We've recently been thinking about the 'golden rules' for success, and there was one which came to the top of the list. If you only have 10 seconds to read this blog then take this one point above all else: -
"Use Search Sets for everything you do in Navisworks"
There are of course places where Selection Sets come in useful but this blog is basically a personal plea about why you might want to use Search Sets instead.
Selection Sets are created whenever you select some items and save them to a set, or search for some items then save the selected items to create a static selection for later use. These will be based on some unique character about the items that are selected, a GUID, an Element ID, an Entity Handle, or a name, the geometry or some other property depending on what is available in that file format.
Now for most things you do these will work and be fine, you've selected something, it's not changed, it's still selected. The problems only start occurring when the model changes, sometimes this is deliberate as new revisions of a model are used, other times this can be unexpected, a few reasons this may happen are: -
- Unique ID changing - e.g. A wall changes type or shape
- File names changed - e.g. Files are given a name which incorporates a version or date
- Versioning changes - i.e. after software upgrades or service packs installed in the original CAD application or Navisworks
- Part of a file recreated – e.g. You delete an item and redraw it in a new location
In a real world project though, model data changes, update revisions will be sent through, you or your contractors will upgrade and update your software, so the best way to make the project 'future proofed' against having to manually update Selection Sets with each upgrade is to use Search Sets. A Search set is dynamic; if a new object is introduced to the model and it meets the criteria of the search then it is included in the set, there is no need to manually add it.
It's easy to create a simple search on something that will remain the same for the duration of the project; this may be a manually added ID, a material, an Item or Element Name, a measurement or a phase name from Revit. We'll cover more complex searches in a future blog. You may want to search for an entire System Type/Name; this then gets all of the elements in that system, regardless of updates. When you load a file into Navisworks the list of possible properties will be made available in the drop downs.
Remember to switch off 'Match Case' if the item is likely to be a manually inputted ID or you aren't sure if upper or lower case is used in each item.
The Sets window allows you to save the search as a Search Set with one click; this will keep your set dynamic and up to date with any changes in the model.
You can use the Duplicate button to create a similar search based on another search set, for example if you want to duplicate a search set looking for items on Level 1, select the search set, press duplicate, change the search to Level 2 in Find Items then right click and Update the set.
Search Sets can then be used almost anywhere in Navisworks: -
- To use in the Appearance Profiler to shade the model appropriately, e.g. all "Supply Air System" orange, all ceilings semi transparent
- To create Clash Tests, e.g. All Level 3 Ducts versus all Level 3 steelwork.
- To attach to tasks in Timeliner when creating simulations, e.g. all Level 2 columns attached to the Level 2 Columns task. This is incredibly powerful when you start creating folder structures and using 'Auto-Add tasks' to create a Work Breakdown structure, let us know if you'd like to hear more about this.
There is still a place for creating Selection Sets over Search Sets for quick review, quickly hiding items, when using conceptual geometry with little property information, creating quick concept simulations and proof of concept work, but for any 'real world' work I'd suggest Search Sets should be the way you look to run projects in the future.
Using Import and Export Sets these Searches can be used between projects. A few hours of work can save weeks of setting up each project in the future.
We'd love to know what 'golden rules' you have that you can't live without. Email us or leave a comment with your favorite ones and we'll turn the best into blogs