Thursday, April 21, 2011

Learning Revit for Foodservice: Part 1

I get lots of spam.  An unusually large amount from African nations alerting me to the millions that some kind hearted or befuddled billionaire has bequeathed me.  Even though I know these are all bogus I have been noticing how uplifting they can be.  They may start out with 'God Bless You' or 'Something Wonderful is Happening' or something to that effect.  I put a filter on them so that only the first 8 words will show up in the email.  'God Bless You', 'You're in for a Treat', 'You are God Himself'...  I find reading these first thing in the morning up lifting.  Pre-work stuff on the Ipad, still laying in bed, hiding my Ipad near the pillow.  Hoping my wife doesn't catch me. 

I'm a foodservice consultant in the business of creating documents for design professionals.  It's been foodservice for me since I graduated from High School, then back to college, then finally back to foodservice.  I was a Yo-Yo bouncing between school and a foodservice way of living.  It is my way of life.

Foodservice is an industry with a wide mix of individuals that come from very different beginnings.  Maybe they came the Hopitality way, or the Culinary Arts way.  I came the manufacturing way.  I spent years as a Stainless fabricator and custom layout designer.  Everything from vibratory weigh cells for food processing to three compartment sinks and custom refrigeration.  I would design, layout, fabricate, weld, and polish out stainless objects that would eventurally end up in a commercial kitchen somewhere.  It was a way of living and being.  I would take special care when I positioned myself to weld a stainless edge.  I would start out in the most uncomfortable position that I could and as I welded I would end up in the most comfortable position I could.  Focus on the bead, the tempo, the penetration, not the past, move towards comfort.  It was a beautiful metaphor. 

What does this have to do with learning Revit for Foodservice?

There are those in the foodservice design industry that say the best way for ramping up for Revit is to bring in Revit designers straight out of trade school or bring in a trainer.  The trainer is to be an expert in Revit Architecture and Autocad.  Knows how to create spiral staircases and create custom families for wall glazing. 

Again I ask:  What does this have to do with learning Revit for Foodservice?

I used to tell new employees that Autocad is just another tool like a carpenter has tools.  Everyone can have a hammer but not too many know just where to drive the nails.  You have to know carpentry first.  It goes for Revit for foodservice too.  Those employees that were keepers and really developed into fine designers were the ones that knew foodservice first.  They knew when to add the double overshelf or where to spot the floorsink.  Schools that teach Revit focus on everything but foodservice.  They will teach you a way of thinking Architecturally or Structurally but not the Foodservice way. 

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Native Revit Foodservice Families: To Share or not to Share, That is the question

To share or not to share?  Reminds me of the early days of Autocad and the integration of CAD based symbols for Foodservice Design.  Or even before that when drafters hoarded plastic templates for manual layout.  Those of us that are old enough in this industry remember that guy that had one of his large file drawers delegated for his angle finders, french curves (not just one of them but 12), and bazillion layout templates.  He may have even had a lock on the drawer.  The blades on his mechanical pencil sharpener were tungsten steel, the elbow rest had a picture of Eisenhower embroidered on it.  Well... maybe not the last two. 

Well it's the early days of the symbol roundup for Foodservice Revit Families.  The brand, the Brand, the BRAND.  What does that mean.  Being brand based entities themselves, the manufacturers, the designers, the consultants, the dealers, (well maybe not so much the dealers), want to be recognized as unique and above the competitors.  When a potential client views the 'object for sale' they say, "Wow, when Bardon Wassmith makes a widget you can tell it's theirs!"  All fine and dandy until you set these objects together in a project and you find that the differences actually cause confusion, time, and money. 

Polarized thinking defeats Progress

The industry has discovered over and over that its standardization that creates the headroom for expansion.  Once innovators like FEDA, FCSI, KCLCadalog, and AutoQuotes set standards production boomed and the project document design process was shortened.  You got to love it!  However there is always the dichotomy of Brand Ego and Standardization that impeded that process. 

Now we have Revit Foodservice Families.  What's the difference?  Well for one they take much longer to produce.
They are like little databases that contain all the information about that object.  They have 'DNA'.  The manufacturers want to get these into the new wave of 3D development that has started to affect Healthcare, Government projects, and jobs by large contracting firms in the know about the pre-construction savings derived from Revit design. 

This time the FCSI took the lead in forming a team that started out of the 2010 FCSI conference in Minneapolis.  A task force was created to put together the standards for Revit Families in foodservice that produced a document later that year.  Although it is a 'living' document subject to revision and acceptance by the design community it is a good one that focuses on the quality and consistency of Revit Family production. 

So who are the innovators that have taken up the task of creating families for the industry.  Not surprisingly they seem to have been spawned by the 2010 FCSI conference in Minneapolis.  You have RevEquip, Turbosquid, BIM Builders, and KCLCadalog, to mention just a few.  Are they in competition?  You betcha.  And are dancing to the tune of the same drummer?  No.  Which one is the best?  You be the judge.

Next week.... Judging the Standards!