Model Manager Series Part 4: Model Maintenance Weekly Tasks

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And now for the fun stuff – model maintenance! This is the main part of a Model Manager’s job and what they will spend most of their Model Management related hours focusing on. Once you go through these steps a few time, it will take less and less time because the model will be in a good place and you will have figured out the best way to complete the tasks properly and efficiently.

When performing any model maintenance the Model Manager must be the only person in the model. If others are in the model, then deleted elements that are cleaned up may appear back in the file once others sync to central, which defeats the purpose of cleaning the model. I recommend performing the steps below in a local file, just in case you need to close without saving. Because you will be the only person in the model, all changes you make will be directly reflected in the Central File.

General Steps

  1. Save an archived copy of the model
  2. Audit
  3. Save, close, and re-open new local
  4. Delete unnecessary views
  5. Save
  6. Review and resolve warnings
  7. Purge selectively
  8. Save-as and click “Compact,” creating a new central file in the process
  9. Audit again
  10. Save again

Archive

Frequency: Weekly and at major milestones
Time Required: 10-20 minutes

While the file server is automatically backed up regularly, it is important to manually create a record copy of your model as part of regular model maintenance. This serves a few purposes:

  • A file to go back to if your model has an unrecoverable crash
  • To copy/paste elements that might have gotten accidentally deleted
  • To “turn back time” in the event of having to back to a previous version for a variety of reasons

eTransmit is a quick and efficient way to package a model for archiving. With very few steps you can collect all the files associated with a model and zip them together. This keeps the files together in one location while also taking up less space on the server. eTransmit can only be used when you have Revit open but all files closed.

Audit

Frequency: Weekly
Time Required: 5 minutes

Auditing a Revit model scans, detects, and fixes corrupt elements in a model. You perform this task when you first open a model.  You will not receive any feedback on what elements have been changed, though. I personally have always had it work, and if a model crashes, you should always audit when reopening, along with detaching from central.

The window will pop up telling you that it will take a long time, but I’ve never noticed that it takes more than a few seconds extra.

Clean up views

Frequency: Weekly
Time Required: 5-15 minutes

Too many extra views in your model make project browser navigation difficult and eventually can slow down your model. A period purge of working views is a good way to help keep a neat and tidy model.

  • You should inform all team members that you will be regularly deleting unnamed views and views that do not have a view template assigned, so if they create a working view that they would like to keep, they need to rename it to something descriptive and assign a working view template to those views.
  • The following views should be deleted from the model regularly:
    • Sections (i.e. Section 1, Section 5, Section 128)
    • Elevations (i.e. Elevation 1 – a, Elevation 5 – c)
    • Plans with “Copy” on the end of the name
    • Callouts with “Callout X” at the end of the view name
    • Schedules with the word “Copy” in the name

Review and resolve warnings

Frequency: Weekly/as needed
Time Required: 5-30 minutes

Every Revit model will have some warnings and some can be ignored (the general price of working in Revit) but many can cause issues with speed, stability and accuracy. To reduce their impact on your model they should be periodically reviewed and resolved where possible. You should export the warnings to make it easier to review them. The warnings are exported as an html file that can be opened in any internet browser.

There are two tools in Revit to help you locate elements based on their ID numbers – “IDs of Selection” and “Select by ID.” You can copy/paste the ID numbers from the exported error report into the “Select by ID” dialog box.

The “Selection Box” will crop your default 3D view around whatever element(s) you have selected and open that view. The tool is only active when element or elements is selected.

Purge Unused

Frequency: Weekly
Time Required: 5-15 minutes

The Purge Command is used to remove unused families, CAD imports, images and other objects from the project to improve performance and reduce file size. The tool will not allow you to purge objects that are used in the model or that have dependencies. Note that you cannot purge unused Line Styles from here. They must be purged manually from the Line Styles menu.

Compact

Frequency: Weekly
Time Required: 5 minutes

Compacting your file reduces the file size and increases the speed of the file while editing. During a normal save, Revit only writes new and changed elements to the central model. This can cause your file to become large, but it increases the speed of the save operation. The compacting process rewrites the entire file and removes obsolete parts, which in turn reduces the size of the file.

To refresh your central model and compact at the same time, do a save-as of your local file and turn it into the new central. This will write over your old central, clearing out old backups and compacting the file. I also recommend reducing the number of automatic backups down from the default 20 to 5 or fewer.

Refresh the Central Model File

Frequency: Weekly
Time Required: 5-15 minutes

It is good practice to “refresh” the central file regularly to clean out any extra baggage that might be in the file. This will happen as part of the process of the maintenance being performed above.

Stay tuned next week for the next installment in this series, Part 5: Model Maintenance – As Required Tasks.

Happy Reviteering!

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