Saturday, January 19, 2008

Revit Warnings - What's the Big Deal

With the help of a formal colleague and friend Daniel Hurtubise (see his French RevitIt blog) we are documenting a number of Revit Warnings. But the question I get both at work and via this blog is, "What's the Big Deal with Warnings". Which is usually followed by, "They don't prevent me from doing something and my sheets still print". So, I think it is important to discuss how important it is to address warnings sooner than later (or not at all).

I think the first and foremost reason to address warnings is that they can have a huge impact on the file size and performance of a project. This is especially true with warnings that have to do with overlapping items such as walls, room separations lines and duplicated instances.

The first time you encounter a warning is really the best time to address it. So if Revit thinks you are doing something it does not like, Revit will throw up an alert explaining what it thinks you have done wrong. I'll be the first to admit that sometimes when that dialog appears, I just hit the "OK" button and pretend like I saw nothing and this is the case when helping with a deadline. Daniel on the other-hand is what I refer to as a Warnings Nazi wanting to address every warning as they appear. That's probably the best way to handle them, but sometimes whether we like it or not, we take shortcuts to meet a deadline.

There will be times when you are under pressure for a deadline and taking the time to address all the warnings that are coming up is just not feasible. After all, most Project Managers will not understand why it is important to fix something that they do not see on their printed sheets. But at some point it is absolutely necessary to come back and review all your warnings.

The next question is what type of warnings need to be immediately addressed, what can wait and what can be ignored. Every project is different, so your results will vary, but here are a couple of guidelines which should be helpful. Any warnings relating to Rooms, Joins, Overlapping Lines and area warnings should be a priority. This is by no means an exclusive list, just something to get you started if you have been ignoring the warnings.

To review past warnings, simply go to the Tools pull-down menu and select Review Warnings near the bottom of the screen. If Review Warnings is not greyed out, then you have warnings. If you want to see how many unresolved errors there are, you can do this by scrolling down to the last displayed category, expanding that and scrolling down again. That will give you the total number. I've seen as many as 1200 or more in a single file. Each one of them is a potentially serious problem in your model somewhere that needs to be resolved.

Resolving some Revit Warnings can take a lot of investgation to track them down. As you first begin to do this, it can seem a little overwhelming. But as you track down these Warnings, you will find that it is usually (emphasis on usually) not to difficult to track down the problem.

The first thing that you should do when select a warning and click on the "Show" button. Revit will then try to find a view that shows the problem elements and highlight them for you. Keep in mind that the first view that Revit provides you, may not be the best view. If this first go-around does not help you find the issue, then select one of the elements that are listed in the Warning and click the "Show" button again. This will usually help you locate the problem, but not always. If this doesn't, then you need to use the element ID and use the "Select by ID" tool to locate that element that is causing or part of a warning.

Once you start working on resolving Warnings, you will find that the performance of your projects will be much better.

One thing that I would be nice is if Autodesk would provide some kind of mechanism to schedule Warnings. Unfortunetly, the only way to do that now is to use a screen capture utility.

This has just been a 20,000 feet overview of how to address Revit Warnings. In a following Blog, I hope to have Daniel Hurtubise write a more detailed document on addressing Warnings.

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