Man…I can’t tell you how happy and honored I was to find out one of my labs at Autodesk University 2016 (au.autodesk.com) finished in a two way tie for top speaker. The lab, Perfecting the System for Revit, included my first ever perfect score in one category, with an overall rating of 4.79 out of 5, based on a minimum number of responses. The class tied with another lab taught by one of my good friends, Mike Massey from Applied Solutions. This was Mike’s first win, and well deserved. He’s taught at AU for many years, and now that I’m out of the Autodesk reseller channel, has been the guy in the Southeast US that I’ve been referring people to for years. He provides the same service I used to – training, consulting and program optimization, and came up through the Building Design solutions ranks the same time I did. He was one of the first MEP Implementation Certified Experts, a title we both received at the same time when Revit MEP was first getting its feet wet.
It’s a tough job to win one of these awards, but the real effort goes into the prep and planning for the class. The lab this year was the first time I taught three sets of discipline tools – duct, pipe and electrical circuiting – concurrently in a lab. We went through each of the keys areas, focusing on the similarities and differences. The course would up with five – yes, five – handouts, including an overall document that explained the features; three separate lab exercise documents for each track; and an overall tips and tricks document that featured key takeaways.
But I think what made the difference was fixing one of the things about labs that drove me nuts – and almost got me to where I didn’t want to teach them anymore. For years, we had problems with datasets in the labs – the wrong files, users not be able to locate the files, as well not understanding the software well enough to know the difference between the applications (yes, I had users a few years ago open AutoCAD MEP in a Revit MEP lab before). We also had users that could not keep up due to the lack of familiarity with the software.
To make it easier, it started with Autodesk using a web-based version of Revit for the labs this year. This made the files open quickly, and kept local users from editing items like the interface and location of palettes, etc. Another key step was having the lab datasets stored by lab location and day of the lab, which helped us locate the files easily. But I think what made the biggest difference came from my lab assistants – Matt Dillon, Matt Stachoni, and Ron Onderko – who went around and opened Revit 2017, opened the dataset project files (2) and made sure they were all already open to the view we needed to start in. When the student came into the lab, everything was ready to go, allowing us to focus on the lesson, rather than waiting for everyone to get where they needed to be. Even a few of the early arrivals pitched in and helped the lab rats get everything open and ready – for that, I can’t thank you guys enough.
The course included learning how to use Revit software systems help us to define the MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) design in several ways, but the main purpose is to understand the relationships between system equipment, such as air terminals to air handling units, or from light fixture to panel. We taught the users comprehensive steps needed for controlling project system settings, and then demonstrated how to capitalize on (or disable) sizing and analysis tools related to the system. We also covered creating the target-source relationship between parts, and then how to use the systems to improve the quality of documentation. Included were project files based on a project template that already defines everything in the class, so the user could take advantage of these topics right away. The class covered HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning), piping, and electrical items.
AU is already over, but if you want the handouts or datasets for the lab, let me know and I’ll send you a link.
And for all the folks that came in, spent 90 minutes and walked away with a fresh perspective, or learned something new, and showed your appreciation – I can’t thank you enough. We’ll see you again next year!