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Preview: Mistress of the Dorkness

Mistress of the Dorkness

Melanie Stone's CAD & BIM blog! This platform will be primarily dedicated to Design Technology (especially as it relates to Facilities Management [FM / CAFM / CMMS]).

Updated: 2018-03-06T02:22:40.514-06:00


AU2017 Influencer Event


It has been awhile since I have posted myself, so I am honored to be able to host another guest post for a fellow AutoCAD Influencer, Frank Mayfield. Here are some past guest posts:Greenwashing - Andrew MichlerFormIt360 + Dynamo - Ryan CameronRevit + 3dsMax Rendering Tutorial - Ryan CameronBIM & The Property Manager Process - Brian MyersMoving Forward When Your Company Won't - Matt StachoniAfter a year of anticipation, AU 2017 has come and passed, and with it, unparalleled learning experiences, along with connecting and reconnecting with new and old friends.For all its glitz and glamour, Las Vegas is actually a perfect venue for 10,000 geeks to congregate, as its scale and opulence is all powered by its underlying technology. And that technology, after all, is what we’re all about.Nowhere is this more evident than at the Ka Theater in the MGM Grand. It was my privilege to join an illustrious group of AutoCAD end users, along with key members of the product and marketing teams for a rare, behind the scenes, look at the inner workings of the Ka Theater.[This dragon greets you to the entrance of the Ka Theater at the MGM]On Monday afternoon, a full day before AU officially started, our group of “Influencers” enjoyed a lively shuttle ride down Las Vegas Boulevard to the MGM Grand, where we were treated to a wonderful reception with our Autodesk hosts. They knew, as we were soon to, that to fully appreciate the magnitude of the Ka Theater, you must see the Cirque De Soleil “Ka” show itself. So, after the reception, the entire team was treated to this incredible production. We returned to the Venetian later that night, jaws agape from a truly magnificent show. Had that been the entire experience, it would have been more than enough, but our story doesn’t end there…[A pic of a panoramic photo, showing the theater and the incredible moving stage]The adventure continues instead the next morning, when our group heads back to the MGM for our exclusive, behind the scenes tour of the Ka Theater. Upon our arrival, the promise of a caffeine pick-me-up was cut short by a long line, and a short time frame.[AutoCAD Influencers: Shaan Hurley, Lisa Feldhammer, Alyson Moses, Lynn Allen, David Cohn, Rick Ellis, Curt Moreno, and way in the back, Donnie Gladfelter and Rob Maguire]Soon we found ourselves in the front row of the theater, house lights up, and listening to our guide, the show’s Director of Automation, Mark Castle. He described many of the intricate details of the show and how the moving stage works. The stage production was designed in 2004, and we got to see some of the original drawings – all done in AutoCAD.[Original 2004 AutoCAD drawing of the Sand Cliff Deck]Our tour then proceeded three floors down, into the bowels of the Ka Theater. We ended up behind the moving stage, known as the Sand Cliff Deck. This stage is truly the star of the show, as it is able to raise and lower 75 feet by a vertical gantry crane. It can also rotate in three axes with the help of four hydraulic cylinders. During the show, this deck may be level, rotate 360*, or tilt up a full 90* - or anywhere in between![Looking down at the Sand Cliff Deck from the stage level][Looking back up to the theater level from behind the Sand Cliff Deck, 3 floors below]The Sand Cliff Deck gets its name from a scene in the show where the deck is covered in a special granular cork material which simulates sand. The effect is spot on, but as Mark explained, the cork is the most difficult aspect for the crew, as at the end of the sand scene, the deck literally tilts forward toward the audience, spilling the cork from the stage, and it gets everywhere, including in the machinery. Cleaning up the sand is the most arduous task between shows.One thing you may not think of while watching the show, but which does strike you from the vantage point shown above, is that the movement of the stage is nearly silent. I could recall the night before being able to hear the performers' footsteps and movement on the stage. It was explained that this quiet [...]



It seems like every time I see someone write, or hear someone speak, about my line of work, they will say something to the effect of "This could better be described by [INSERT TOTALLY NEW AND COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY ACRONYM HERE]".If you have ever found yourself typing or uttering those words, or something similar, just stop yourself. Please.Alright. Having grown up in the engineering industry, in the age of CAD, and a burgeoning data management movement, and the expansion of BIM, I am surrounded constantly by acronyms. The icing on the cake was that the facility I worked longest in was a medical center, so I had to be familiar with many of those as well.The title of my post is Three Letter Acronyms / Four Letter Acronyms for Facilities Information Management and Integrated Workplace Management Systems. So, yes, it IS nicer to be able to say that in far fewer letters. The only problem is, which letters to use?Enough ranting and meme-sharing, though. I have collected a series of these acronyms for reference, which I come across often in my work. Please feel free to comment any others which you see or use regularly.CAFM - computer aided facilities managementCMMS - computerized maintenance management systemIWMS - integrated workplace management systemFAM - Facilities Asset ManagementFIM - Facilities Information ManagementAM - Asset ManagementCRE - Corporate Real Estate / Commercial Real EstateEAM - Enterprise Asset ManagementEIM - Enterprise Information ManagementHRIS - Human Resources Information SystemsERP - Enterprise Resource PlanningBAS - Building Automation SystemsDCIM - Data Center Infrastructure Management (datacenter & facilities; energy, equipment and space are efficient)CAD - Computer Aided Design/DraftingGIS - Geographic Information SystemBIM - Building Information ModelingIPD - Integrated Project DelieryCOBie - Construction Operations Building Information ExchangeIFC - Industry Foundation Classes (not Insulating Concrete Form, dyslexics of the world untie!)BEP/PxP/BxP - BIM Execution Plan / Project Execution Plan / BIM Execution PlanPIM - project information modelLoD - Level of DetailNCS/NBIMS - National CAD Standard / National BIM Standard USAEC - Architecture, Engineering and ConstructionAEC/FM - AEC & Facilities ManagementAECO - AEC & OperationsBOMA - Building Owners and Managers AssociationIFMA - International Facilities Management AssociationAIM - asset information managementCDE - common data environmentUDF - User Defined Field (~shudders delicately~) [...]

A listing of my articles


So, I'm just back from a day with #AutoCAD Influencers in San Francisco. Everyone admired the JavaScript dress I chose for the event (sorry, Svaha doesn't have anything with AutoLisp on it, but, I do use JavaScript quite a bit in my current role, so I will take it).Always a good time visiting with Autodesk, talking to people involved with the process of creating or optimizing features and marketing the software, as well as the other users and managers like myself.I didn't even think about the fact that we were getting together on C.AD (aka Pi) Day. Thanks to Donnie for pointing that out.I tweeted from the event as @MistresDorkness and @AUGIatAU as well as posting on Google+ and Facebook. (Those of you who are my FB friends, if you're interested in seeing complete photo documentation of the trip, please check out my 'Work Stuff' album there.)Before heading out to sunny California, I had to turn in my article for my HotNews column. The only distinction being that it will be the last edition of my polls and surveys column, due to participation falloff, since the poll was moved from the homepage to a page under the survey's channel of the AUGI site. I certainly hope that everyone has enjoyed the insight into our membership which these quick polls have given us the past few years.Be sure to keep an eye on your email for AUGI bulletins and social media postings regarding when the Salary Survey will run this summer.If you'd like to see a listing of my articles, including the ones I wrote about polls and surveys for AUGI, please see my Additional Content page.2017:Job Search Poll - Writer2016 Year in Review - WriterFabulous Freebies for CAD Users 2017 - Contributing ExpertA User’s Take on AutoCAD 2018’s Top Features - Contributing Expert2016:Knowledge sharing in the workplace - WriterSources of Industry Learning - WriterAUGI 15th Annual Salary Survey - Author and Data AnalystNegotiating Salary - WriterSalary Survey Correction - Data AnalystPrimary Design Tool - WriterMost Effective Learning Methods - WriterAutoCAD Customization Languages - WriterPerformance Reviews - WriterEmail Subscription Poll - WriterCost of Poor Communication - WriterCustom and 3rd Party Software - WriterAnnual Job Search Poll - WriterWho Deploys Software? - WriterCAD Manager Highlights - Data Analyst2015:Career Advancement Goals - WriterDo you 3D print in-house? - WriterHardware Review - Lenovo P700 Workstation ( - AuthorDoes the classroom prepare new employees? - WriterAutoCAD 2016 tips in pictures - photographerAUGI 14th Annual Salary Survey - Author and Data AnalystIn-house customization and programming - WriterSalary Resources - WriterAre you currently job searching? - WriterProcesses and Procedures Documentation - WriterEssential 3rd party applications - WriterHow to Get Started in Social Media - TipsterWhen do you upgrade your Autodesk software? - WriterDo you have a side job? (gigonomics) - Writer10 Years of Blogging - WriterAutoCAD and LT: No Experience Required 2016 - Technical EditorMost Frequently Used Command - WriterA day in the life of a CAD user - Reality Star2014 Surveys in Review - WriterSetting Achievable Goals - WriterAU2014 General Session - Reporter [...]

Replacing a text string across a directory


Since I have been working with my company, I have learned about LOADS of great tools.
For example, Beyond Compare, when keeping files synced across multiple environments (like development and production).
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Another great one is FileLocator Lite, because, you can't put a price on finding exactly the data you need as quickly as possible.

Today, I am just pleased as punch with Notepad++. In my tasks modifying ARCHIBUS, I work in this program almost constantly, and have been doing so for the past three years. Obviously, I was already a pretty big fan (see my previously published article "Notepad++ Formatting Tip"), but, today, my unnatural love for this program grew even greater.

I needed to change the value for a single attribute, but, across every place where it showed up in the system, in all three environments we're using.

Turns out that Notepad++ has a lovely entry in the Search menu called "Find in Files..."
I was able to locate the exact string I needed, dictate the replacement string, filter for only the files our team had modified, in only the applicable directories.

If there is any doubt about context, you can see in the search results the exact line where the search string is located.

I recently returned from yet another inspiring Autodesk University for #AU2016. If you're interested in catching up with the @MistresDorkness commentary, twitter is the place to go. 


FormIt360 + Dynamo: A Win-Win for Designers!


Today I am delighted to host another guest post from Ryan Cameron! If you missed his popular tutorial article: "Revit + 3dsMax: Utilizing Render Techniques - A Winning Combination", I suggest you take a second to check it out. A great tutorial, with plenty of tips and tricks.FormIt360 + Dynamo: A Win-Win for Designers!Article by Ryan Baker Cameron, AIA, LEED AP, EDAC, NCARB      @rbcameron1             LinkedINTell me if you’ve heard this scenario before... You have your design team cranking away on some concept models in Sketchup. They model the heck out of it and it looks awesome! You get client approval and final sign-off because they love it too! Congrats, go buy yourself something nice! Then BANG, at some point it has to be real. Model conversion happens and starts to break down the files and the dreaded omissions start to happen because you’re viewing a model you have no direct connection to. You’re spending hours remodeling areas in Revit, dreaming of a better way. Yet another hole in the BIM process.Around 2012 Autodesk FormIt360 came on the scene. Without hesitation, I downloaded it on my Nvidia tablet because I was looking for a way to model-on-the-go myself by developing Android Apps. From a practical standpoint it was a winning situation.  Traveling a lot, I found I could save them to the cloud when I had WiFi, then get on a plane and continue. The second “win” came when it was clear to me that all that work wasn’t wasted because it could be transferred directly to a Revit model using massing families. This meant that my efforts in the Revit process were much more accurate depictions of the model, not a comparison between two screens. One step better, I could apply my “real” Revit walls to the face of the massing geometry.Since those days, FormIt360 has come a long way. Animations, layers, materials and even Dynamo integration. So let’s talk about that for a moment. The ability to write code and run a script to help evaluate your model isn’t just a neat trick, it is becoming a requirement. Coding is the new sketching. Let me explain. Let’s say you have a zoning ordinance that requires setbacks and has height restrictions. It isn’t always evident to your design team, as we want them to have the freedom to be creative within the boundaries of the site. What if you could create a simple script that turned the model red, or warned your design team in some way, should they go outside those legal parameters?Perhaps a script that auto-adjusted a parking garage by typing in simple numbers for Stall Count or Floor-to-Floor height? free to login and download this Dynamo Studio file to experiment with. Maybe you could be the one to make it even better? That’s the beauty of open-source, take it and make it better.So where’s the beef? Why would you want to migrate from Sketchup, since you have all of those models in your library? Well for starters, FormIt360 has a plugin for Revit that converts *.rfa and also *.skp file types into *.axm files for use in Formit360. Secondly, you’re going to start to see more websites with free content available for download as FormIt360 becomes more popular like this from Turbosquid: link: links: link: models:[...]

Ch-ch-ch-changes - I left the owner's side


So, as some of you may know, though I followed the Social Media Policy to the letter, my last employer actively discouraged me from blogging. I leaked out a few posts, but, have had to be mostly on radio silence.Now that I am free to blog about my work again, I have the honor of confessing that I have finally left the owner's side for the consulting side. I had always worried about the job security and the benefits of working for a large facility, but, I am confident in my new company and their prospects.I would like to extend my thanks to all of the folks at the St. Louis Revit Users Group and AUGI and Autodesk University who talked me through my potential career change. Your input and advice was a balm to me when I needed it.On March 28th, I began working with my new team, InfoNarus, a CAFM/IWMS consulting firm. Though it was a hard decision, as I interviewed with a handful of fantastic companies, I felt this one would be the best fit for my skillset, interests and personality. The usual disclaimer goes here, that although I proudly represent my company, everything I write here on my personal blog, as well as any other social media (twitter, forums, linkedin, etc) is still my opinion and my opinion only. I do not speak for my organization, so do not take my word as their collective stance.March 28th has not historically been a great day for me (it's my birthday), but, I did have to reminisce back to 16 years in the past, when I was offered employment with Barnes-Jewish Hospital (one of the nation's top 10 hospital and a part of BJC Healthcare) and got to quit 2 of my 3 pedestrian jobs. It was one for the books. I did work on the BJH Facilities-Engineering team for over 13 years and learned most of what I know about the industry with them and remain in contact with many of my team members. I wish I'd been able to find a promotion opportunity within the organization, but, eventually had to move on.In the fall of 2013, I started with a financial services company (see my LinkedIn profile for details) with a great reputation for family and community culture, and a strong dedication from leadership to growing management of their facilities assets. I walked into a major system upgrade which had some fits and starts, and most of the team was so jam-packed busy with their daily work that not much change and expansion was able to happen due to time and mental faculty availability. Constant change in other departments also caused some steps backward, having to stop our work to rework workflow we'd established with the other teams outside of our control. Add to that a noisy cube farm that kept getting more and more full and this introvert had to call it a day.I really miss the people on my team, a dedicated group of users who never once said 'that's not my job', and I still offer the occasional hand of tech support to facilities and IT, since I know questions like the ones they pose to me aren't easily found elsewhere. Best of luck to them as they try to fill my old position, I know they'll get up to great things as they continue to support the growth of the rest of the business!Now, I get to support clients with their implementation and support needs, and have enjoyed having my coworkers to rely on when I get stuck. It is a change in the type of work only technically, I still get to help facility operators be the best stewards they can be to the assets with which they have been entrusted. Focusing on speeding up workflow and improving accuracy and informing business decisions with concrete data and modern technology can have a huge impact to the efficiency (and stress level) of FM employees.I look forward to returning to blogging and sharing some good AutoCAD and Revit content with you all, sprinkled with Archibus and other CAFM/CMMS/data management/programming information. [...]

FM in Social Media


This is the final in my series of posts about resources on the AUGI FM Community. Facilities folks often use AutoCAD and Revit in their facility arsenal and have a lot of knowledge to share. I recommend checking out the Facilities Management - In Practice forum listed below, as there have been some really interesting threads in there recently.And, of course, if you have any favorite FM / CAFM / IWMS / CMMS influencers you like to follow, let me know and I can add them to the list. Cheers! FM in Social MediaTwitterLiz Kentish FM CoachLiz KentishBrian HainesMelanie PerryMistress of the DorknessIFMAShaun BryantArchibusCAFM Best PracticesCAFM ExplorerIWMS NewsTABS FM LtdVanessa HuntExcitech LtdMichael AndersonBlogs of the Dorkness CAD, BIM and CAFMCADFM ConsultantsInside Outside of FMForumsAUGI: Facilities Management - In PracticeLinkedIn: Archibus ProfessionalsLinkedIn: The CAFM DrafterLinkedIn: The CAFM Users GroupLinkedIn: IWMS and CAFM SolutionsFMForum.orgBIFM Women in FM SIG [...]

BIM for FM Community Resources


Carrying on my sharing of resources from the AUGI Facility Management Community, this is by far the most popular page of topics I had the honor of assembling.BIM and FMThere is a lot of talk about what professionals think Building Information Modeling can and cannot do in Facility Management (FM).How about hearing it from the owners themselves? Post-occupancy costs over the life of facilities far exceed the cost of construction, but, building performance can be a big issue from day one.Real Estate Managers overseeing office space might be able to get along just fine with AutoCAD files if they so choose, but, Facilities departments who care for complex systems like hospitals, research facilities, plants and others can use models to easily import needed equipment data into their Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and space and other asset data into a Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) system, as well as use their BIM tool of choice to run simulations on (and across) buildings in order to troubleshoot performance issues and plan system upgrades which are separate from their typical renovations.Only Owners can decide what they will use this data for, and their contracts can make their expecations clear. Discussions between the design team and the folks who will oversee the design data post-construction should be occuring from the start of the project, rather than ignoring the issue until closeout.BIM Kickoff Meeting FAQThis document was posted by Robert Bell to the Revit MEP forum, as a good checklist for discussion between contractors.Revit Maximo Integration PluginThis application has been retired/graduated from the Autodesk Labs site, but, please check out the documentation for the intended functionality and contact Autodesk to display your interest in this capability.Revit Archibus OverlayArchibus Overlay has long worked with AutoCAD, and you can purchase it for Revit, too, allowing for reporting and querying across multiple models.Linking Data Spreadsheet to Navisworks for Facility ManagementThis is more of a debate with mulitiple options than an iron-clad framework, but, the idea is worth reviewing.The GSA on BIM for FMThe General Services Administration has been a forerunner in utilitzing BIM post-construction and thoroughly documenting their standards. Check out the links on the left of the page to access press releases, videos and the BIM Library.AECbytes: BIM for Facilities ManagementAECbytes does a roundup of FM products that can make use of BIM (this is an older article, if there's a newer version, please let me know and I will update the link). A good read by Lachmi Khemlani, as usual.BIM for FM on a University CampusCase study on the business case for building information modeling at Northumbria University’s city campus, presented at ECObuild 2013.How to Approach BIM for RenovationsA link to a detailed methodology and a real world report of how one hospital stepped through the process.What does an Owner Want with BIM?This article says that most companies are doing a disservice with this question, when they should really be asking 'Who is the Owner?' A rundown of the stakeholders using the data and Revit models turned over to the facilities and engineering staff post-occupancy.Moving from AutoCAD to BIM for Building Floor Plans The Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University’s BIM Implementation Project.Setup with Clients and OwnersDiscussion on how to work with clients on delivery and standards formation.Circular Linking of Models and Campus BuildingsDiscussion on some issues with working across a large multi-building campus.Coordinating Projects Using Shared CoordinatesClass handout and video link to an in-depth Revit class by Steve Stafford.Revit Standards: Getting Started GuidesBIM Standards and Guidelines [...]

FM Resources


My last post offered an introduction to the AUGI Facilities Management Community.FM means different things to different people, from real estate, to operations, to security and housekeeping and potential engineering and space or project management.With so many different roles to fill, the resources cover an encyclopedic span.If you have other post-occupancy resources that you consider vital, let me know! From the AUGI FM Community Resources Page:Building Owners and Managers Association International - Space MeasuringBOMA - Guidelines for how to measure spaces for consistent reporting.International Facility Management Association BenchmarkIFMA Space and Project Management benchmarking report.NIST Report - on the Cost of Data Loss During ConstructionCost Analysis of Inadequate Interoperability in the U.S. Capital Facilities IndustryClasses for FMList of course descriptions and links to class handouts from Autodesk University (AU) and Revit Technology Conference (RTC), which apply to post-occupancy concernsBIFMProfessional Body for FM in the UKASHEAmerican Society for Healthcare Engineers (MEPFP engineering in a medical setting)STLCCCSt. Louis Council of Construction Consumers (look for similar organizations near you)FM Articles from AUGIWorld and HotNews archives - See above links for publications and Library [...]

FM Community


Over my next few posts, I'll be sharing resources which I've compiled for the AUGI Facility Management industry community. of the current (user-driven) communities are geared toward a specific product, with the exception of the Manufacturing and FM Communities, which embrace an entire speciality.From the facilities landing page:FM CommunityAre you a Facility Owner, Operator, Lease Manager, Asset Manager, CMMS or CAFM Administrator?If you're using Autodesk products to track or feed information with your post-occupancy role, then you are used to having your priorities misunderstood by the rest of the AEC Industry.Please, feel free to ask questions about your software, processes or procedures in our Facilities-Management - In Practice forum. There is an introduction thread where you can state your facility type and the tools you use and see what others might be using as well.This is a forum by users and for users. Advertising and solitication is against the forum policies. If you have any difficulties whatsoever with being exposed to sales tactics either use the 'report post' function in the forums or send me (Wanderer) a private message and I'll put on my moderator hat and delicately address the situation with the offending party.To those who wish to advertise services or products to our members, please keep in mind that the only permissable way to do so it by contacting someone on the Sales team and placing an online or print ad. Thank you for your understanding.If you have any suggestions for our links and resources pages here (see left column), please don't hesitate to say so. [...]