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Improved data from DGNs from AECOsim into Navisworks

Navisworks has long been a place to aggregate models and data into one place for advanced design review and clash detection. One of the key ways to get value from Navisworks is ensuring as many object properties are included in the model as possible. This blog explains the process to include additional properties from Bentley AECOsim in Navisworks.

Navisworks supports Bentley AECOsim .DGN file format. Not all the AECOsim properties are available through the standard translation, by using DataTools you can link the metadata to the model.

First export the model from Bentley AECOsim as an NWC or import it into Navisworks

Bentley AECOsim Structural and Architectural model elements

Modify the Options located in the Menu Browser > Options > Model > Performance > Collapse on Convert, set to None.

Improved data from DGNs from AECOsim into Navisworks

Note: If you do not do this you will have multiple Element ID’s.

Bentley AECOsim Mechanical, Hydraulic and Electrical

Modify the Options located in the Menu Browser > Options > Model > Performance > Collapse on Convert > Select All Objects.

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-01-26/2dc4f674-6e78-4712-88b3-7242dd9cf25a.png

Import the property data using Datatools and ODBC drivers

In this blog about Navisworks DataTools should help you understand the feature. The following example applies it to a project where our client had multiple AECOsim models that needed to be appended into Navisworks and retain metadata.

Export model properties from Bentley AECOsim

  1. Click on the Building Designer > DataGroup – Building Components > Open Data Group Explorer…
  2. In the DataGroup Explorer select the Export drop down list and select Export All Instances to Excel.

    image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-01-26/772128c2-0871-4494-8293-9eea09ce9327.png

    Once exporting has completed the Excel file will be created.

  3. Open Navisworks Manage, Append the model.
  4. Run DataTools, the DataTools dialog box will appear.
  5. Create a new DataTools Link, the Edit Link will appear.
  6. As per the image below:
    1. Set up the Connection, click on Setup and follow the prompts.
    2. Input the appropriate SQL string. In this case Select the Walls Table where we are looking at Element ID as the key.
    3. To add the fields, double click on the right pane. Type in the name of the Excel Field name and required Display Name.
  7. Once completed click ok, and make sure that the DataTools Link is checked.

Bentley AECOsim properties Autodesk Navisworks DataTools

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-01-26/945b8691-5cb3-47e3-8a20-c399a1e710e8.png

To get this information into BIM 360 Glue you can save the file as an NWD and simply upload to BIM 360 Glue. You can automate the process of loading these file and saving NWD’s by using the Batch Utility to run this process overnight, then upload the file in the morning. This same process can work to get other data into Navisworks associated with a file.

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