Think healthcare, think complexity….

Hospital, LondonWhen I first started designing healthcare facilities back in the 1980s, they were fiendishly complicated buildings. While the basic structures posed few challenges, the nature of the activities they housed and the diverse range of equipment and services needed to support those activities meant we were constantly managing incredibly detailed information. And because hospitals typically contain numerous spaces with identical or near-identical layouts and equipment requirements, there was a lot of repetition of this information.

I quickly realised that computers would help ensure greater consistency of output and reduce the time we spent on drawing repetitive room designs. For example, I created libraries of furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) for a major hospital project. However, the drawing of room elevations still required an army of students. And no matter how good they were, there was no automatic validation of drawings other than by eye.

The arrival of personal computers, spreadsheets, databases, and the compound increase in computer power and capacity changed the game. Now textual elements could be linked to graphics – and designs could be automatically checked against project requirements.

Today CodeBook helps designers and fellow professionals create and manage a model for a building containing all its information, from the originating brief to the day-to-day operational management of the completed, occupied structure.

I think CodeBook’s foundation as an application for complex healthcare buildings has made it the success it is (HOK London won an award in 2007 for its use on the Royal London Hospital for example). CodeBook can be used to manage the owner/operator requirements of just about any large building requiring sophisticated management of FF&E, particularly where those requirements are often repeated tens, 100s or even 1000s of times. No wonder, therefore, that we are seeing designers use the application for airports, hotels, railway stations and prisons – among other things.

Peter Mann

New, independent CodeBook blog

CodeBook LamaAs a sign of the widespread interest in CodeBook, it was great to discover that one of our end-users has decided to set up his own independent CodeBook blog.

Chris Razzell, practice CodeBook Leader at Hassell, an architects’ firm based in Sydney, Australia, has started the CodeBookLama, “aimed at educating, promoting good practice and demystifying the use of CodeBook within Architecture”.

It’s early days (and Chris says he is still changing his mind about the background, colour palette, font, etc), but he aims to write regularly about his experiences of using CodeBook. He is considering writing some “how to” posts (“ie: we needed to do this on our project and so by doing x, y and z the benefits were…”), talking about project events, and explaining useful work-arounds and fixes that he’s discovered.

Since his first, scene-setting blog post, Chris has written four further blog posts – the latest one is about CodeBook Libraries – and we look forward to future editions. Meanwhile, we have made his blog the first addition to our ‘blog roll’ of key CodeBook links.

Faster door scheduling

Today, to coincide with the new website launch, I was asked to do something that was quite foreign to me: write a blog to discuss the pinch points of any large healthcare or education project and discuss ways in which one could work smarter, not necessarily harder.

In today’s economic climate any process that can save time saves you money. I think it’s fair to say door scheduling regardless of the CAD system used is a very time-consuming process. As such, two tools I find especially useful are the bulk door linkage function and the ability to dynamically both push and pull data from door objects within Revit.

An example: you have a 600-room department in which you need to link a door to a space, perform a validation that the door matches the schedule and then perform a relatively simple task of marking the door number back in to the drawing.

It is possible to do this within Revit, but it is a lengthy process and leaves the possibility for mistakes to creep in. Utilising CodeBook, one can use predefined, validated templates to add a door or multiple doors to each room. Once the doors exist in CodeBook, the BIM Editor Door linkage tool can be used to bulk link the door to the space it currently resides in. Once the linkage has taken place CodeBook can then validate that the door matches the schedule.

CodeBook will validate that the correct door family as specified in the template has been placed and that the widths are as specified.

Any deviation from this will be displayed by colour coding the doors and a report is generated detailing the specifics.

At this point we can be absolutely sure that the correct door has been placed with in Revit.

Now the linkage has taken place we can use CodeBook’s ability to pass data bi-directionally to and from doors using shared parameters to tag attributes such as door number, room number, manufacturer’s name, code …. the possibilities are endless. It’s also possible to map this shared parameter to a door label so we can see a clear concise label.

I hope that next time you have to label up and validate 650+ doors the above should go some way to saving you that extra bit of time.

Sam Oliver, CodeBook Support, Telephone +44 (0)1939 290080, email

Welcome to the CodeBook blog

CodeBook International Ltd was incorporated in 1999, some six years after the first CodeBook application was released. Since 1999, the application has been deployed across an increasingly diverse range of markets. We showed what it could do on healthcare projects, and the potential of the software was soon recognised by designers, owners and managers working on other complex buildings, from airport terminals and education institutions to hotels and office developments.

We have prided ourselves on being at the cutting edge of the design and management of complex buildings, and we hope this blog will help us share some of our ideas and experiences, and provide another way for people to engage with us. Briefing, design, construction and operation of the built environment is changing fast – not least because of the explosion of interest in building information modelling (BIM) – and we believe we have both a powerful application to promote and a powerful story to tell.

We will be using this blog to give our perspective on industry developments, to update readers about key developments at CodeBook International and among our community of resellers, customers and end-users, and to share hints and tips about making best use of CodeBook. If you have any suggestions about subjects we should cover in the blog, please let us know (posts will also appear in the blog section of our new website).

Peter Mann