Building Modeling Environment

    All of the software that we’ll be using in Global AEC can be downloaded and installed on your own computer.

    Please set up your computer with the Building Model Creator Environment now, so you can begin the testing process to confirm that the software is installed and that you have access to the services which we'll be using in class:


    Computer Requirements

    To use the Building Modeling Environment, you’ll need a laptop computer with:

    • 4 GB of RAM
    • 30 GB of free disk space
    • Windows 8 64-bit operating system (or a newer version -- Windows 10)

    Administrator Privileges

    You will also need Administrator privileges that allow you to change or update the software installed on your computer.  

    If you do not have Administrator privileges for your computer, please check with your computer support organization on your campus and ask them to enable Administrator access for you before bringing your laptop computer to Stanford.

    Additional requirement for Mac users only:

    If you use a Macintosh computer, you’ll need to install  a copy of the Windows operating system using:

    • Boot Camp, or
    • a virtualization environment such as Parallels Desktop for Mac or VMWare Fusion

    What's Next

    Components of the Building Modeling Environment

    The Building Modeling Environment includes components for all aspects of working with building models, including:

    • creating and editing
    • analysis and simulation
    • collaborating and coordinating
    • viewing  

    The specific tools that you should download and install depends on your role in your team's project. This list will continue to evolve and be updated throughout the year.

    Creating and Editing Tools

     Tool  Used By
     Revit 2021

    Note:  If you already have Revit 2020 or an earlier version installed on your computer,  you can keep it, but you must also install the new 2021 version.  

    Several product features that you will need are only available in the 2021 version.

    All model creators/editors




    Collaboration and Coordination Tools

     Tool  Used By
    BIM 360 
    • Web Browser interface
    • iPad and iPhone apps
    • Android Tablet and Phone apps
    All model creators/editors
    Navisworks Manage 2021 Construction Managers

    Analysis and Simulation Tools

     Tool  Used By
    ETABS v19 Structural
    CSIxRevit 2021 Structural
    Structural Analysis Toolkit Add-In for Revit 2021 Structural

    Viewing Tools 

     Tool  Used By
    BIM 360 
    • Web Browser interface
    • iPad and iPhone apps
    • Android Tablet and Phone apps


    Installing Autodesk Revit

    • Login to the Autodesk Education Community website at from within your Windows environment.

    • Scroll down to the Confirm your eligibility to access the Autodesk Education plan section in the middle of the page, then click the Get Products button.

    • Click the Sign in link and sign in using your Autodesk ID.

    • Then, scroll down in the list of available products and click the Get Started or Get Product link in the Revit tile.  

    • Sign in using your Autodesk ID, then select:
      1. Platform:  Windows
      2. Version: 2021
      3. Language: Your preferred language

    • Autodesk no longer issues product keys with each installation.  Instead, you will sign in using your Autodesk ID when you open the Revit application to activate your copy.

    • Click the Install or Download button. 
      If you receive an error message indicating that the software could not be installed automatically (typically due to network or firewall issues), you may need to download the installer file and run it manually.  If that happens, return to this Software Downloads site, and choose the Download Now option from the pull-down menu to download the installation files using the Autodesk Download Manager.  When the download is completed, the installer should automatically open.

    • Accept the default installation options, and wait patiently as the application installs all the needed software components including the Revit Content Libraries.  WAIT PATIENTLY -- this step can take up to an hour to complete.
      Don't give up if it seems that the installer is stalled -- especially during the step that installs the Revit Content Libraries.  A complete new installation can take up to 60 minutes or even longer depending on the speed of your network connection.

    • When you launch the Autodesk Revit 2021 application for the first time, you will be prompted to sign in using your Autodesk ID.
      Your eligibility to use the software will be confirmed and the software will be activated.

    • IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL STEP 1:  Install the Autodesk Sample Content Libraries
      Revit 2021 does NOT install the Autodesk Sample Content Libraries as part of the default installation, so you should complete this additional step to install the full library of sample Revit families. 
      • Open the Revit 2021 Application.
      • Switch to the Insert tab in the ribbon, and open the Get Autodesk Content tool (Insert > Load from Library > Get Autodesk Content Tool).
      • Download and install the sample content libraries for your preferred language and unit system.  For example, in the US, you would download:
        • RVT2021_ENU_Imperial_Libraries.exe

    • IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL STEP 2: Install Any Updates
      After installing Autodesk Revit 2021,  be sure to run the Autodesk Desktop App from the Autodesk folder in your Start menu to install the latest product updates.  
      • Go to the Updates tab and click ALL of the Update buttons to install ALL of the Revit 2021-related product updates and Revit extensions.
        • If your software is already up-to-date, the list of available updates may be empty.  
        • When installing updates, you should close the Revit application before attempting to install them.

    What's Next

    Preparing to Test Your Installation

    After you've completed your installation of the Building Modeling Environment components, please complete the following tests to verify that everything is installed and working properly:

    Send Us Your Autodesk ID

    Please send a message with your Autodesk ID to the course teaching assistants.  We need your Autodesk ID to invite you to our BIM 360 project and the online systems that we'll be using in the course.

    Accept the Email Invitations from Autodesk

    You'll receive invitations from Autodesk to join these systems via email.  Please accept these invitations by clicking the Accept link the email messages that you receive, then send an email message to Renate and the course assistants confirming that you've accepted these invitations and completed this step.

    If you don't receive these email invitations from Autodesk, please URGENTLY email Renate and the course assistants to resend the invitations to you.

    Download the Global AEC Install Testing Folder

    Download all of the items in the Global_AEC_Install_Testing shared folder using this Box link:
    Global AEC Install Testing Files

    Getting Started with Testing Your Installation

    After you've accepted the email invitations from Autodesk that will provide you with access to our BIM 360 project, you can proceed with the first test:

    Test 1: Create a New Revit Project

    Why Can't I Open My Model on BIM 360 from within the Revit Application?

    If you've uploaded your Revit model to the BIM 360 Documents web interface and it's not appearing in the BIM 360 model list in the Revit application, here's what's going on...

    Revit models can be stored in BIM 360 Documents in two ways:

    • When you upload them to the BIM 360 Documents web interface, they're stored as single-user Revit models on the BIM 360 cloud drive (and aren't openable from within the Revit application).
    • When you upload them to BIM 360 as Cloud Revit Models using the Collaborate > Manage Collaboration > Collaborate tool, they're stored as shared Cloud Revit models that can be accessed simultaneously by your project team (and can be opened from within the Revit application).

    Although they appear to be similar in the BIM 360 Documents web interface, they behave differently based upon how they're uploaded to the cloud.

    So, If you want to share your model with other members of your project team to work on simultaneously:

    • Open your project model in the Revit application.
    • Switch to the Collaborate tab and open the Collaborate tool.
    • Choose to Collaborate in BIM 360 Document Management.
    • Navigate to the folder in BIM 360 Documents where you'd like to create the Cloud Revit Model.

    Once you've created the Cloud Revit Model (also called the Central Model), always open the Cloud Revit Model from within the Revit application.

    • Open the Revit applicaation.
    • Choose BIM 360 from the list of common locations at the left side of the File Open dialog.
    • Navigate to the folder in BIM 360 Documents where you created the Cloud Revit Model.

    Never open a Cloud Revit Model from the BIM 360 Document web interface.  The web interface is a great way to share your latest published version of the Cloud Revit Model with others who don't have the Revit application installed on their computer, but as a model editor, always open the Cloud Revit Model from the File Open dialog within Revit.

    Saving a Cloud Revit Model - Workflow


    Saving a Cloud Revit Model - Demo



    How Do I Set the Project Orientation?

    You can accurately set the orientation of your project relative to the compass directions using the Manage > Location > Rotate True North tool in Revit.

    Revit views can display your model using two orientations:

    • Project North -- which is typically used to align your model elements to be parallel or perpendicular with the edges of the drawing area.  Project North makes it easy to place model elements by snapping to 0 and 90 degrees.
    • True North -- which shows the accurate rotation of the building elements relative to the compass directions. 

    A good work practice is to:

    • Use the Project North orientation for views where you are placing and editing model elements.
    • Uset the True North for special views where you are setting the Project Orientation or displaying sun and shadows.

    Setting the Project Orientation - Workflow

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    Setting the Project Orientation - Demo

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    Setting Up the Building Model Creator Environment

    For CEE 122A/222A Students

    As a building model creator and editor, you'll need a laptop computer with:

    • 4 GB of RAM
    • 30 GB of free disk space
    • Windows 8 64-bit operating system (or a newer version -- Window 10)

    All students in Global AEC should complete the following checklist of steps IN THIS ORDER to set up their laptop computers with the Building Modeling Environment components:

    • Sign up for an Autodesk ID at the Autodesk Education Community website (  This Autodesk ID is required in order to download the software tools and use cloud services.  After you create your Autodesk ID (the email that you used to sign up at Autodesk), send it to Renate, and the course assistant -- Sara.
      Signing Up for an Autodesk ID

    • If you're working with a Mac, prepare your computer to install Windows. 
      Preparing to Install Windows on a Mac

    • Install Windows 8 64-bit or a newer version (if not already installed).
      Installing the Windows OS

    • Install Autodesk Revit 2021 -- IMPORTANT: This is not optional.  If you have a prior version of Revit installed on your computer, you can keep it.  But you must also install Revit 2021.
      Installing Autodesk Revit

    • Check your inbox for the account you used to setup your Autodesk for invitations to the BIM 360 cloud services and our shared projects. 

      If you haven't received these invitations, please URGENTLY email Renate and the course assistants to resend the invitations to you.

    • Please accept  these invitations by clicking the Accept link in the email messages that you receive, then send an email message to Renate, and the course assistants confirming that you've accepted these invitations and completed this step.

    • Test your installation.  You should complete Tests 1 thru 4 on your own. Follow the instructions and send the results in an email message to the course assistants.  You will complete Tests 5 thru 7 during an online session with the course assistants.
      Testing Your Installation

    Revit 2018; Why Do I Get a Structural Precast Warning When Editing Curtain Walls?

    Known Bug in Extension Creates Errant Warning Messages

    If you've installed the Revit 2018 extensions and are receiving a Revit Precast - Warning when editing other model elements (for example, making changes to a curtain wall), you're not alone -- this warning is caused by a known bug in the Autodesk Structural Precast Extension for Revit 2018.

    Here's a simple workaround while we're awaiting a new version of the extension that fixes this bug:

    • Switch to the Precast tab in the Tool Ribbon.
    • Click the Off button to disable Structural Precast for Revit.

    You can also uninstall the Autodesk Structural Precast Extension for Revit 2018 using the Start Menu > Settings > Apps & Features dialog. 

    Updating Revit Model Versions on A360

    Controlling the Versions Available thru the A360 Website

    A360 offers two ways of viewing your cloud-hosted Revit models -- thru the Revit application as well as thru the A360 website -- and this can create confusion about which version is being displayed:

    • When you open your cloud-hosted model thru the File>Open menu choice in the Revit application, it will always the latest version.
    • But when you open your model or download it from the A360 website, the last "published" version is displayed.

    Read onward for details of how to control the version published on the A360 website and choose the views of model available on the website.


    Installing ETABS on Your Computer

    You can install the ETABS application on our computer to perform structural analysis and design by following these steps.

    Note: You must be connected to the Stanford network environment (on-campus or via the VPN) to use our network license server for ETABS.

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    Originally produced for Apple's Think Different campaign in the late 1990s, the ideas are equally appropriate today as we choose our roles in imagining, designing, and creating a better world.