Power up your BIM game with PDFs and spreadsheets?!

YES! These 2 file types usually do not come to mind but they can tap into your BIM model and provide new insight. Revit tends to be used as a 2D documentation tool creating static flat PDFs for deliverables.  


 The extracting of Revit model data into excel spreadsheets and creating meta-data enriched PDF’s with the aid of Bluebeam’s PDF Revit add-on can really powerup your BIM game.


Excel = boring. Yeah, that can be the first thought that comes to mind but Excel allows you to process your data and should be viewed as a powerful tool in your arsenal. Current versions of Excel provide pivot tables, active infographics, maps, a store of add-ons, and imports your data from file formats that can be exported from almost anything. This B.I. (business information) type access of data allows you to drill down and get your finger on the pulse quickly. 

PDF'S - Portable Document Format

PDF files can be smarter than you think. The PDF software - Bluebeam Revu – takes PDFs to a whole new level when used for exporting content out of Revit and processing results with its editor. Navigable 3D models complete with Revit meta data (layers, Revit ID’s, quantitative data, full properties), digital dashboards, exportable .CVS and HTML reports, and automation/vector work can really extend your workflow. PDF’s should be an extension of your Revit model not just a static capture of production information.

CASESTUDY - Visualizing BIM data on a floor plan 


Revit -> Bluebeam Revu & Dynamo -> Excel -> Powermaps


The Revit model floor plan is exported to a PDF complete with room location data thanks to the Bluebeam PDF Revit addon. Through Bluebeam’s summary markup the X,Y space locations can be extracted to a .CSV file and replotted to the scaled .JPG floor plan (also exported through Bluebeam). X,Y’s are also generated for any vector markups created in Bluebeam to create unique locations.

After opening the .CSV in excel and some light data prep, a custom ‘map’ can now be created with the Powermaps Excel plugin. Bluebeam data can then be combined with other BIM model data extracted from the Revit model through the visual programming Revit add-on Dynamo and other dataset’s like estimating value schedules, construction administration logging, etc.

Visualizing BIM data like volumes, count, areas, cost, construction conflict’s (RFI), personnel activity paths, tracking metrics, occupancy loads, contents  makeup, and more are all in capable through this powerful BI workflow. Past performance can be reviewed against current, current reviewed against assumptions, assumptions against real time data, etc.

With this new active dashboard, a quick visual digestion of large quantities of information can be made and better informed decisions will result - you are now powering up your BIM game.


Myles M Martin AIA LEED AP
Follow me on Twitter @M3arch
Meetup with me monthly at the 'New Orleans area Revit User Group' (http://www.meetup.com/nolaRUG/)

Myles M. Martin


As a LEED-certified Architect, Myles has been a member of the Rozas Ward team for seven years. He attended LSU University for architecture school and worked for several architecture firms after college. He even worked as a contractor to learn the materials and details first-hand. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Myles returned, putting his skills to work to help rebuild the city.

Committed to keeping Rozas Ward at the forefront of technology, Myles launched the local NOLA Revit user group focusing on BIM software used at the firm. He’s a versatile, hands-on professional who enjoys engaging others and applying his skills and technology to any project, of any size, in any industry.

Myles knew he wanted to be an architect from the time he was creating structures out of Legos as a child. He sees every project as a new challenge and doesn’t ever anticipate getting bored.

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Myles M. Martin