March 16, 2017

BIM 360 Team: Service Unavailable?

With cloud computing becoming more prevalent these days, much of our data is now being stored in “The Cloud.” So, what happens when The Cloud is unavailable? Does all work come to a screeching halt? In some cases, the answer may be yes. But have no fear, we have a recommended practice for moving forward with Revit projects stored in the BIM 360 Team cloud.

With Collaboration for Revit (C4R) and BIM 360 Team (cloud storage space or “the hub”), Revit models are processed via C4R and stored in the BIM 360 Team hub. Essentially, the Revit model “central file” is stored in The Cloud, with BIM 360 Team being the interface to manage and view the model.

After a Revit model has been processed and stored in BIM 360 Team, a cache file is created on the local machine that was used to process the Revit model. This cache file enables faster loading and synching times when working between C4R and BIM 360 Team. Other team members can use Revit with C4R to open models from the BIM 360 Team hub, which in turn creates a cache file on their local machines. Essentially, this becomes their copy of the Revit model.

Since the local copy of the Revit model is a cache file, it is hidden from the everyday user, and is assigned an arbitrary name with letters and numbers, as depicted below.

The fact that cache files are created by initially opening a file from the BIM 360 Team hub and then updated each time the Revit model is synched means that a local copy of the model can be worked on in the event the BIM 360 Team service becomes unavailable.

To locate the cache file for a project, use Windows Explorer and copy/paste one of the following addresses:

  • For Revit 2015: %localappdata%\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 2015\CollaborationCache
  • For Revit 2016: %localappdata%\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 2016\CollaborationCache
  • For Revit 2017: %localappdata%\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 2017CollaborationCache

Once the folder has been located, look for the Revit (.rvt) model with the naming convention described and depicted above. Once the cache file is located, determine amongst your team members the copy that should be used.

Ideate’s recommendation is to use Revit to open and detach the cache file, then process the file as a new Central model on your local network. Note that once detached, the file will no longer synch with the model stored in BIM 360 Team. This will allow users to create local copies to work from in the traditional work sharing environment. Later, when the BIM 360 Team service becomes available, the Central model can be detached from the local network and processed back to the BIM 360 Team hub for cloud collaboration.

Alternately, the cache file can be detached, worked on, and saved. When the BIM 360 Team service becomes available, the changes can be copied from the detached copy of the Revit model, then pasted into the Revit model in BIM 360 Team. Note that this is a less desirable process, as Revit building element relationships may not be coordinated correctly and can be time consuming.

We realize that both methods are not ideal courses of action, but if time working on the model is critical, the above suggestions will help you move forward.

For more information on the software solutions, training and consulting Ideate provides, please visit the Ideate Inc. website.

Ron Palma
AEC Application Specialist
Ron has 25+ years of experience in the architectural industry as a drafter, designer, lead project designer, trainer, and a CAD manager implementing Autodesk Architectural Solutions for residential design firms. His instructional accomplishments include: Autodesk Certified Instructor (ACI), trainer, support technician, educator at Portland and Clackamas Community Colleges, as well as a U.S. Army certified instructor. Ron holds a BA in Instructional Design suma cum laude, is a member of the Oregon Army National Guard, where he is a First Sergeant of an Infantry Company, specializing in training and mentoring soldiers in their careers, and has been deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Resolute Support. Ron is a published author and continues to write professional technical training manuals and shorts for AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, and Revit. As an Autodesk Certified Instructor and Revit Architecture Autodesk Certified Professional, Ron continues to provide Revit Architecture and AutoCAD training and support for various AEC firms. @RonPalmaAEC