COBie Extension – How to tell the difference between a Type or Instance Parameter?

  • 18/09/2017
  • COBie, Data
  • DGuerrilla


Last week I was delivering an intensive 2 day training workshop on delivering COBie via the Autodesk COBie Extension and Ifc with a dash of classification (uniclass 2015) thrown in. On day 2 when we started to run some tests, the user kept getting the following warning (Fig 1) from the extension which means you have added the wrong parameter type when you were mapping parameters via Set -> Parameter Mappings (Fig 2)

(Fig 1)

(Fig 2)

(Fig 3)

e.g. if you change COBie.Type.Name to “Type Name” (Type Parameter) this will export correctly but if you change it to “Mark” (Instance Parameter) you will receive the warning as shown in (Fig 1). Note: when you are in the Parameter Mapping tab you will notice on the left the parameter types are noted (Fig 3)

Now I hear you say well if it states use a Type parameter why are you selecting an Instance parameter? ofcourse it will through up a warning!!

The main issue is when you try and select or add a new parameter it shows you EVERY parameter in your model both Type and Instance at the same time with no way to sort them out (Fig 4).

(Fig 4)

So I had a problem how do I figure out what is a Type and what is an Instance parameter?

Note: This information isn’t stored in the shared parameter file as it only states if its an Instance or Type when you add the parameter to your model.

I ended up on Twitter on a Saturday morning as normal (but usually this ends up as a twitter fest with Rob Jackson on #ifc or #openBIM or #revit but that’s another story) to ask for assistance or advice from the #ukBIMcrew. After a few responses Mark Thorley of DesignTech very kindly offered to help and he came up with an Dynamo script which exports to excel all the Type and Instance parameters in your model which has COBie.Type marked as YES for all loaded elements, it even highlights where parameters have been called up on more than one occasion.

So now we can run the Dynamo Script (Fig 5) to generate all the parameter types then open up the COBie Extension Set Up, Parameter Mapping then compare the parameters so we know we are selecting the right type as shown in (Fig 6).

(Fig 5 – download the dynamo script here)

(Fig 6 – Note: in the excel file on the right column A is Instance and column B is Type parameters)

I do hope this will help users out there who have been having the same issue (I know there have been a few) to avoid errors in future and will save some time. Hopefully going forward Autodesk will address this by ONLY showing the correct parameter types rather than just showing everything.

Please get in touch if you have any comments or updates to the workflows or any other issues you have been having with the COBie Extension.

For more info on how to deliver COBie from Revit, you might want to have a look at a new book that has just been released by Bill East with the help from Emma Hooper.


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