Saturday 5 May 2012

NBS and Autodesk Revit linkage enhancements

To date, the only way to link NBS with Autodesk Revit has been through import and export and the keynote functionality. However, we're now close to releasing a fantastic new plug-in that will allow direct linkage between NBS and Revit at an object-to-object level. The screenshots below demonstrate this process.
Fig 1 - The same physical objects are described in the main model and the specification
The NBS for Autodesk Revit plug-in can be seen in the Add-Ins toolbar (next to the iCIM buttons - more on this in a later blog post :)). Note that key buttons can also be added to the quick-launch bar at the top.
Fig 2 - The beta version of the NBS for Autodesk Revit toolbar in the ribbon
By clicking the NBS buttons the Revit model and the specification model can be linked together without the need for export/import or keynoting. Firstly at a project level...
Fig 3 - Link the specification to the Revit model - this path is inserted as a project parameter
Objects can be linked through selecting the object and then clicking the "Annotate" button. The screenshot below shows that through a couple of clicks the user can annotate an object. As the information goes into the type parameters - this updates every instance of that object in every view or schedule. The screenshot below doesn't do true justice to how cool this feature is. But a couple of clicks to coordinate all instances of the object in every view is quite amazing!
Fig 4 - Link the Revit objects to the specification objects - these come in as type parameters of the objects
One of the best use of the parameters is through the tag object. We will be looking at specific tags and also multi-category tags and see which works best (maybe the option for both?). 
Fig 5 - Linking to objects via the parameters allows clever additional features through the parametric tag objects
Finally, contextual technical guidance, links to reference documents and standards and manufacturer information can be viewed as expected...
Fig 6 - Subject to licence NBS guidance may be viewed whilst working in Revit
Fig 7 - Manufacturer information may also be browsed from within Revit
Anyone wanting to see this in action, please consider the following:
- Come over and see us at BIM Show Live 2012 next week
- Please join our Beta Testing group - we have some work left to do - user feedback is crucial to us

Finally, this would definitely not be possible without the support over the last year off a few people. So a big thank you to Simon J, Adam, Simon G and Jeremy at Autodesk. Thanks to David, Carl and Alan at the London Revit User Group for allowing us to gather feedback at the start of this year. Also, well done to Calum at NBS working so hard linking things together in the last week in the NBS R&D department - enjoy some beers this weekend Calum!


  1. Finally!! Great enhancement. Kudos to NBS team for achieving this for Revit and thanks to Autodesk for opening up API to allow this. Well done.

  2. Does this apply to the new NBS Create software? We use Revit and have recently had a seminar about BBS Create which we are very interested in rolling out.

  3. Looks very good. Will be good to have a link to the NBS library too.

    Keynotes work well, but they are obviously a one way process.

  4. The plug-in will work with NBS Scheduler, NBS Building/ES/Landscape and NBS Create when released.

  5. @Andy - thanks for the nice comments. Drew, Stefan and I have pretty much presented this every 15 minutes at BIM Show Live today. The feedback was really, really positive. I think we recruited 10+ Beta Testers!

    If anyone else wants advance copies of this tool to test - please join our Beta Test Programme:

  6. Will this work for revit LT as well?

  7. Anon,

    Unfortunately, I don't think it will - but maybe we need to check. Looking through the final FAQs for Revit LT:

    3.8 Is there an application programming interface (API) or other third-party development tools for Revit LT?
    Autodesk Revit LT does not support 3rd party API.

  8. Works OK on Revit 2012 but how do I install on Revit 2013 which is what we now use

  9. Revit 2013 - should go live Monday 10th December.

  10. We have started to use this and have come to a wall. Yes the software allows for a family association with NBS which is great. Then you get into 1:5 details and wall compositions the flexibility to associate individual materials to the spec clause needs to be available.
    Has this come up before?
    Exporting the NBS to a keynote allows for individual association of materials but it seems as though this plugin should update this so that we can link each material to the live NBS document and then material tag each. (A tag that has the spec clause-heading and an available description parameter as NBS headings only are not suitable for practical on site use of drawings).

  11. Chris,

    It works for materials also - it uses the NBSReference_mtrl and NBSDescription_mtrl parameters to verify the links.

    Also, you can put a 2D circle object on drawn lines and annotate these objects for additional details at 1:5 level.

    I'll see if I can get a blog post up next week illustrating this and maybe a worked example.