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Dynamo for Construction: 4D planning and site execution comparison

Hi everyone, in this post I'll try to explain a workflow to keep planning information updated within the model using Dynamo and an Excel Dashboard.

The idea

In Revit we have the possibility to create spaces/rooms (it depends if you're an Engineer or an Architect) and you can create schedule listing all the elements that are inside these enclosed areas. But what is you have an element like a duct that is running through multiple spaces? 

First option you can split this exactly on the separation line but this is time consuming and even now, you won't be able to schedule the space information. 
Second option is to split and manually apply a space share parameter: time consuming and not very useful. 
So my idea is to maintain the duct as it is and use Dynamo to calculate the list of spaces and fill the shared parameter automatically.
This is the script and, for now, I'm using the Mark parameter to fill this list of spaces but of course you will use a share parameter.
Script is very simple and I'm using a node from SteamNodes package to get surrounding element around my list for elements. Then I've a simple python script to concatenate the list of string (space names) and finally write this value into the Mark parameter. Easy!

This is the code for the custom python node for your reference.

And this is the final!
Dynamo script is not finished, there's a separate part that is related to Excel export. This is the final Dynamo workflow for the export phase and what you have in Excel after you Run the script
Revit and Dynamo part is finished and now is just a matter of Excel formulas to be able to have a nice dashboard and calculate if an element is constructed or not.

Excel Dashboard

The first input from Revit is already provided by the first phase and, in this second phase we have to link these information to planning information. 
Basically we have a list of space names with planned start and planned end and we can understand from this, if an element is:
  • Started
  • Not Started
  • Started and not finalized (running through multiple spaces)
  • Started and Finalized
If we consider out first piece route of duct this is actually starts in SP-001 and stops in SP-006; that means that installation starts on 08/01/2016 and ends on 03/01/2017.
How to catch the early installation start and the latest installation end is just a matter of VLOOKUP() in Excel.
With the same idea in Excel we can calculate if something is already started, not started, finalized or not finalized comparing the TODAY() formula with previous results.
Then why do not visualize with a nice pivot chart those information? Now we can understand that 69% of installation is already started and 50% of this is already finalized. Playing with Excel formulas we can also have a 3 weeks ahead view and so on.

Back to Revit

Now that we have all these information we can go back to Revit an fill some shared parameter based on the ID of elements. To make it easier I linked the information from the dashboard in a separate worksheet in order to read from Dynamo directly from here.
Dynamo script for this action is really simple and is basically reading from this worksheet and writing in the shared parameter; there's only one custom node in python to be able to select elements by the ID coming from excel.
And this is the code of the custom node

Nice and clean :) and after you run the script this will be the result
Now we can play with filter and colors in views and arrange the appearance of information in Revit style!

This workflow can open the way to many different solutions for construction, not only for MEP. As much information you want as much you can also use these information in other software like Navisworks, to present installation progress and understand if a new requesting for coordination will affect site as well.


Hope you enjoy this workflow and, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any suggestion or request.


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  2. I have a questions tho?
    In your calculations you refer to the "Start date" and "End date" folders? But you don't show what those folders contain and how its set up? How can we do the calculations, without that information?

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