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• At 7:00 AM ET, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.
• During the day, the AIA's Architecture Billings Index for October (a leading indicator for commercial real estate).
• At 8:30 AM, the Consumer Price Index for October. The consensus is for no change in CPI in October and for core CPI to increase 0.2%.
• Also at 8:30 AM, Retail sales for October will be released. The consensus is for retail sales to be unchanged in October, and to increase 0.1% ex-autos..
• At 10:00 AM, Existing Home Sales for October from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The consensus is for sales of 5.13 million on seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) basis. Sales in September were at a 5.29 million SAAR. Economist Tom Lawler estimates the NAR will report sales of 5.08 million.
• Also at 10:00 AM, the Manufacturing and Trade: Inventories and Sales (business inventories) report for September. The consensus is for a 0.3% increase in inventories.
• 2:00 PM, the Fed will release the FOMC Minutes for the Meeting of October 29-30, 2013.
AU Class Updates!
For AU 2013, good news on the attendance front. So far, about 200 people have signed up for each lecture, and the AutoCAD MEP lab is full. It's cool to see the high interest level in AutoCAD MEP. During our Tweetchat last week, Dana Probert from Autodesk asked the question about advice for users migrating from AutoCAD MEP to Revit. My answer is to learn how to use as much of AutoCAD MEP's object tools as possible, since they're both similar from a work process standpoint. IFC conversions up from AutoCAD MEP to Revit are fairly smooth, given that you won't get systems like you do with default Revit elements. But the software is getting better in terms of translation.
Data? What Data?
Speaking of translation, I did some internal training on exporting and sharing data from AutoCAD MEP schematic objects out to Excel, CSV and now database tables. One of the items I've been looking into is linking property set definition data to SQL for power riser and plumbing isometric objects, to actual Revit engineering objects. Our development team has been working on different data validation tools between AutoCAD P&ID and Revit for a while (I'll be covering this in my MP1304 AU class Wednesday, Dec. 4th - which will also be recorded live, and available via AU Virtual after the event this year). The programming process really isn't that different. The challenge is how to be selective with the data you want to extract, and then how you tell the different databases to compare data.
It's amazing how many different tools are available to check and coordinate physical objects and their interferences, but how little thought over the years has been put into the data coordination (in the lower cost CAD/everyday design arena), from the building design standpoint. Which rolls me back to my Autodesk vs. Bentley topic line I've been working on (more on this later), but one big thing I was interested in was how Substation handled managing the data between the protection and controls diagrams, to single lines, to panel layouts and then the 3D model. I'd love to report more on that, but we had an issue getting Projectwise to work with Substation that delayed our implementation over a month. To their credit, Bentley did get it fixed, but it was tough to watch the issue hold up momentum Quality control should be handled much better by software companies - it can be the simplest thing (i.e. telling a program how to create a folder and get it working with other applications) that gets missed, and gives you a black eye. It's as important as missing a design flaw, that causes something in one of our systems, not to work correctly. And boy when something doesn't work, it's hard to get users to keep from throwing the whole baby out with the bath...luckily, cooler heads prevailed...I'm looking forward to learning what Autodesk could be doing about this in the future.
Back to AU...
Here's a little something I'm working on. In this year's Revit tips and tricks class (MP1507), I'm going to add a golden nuggets segment at the very end of the class - stuff you won't find in the handout but will have to show up to see. One item I'm going to cover is how to get Revit to perform at optimal levels when using Projectwise. We were getting major slowdowns, that turns out were related to how the Projectwise Integration tool was working with Revit 2013, Update 2 (note: it doesn't work with Update 3, which we also found out Revit 2014 doesn't work without it being installed, if you're running 2013 and 2014 on the same computer, due to .NET 4.5 - that was a mouthful). Bentley recommended double-clicking on the Central file straight out of Projectwise Explorer, with integration enabled. Create a new local when prompted every time, and the Revit model runs much faster, and eliminates command delays. I also turn OFF all notifications for sharing, updates, permissions...that really threw our users for a loop.
Another tip is related to annotation families. I've started using more reference lines and dimensions to control the size of annotations. This helps the user when the box around a label needs to get a little bigger. We add a label parameter to the dimension, so the user can change this on an instance basis, once the tag is placed in the view.
We've also been dancing around the schematic symbol versus real world model issue with particular types of families. One big tip is to add a visibility parameter for symbol graphics versus model graphics - and not relying on the detail level or scale of the model to control visibility. This one is a work in progress that I hope to have finished in the next couple of days. If you're planning on coming to this class on Thursday, Dec. 5th, make sure you plan on staying for the whole thing - these little secrets are gems that we look for all the time, and I plan on making everyone suffer through the rest of the class first (BWAahahahaha!)...
Speaking of predesign...Infraworks!
We had a great visit from some Autodesk folks a short while ago, and got a first look at Infraworks (www.autodesk.com/products/autodesk-infraworks/overview). We've needed a tool that allows us to take an existing site, and work with schematic locations for some of our water treatment facilities. This tool was easy to use, and could go a long way towards helping do a better job of defining hydraulic profiles for sites. For more information on these, check out sessions GS 2644 - Beyond 3D in Autodesk Infraworks: Simulate What Happens in Real World Models, and GS1998 - Autodesk Infraworks: From Concept to Completion. This is one of those promising tools that I hope to post more about...soon...
It's time to wrap it up...still got some videos to record, powerpoints to figure out, and pre-class skits and scripts to hammer out. Dr. Shots will be making a comeback...albeit a brief one, with tragic consequences...so I'll see you in two weeks...
Later - David B.
John McLean, who owns and operates Blue Room together with his wife, Alyson, who also is an archi
One of the tenets of lean manufacturing, says Lambie Engineering President and owner Ken Lambie, involves using specially-engineered equipment to make only as many parts as are needed to m
The City of Taipei successfully landed the bid — after being the only city to do so — in becoming the next designated city for World Design Capital 2016. The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) made the official announcement during its 28th General Assembly on Monday, Nov. 18. Previous cities who received the appointment include Torino (2008), Seoul (2010), Helsinki (2012) and the upcoming WDC in Cape Town (2014).
Like one skyline perched on another, the latest mega-building by Rem Koolhaas towers over the starchitect playground of Rotterdam. But why was it even built?
The latest market opportunity for entrepreneurs in China? Polluted air. For nearly as long as pollution has been a salient, public issue in the country, foreigners and locals have been devising ways to help residents avoid the worst of smog—and in some cases make a little money in the process. Here are some of the most notable ones.
Fernando Romero is the founding principal of FR-EE/ Fernando Romero Enterprise, a 60-person architecture firm located in Mexico City and New York. Mr. Romero’s work balances the interests of public and private entities while translating contemporary moments and culture through research, design, technology and construction. Mr. Romero seeks to re-define the norms of society by collaborating with global leaders on future ideas and initiatives which architecture can give form. In 2002, Fernando Romero was named a “Global Leader of Tomorrow” at the World Economic Forum. He was recently made a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and is a member of the CAMSAM - Mexican Chamber of Architects. In 2004, Mr. Romero received a Bauhaus Award for young designers. For his contribution to architecture in Mexico, Mr. Romero has received a Mexican Society of Architect Award. FR-EE has been commissioned to design, and is in the process of building, more than 1 million m2 of projects, wit...
Ann Beha Architects from Boston, MA was selected by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) for a major rehabilitation project of the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece. Walter Gropius and consulting architect Pericles A. Sakellarios designed the iconic embassy from 1959-1961. The building is also listed as a protected architectural landmark.
Ann Beha Architects was given the task out of four shortlisted teams that included: DesignLab Architects, Inc. (Boston, MA); Machado Silvetti / Baker (Boston, MA); and Mark Cavagnero Associates (San Francisco, CA).
In coming meetings, in evaluating the outlook for the labor market, we will continue to consider both the cumulative progress since September 2012 and the prospect for continued gains. We have seen meaningful improvement in the labor market since the latest asset purchase program was announced in September 2012. At the time, the latest reading on the unemployment rate was 8.1 percent, and both we and most private-sector economists were projecting only slow reductions in unemployment in the coming quarters. Recent reports on payroll employment had also been somewhat disappointing. However, since the program was announced, the unemployment rate has fallen 0.8 percentage point, and about 2.6 million payroll jobs have been added. Looking forward, we will of course continue to monitor the incoming data. As reflected in the latest Summary of Economic Projections and the October FOMC statement, the FOMC still expects that labor market conditions will continue to improve and that inflation will move toward the 2 percent objective over the medium term. If these views are supported by incoming information, the FOMC will likely begin to moderate the pace of purchases. However, asset purchases are not on a preset course, and the Committee's decisions about their pace will remain contingent on the Committee's economic outlook. As before, the Committee will also continue to take into account its assessment of the likely efficacy and costs of the program.
When, ultimately, asset purchases do slow, it will likely be because the economy has progressed sufficiently for the Committee to rely more heavily on its rate policies, the associated forward guidance, and its substantial continued holdings of securities to maintain progress toward maximum employment and to achieve price stability. In particular, the target for the federal funds rate is likely to remain near zero for a considerable time after the asset purchases end, perhaps well after the unemployment threshold is crossed and at least until the preponderance of the data supports the beginning of the removal of policy accommodation.
I began my time as Chairman with the goal of increasing the transparency of the Federal Reserve, and of monetary policy in particular. In response to a financial crisis and a deep recession, the Fed's monetary policy communications have proved far more important and have evolved in different ways than I would have envisioned eight years ago.
The economy has made significant progress since the depths of the recession. However, we are still far from where we would like to be, and, consequently, it may be some time before monetary policy returns to more normal settings. I agree with the sentiment, expressed by my colleague Janet Yellen at her testimony last week, that the surest path to a more normal approach to monetary policy is to do all we can today to promote a more robust recovery. The FOMC remains committed to maintaining highly accommodative policies for as long as they are needed. Communication about policy is likely to remain a central element of the Federal Reserve's efforts to achieve its policy goals.