BSBG Vietnam’s Loc Do writes today’s blog, which discusses the collaborative work sharing component available in Revit – Worksets.
In short, Worksets is a collaborative tool in Revit that provides an element of control to what people are working on. This feature is only available within a central model for collaborative working.
However, this primary use of Worksets is not the only use, and it can also come in handy for other reasons which we will touch on later within this blog.
To use Worksets, you must enable it by creating a central model. This allows for a single model to be shared by one team (collaborative working).
A single workset contains model elements, and only one user can edit each workset at a given time. All team members can view Worksets owned by other team members, but they cannot make changes to them. Team members adding and changing elements in Worksets can save their work to a local file and publish work to the central file. They can update their local files with the latest changes that other team members have published.
Although the primary purpose of Worksets is to allow multiple team members working on the same project file without any conflict, as mentioned above, we can take advantage of the feature to maximise efficiency and productivity.
1. Controlling Model Elements Visibility
Worksets can be turned on or off, effectively showing or hiding all elements that belong to the model. This differs from the usual way of hiding elements, as it is a quick way to do so across an entire model, instead of view by view, which is the more common, but vastly slower method.
We must also understand that this method of graphical presentation is more or less an exploit of Worksets. One should not heavily depend on this if they want to hide or show certain elements on the drawings. There are more effective and thorough methods for that. Overuse of this feature can cause confusion amongst teams and slow them down if not careful. So use with caution.
2. Controlling Model Elements to be brought in from linked files
If the linked model is also a worksharing project and has elements assigned to appropriate Worksets, we can choose which elements to bring in and which to not. Unlike turning off visibility for elements in linked files, this option actually prevents model elements in linked files from entering the host model.
3. The difference between manipulating elements on Worksets over normal methods
In some ways, Worksets acts in a similar way to a group, by pulling different elements together into one common control platform. For those of you that know BIM, you will know that the overuse of groups is not recommended. Therefore, this gives us another route.
Generally, element manipulation in Revit, such as hiding, works by element category (eg: door, window, etc.) With Worksets, you could have multiple different types of elements on one common control platform which allows you to quickly manage the mix. There are many other ways of doing this, such as phasing, options, perimeter filters, etc., but Worksets is a great option because of its speed and adaptability. If the project is not large and you have not had to split the model into external walls, internal walls etc. then Worksets will help manage that within the one file.
File size is probably one of the most important considerations when working in BIM. Being able to open and navigate larger projects quickly is invaluable to delivering projects under tight deadlines, which BSBG has an exceptional reputation for. A couple of the advantages of Worksets from a productivity/time saving perspective are highlighted below:
1. Globally closed Worksets
If a team member is modelling the façade, they only need to open relevant Worksets without having to load everything in. This improves PC performance, and enables the team member to be more productive; not to mention making the modelling process more enjoyable.
Linked models should be placed into appropriate Worksets to allow a local user to turn them off. This has the same effect as unloading the link, but it only happens locally and not take ownership of the linked files as you would see with the ‘Unload’ action.
2. Model Opening time
One of the most common and perhaps most practical benefits of Worksets is exhibited during the period when we open the model.
Most projects generally host lots of linked files, DWG floor plans, structure models, MEP, FP, Landscape, ID, the list goes on… When you open a Revit model, it will try to locate and load all the files that are linked to it. Also, while doing so, in accessing the central file other team members may receive a warning preventing them from performing certain actions.
By having unnecessary Worksets closed when opening a project (this term refers to the act of creating a local file from a central file), you can drastically speed up the opening process.
For instance, if you need to elaborate on 3D details on a façade, you don’t need to see the stairs, you certainly don’t need to see all the internal walls and shop unit partitions, and you don’t need to coordinate any MEP. You can proceed to open the model with only Worksets for the external envelope, the landscape and the levels/grids. After 20 seconds, the model will open, you can navigate to the 3D view and begin your day’s work. From experience, if this option is overlooked and all Worksets are left on, it can take upwards of four minutes before work can begin. 20 seconds against four minutes.
By choosing appropriate Worksets before opening a Revit file, the time savings over the course of a month can be tremendous. Currently, the BSBG office in Vietnam has 14 team members who work on Revit projects. Povided they open Revit files in the morning of each day with the appropriate Worksets selected as per their assignment, the office would saved 3,080 seconds of waiting time each day, this equates to 15,400 seconds per week and 61,600 seconds for an entire month. That’s over 17 working hours each month that can be put to good use rather than waiting for project files to load.
Worksets can catch team members out in certain scenarios. If you are regularly using Worksets, make sure your team members are fully trained in being able to utilise them. It is safe to say that experience in using Worksets is not all that common, as in terms of Revit, it is a technique used by those with more advanced experience.
Worksets needs strict management. The team needs to ensure they are assigning elements and linked models correctly, otherwise the strategy you have put in place will fall down. This is such an easy one for team members to lose sight or diligence on.
BSBG implements Worksets on all projects, because of the advantages the correct implementation can offer.
You can find out more about the group’s workflow in BIM by clicking here.
Blog written in collaboration with Lead Architectural Technologist, Mark Vaughan.