Category Archives: News

Tree Roots in Revit for Clash Detection

Tree Roots Revit Tool in CS ArtisanRV

A new Tree Roots Revit tool is available for clash detection and avoidance in BIM processes.

The new utility has been created by CS Design Software to further enhance its BIM for landscape solution, CS ArtisanRV and has been created in response to specific requests from landscape professionals needing to provide fully informed 3D model content for collaboration on projects with other disciplines including architects, civil engineers and service providers.

3D Root Zones

3D root zones are based on species’ ultimate spread + 2m (so a tree that would achieve a spread of 6m would end up with a root zone of 10m diameter).

Root zones (generated as Revit floors) accurately follow the underlying terrain.

Tree Roots Revit Clash Detection
3D Root Zones

Direct output to Navisworks

Clearly, the purpose of creating root zones is for clash detection/avoidance and coordination with other disciplines, so there is direct output to Navisworks (BIM Reader/checker from Autodesk) as an integral part of the workflow for this purpose. The Create Root Balls tool opens up a Navisworks session by default and then links this model back into Revit.

Tree Roots in Revit for Clash Detection Navisworks
Direct output to Navisworks

Automated Clash Detection

Within Navisworks, it is possible to run automated clash detection to identify any issues of conflict with underground services or features (road/paving construction, utilities or features).

Tree Roots in Revit for Clash Detection
Automated clash detection

Functionality has been built in to enable Root Barriers to be placed as required to protect services and/or underground features. The example below shows the result of a wedge being cut from the Root Zone when a barrier has been placed to protect the kerb edge.

Tree Roots in Revit for Clash Detection

Working with Manufacturers

Root Barriers (created as Revit line-based families) are constructed at a depth defined by users and CSD is working with leading tree pit system manufacturer, Green Blue Urban, to establish links to centrally available product information.

Tree Roots in Revit for Clash Detection Green Blue Urban
Working with Green Blue Urban

Find out more now and sign up for your free CS ArtisanRV trial today or subscribe to stay at the forefront of BIM for landscape.

Manipulating topos in Revit – Game Changer!

Accurate ground modelling with 3D content and triangulation

You asked. We listened

“This ArtisanRV new Topo tool is a real game changer… All our path gradients etc. are normally designed in Civil 3D but what you have produced there pretty much negates the need to do that!”

– Landscape Digital Development Manager, Arup

Revit is not recognised for its array of topography tools… Fact!  Up to now, there have been a multitude of ways of ‘getting a topo surface’ into Revit.  You can import from another program or create content using the basic topography tools within Revit.

But how is an existing topography modified in a Revit environment?  The answer is: With difficulty!  Seasoned Revit practitioners will either manually edit points or resort to re-importing a new topo from another program.

New Terrain Tools with CS ArtisanRV

A new set of Terrain Tools has been developed by CSD that are designed to automate the process of manipulating a topography within the Revit environment.

The Terrain Tools enable easy manipulation of the topo within Revit by selecting model lines, arcs, splines and defining a required gradient that is cut through or built up from the underlying topography.

ground modelling revit 2D and 3D Cut_Fill ManipulateTopos1 Schedules

Read more about these new terrain tools and all CS ArtisanRV’s product features.


New Features for CS ArtisanRV: Import Existing Tree Survey Information

Existing Tree Survey information

“This has the potential to show both current and proposed landscapes in a far more realistic manner aiding the decision making process.”

Accurate survey information is critical through construction project phases and to establish the starting (access) point for the whole life-cycle focus of BIM workflows.

Trees are important elements of green infrastructure, contributing to urban cooling through evapo-transpiration and providing micro-climatic effects that positively impact on energy demands in the built environment.

In the UK, BS5387:2012 is intended to assist decision-making with regard to existing trees in the context of design, demolition and construction. Root systems, stems and canopies are needed to be taken into account in all projects along with allowance for future movement and growth and the early provision of physical protection is critical.

The beauty of the above British Standard is that it follows a logical sequence of events that are wholly appropriate for BIM.

  • Initial tree survey and categorisation
  • Identification of constraints and Root Protection Areas (RPAs)
  • Identification of trees for retention and removal
  • Identification of pre, during and post-construction operations

So how can this be done?

New Import Tools

Tree surveys are carried out by arboriculturists using hand-held devices in the field, recorded in a standard file format.  CS ArtisanRV enables this source survey information to be imported directly into a Revit environment via a mapping utility that associates survey fields with Revit family parameters.

But that’s just the start.  Read more about this new import functionality and all CS ArtisanRV’s product features.

Find out more now and sign up for your free CS ArtisanRV trial today or subscribe to stay at the forefront of BIM for landscape.

Revit Planting and Tree Pits | Above, below and beyond the landscape

Parametric Plants and Tree Pits: Revit Planting

The next release of CS ArtisanRV takes the Revit landscape above and beyond with the ability to convert topos to floors.  And now you can ensure your tree pits are given due consideration, beneath the design surface.

The latest CS ArtisanRV video takes a new look at placing Planting in Revit.

Add Parametrics

Use Cloud-based plant data without sacrificing speed or memory

Revit planting parametricParametric planting families are created on the fly based on information downloaded via the CSD Cloud based Palette Builder.  Individual specimens, linear items (hedges and avenues) and areas (beds and woodlands) are created as single species or mixes.

Dynamic Changes

Update, sort, group and filter by location, plant variables, mixes

Dynamic records

Planting schedules dynamically record model changes and can be sorted, grouped and filtered using parameters including location, plant class, abbreviation, mix…

Age, grow, select

From initial spec to ultimate growth by plant, selection, model

Age and Grow

Planting is aged from initial planting (specification) dimensions to ultimate growth using a slider bar control for individual planting, selections, or the entire model.

Select and convert topos to floors

Topo to Floor

Planting beds defined as floors are created by the Topo to Floor tool, enabling material take-offs for schedules.

Sized tree pits based on canopy spread

Tree PIts

Tree pits are sized according to species ultimate canopy spread and selected tree pit profiles (Floors). Tree Pit material quantities are displayed in schedules.


Smart Landscape | BIM and Big Data

Think BIM, think BIG DATA


The economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits of high quality public space is obvious.  It has been well-documented in the UK by CABE Space.  As a result, Smart Landscape and Green Infrastructure are now firmly on the agenda.

Digital Built Britain asks for a refinement of approach, delivery of standards, methods and tools.  It also calls for significant learning and savings to be made through the use of digital technologies.

The Value of Green Infrastructure

In 2014, London launched its first Infrastructure Plan 2050 to identify, prioritise and cost London’s future infrastructure.  Green infrastructure is a key consideration in the plan, on par with transport, energy, water and waste.  Putting a value on this green infrastructure becomes ever more important in its justification.

Valuing London’s Urban Forest: The Forestry Commission

BIM for Smart Landscape

Methodologies for recording, valuing and analysing landscape should become integral to information collated during BIM processes.  Add to this the adoption of sensor technology to automatically collect and exchange data during an asset’s operational life and green infrastructure becomes part of the Internet of Things (IoT) –  the inter-connectivity of everything and how we collect and exchange data on this.

Cities are booming.  50% of the world’s population is a city dweller and that is growing by 1.5 million people every week. With rapid urbanisation comes massive added pressure on infrastructure, the environment and society.   Cities may only occupy 0.5% of the world’s land surface but they consume 75% of its natural resources.

A radical rethink of cities is required that does not place the car as the primary focus but instead places people, communities and the environment at the centre. This transformation can only occur with the use and application of the latest smart technologies within the new digital economy.

Feeding green infrastructure information into  the IoT has fuelled initiatives like Smart Cities.    The scope to address significant challenges such as sustainability, climate change, increased urbanisation and flooding  simply cannot be achieved when considering assets in isolation.

We have to start thinking Smart Landscape.

Smart Landscape

Read more: BIM Is For Life, Not Just The Build Phase

BIM is for life, not just the build phase

BIM for the long haul: Think maintenance and growth

BIM in operation
Parametric Planting: Aged and Grown in CS ArtisanRV

We know that operating at BIM in operation at Level 2 has proven efficiencies during design and construction.

In the UK, BIM has played a significant part in delivering recorded savings of 20% in the capital costs of construction.   But what happens beyond the build? The emphasis is shifting firmly to the operational phase and the finished landscape’s maintenance.  This is, after all,  where the majority of expenditure will occur over the landscape’s lifetime.

From BIM to AIM

In “BIMese”, this takes us from the Building Information Model (BIM) often depicted via the Bew Richards ‘wedge’ – the triangular bit of the dialogue below taken from PAS 1192-3 ( – to the Asset Information Model (AIM) – the trapezoid shape to the right of the triangle below.


In essence, this transition is about taking the information rich model created during the design and build phases into a resource for managing the asset while in use – this is probably more easily depicted by this guy with a hedge trimmer!


The landscape passage of time

For landscape, this transition is of fundamental importance and indeed should speak directly to the very DNA of landscape professionals where design intent wholly relies on the passage of time and adhering to the correct operations and maintenance procedures to be succeed.


Much is written about the multitude of possible BIM dimensions but can any of the other design professions truly say they always consider the dimension of time as much as those engaged with landscape? Creating sophisticated modelling tools that enable landscape professionals to collaborate with BIM processes is an obvious prerequisite but so too is the need for softworks model elements to change over time.

Some of the first projects I was involved with included shelterbelt, screening and woodland planting that have only achieved their original design intent 20+ years after initial planting…

The BIM Handover

Historically the transition from design intent to reality on the ground has been via an O&M manual and associated plans. More often than this information is created largely from scratch at handover and very infrequently without the collaboration of those responsible for maintaining the asset.

So how do we achieve the transition from a building information model (BIM) to an asset information model (AIM)? This subject is covered primarily by PAS 1192-3:2014 but the relationship between the capital and operational phase needs to involve all members of the supply chain and is informed by Government Soft Landings (GSL).

GSL is about establishing an information focus to help to achieve the following:

  • Targets: Running cost, capital cost, environment and functionality
  • Comparison: Predicted performance against targets
  • Simplicity: Operating instructions
  • Early warnings: Problems
  • Metered: Data on the performance
  • Access:  To all digital data about our asset
  • Transfer: Sharing data from construction to operation, cost-effectively
  • Sharing: Service provider having all required operational data
  • Measures: Actual measured performance of our asset
  • Fine tuning:  The actual performance
  • Recording: The actual performance
  • Feedback: To the design and construction team.

Sharing Data: COBie

It is essential that the information repository (BIM) that has grown thoughout the capital phase finds its way into the system adopted by facilities managers (FMs) for that particular project.   As yet, there is no standard asset maintenance system in operation, which is where COBie comes in…

COBie provides a non-proprietary data format for structured BIM info that can be read by a variety of maintenance systems.

BIM uses advanced computer systems to build 3D models of infrastructure.  It embodies large amounts of information about its design, operation and current condition.  This stored information is needed in the operational phase, too.   At the planning stage it enables designers, owners and users to work together to produce the best possible designs.  They can test them and modify them on screen before they are built.  This way, they iron out design flaws, reducing errors and cutting down snagging in the construction phase.   The engineers, contractors and suppliers can integrate these now finely-tuned elements into their operational plans.  Real-time information about available services, life expectancy and maintenance with accurate assessments of the condition of assets.

Beyond the build

So, it’s more than BIM.  It’s BIM to AIM to a fully collaborative Level 3 information exchange throughout the entire lifespan of a landscape.  Level 3 is picking up the successes where BIM Level 2 left off.

Over to you, BIM3.

BIM Level3

Read more:  Smart Landscape: BIM and Big Data

Planting in Revit? Think parametric planting

NEW: Parametric Planting Families

In the latest build of CS ArtisanRV, the CSD team have developed better quality imagery for planting in 3D.
parametric planting: age and growParametric planting: treesThe new parametric planting families offer better quality images, avoiding Revit RPC trees.  Crucially they not only look more realistic, but are built from industry-approved NPS (National Plant Specifications).  This enables an improved visual impact as well as giving the flexibility to age and grow plants over time.  Of ever-growing significance, parametric planting models are data-rich – crucial for delivering a fully informative BIM.

Placing Parametric Planting on Topography

When the ‘flexed’ planting is placed in a Revit model, the family is designed with separate ‘foliage’ blocks that are orientated randomly in 3D space. Combined with other plants, draped on topography and with shadows on, the visual effect is stunning!

parametric planting: union jack

Dynamic Foliage & Flower Colour

Foliage colour is read directly from the underlying planting information system based on the associated plant species/variety, so some pretty elaborate effects can be achieved by species selection.  Flower colour for each individual species/variety is read dynamically from the CSDhub web repository and applied to each plant instance.

Think of flower and foliage contrast – in design.

planting mix


Individual Plants, Hedges & Planting Areas

Parametric planting families are applied to single plants, linear items (hedges and avenues) and area planting draped (hosted) to topography.

individual linear area

Information, Information, Information

Foliage density can be defined as required with area planting adjusting automatically based on the size of bed. Random placement of planting components in 3D space ensures a naturalistic effect. And all of this underlying information in CS ArtisanRV remains fully available for scheduling and information exchange.

shadow analysis


Where do we go next?

There’s much more to come for CS ArtisanRV.  Stay on board and be the first to find out how you can begin to harness Revit as a platform for all your landscape and external works projects.

Find out more now and sign up for your free trial today or subscribe to stay at the forefront of BIM for landscape

If you read one BIM book, make it BIM for Landscape

“An essential companion to the landscape professional at any stage of their BIM journey.”

bim for landscape book june 2016If you are involved in the built environment sector, either as a client, a contractor, manufacturer or supplier, you’ll have heard about BIM (Building Information Modelling) by now.

BIM is transforming the way we work, the way we design and the way we collaborate.  BIM has special implications for the world of landscape and that’s why we particularly herald the publication of a new book this Spring 2016: BIM for Landscape.

To celebrate the launch of BIM for Landscape, the Landscape Institute is hosting a seminar examining the content of the book and exploring the consequences for the landscape profession.  Speakers include expert representatives from the LI’s BIM Group, incuding Henry Fenby-Taylor, who authored the book and Alastair McCapra, Head of Public Relations at the LI, who established BIM as a significant area of work at the Institute.

Register for your free entry to the BIM for Landscape Launch Seminar on 30 June 2016

Henry Fenby-Taylor, researched and compiled the book on behalf of and with extensive involvement from the Landscape Institute.   The book, available from Amazon
for less than £40, looks in depth at the digital tools used in BIM projects, emphasising the information in Building Information Modelling, and the possibilities that data-rich models offer in landscape design, maintenance and management.

Billed on Amazon as “an essential companion to the landscape professional at any stage of their BIM journey”, the book will help landscape professionals understand what BIM could mean for them.  It will show BIM’s potential impact on collaboration, streamlining of information processes and the improved efficiency of delivering well-designed landscape projects right-first-time, on schedule and to budget.

Buy your copy from Amazon now


Harness the power of Revit for hardworks

BIM for landscape:  Revit for Hardworks in CS ArtisanRV


Thought we were just about plants? Think again

Imagine fencing, paving and other building materials, automated in your landscape designs.  Backed up with a manufacturer’s product library of exact specifications to build your schedules and collaborate with your contractors, architects and stakeholders.

Revit for hardworks: Youtube

Now harness the power of Revit for hardworks

CS ArtisanRV is the first web integrated landscape solution for Revit. You’ve seen our initial developments, focused on linear and area planting, with the added benefits of growth and an immense library of plants and characteristics within the National Plant Specification.

revit for hardworks: create and visualiseCreate & visualise

Create a fence run dynamically that follows the topography
Show me>>

revit for hardworks: size and defineSize & Define

Control size and definition of all components (post, rails, pales, gravel board etc) including post centres and depth of posts.
Show me>>

revit for hardworks: reverse and refineReverse & Refine

Amend and manoeuvre fence panels to suit – and record, report and schedule changes automatically.
Show me>>

Coming Soon

And there’s more to come for hardworks in CS ArtisanRV.  Stay on board and be the first to find out how you can begin to harness Revit as a platform for all your landscape plans, designs and schedules.

Find out more now and sign up for your free trial today