Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The top three enhancements to the NBS Plug-in for Autodesk Revit

In August 2012 we released our first NBS plug-in for Autodesk Revit. I'm please to say today that our third major release of this is now live. It can be downloaded for free at the URL below:

- www.thenbs.com/products/nbsplugins

The latest improvements have been completely user-focussed. We invited a selection of 20 of the great and good from the UK BIM community to a workshop last year and asked them to rate 15 or 16 ideas we had.

What they told us they wanted, we delivered. Some screenshots below from the top three features. Click the screenshots to see the images full screen

1. Better integration with the specification
Figure 1.1 below shows that integrating objects in the model with the appropriate clause in the specification is now even easier. There is an in-line search feature that is pre-populated with the classification code - this means that if a door object is selected, then it automatically shows the various door types to pick from. In addition, a brief description of each system object is displayed to make it easier to pick the correct clause.
Fig 1.1 - Now easier to associate the correct project specification clause
A frustration users of the plug-in voiced was that NBS Create had to be opened to view the specification associated with each object. So, in the latest version, a new viewer has been developed that allows the specification to be previewed from within Autodesk Revit without taking out an NBS licence.
Fig 1.2 - A specification viewer written for the plug-in
The Viewer also has hyperlink functionality so that linked clauses can quickly be viewed. For example, if there is a set of clauses detailing the workmanship for a door, the user may click the links to quickly view these. There is also the ability to hide and show data associated with each clause such as its classification or who last edited the specification and when.
Fig 1.3 - Hide/show options and hyperlink functionality within the Viewer
2. Tagging Revit materials and 2D objects
When annotating models, it is not just the system and component objects that need tagged - but also what is shown on detailed sections through the model.

With the new NBS plug-in, it is now easy to tag 2D objects such as wall-ties and also material objects such as plasterboard, insulation or tiles. Where this information is modelled (and not drawn) then the NBS reference is also presence in any schedules or material-take-offs from the model.
Fig 2.1 - Tagging Revit materials
3. Tagging your own Revit families with NBS and office master references
The third big feature that was requested by users was the ability to tag any objects with NBS codes in the Revit Family Editor. All National BIM Library objects already have the correct NBS classification codes, but where offices have their own objects, it is now a click of a button to access the correct code so that all objects can be part of the NBS BIM ecosystem.
Fig 3.1 - Tagging objects from the Revit Family Editor from NBS and your NBS office masters
Over and above these big three improvements, we've also tightened the whole user interface, made improvements to the logging on mechanism for viewing NBS guidance, enhanced spec creation using NBS and office master clauses, improved the drag and drop feature for National BIM Library objects
Fig 4.1 - National BIM Library objects - easy to access using the NBS Plug-in
So, Autodesk Revit users, please check it out and let us know what you think. If anyone sends in any screenshots of it working on their projects I'll blog about it or do a little case study article on our website.

Download it for free now at:
www.thenbs.com/products/nbsplugins

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