RFA-RVT Add-On FAQ

RFA & RVT GEOMETRY EXCHANGE ADD-ON FAQs 

Frequently Asked Questions about the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on.

 

General

Q: What is the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on?

A: The RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on is a basic solution to provide ARCHICAD users with a final resort to get access to 3D model information from Revit™ projects, in case quality IFC data is not possible to get.

 

Q: Why has BIM6x developed this solution?

A: In certain regions — North America in particular — engineering consultants predominantly use Revit™ products and architects using ARCHICAD often find themselves in a situation where they are not in control over data protocol for multidisciplinary coordination or library part availability. BIM6x wants to cater for its customer‘s needs therefore we decided to provide purpose made workflows to salvage this situation and fulfil our customer‘s business critical needs.

 

Q: What workflows does the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on support?

A: Model Referencing (hotlinking) 3D model geometry from .RVT project files and Importing 3D geometry from .RFA object files.

 

Q: What are the major differences between linking RVT and IFC files?

A: IFC is a better format if you need more intelligence. Using the IFC format for data transfer you can create native ARCHICAD elements (e.g. wall, slab, grid etc.) from a Revit™ element by keeping several properties intact. The RVT interface imports geometry information which is very limited for post processing in the ARCHICAD project – with primary purpose being on coordination.

Features that IFC can provide over the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on:

  • Conversion to real parametric BIM elements
  • Place associative dimensions on the linked elements
  • Carry profile or composite information of a structure
  • Carry non-element information (project hierarchy, element assignments etc.)
  • Filter the model content during the import process
  • Use the survey point data
  • Create native GRID elements

 

Q: Does the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on compete with or set back OpenBIM or the drive for IFC?

A: OpenBIM is about being open. The RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on extends ARCHICAD's ability to collaborate with Revit™ users and solutions. It is not intended to compete with IFC any more than DWG/DXF or Sketchup™ compatibility does. IFC is still the route we encourage users to take if they need full model exchange between any other software.

 

Q: Which file format is suggested to work with a Revit™ consultant?

A: Use IFC whenever it’s possible. Both ARCHICAD and Revit™ has certified IFC reading and writing capability. Use the .RVT import feature of ARCHICAD only if you don’t have access to an IFC file.

 

Q: Is ARCHICAD capable of understanding the complete Revit™ file?

A: No. ARCHICAD can interpret only the 3D geometry and the related properties of the .RVT file. It cannot interpret e.g. the family structure, the constraints, the annotations, project documentation and many other project related data.

 

Q: How can I exchange 2D drawing information with consultants using Revit™?

A: Please use standard 2D formats (PDF, DWG) for exchanging 2D drawing information with Revit™ users.

 

Q: Can I join a Revit™ teamwork project with ARCHICAD as a read only client, using the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on?

A: No, this is not possible with the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on.

 

Q: Does the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on need to be installed in order to open the ARCHICAD file containing the hotlinked RVT files? 

A: The elements will still be in ARCHICAD, but they will not be able to be updated - as the source will be considered as missing. This is similar to when you lose the original file of other hotlink types (or path of the original changes). The model elements is will stay intact in the PLA/PLN.

 

Q: Will the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on replace the IFC format?

A: No. BuildingSMART’s mission is to define, promote and publish specifications for the open source standards (ie. IFC, BCF, etc) as a basis for information sharing through the project life cycle, globally, across all disciplines and technical applications. These goals cannot be achieved with the .rvt format today or in the future because the primary goal of the .rvt format is to support the data handling of one specific application, while the goal of the IFC format is to be a data platform for many applications.

 

Q: Will the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on slow down the worldwide adoption of the IFC format or OPEN BIM?

A: No. The worldwide adoption of the IFC format already reached the point of no return because several countries or regions selected this as their main data format and many others are planning to do so. Their decision is not influenced by tactical questions (like how many software vendors support a certain format) because they need a strategic solution that can cover the whole building industry and can be accessed by anybody. There is no alternative for this purpose.

 

Q: Where can I find RFA content to import into ARCHICAD 21?

A: There are plenty of resources available online to access RFA content. To start with we recommend checking out www.bimobject.com

 

Q: Where can I find RVT content to test with the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on?

A: Autodesk provide example RVT files that we recommend for testing.

 

Q: Where can I report issues or feature requests?

A: BIM6x is committed to ensuring it works well for you so please email us at support@bim6x.com with any questions, comments, or suggestions! 

 

Q: How will I know when an update to this add-on is released.

A: BIM6x will post updates on our Twitter and Facebook accounts. We will also blog about it and send out a notification to all of our Newsletter Subscribers. Please subscribe to all our channels if you haven't already!

 

Installation

 

Q: How do install the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on?

A: Download the zip file from the BIM Store. Unzip the file by double clicking on it. You will need to quit out of all instances of ARCHICAD 21. Then run the installer and follow the prompts. ARCHICAD 21 will now have the add-on installed.

*PLEASE NOTE* If you helped in the beta test for this add-on, you will need to run the uninstaller for all previous beta versions of the add-on prior to installing the final version.

 

Q: Can I install the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on in ARCHICAD 20 or an earlier version?

A: No it is only for ARCHICAD 21. Please contact your local sales representative to upgrade to ARCHICAD 21!

 

Q: Can I install this add-on in any localization of ARCHICAD?

A: Yes, the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on is compatible with any localization (and build) of ARCHICAD 21, although the Add-on will remain in English.

 

Q: Where do I find the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on functions?

A: Check the Add-On Manager under the Options menu. Find RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange in the list of Available Add-Ons and view the Add-On Info. 

 

 

By default the add-on will be available in:

  • File> Libraries and Objects> Import RFA as GDL Object...
  • File> Interoperability> RVT Export> Export as RVT Geometry... (in the 3D window only)
  • File> External Content> Place Hotlink Module...> Select Module...> New Module... from File (change Files of type: to RVT file (*.rvt))
 

Q: Does the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on come with detailed instructions?

A: Yes! You will find the help guide at Help> PDF Guides> RFA and RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on for AC21. You can also download it here

 

Q: Can I create keyboard shortcuts or toolbar button from the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on commands?

A: Sure! Create a new Toolbar then from the List select All commands by theme. Expand 17 Add-Ons > RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange. Select the two commands and hit the >>Add selected>> button to add them to your Toolbar. In ARCHICAD 21 right click in your toolbar and select the toolbar from the context menu. Position as desired. Don't forget to redefine your Command Layout Scheme & Workspace Scheme in your Work Environment.

 

 

Q: I don't see the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on commands in my menus, where are they?

A: If you have a customized Work Environment, ARCHICAD will not be able to find where to place the commands. In this case you will need to manually add them. Similar to the previous FAQ, you will need to expand 17 Add-Ons > RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange. Select the command(s) and hit the >>Add selected>> button to add them to your relevant place in your menu. By default these locations are File> Libraries and Object> Import RFA as GDL Object... and File> Interoperability> RVT Export> Export as RVT 3D Geometry.

 

 

Q: What happens if I uninstall the Add-on?

A: If the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on is uninstalled, the existing model geometry, hotlinks and associated attributes will remain in the project but will become uneditable. 

 

Import RFA as GDL Object

 

Q: What RFA version can we import?

A: Currently the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on can import to RFA file versions 2011-2018.

 

Q: What type of GDL Objects can be created with RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on?

A: Objects, Doors and Windows can be created. These will be determined as best match depending on what Categories they were assigned in Revit™

 

Q: What does the Segmentation of Curved Geometry Settings do?

A: This setting affects the number of faces in curved elements. There are three settings. We recommend keeping the middle setting as a standard. But if you find your element too simple or too complex, then use one of the other settings.

 

Q: Nothing happens when I import the RFA as an object. Where is it?

A: The RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on doesn't place the object (mostly because of doors and windows), but it will become the default object/door/window. So activate the relevant tool and place the element as usual.

 

Q: Which library do the GDL objects become part of?

A: The converted objects will belong to your Embedded library. To use in other projects, export the library parts out of your Embedded Library using the Library Manager.

 

Q: What determines the insertion point of the object?

A: The insertion point is the first coded hotspot in the object. This is usually in the bottom left corner, in plan view.

 

Q: My object comes in upside down or perpendicular to the floor plane. How can I rotate it?

A: Some objects may come in at odd angles depending on how the RFA was saved. To rotate it, select the object and Edit the settings. Under the Custom Settings panel there will be a Rotation Angle (x axis) parameter. There you can change the rotation angle to 0/90/180/270 degrees or set a custom angle.

 

 

Q: Why does the object look complex in plan?

A: The floor plan appearance of the imported object will be automatically generated from the 3d top view projection of the RFA elements, not a symbolic view that is coded separately like objects that have been created using GDL. The only way to simplify the appearance would be to re-code it using GDL.

 

Q: Why are the Parameters greyed out?

A: Converted objects are not parametric. The parameters provided with each part can be used for labeling and scheduling.

 

Hotlink RVT 3D Geometry

 

Q: What RVT version can we hotlink?

A: Currently the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on can hotlink RVT versions 2011-2018.

 

Q: Why can't I see the whole model?

A: Most likely the stories in the ARCHICAD project do not match the levels (set as Building Stories) in Revit™. ARCHICAD 21 does not create stories when placing any type of hotlinked modules. You will need to create these before or after the hotlink is placed. Specifically the number of stories need to match, not the names or heights. Once the number of stories are the same you should see the entire model. This is indicated in the Match Stories dialog.

 

 

Q: Why can I not see my model after hotlinking it into my ARCHICAD Project and matching the stories correctly?

A: By default, all imported layers will not be visible until the user turns them on in the Layer Settings dialog box.

 

Q: Why do the elements of my hotlinked RVT file have no solidity?

A: The hotlinked RVT file is converted to library parts, which have only faces. So the elements will appear hollow.

 

Q: Why do the building materials of the hotlinked elements all use Air Space for the cut fill?

A: The Air Space fill is simply a placeholder. All elements come in as library parts, which are hollow, so no fill is utilized.

 

Q: Why do the building materials of the hotlinked elements all have an Intersection Priority of 0?

A: All elements come in as library parts, which are hollow, so no intersection priority is utilized.

 

Q: Why don't the surfaces have any textures applied to them?

A: The RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on currently does not support textures.

 

Q: Which library do the GDL objects become part of?

A: The converted objects will belong to your Embedded library. To use in other projects, export the library parts out of your Embedded Library using the Library Manager.

 

Q: Why can't I edit or update my module? The OK button is greyed out.

A: This is simply because it is hotlinked. Like any hotlinked module you are unable to edit it unless you break the link or explode the module.

 

Export as RVT 3D Geometry

 

Q: What Revit™ version can we export to?

A: Currently the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on can only export to Revit™ 2017. These can be opened and upgraded in Revit™ 2018.

 

Q: How are ARCHICAD elements converted to Revit™ elements?

A: Currently the elements are converted to DirectShape interoperability elements, that use a fixed Category based on the ARCHICAD element type.

 

Q: Are ARCHICAD stories translated?

A: Currently the RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on does not convert ARCHICAD stories to Revit™ Levels.

 

Q: Can we use Publisher to save RVT files?

A: Currently, no. Only via File> Interoperability> RVT Export> Export as RVT Geometry... (in the 3D window only)

 

Q: How are ARCHICAD Properties and Classifications exported?

A: When exporting All Properties and Classifications, the Classifications will export as Properties, as Revit only have one fixed set of Classifications.

“Having used Revit and ARCHICAD extensively, I can without hesitation say that ARCHICAD is BIM for architects. The ease of workflow from pre-design to schematic design to construction documents makes it ideal. There are so many time saving features. The fact that I can collaborate globally with minimal setup and that I can create anything my imagination comes up with is a great benefit to my architectural practice.”

David Clayton, AIA – President, DEIV Architecture
Salt Lake City, UT
"Chris and Link have been an invaluable asset for my company. While ARCHICAD itself is an amazing tool, it's the support I get from BIM6x that brings it to life. I've managed a competitive edge over other firms because the guys have helped me automate a great deal of my production work and utilize the power of the software to all but eliminate errors and omissions. They're very accessible and their knowledge of the industry and software makes them indispensable to any firm that wants to utilize ARCHICAD to produce high quality projects with efficiency and accuracy. I absolutely recommend them; it's not a choice, they're essential."

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Jackson, WY