window Type Legends

Graphically link details to Window/Door Legends

Okay, some of you don't want to add detail references to your schedules, you prefer to see things graphically. Legend views in Revit nicely recreate all your component families in 2D images derived from the family, but you can't place referenced section callouts in a Legend View.

A workaround to place detail section symbol graphics over a window/door elevation requires creating isolated views of each window/door type, assembled on a sheet into a (composite) legend.

Isolate window/door views:
1. Create elevation views of the various window/door types (TIP: rename these views to clearly identify their purpose, ie: Legend_WindowType1A, etc)

2. Select the desired element in the view, and using the Temporary Hide/Isolate tool from the View Control Bar, Isolate by Element. (TIP: I select Levels as well, so I have a finish floor reference that I can dimension to)

3. Adjust plotscale, crop boundary, etc., to what you want to see in on your sheet.

4. Place Section callouts referencing the appropriate sill/jamb/head details in your project. (TIP: Section View – Detail type locks you to a vertical symbol - switch to Detail View: Detail to place a horizontal symbol.)

Assemble these isolated elevation views onto your sheet, and there you have it! Graphically referenced details over views of your door/window types!

(TIP: After placing the first view on the sheet, I use a viewport type with no viewtitle for the remaining views, so they have one unbroken line beneath them all, which is the same approach I take with assembling grouped interior elevations)

Contributed by: Nancy McClure, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP – Ideate AEC Solutions Application Specialist

Revit Architecture 2010 Tip - Determining the Sill location

How does Revit determine where the Sill Is?

In the Revit Window Family, Check the Elements Properties of the Sill Reference Plane "Defines Origin" to replace the windows Default Sill Height relative to the Floor Line.

There are no merits or demerits as all windows have a default sill height and all windows are variable in sill height. The default sill height is the height as the family is drawn. The variable is the ability to move the window up and down.

How does Revit determine where the sill is? If there is no Reference Plane defined as an origin, then Revit will use the lowest 3D modeled extents of the windows as the sill. If you have a Reference Plane set as origin, then that is used as the location of the sill.

Contributed by: Emily Clark, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP – Ideate AEC Solutions Application Specialist

September 1, 2009

Navisworks Manage 2010 - Tip for Measuring Elevation

Here is a workaround in Autodesk Navisworks Manage 2010, which I find as easy as having an elevation tool.

1. Start the Point to Point command from the Measure Tools Palette and pick a point of a flat surface.

2. The third column will list the elevation of the surface you picked.

3. If you want to continue and pick other objects and find out what elevation they are at. Simply click on the right button of the mouse and then pick the new object. The right button will restart the command.

Contributed by: Paul Hristov - Ideate AEC Solutions Application Specialist