Learn to Program

Hey guys,

some of you have no clue where to start learning to program. I don’t know if you are familiar with basics like datatypes and control structures or if you are a very beginner, but let me tell you, where and how I began to program.

I started to program in school and learned all the necessary basics. In my bachelor studies I had only one programming course (which was a Java course) but this semester I have two more advanced courses. One again one with Java and the other one with C++.

Anyway, there is no real obstacle to learn different languages, if you get the ideas behind control structures, data types, data structures and object-oriented programming. In the end, you just change some keywords, and so it doesn’t really matter with which language you start. I think Python is a good language to start because it is an object-oriented language and you can utilize your skills instantly and program some fancy IronPython scripts in Dynamo.

I can provide you some useful links, but it depends what type of learning you like the most. If you want to learn it in a really interactive way, you should sign into codeacademy and start the Python course, but be careful. Codeacademy will reward you really fast and often. Programming is the very opposite of it.

That’s why I suggest to learn it in a more traditional way. Maybe go through some free accessible books like: Dive into Python 3.

If you are a student please check your library. Most of them have eBook contracts and you can download really expensive stuff for free. The same holds for lynda. Lynda is a great online course-platform and many universities have a contract with them. For example my university made an unlimited contract, so that I have access to every course on lynda. That’s really awesome.

So the last thing I recommend you is one specific lynda course. It will introduce you basic ideas of datatypes, control structures and object oriented programming. Additionally all examples are shown with Dynamo/RevitAPI. So you will get the basics of Python and you’ll do some cool stuff with AEC software! Click here: Dynamo for Revit: Python Scripting.

Let me know which way you choose and feel free to contact me anytime. Maybe I have some additional and more helpful resources for you.


Our first time …

Since the BILT Academy has been created and shaped a lot of new things came up that we needed to think of, which keeps us busy. Organizing a conference, creating an online platform with up to date technologies, getting public on social media are just some of the new tasks since October. All this makes a lot of fun but one task needs to be specially highlighted- reviewing all submitted abstracts for BILT 18.

The three of us are a part of the BILT Europe Committee. Together we are one vote out of five in total for Europe. This does not only honor us but also allows us to get a deep insight of the organization behind the conference program. It is exciting to see how much effort and work is behind the selection of an appropriate program. In this blog, I would like to show you how this works and how it will be executed.

First of all, there is the Call for Abstracts, which allows all enthusiastic and ambitious people within the building industry and all around the field to submit papers of their expertise. Multi- and interdisciplinary topics within the AEC industry, facility and construction management and MEP planning are only a few of these. But how does an abstract look like?

Basically, you have three different kinds. A 75 min presentation, a 75 min roundtable and a 75(x2) min lab. Furthermore, you need to categorize your topic in four main tags, from primary tag to software tag. Examples are Model Management, Next Generation, Programming and Coding, Architecture etc. The categorization helps us, the committee, already to outline the topic and to get a first impression what it is about. The main abstract body is the most important part- within around 500 words you can explain how your class would look like. All committee members need to vote on the originality and quality of the content. Personally, this is the most interesting part for me. Eight people, Eight different opinions, Eight different backgrounds packed in five voices are voting over approximately 180 abstracts. This is not only a small hell of a job but also an extreme responsibility beyond current industry out there. With this, we are shaping the entire program for around 400 people conference with the main purpose of connecting, collaborating and exchanging.

The next steps will be a call within the Academy. Since we were dividing all abstracts by the three of us, it becomes more efficient and inevitably necessary to talk it out. Which abstract impresses us at most, which disappoints us? To decide which abstract we take as our “holy cow” and also to exchange abstract´s, in case we did not understand the topic. To analyze our internal outcome of the review/voting we documented all this ID´s, titles plus our personal comments. Merlin, our Manager, is going to make a report to visualize our understanding of the topics. The aim behind all this is to understand what is relevant to nowadays technology and field and comparing it to universities curriculums in Europe to see what education lacks the most. I think this can illustrate not only where the strengths are, but also weakness in our education.

I am really looking forward seeing an analysis or statistics which compares the votings plus the comments we gave. I think it will be quite obvious to see which one came out of the corner from the BILT Academy. 😉

The mighty Dynamo Forum

Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you are trying to solve a problem, which can occur in multiple disciplines then it may be usefull to search through the Dynamo forum. Here is an example:

At my office we use SOFiSTiK Reinforcement add-in for Revit, because it automises many tasks. However, schedule all the rebars and fabric sheets can be quite difficult. The schedule function gathers all rebars which are assigned to one sheet. Therefore if you want to group all the rebars of level 1,.. into one schedule (because of estimation reasons), then you will probably loose the overview of all the rebar marks and compenents where they are part of.

So I searched Google for a solution to this and I found this link which is worth a mint: Dynamo forum link. This Dynamo graph will apply to all of your elements the sheet, where they are included. This. is. huge.

You can use this workflow to filter elements by GetParameterBy… afterwards. You can request it for example if all the rebars contains at least two sheets (one sheet where the whole level is shown, one for the component where they are part of).

BIM for students. Why and how to start?


What used to be a transition from 2D to 3D, BIM implementation has become a revolution in AEC building industry. Current trends in the industry should be an important part of any AEC student’s education, and it is crucial to become familiar with software and processes used in nowadays professional life. But how can one learn about BIM if it is not offered in most of the curriculums? This is a problem that we are trying to fix, so if you are a student who is eager to use the newest technology and BIM, continue following BILT Academy and our blog.

Why this topic?

In this blog series, I will try to cover advantages, workflows and implementation strategies that students should use in their school projects to get familiar with the BIM process. The information supplied in this blog is based on knowledge and experience from me, my colleagues, and will feature interviews and quotations from various professionals.

Why to worry about BIM while being a student? There are many advantages to that:

  • Higher chance of getting hired for internships/jobs
  • Helps you produce drawings more efficiently
  • Allows you to access various visualisation and analysis tools
  • Easy collaboration in group work
  • Clash detection
  • Less duplication of work

I have personally used Revit during my bachelor studies and it has helped me reduce drawing production time tremendously. Fast drawing production means more time for studying and… that so-long-needed nap.

What is ‘BIM’?

So now that we know the advantages of using BIM, let’s start with the main question- what is BIM?

Put simply, BIM- Building Information Modelling is a process, used in all AEC fields, starting from construction management spanning to visualisations and facility management. It’s a software application, which brings efficiency and better control of the project through 3D visualisation, data management, simulation and other tools. The National Building Specification released a great and fun visual representation of BIM elements:

BIM periodic table

You can read more about the Periodic Table of BIM elements here:


BIM means to not only input the information, but to also extract it later on, analyse it, use it during construction and after the handover. During these blog series, we will discuss and elaborate on various aspects and applications of BIM.

Where to start?

There are many ways to learn, however, practice shows to be highly efficient when it comes to software and BIM. First of all, I would highly suggest looking up various blogs, trainings and conference recordings, which are available online. Secondly, try a practical approach- working in groups, ideally multidisciplinary based on school assignments and projects.

Here are links to Autodesk University and Academy, where you can find many videos on BIM, depending on your field of expertise:



You can also watch many videos posted on Youtube from various universities, seminars and conferences.

Check out the links to get familiar with main definition of BIM and terminology and see you soon! Stay updated on BIM and technology news on weekly BILT Academy blog!

Are you a student experiencing issues on understanding or implementing BIM? Write us an email via our blog and we will try to answer your questions in our next blog entries!

Refurbishment projects with focus in structural engineering. Visualization of column’s load-bearing capacity

Sometimes it is all about to presenting data in an easily understandable way. Especially when the project hasn’t started yet and you have to present the advantages offered by your office. So my boss came up to me and asked me if I can accomplish a visualization task.
We have a refurbishment project (no digital data available like BIM models, plans,..) and I modeled every column with it’s belonging load-bearing capacity. The load-bearing capacity is the entry of the “comments” property of each object.


At first, I thought about to draw isolines of a capacity-surface but it takes too long to compute the surface. I asked Jostein Berger Olsen (http://jbdynamo.blogspot.de/) for his help and he came up with a much smarter idea. He edited my script in a way that circles would be drawn and the properties (like radius and color) depends on the load-bearing capacity. Let’s break down the whole task into some specific subtasks.

  1. Extract all the “comments” data out of each column
  2. As you can see, we have this weird way in Germany to express a decimal digit. Therefore I have to extract the string, erase the last 3 letters (whitespace+”MN”), change the “,” to a “.” and parse the string to a float/double type.
  3. If there is no entry, set the capacity to almost zero.
  4. Creating circles, where the middle points are the middle point of each column and the radius is the capacity of each column.
  5. Create a color range where the range is the normed range of our capacity (use of the Math.RemapRange)
  6. Overwrite the visibility of the circles with the belonging color-range-list.

So that’s it!
Here we have the result:

dynamo graph

The python script:

dynamo python

And finally the result:



May we introduce … BILT Academy

WhatsApp Image 2017-10-07 at 19.47.39


We are BILT Academy a non-profit organization with a mission to shape the future experts of the building industry. Our aim of this blog is to focus on the technological part of the Architecture, Engineering and Construction fields.

Together with our mother organization BILT and RTC, carefully selected mentors and students, we want to provide you with tips, tricks, workarounds, workflows and latest news, interviews, and last but not least- to answer your questions.

So, what topics will we cover and how often should you check our blog?

Our blog is going to be updated weekly covering these topics:

  • General
  • Architecture
  • Coding, Content and Customisation
  • Computation Design
  • Estimation
  • Model Management
  • Operations and Maintenance
  • Simulation and Analysis
  • Structure
  • Visualisation

Why are we doing it?

We want to ensure that the next generation of professionals have a place to update themselves with technology news and to have a sense of the community they are about to enter.

We would like to invite YOU to be a part of the community!