2007-02-28

As Bob is my witness, I'll never be Plining Spaces Again!

Creating Spaces for Use with Autodesk FMDesktop

Alright, Scarlett O'Hara, I'm not... but, I do feel this is one of those moments in history that should be captured for posterity. I just 'p-lined' the entire floor of a building in less than 20 minutes.

:-o

What's got me so excited is that this isn't actually polylining. Any Space Manager can tell you how mind-numbingly dull that task is.

Well, at one (of many) of my fabulous classes at AU2006, Bob Fahlin was the instructor, there was discussion of how FMDesktop 7 can read ADT (ACA!) spaces and Revit rooms. So, on top of that wonderful news, there was the revelation of the AutoGenerate Spaces command in ADT/ABS (Acad MEP)!

So, instead of tediously polylining, or quasi-tediously click-dragging spaces, you can set up and automate the creation of spaces.

True, this isn't a 100% *perfect* tool, but, since no *perfect* tools exist, I will be happy with this one!

I took a floor plan, 9,500 sqare feet, just the basics, right.

First, I turned off the casework and plumbing and text layers, just leaving pretty much walls, doors and windows. This is also where good drafting practices can come into play... you need those happy little osnaps working so you don't have gaps at your walls and doors, etc. You *can* add in a 'fudge' factor to ignore gaps, but, really, isn't it just easier to do it right the first time and not have to worry about making the fudge too big and ending up with a mess?

Anyway, I ran the command and here's what I ended up with on my first pass through...
Not too shabby for less than two seconds worth of work.

I manually selected the three spaces near the top that weren't generated for whatever reason, and then I did go back through and drop in a couple of spaces that weren't generated because their openings were... erm, open. Then I quickly plined the two reception areas and three hallways that were left and generated the spaces. That, along with fixing the staircase and elevator spaces and deleting the space on the patio, took all of 20 minutes.

I know this isn't a very big floor, it is one floor of one building on my campus of over 30 buildings, but... it was so much faster than manually polylining that I will take it, and happily.

The only drawback is that, if we adopt this program at work, I'll be cross-grading from my current production software of Autodesk MAP3d (love the cleanup tools) to AutoCAD Architecture (ADT/ACA) and I'm afraid of contaminating my MEP engineers with architecture cooties. :-/ (sorry, Jason M said that earlier today and I couldn't help snickering over it)

This is just one step in setting up an FMDesktop project, but, one of the most important ones.
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