Thursday, November 19, 2009

Workset or not?

Worksets? Why? I don't really know accept that I have recently found that they are really not necessary. In fact I have found that working with a complex system of worksets actually hinders your performance because you are constantly asking for permissions.

The first two commercial projects we did were set up with worksets for each level. One of my co-workers who as used revit for sometime, was convinced that worksets would help many people work on the same project. But it just seemed like we were always asking for permission.

The current project we are working on, a large hospital type facility, was only set up with 2 worksets. 1. shared levels and grids. 2. Workset 1. These are the defaults that revit sets up. We found that working with several people was not as cumbersome in this scenario. Since revit uses a borrowing system that is element based. whenever you select an element you are effectively borrowing it. when your done, you release it. This is automatic, and doesn't require any additional work. Unlike when you set up many worksets. Because now you have to make sure that the element you create is on the correct workset. What a pain!

After doing some homework, I came to this conclusion. In older versions of Revit they didn't have element borrowing. So if you wanted to use many people on one project you had to have a lot of worksets. Since element borrowing was introduced in Revit 8 I don't think it's really necessary.

In conclusion, when we work on a project that has all the elements on one workset it goes much smoother, and you aren't constantly asking for permission. As you may have to with many worksets.

So, if anyone knows another reason why you would want a lot of worksets, I would be curious to know why because my experiencing more than just one was much more frustrating.


  1. You don't need a lot of Worksets, that is true. But only having one will lead to less flexibility ion working on the project. Most projects can successfully be organized into 8-12 worksets. These would be for functional, spatial, or systems separation, and not necessarily by tasks or assignments. A little explanation is in order.

    The concept of worksets has indeed morphed, since Element borrowing is now the preferred method of worksharing. Day to day workflow should not mean that users should not borrow and entire workset, or large chunks of the building, but more in an ad-hoc way. Take as little as you need to do you work, and the chances of bumping into another user is greatly lessened. You still have to communicate, relinquish and synchronize often.

    The argument for categorizing the building into worksets gives you flexibility in two ways:
    1). Allowing opening just portions of the project.This can save significantly on the load, save and synchronize times. Project relationships and constraints are still maintained as changes occur, and you can open additional worksets as necessary.
    2). Controlling visibility of elements, linked CAD and Revit files, especially with the option to make 'not visible by default in all views'.

    I hope this makes sense. Perhaps I will make a video to illustrate these points.

  2. Wouldn't breaking out some of the building elements, i.e. exterior precast, or existing protions of the building, to seperate project files and linking them in be a better soulution? Then you can truly open one portion of the project independently. I realize this creates some keynoting issues, but you can work around that.

    I have used Solidworks for many years in the mechanical field and have had robotic assemblies that are over over 1GB in combined part files. This complex system was composed of about 300 seperate files that were editable in context of each other and there were hardly any sharing issues between 10 people working on it. I don't understand why revit is dead set on having everything in one file. The single file will enevitably be too big for most computers to handle.

    I think while worksets solve one problem they create another because as soon as I check that workset out, Jimmy or John will surley need it and have to ask for a request.

    Though it sounds like I am complaining I really am not. Revit is still light years beyond AutoCAD, and I wouldn't go back.

    I just hope newer versions of Revit will allow incontext editing of families and linked files. I think this would solve a lot of sharing issues.

  3. Just because you can check out a workset, doesn't mean you should. ;)

    However, you raise a good point about linked files. Some projects are large enough that they require this workflow. I actually always recommend putting the site and existing context at the very least in its own project. New work goes in another. When there are multiple buildings, each can have its own project file. Where things really get tricky is when a single building is just too large and complex to live in one file - until we are able to annotate and constrain successfully across linked files, you must plan carefully.

  4. Very true indeed.

    Thank you for your insight Sean.

  5. There is also the issue with linked files not properly hosting elements and bounding rooms. We have seen may people draw room seperation lines around rooms just to keep them bounded in a linked file workflow. Done with worksets this would not be an issue. There have been numerous documented cases of file corruption when using too many room seperation lines

  6. Hi all,
    In our office 6 people work on one plan. 3 people work on architectural drawings and another group works on departmental which includes tagging, writing texts and putting dimensions for their own references. Since the departmental team can change anything on the architectural plan, for instance move the components and change them we were thinking to implement Revit Worksharing System. However since in our architectural team we share the same functional task on one plan and in this system each workset can only be owned by one user at a time we do not know how the three of us can work and edit the same plan. So we do want to minimise the departmental team control on the plans but at the same time have full control over the plans in our architectural team. Can anyone suggest anything please?