Monday, August 6, 2018

The Revit Saver's Haitus, The Inception of Harvey's Engineering, and Our Leica Geosystems Partnership!

The Revit Saver's Hiatus

As many of you may have noticed I've been on a hiatus since November 20th, 2017. I've posted a few items here and there, but for the most part, I've been gone.

The reason for this hiatus has been a cumulation of a lot of things. It all began with finishing the last semester of my graduate school. I graduated in December 2017 with my Master of Architecture from Montana State University and have been working 40-60 hour weeks since. I've been playing a gradual game of catchup at work due to my final semester of graduate school being so rigorous. I was asked to teach a course DDSN 299: Portfolio Capstone at Gallatin College, our local community college this Spring Semester, that was in direct relation to the culmination of my thesis work. I gladly accepted the offer and had a great class with lots of excellent portfolios as an end result.

My wife and I welcomed our son Brayden into the world on March 7th, 2018. He is a wonderful, smart, happy, and healthy baby and I look forward to peaking his interest in the A.E.C. industry as he gets older!

The Inception of Harvey's Engineering

While getting acclimated to our new schedule and keeping our newborn son happy, I began working on rebranding our company at Harvey's Plumbing & Heating, under the direct supervision of our owner, to "Harvey's". Part of this transition included evolving our Design Division into the Engineering Division by hiring our Professional Engineer Ryan Sullivan, redesigning truck wraps, t-shirts, long sleeves, polos, sweaters, and tailoring a massive website upgrade. Amongst all the changes a new logo for our company was born:
While rebranding our company we were interviewed and published in Western Home Journal on our design to fabrication processes. You can read the article here. The article explains a lot about our process and why we stand behind the vision at Harvey's.
Follow Us On LinkedIn

Our Leica Geosystems Partnership

Warehouse Laser Scanning to Revit Fabrication

Some of the videos and posts that peaked Leica's interest are below: 

Through several LinkedIn posts about what we've been up to at Harvey's, Leica Geosystems reached out to me and asked me to present our process at Hexagon Live in Las Vegas in June as a partner! I gladly accepted the offer and presented Scan It! Fab It! Install It! I also participated in a roundtable discussion that focused on key players in the industry that are changing the industry in a monumental way. The feedback received was so widely approved I decided to submit the same presentation to AIA Montana and have been accepted to present that in September. I've been practicing the presentation and adapting it to be current to what we've been up to at Harvey's and overall people have been very responsive and interested.

Leica came out, on their dollar as our partner, at the end of July and filmed our process and company. We haven't received the video yet, but we look forward to sharing it as soon as we get it. It will be available in a few months is what we've been told! Below are the interviews I've had at Hexagon that explain our vision and what we do at Harvey's.

As you can see I've been busy, but the time has come for more posts and to keep you all up to speed! I appreciate your patience with me as it's been rough for several months! I look forward to the future now that I can breathe again! If you're attending BILTNA in St. Louis this week please stop me in the halls and say hello!


I had the pleasure of speaking with Bill Debevc, Carol Hagen, and Carl Storms a few weeks ago on Blueprints.Rip podcast! Check the show out below and list on their website! Thank you again Bill, Carol, and Carl!

Show Description:

In this episode, the BluePrints crew learns about high-end residential scanning workflows using the Leica BLK 360, Bluebeam Revu and Microsoft Teams from Brian Nickel of Harvey’s Engineering in Bozeman Montana. We also all take a looking into the future of AR for an AEC workflow, and what we can learn from current Oil & Gas workflows and technologies.
Audio Player
Show Notes:

  • Episode Hashtag: #GreenPrints
  • Quote of the Episode:
    • “All eyes in the field”
  • Bozeman, Montana
  • “No Contest” Slide

Listen to the podcast here:

See you at BILTNA 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri!

BILT North America begins this Thursday in St. Louis, Missouri!

I'm excited to be attending! I will be leaving on Wednesday afternoon and look forward to participating in the Building Content Summit and BILTNA events this week Thursday through Saturday!

I look forward to seeing you there! If you read the blog stop me and say hello! I always enjoy talking to people that are a part of the community. I look forward to making new friends and enjoying time with the community this year in St. Louis!

Monday, July 30, 2018

BLK360 Firmware Updates

Stay on top of your BLK360 Firmware Updates. They're important for the overall integrity of the scanner for in-field scanning and transferring data back to your office computer. Below are a few links to the firmware updates and instructions on how to install them accordingly.

Firmware Updates


Monday, November 20, 2017

Leica BLK360 for Revit MEP Design to Fabrication - Part 2 Plumbing Design

Leica BLK360 for Revit MEP Design to Fabrication - Part 2 Plumbing Design

I've decided to convert this three-part series of posts into a four-part series. Part 3 will be HVAC design focused on the coordination of plumbing and HVAC in the duplex condominium units. Part 4 will be the overall documentation of images of the finished installation.

The following will focus primarily on the plumbing design of the condominium project. The series images below consist of the completed plumbing Revit design. All items used are Revit fabrication parts for a complete plumbing design. (We will be adding hold-rite hanger brackets and additional copper stub out detailing as we progress forward with the design.)

Crawl Space Laser Scan:

Our initial setup utilized a series (four) of Milwaukee lights that illuminated the finished crawl space for us. Then we proceeded to move throughout the crawl space in a grid-like fashion. Once completed the scan we post-processed by registering and indexing the scans in our office. We then aligned them to the original set of laser scans that we had loaded from the previous post. Below is a video of the completed laser scan with some of the plumbing fabrication parts included.

A Digital Plumbing Construction for Future Fabrication:

The images below of the laser scan and coordinated Revit fabrication parts are for a final deliverable for our fabrication team and plumbers. The cut lengths are accurate and the quantity of plumbing fittings is detailed out for accurate estimation and ordering. All have been established through a series of excel spreadsheets that are fueled by the Revit schedules and assemblies.
View the completed model and fabrication sheets here (click the link below):

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Leica BLK360 for Revit MEP Design to Fabrication - Part 1 Initial Scanning

Condominium Duplex in Bozeman, Montana - SQ FT. ~4,000SF
Total Scanning Time: ~1 Hour and 45 Minutes
Total Transferring/Registration/Index Time: ~1 Hour and 30 Minutes
I'm posting this primarily for others that are in the market for one of these scanners, who are looking for feedback/information from someone that is not trying to sell one of these units, and for people who are interested in how our firm is effectively utilizing it. This post will be a three-part series. The second post will follow with coordination of the plumbing and heating system in Revit and the final post will have a follow-up with images of the installed system.
Videos of Finished Product:
ReCap Point Cloud:

Revit Point Cloud:

Harvey's Plumbing & Heating has recently invested in a BLK360 scanner for MEP design coordination. In the past, our field technicians would report various dimensions and pictures from the field to our internal design department. This was how as-built conditions were reported to the office and it was not fail-safe or entirely accurate. This is now a thing of the past thanks to the scanner.
One of the most challenging situations we had was getting all the necessary dimensions, without human error or simply forgetting a dimension, to the office. The stud locations all vary because they're not always installed exactly as the drawings show. Framing is generally never drawn and always varies from stud to stud. Beams and other variables aren't always in plan documentation. Our intent with the scanner is to superimpose the point cloud to the plan set, and this will ensure all our fabrication drawings are accurate and increase the efficiency and installation times.
This has now been alleviated with the BLK360. We are able to scan quickly ~3.5 minutes per scan, transfer to a 10.5" iPad Pro, and then batch process and index scans in Autodesk ReCap Pro. This process is rather tedious in terms of initially understanding the most effective process, but ultimately effective through a series of recent firmware updates and software updates and field studies.
The best approach so far, when using the scanner, has been to follow this list:
1.) Map out a route on a floor plan initially that you intend to take and scan.
2.) Push the button on the unit, wait for the unit to scan, and then once the unit has turned green proceed to your next location. (Do not rely on the iPad in the field.)
3.) Make sure your location and path of travel are within eyesight of one another. i.e. if you're entering a room it's best practice to scan in a doorway first and then proceed into the room.
4.) When finished begin transferring all scans from the onboard wireless hot spot (included internally to the BLK360) to the iPad on your drive home from the site.
5.) Register and Index all scans on your office computer. All scans should be transferred (depending on the size of the building) by the time you get back to your office.
As an initial case study and for field practice, we decided to take one of our duplex condominiums (~4,000 square feet total). This series of units is replicated several times and allows us the max potential for effectively utilizing the scanner for as-built documentation and eventual plumbing/h.v.a.c. fabrication in Revit. The intent is that all documentation will be within the point cloud. It's also important to note that the scanner takes a 360 panorama in each room.
Here is the link to the entire scan set and field photos that are uploaded to A360:

Floor Plan

Zoomed in Stud Locations (Laundry Room)

Framing Models

Elevation of Point Cloud:
To be continued in a second post with all fabrication drawings and integrated design from Revit.
If you have any questions. Please don't hesitate to ask!
Brian Nickel
‪Design Manager

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Autodesk ReCap Pro for Mobile and BLK360 Firmware Update 09/25/2017

Several new enhancements have been made to the ReCap Pro for Mobile App. Go download it now! All these enhancements are recommended to run on the BLK360 Firmware 1.0.3 and on the newly released version of ios11. The firmware update is available here. The steps to install are included in the download.

Here is a list of the enhancements provided through the iPad app store: