What’s in a Report?

May 3rd, 2013

Coordination meetings are fun and exciting, and sometimes a little tedious, but they are meaningless if notes are not taken and distributed.  Autodesk® Navisworks® allows you to create a number of different reports to capture and distribute important meeting minutes for the entire team.

Which Clashes to Include

Multiple articles have been written in this magazine reviewing various best practices of the Clash Detective.  These practices really reveal their power when it comes to reporting. 

Open the Report tab in the Clash Detective.  This tab enumerates all the different options to customize your report.  Start on the right pane of the window.  The Include Clashes pane allows you to define which clashes you will include in your report. The drop-down options include Group Headers, Individual Clashes, and Everything.  

The Group Headers option will include only Clash Group information and information on clashes not associated with a group.  If you follow a practice in which your group clashes in groups, the group header information will only report on the Group level or the folder.  This information is very general and does not typically contain enough information to review the constructability issue identified. 

The next option is Individual Clashes. This selection will include every individual clash whether or not it is in a group. This option is very specific, but it does not distinguish clashes that are in a group against clashes that are out of a group. Everything will include both Group Header information and Individual Clash information.  Clashes in a group will be grouped together in the report.  Individual clashes will be listed separately in the report.

I suggest using the Everything option if you group information together to help you better find the constructability issue you are seeking.

Figure 1: Including Clashes

What’s in a Status?

Following multiple best practices already presented in previous articles, Status in the Clash Detective matters.  Every company should establish what each status means.  The Active, Approved, and Reviewed status can be defined by internal workflows.  The Resolved status is well established by Navisworks to mean that the two intersecting points of geometry no longer conflict with one another.  The New status is also established by Navisworks to mean that the Clash was found for the first time.  The reason New and Resolved should not be used to define a specific meaning in a company is because Navisworks automatically assigns these statuses and will overwrite any clash that meets Navisworks definition of these fields with the corresponding status.  What this means is that if you mark a clash as resolved that is not actually resolved (meaning that the two points of geometry are still intersecting) Navisworks will change the clash back to Active.

Good practice suggests that rather than fight Navisworks with Resolved and New status, you should use the remaining three codes to your advantage.  I suggest you have Active mean that the clash representing the constructability issue is still outstanding.  Any duplicate clashes should be marked as reviewed.  Any outstanding clashes that have been agreed to be worked out by some means in the field are marked as Approved.  By following a strict structure with codes you can easily generate meaningful reports to the whole team.

Regardless of your code structure, you can still customize which status codes you wish to include in your report.  If you follow the strategy I mentioned above, you would want to include New and Active clashes only.  You can customize which status you wish to include by checking the box next to the status in the Include Clashes panel on the Clash Detective Report tab.  You should never include resolved clashes unless you wish to generate a report displaying a problem that once existed but no longer exists.

Building Content

Your ability to select specific information to include in your report is customizable, thanks to the Content pane.  This pane allows you to select from multiple options to build a report that has the information you want to report on.

  • Summary gives information on how the slash test was run.  It gives the totals for the clash test, the tolerance used, and the type of test that was run.
  • Clash Point reports the XYZ coordinate of the clash point.
  • Date Found reports on the original date the clash was found.
  • Assigned to reports any assignments associated with a clash.
  • Date Approved reports the date when a status was changed to approved.
  • Approved by reports the name of the user that changed the status to approved.
  • Layer Name reports the name of the layer the object was on.
  • Item Path reports the selection hierarchy of both objects.
  • Item ID reports a unique ID given to the objects.
  • Status reports the status of the clash.
  • Distance reports the severity of the clash in terms of distance.
  • Description reports the type of clash used (Hard, Clearance, etc).
  • Comments report any comments or tags associated with the clash.
  • Quick properties reports all quick properties defined in the project for both items.
  • Image creates an image of the viewpoint associated with the clash.
  • Simulation Dates reports the time a clash happened if time based clashing is used.
  • Simulation Event reports the activity that is associated with geometry in conflict.
  • Clash Group reports group information associated with a clash.
  • Grid Location reports a grid location of the clash.

As you may have guessed, not all of this content is useful in all situations.  For example, if you have a project that uses only Autodesk® Revit®, the Layer information would always be blank.  I suggest using Summary, Clash Point, Date Found, Comments, Image, and Grid Location.  If you assign your clashes using the assign tool in the Clash Detective, you should also include that option. 

If you have very defined quick properties, that would be a good option to include.  Play with the different contents until you have the information you desire.

Do not be the guy who selects all the boxes and creates a very complicated report that has too much information for any to review.  Only use the information you need in order to further coordination efforts.

Figure 2: Report contents

How to Output the Information

The last pane is the Output Settings.  This exciting pane allows you to customize which Clash Test(s) you wish to export and the format in which you wish to display the results.

The Report Type drop-down has the following options: Current Test, All Tests Combined, and All Tests Separate.  Current test will only export the results of the clash test that is selected in the Clash Tests panel.  The All Tests Combined option will create one large report that contains the results of all clash tests grouped by clash test.  All Tests Separate will create a separate report for each clash test.

I recommend All Tests Combined as I am not a fan of having to deal with multiple files and I want all the results from all of my clash tests.  Earlier we selected which clashes to include based on their status and we selected the contents of those clashes we wanted to report on.  Because of this, our report is already distilled so separating it out into multiple small reports does not make sense.

Figure 3: Output Settings 

Choosing the Right Format

The last step to finishing your report masterpiece is to select a report format.  Navisworks allows you to report your results in xml, html, html tabular, text, and viewpoints.

xml is an export option as it allows you the most flexibility to display your results in other programs.  If one of your content options was Image, Navisworks will export a folder that has all the images that the xml file references.

Figure 4: Custom report from xml

The next report type is html. This report will include all the contents in an html document.  Like the xml file, images will be created in a separate folder associated with the html file.  This report can be viewed in any web browser.

Figure 5: html report

The html tabular report creates an html file that has an xls transform that allows this report to be viewed in a web browser or in Microsoft Excel.  The xls file can be customized, allowing you to change the look and feel of your report.  Text will not generate any images and will create a text file containing all the information prescribed in the Contents pane.

Viewpoints will create a viewpoint for each clash.   A folder is created for each clash test with subfolders for each clash group.

If you do not want to create a custom report, I suggest using the html tabular report and creating viewpoint.

Best practices suggest that you should always create an nwd with every one of your reports.  Because your entire team might not have a copy of Navisworks, it is suggested that you create clash viewpoints so they will be able to view the clash in context in Navisworks Freedom. 

Viewpoint Reporting

Another way to create reports is to create a Viewpoint Report.  If you do not enjoy using the Clash Detective and its amazing tools, you are probably creating viewpoints to capture constructability issues.  If this is your workflow you can still create a report to distribute to your team.  On the Output tab of the ribbon in the Export Data panel you can create a viewpoint report. 

Conclusion

Narrowing your results by selecting which status to include, which clashes to include, what contents to include, and what type of report enables you to efficiently create a report that is informative and professional.

Best practices track all the way through the Clash Detective workflow.  If you created good markups in your clashes to define real constructability issues and associated a proper status code, reporting on real information is a snap.  It is even better if you follow the practice of documenting with comments or tags in the Clash Detective.  The more information you associate with your clashes, the better your reporting will become.

If you didn’t take the time to create clash views and neglected to comment on any clashes, your reports will not contain useful or pertinent information. Many subscribe to creating viewpoint in key areas of the building and distributing those images.  Although there is benefit to be gained with this reporting style, there is no way to track and persist that information throughout the life of a construction project.  It has been my experience that this process is not sustainable and ends in long, inefficient coordination efforts.

Thorough reporting, on the other hand, expedites coordination efforts and increases communication, allowing for a sustainable efficient method of coordinating all the trades in a project.

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About the Authors

Michael Smith

Michael Smith

Michael N. Smith is the co-founder of Keystyle Data Solutions and works to simplify construction business workflows with intelligent, data-driven workflows.  With the Keystyle team, he also provides BIM consulting services for coordination, 4D, and 6D projects.  With five years of BIM industry experience, Michael has contributed to the BIM community as Technical Editor and Guest Author of Mastering Navisworks 2013, as well as the CAD Learning Instructor for Navisworks 2014.

 

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