BricsCAD Exploding Attributed Blocks with Express Tools

The first time I tried BricsCAD, I attempted to BURST a block. I don't use normally use attributes myself, and being a Facilities person who constantly receives outside files, BURST is my default and is in any cleanup commands that I run. No such command.

I did try EXPLODE after that, though, and saw my attribute values disappear and the definitions remained. 

Checking the online help confirms that is the behavior as designed. 

I did some searching and ended up on a site none other than CAD Panacea. R.K. pointed out that a developer (CAD4FM UG) has made an Express Tools plugin (which will work on BricsCAD Pro and BricsCAD Ultimate, but not BricsCAD Lite).

The installation was quick and simple. The .exe did flag for not having a known publisher name, but operated just fine. 

Upon reopening BricsCAD, I now see a ribbon tab, floating toolbars and a menubar menu, providing access to the commands. 

I turned off the toolbars and hid the menubar (menubar = 0) and called the command from the ribbon... okay, fine, I did it from the command line!

Click the "Explode Attributes" button, or type BURST, click to select your block, then right-click to complete the command. 

And there you have it, separate attribute values instead of the attribute definitions. 

(These steps also apply to AutoCAD, but Express Tools are installed and loaded by default in the last few releases.)

If you would like to see a short demonstration of exploding a block with attributes, without losing their current values, please feel free to check out this YouTube video.

If you want to try using BricsCAD, click here for more information. 


BricsCAD Interface and File Formats

I recently took BricsCAD v21 for a spin. If you're curious about the interface, please feel free to watch this five minute video where I walk through it. 

Items to note would include: 

  • Properties Panel / Side Panels
  • HotKey Assistant
  • Quad Display
  • Look From Widget
  • Drawing Explorer
CORRECTION: In the video, I stated that the Quad Display needed to be disabled to access the right-click menu, but that is not accurate. You can still access that out of the box with a long-right-click.

If you're curious about the file formats that BricsCAD v21 Ultimate will open, import, reference or export, feel free to reference the list below or watch this short video where I step through the dialog boxes.

Open or Import Filetypes

  • .dwg - Standard file format from programs such as AutoCAD
  • .dxf - Drawing Exchange Format, designed by Autodesk as a compatible vector format
  • .dwt - Drawing Template file
  • Windows Metafile Formats - Images
    • .wmf
    • .emf
    • .wmz
    • .emz

  • .dae - Collada is an interchange file format for interactive 3D applications, approved by ISO
  • .dgn - drawings created by programs such as MicroStation or Intergraph
  • .3dm - an open-source 3D model format and native file format for Rhino
  • .skp - files or components for SketchUp
  • .ifc - model file created in the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) format, which is an open file format used by Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • .rfa - Revit Family files
  • .rvt - Revit model files

Save As Filetypes and Versions

  • AutoCAD 2018 .dwg
  • AutoCAD 2018 ASCII .dxf
  • AutoCAD 2018 Binary .dxf
  • AutoCAD 2013 .dwg
  • AutoCAD 2013 ASCII .dxf
  • AutoCAD 2013 Binary .dxf
  • AutoCAD 2010 .dwg
  • AutoCAD 2010 ASCII .dxf
  • AutoCAD 2010 Binary .dxf
  • AutoCAD 2007 .dwg
  • AutoCAD 2007 ASCII .dxf
  • AutoCAD 2007 Binary .dxf
  • AutoCAD 2004 .dwg
  • AutoCAD 2004 ASCII .dxf
  • AutoCAD 2004 Binary .dxf
  • AutoCAD 2000 .dwg
  • AutoCAD 2000 ASCII .dxf
  • AutoCAD 2000 Binary .dxf
  • AutoCAD release 14 .dwg
  • AutoCAD release 14 ASCII .dxf
  • AutoCAD release 14 Binary .dxf
  • AutoCAD release 13 .dwg
  • AutoCAD release 13 ASCII .dxf
  • AutoCAD release 13 Binary .dxf
  • AutoCAD release 11/12 .dwg
  • AutoCAD release 11/12 ASCII .dxf
  • AutoCAD release 11/12 Binary .dxf
  • AutoCAD release 10 ASCII .dxf
  • AutoCAD release 10 Binary .dxf
  • AutoCAD release 9 ASCII .dxf
  • Drawing Template .dwt

Reference File formats

  • .dwg AutoCAD files
  • .pdf Portable Document Format
  • .bmp image
  • .jpg image
  • .jpeg image
  • .pcx image
  • .png image
  • .gif image
  • .tga image
  • .tif image
  • .tiff image
  • .jp2 image
  • .j2k image
  • .ecw image
  • .sid image
  • .mti image
  • .e57 point cloud
  • .las point cloud
  • .pts point cloud
  • .ptx point cloud
  • .rcp point cloud
  • .rcs point cloud
  • .bpt legacy point cloud

Export file formats

  • .fbx binary file
  • .fbx ASCII file
  • .dwg file
  • .dxf ASCII file
  • .dwt template file
  • .bmp image file
  • .wmf image file
  • .emf enhanced image file
  • .dwf 3D DWF v6.0
  • .dwf Zipped ASCII Encoded 2D Stream DWF v6.0
  • .dwf Compressed v5.5
  • .dwf Binary v5.5
  • .dwf ASCII v5.5
  • .dwfx XPS readable DWF
  • .svg Scalable Vector Graphics format
  • .stl Lithography
  • .dae Collada 3D interchange format
  • .dgn MicroStation file
  • .udatasmith Unreal Engine 4.25.3
  • .3dm Rhino file
  • .ifc IFC2X3 file
  • .ifc IFC4 file

If you want to try using BricsCAD, click here for more information. 


BIMThoughts episode on BIM in FM (and Data)

The crew over at BIMThoughts invited me to speak to facilities management issues for their listeners. I swear, it was a lot more fun than FM sounds. 

Podcast on YouTube

We spoke about everything from contracts to project management, reality capture, ground penetrating radar, CAFM, IWMS, CMMS, BAS or smart buildings, key control, security, data silos, asset management, lease management, hot-desking, occupancy planning and projection, densification and de-densification due to the pandemic, pivoting workspaces from in person meetings to virtual meetings, paper to CAD, CAD to BIM, paperless offices, digital twins, data exchange, energy management, waste management, consumer level existing conditions assessment tools, The Incredibles and the Three Amigos.

It kind of makes my head spin. But, we facilities folks are the crux of our buildings... the starting and ending point of renovations and expansions. I'm pretty proud of all that we touch and the data that we receive, supply and look after with such care.

The FM SME who receives the construction documents at the end of a project has the vital charge of curating their components for all of the other stakeholders on the owner's side. 

Show Notes

This is a sketch of the episode done by Jisell Howe, it’s awesome! You should also check out her blog.


Happy Blogiversary! 15 Years.

So, spring is always a time of some type of growth and rebirth. I knew recently, when I reached my milestone workiversaries, that my blogiversary wasn't far behind. 

First, a small cheers for my 20th anniversary in a professional role, and in Facilities Data Management, as it was on the 28th of March, 2000, that I was hired on with the Facilities-Engineering department at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, consistently ranked one of the Top 10 Hospitals in the nation. It was a great place to 'grow up' in the industry, learning from everyone around me, and developing skills (databases, programming) that would serve me well in later roles.

Then, my 5th anniversary, also March 28th, of being hired by the wonderful team at InfoNarus. I am not exaggerating when I say that this was a life-saving occurrence and I will forever be in their debt. Obviously, having worked for them there, and with them in two prior jobs, I wouldn't hesitate to endorse them to anyone who is in search of a competent ARCHIBUS business partner to work with.

Which brings us to today! 
The 15th anniversary of this blog. I believe this post marks my 473rd article (aside from the ones published elsewhere, of course).

I suppose I can't count the guest authored articles as my own... although I did provide editing services (wanted or not ;) ) on each of them. 

Originally, I started this blog to save time over preparing the Word document and author chasing and editing of the Gatway AUG newsletter I had put out for years prior. But, it also gave me a wider platform for discussing Facilities issues. As I reminisced in my first post, the name of this site has also been a source of amusement for many, and, unlike my actual name, it never gets forgotten.

This site has played a role in most of the jobs I have obtained, allowing me to be visible and help others and display competence (and a wicked sense of humor, which, let's face it, is totally why everyone has hired me or rehired me to work with them).
Show your knowledge folks, even though looking back at my older articles sometimes embarrasses me, as my writing has matured and I have more professional experience to draw from, I still had something to contribute, and it has paid off, no regrets.

Thanks for coming along for the ride!
(I did think about making a list of all of the software I have used, or at least written about, in the past 15 years, but, let's face it, even under quarantine, ain't nobody got time for that.)

images courtesy of vectorstock.com


Methods of polylining and Boundary/BPOLY

So, as a Facilities person using AutoCAD (although Revit can sometimes be finicky about 'bounding' properties and having to manually add/adjust bounding lines, too), polylining is a must for all of us.

I still occasionally run across users who are not familiar with the Boundary command (or BPoly).

I use this command to create polylines from enclosed areas, but, you can also create Regions with it. 

Obviously, in this process, you have to be aware of the polylining standards being used. Whether it is BOMA or some client-specific method. 

If you're plining an area with a predictable pattern (such as a cube farm), setting up construction lines (CONSTRUCTION LINE or RAY) at the midpoint of the walls can be a way to provide yourself with enclosed areas to use the Boundary (BOUNDARY or BPOLY) command on. 
Make sure you have a distinct layer set as Current, so that you can isolate it (LAYISO). 

Annoyingly, in Autocad 2021, it appears that the default LAYISO behavior is to lock layers, rather than the prior default of turning them off, so you'll have to LAYISO > S to change the settings to O. 

If they are the same size, I tend to just draw a rectangle and copy or array as appropriate.

If you have less regular areas, such as an office suite or cafeteria, you will most likely  manually polyline the smaller spaces, then use Boundary on the remaining open space (lobby or seating). 

Just remember handy tools like the M2P OSNAP, where you can click two points and your pline will snap to the midpoint between them, so you can use RECTANG instead of PL to make your bounding lines, where appropriate. 

I actually set up an M2P shortcut on my tool palette, just so I can keep clicking along. 

When working in a busy drawing, I tend to keep my running osnaps to a minimum so I don't snap to the wrong thing, and just select more specific snaps from my TP when they are required. 

So, once you have your surrounding spaces polylined to make an enclosed space, then you can use BPOLY. 

Here the cyan line is my exterior gross, the magenta represents the interior gross line, the blue is for the room boundaries and the yellow is a pair of break lines that prevents islands (Tririga would show an island space as a Child space, but, I believe ARCHIBUS and FM:Systems would freak out about it, islands are a no-no. And, though I am currently a Tririga user, we still avoid islands and do not utilize child spaces with our client.). I feel pretty safe with with an 1/8" gap (.1 if you want to save on the keyboard input). 

A tip for generating the exterior gross line is by using the AREA command. 

My next step would be to select the interior gross line, a room boundary and one of the yellow breaklines and type LAYISO, so all of the other layers are turned OFF. Run the boundary command, select a point inside of the area, and your polyline is generated. 

Confused about the difference between freezing a layer and turning it off?

Now, I did have a reader tell me awhile back that he created a VBA program that would isolate to the desired layers and start the boundary command. I have done a bit of VBA in the past and even had the honor of assisting Lee Ambrosius in his programming labs at AU for years, but, I haven't quite gotten around to making my own program. 
But, even if you're not comfortable with programming, you could also speed things up by isolating these layers and use the Layer States dropdown on the expanded Layers panel on the home tab of the ribbon to create a new layer state and while in the Layer States Manager, Export that setting to import into other drawings
Because, of course, if you're using CAFM/IWMS, you are using the exact same layer names every time.

Happy Polylining, folks! 


Company looking to fill a lot of occupancy planning & related roles

My company sent out another email today, asking for referrals for a host of occupancy planning roles. That tells me these positions are hot.

It took me awhile to get hired on here (massive company and it's hard to get to know the right people in HR at times, and my experiences are a bit limited), but, if anyone is interested in one (or more) of the roles, please let me know, I can start the referral process on our side and get the name of the recruiter in charge of the posting. That will really speed up the process.
(if you don't already have other contact information for me, feel free to email melanie.stone at am.jll.com)

There are locations listed, specific skills and hiring managers might make remote work possible for some of them, you'll just have to inquire and find out.
I adore my team, who are all based in California, and while I don't work with the folks at the local JLL office, they've all been very welcoming.

If these occupancy, space planning or cad manager roles are not up your alley, feel free to search our other open positions, I'd be willing to refer on them as well (there are 95 openings currently with the word CAD in the title).



One of my colleagues has been posting these awesome videos, setting up really old hardware and operating systems, and running old CAD programs.
His channel is called RetroCAD, and he announces his new videos on Twitter.

So, Robert pinged me and asked if I had or knew of anyone who had an older version of ARCHIBUS.
Now, y'all know I spent most of my illustrious career working in the Facilities Engineering department of one of our nation's top 10 hospitals. Each time we moved our offices (Milton has nothing on us lol), we were put into smaller and smaller spaces and had to purge things. So, I was allowed to bring home a few things that might have otherwise ended up in the dumpster.
Some old digitizer tablets and pucks, some middle-aged Autocad versions & advertisements AND one really old binder of ARCHIBUS F.I.M.S., with a shipping date of 1993.
I'm thrilled that my Shaan Hurley-esque hoarding of arcane architectural artifacts has not been for naught.

Facilities Management is sort of the step-child of the AEC industry, and CAFM (computer-aided facilities management) software does not get a lot of air-time compared to design software, so this is exciting for me.

So, you know how much our industry LOVES acronyms.

BUT, I have a new favorite!

Random Online Videodisk Emulation Retrieval
Awesome. lol. Fetch that data!

I hope you enjoy his videos as much as I did. And that, like me, you can appreciate how far user interfaces and relational data has come in the past 20-30 years.