29 Questions & Answers from the Konstru Beta User Webinar

Posted on 24 February 2017 by Thornton Tomasetti

On February 23, we conducted our first webinar, which was focused on our beta users. Thank you to everyone who attended and participated. We were very pleased with the turnout and the depth and sheer number of technical questions that our webinar participants asked. Below is the video of the webinar (54:26). And, below the video are all the questions that participants asked during the webinar, followed by our answer to each.

Thank you again to everyone who participated. We are thrilled at the early response to Konstru!




Navigate the Webinar Video

The first 5 minutes is an intro to Konstru and the team members who were on the webinar. Here are the timestamps for the other sections of the webinar:

  • The two demonstrations begin at the 5:02 mark.
  • The second demo begins at 12:57.
  • The Beta product roadmap discussion starts at 26:51
  • Q&A Begins at 28:54
  • Final wrap up is at 50:03

We again invite all our Konstru beta users to take a short survey and offer your feedback on Konstru. Here’s the link to that short survey. Thank you in advance for your time.

Questions & Answers from the Webinar

Below are the questions from webinar participants and answers to those questions from our engineers and product evangelist.

Q: Does Konstru support elements created from the content generator?
A: Konstru supports any element that appears to have been modeled natively.

Q: There are a lot of differences between a BIM model and an analysis model, which is geometrically often simplified. How can you manage those differences?
A: Konstru makes use of filters (here’s a video that demonstrates filters) to upload and download models from the various authoring programs. Filters allow the user exactly what kind of information should be transferred. By default Konstru filters are set up in a way that analysis platforms do not override geometric information, and BIM platforms do not override material information. But they can easily be configured as needed for every specific project.

Q: What’s the responsiveness of the workflow when working on large projects (>10k)
A: We have tested the workflow with large models (100k elements), and have not found any problems. Revit tends to become slow when uploading large models, but, since uploading occurs on a separate thread, the user can continue to work. The Konstru database and the 3D viewer are optimized for large models.

Q: How does Konstru handle simultaneous users?
A: Before every upload from a desktop application, Konstru downloads the current version of the model, and compares the desktop version to it. In the unlikely event of two or more users uploading a model in the exact same second, it is the latest version that ‘wins’. So, if user A and user B both upload at the exact same time, and the upload of user B comes in a second after that of user A, two new versions are being created. The version of user B appears as the most recent version, and does not include the changes that were made by user A. However, thanks to the version control features of Konstru, the work of user A is also saved in the model history.

Q: In Konstru, can you choose which items you want to filter out or manually choose elements and assign them to a custom filter?
A: Yes and yes. Konstru filters give you the option to exclude elements by type (e.g. “don’t translate walls from Revit to Konstru”). Also, when uploading to Konstru, you can choose to upload a selection of your model into Konstru, instead of an entire model.

Q: When admin rights are applied to a user (collaborator) in Konstru, does that make them an admin on all projects uploaded to Konstru or only to that specific project? Basically, can permissions setting be project and/or enterprise based?
A: Konstru user permissions are currently set per project only.

Q: Can you show the process for SAP plugin install process?
A: Yes, here’s a video that demonstrates that functionality.

Q: Does Konstru recognize families like doors e.g., TT_DC_Rebar-Wall Opening?
A: Not currently, but we may incorporate architectural elements like doors and windows if/when such functionality is requested by our users.

Q: Are there any size limitations in Konstru for models? Either restrictions on cloud storage or practical limitations for upload time?
A: There are no limits set from our side. In fact, the database and the 3D viewer were built with large models in mind.

Q: Metric vs. Imperial units – does Konstru work in Metric? For some reason it was asking me for Metric Family templates.
A: Konstru stores all information in metric, but users can download data into any unit settings. Konstru prompts you for default family templates to create new families. Konstru can be metric or imperial.

Q: How does Konstru differ from Assemble?
A: Konstru allows import and export of model data from a larger number of authoring platforms, which assemble does not support. Also, Konstru lets you fine tune exactly what kind of information you wish to synchronize between these various programs.

Q: What are the specific RAM limitations at this time? My Concrete example project exported to RAM and showed up as Steel WF columns.
A: RAM and Grasshopper Konstru plugins are the least developed of our plugins at the moment (alpha stage). At this point, Konstru for RAM does not support concrete materials properly. The fix for this issue is due in the coming weeks.

Q: Noticing the lag in Jonatan’s demo, do you plan on having a downloadable software or will this be just a web based software?
A: The lag is primarily caused by the fact that we were doing a LIVE demo over a webinar tool. We don’t have any foreseeable plans on developing a desktop application (other than our integration plugins). Konstru can also be used without much web interaction, if you are primarily interested in the interoperability features.

Q: What kind of upload times are you seeing for more complex Revit models?
A: Upload times are primarily dependent upon the internet upload speed at your location.

Q: Other than ETABS, what can connect to Konstru at the moment?
A: We offer Konstru desktop plugins for SAP2000, Revit, Excel, RAM, Tekla and Grasshopper

Q: How does Konstru handle a custom shape in Revit? For example, if we have a W-Beam family with flange plates (box beam) added to it, how Konstru will interpreted it when transferring to ETABS?
A: Konstru can create new family types on the fly. If it doesn’t find any standard section it will prompt you to map the section to any other family or create a new one.

Q: Can you import Tekla geometry into Revit? Is this turned into Revit-elements?
A: Yes, Tekla elements are translated into Revit elements like beams, braces or columns.

Q: If this is a web based only, what & when are your plans for upgrading your server(s) / internet connection?
A: Konstru is currently hosted at Heroku, with unlimited bandwidth and storage capabilities. Upload and download speeds are primarily dependent upon the user’s internet upload and download speed at that location.

Q: Are you planning on adding any Help Videos for using Konstru in Grasshopper?
A: Yes, here are two videos showing how to use Konstru with Grasshopper: Video 1, Video 2.

Q: How does Konstru handle nurbs surfaces moving between?
A: Konstru does not support any nurbs surface based elements at the moment, but we do translate spline, arc, and line based elements.

Q: Can you use AutoCAD 3D to upload a model or is this just for BIM’s Revit?
A: Just Revit currently.

Q: Is there a future plan for accessibility to an API?
A: Yes there is. Under the hood of Konstru, all data exchange takes place through a well-structured REST API. We will likely expose this API to users in the near future in order to let users build customs apps for Konstru. Please let us know if you have anything in mind that could help us drive the direction of this future feature.

Q: How does Konstru deal with phases and design options? Is it a case of what you see gets uploaded?
A: Konstru Imports currently into the active phase or design option. In the future we’ll export phases and design options with the elements.

Q: When bringing the model back into Revit, are the units converted back to Imperial or are they then left in the metric units when brought back to Revit?
A: Units are converted in the unit system you have setup in Konstru. You can upload a Konstru model from Revit in feet and download it into ETABS setup in Meters.

Q: How does it work in terms of coordinate systems?
A: Konstru works by origin, so all elements are positioned by every documents global 0,0,0

Q: Will/Can you show an import/export example from Konstru to SAP2000 in this session?
A: Yes, here’s a video that demonstrates that functionality.

Q: Does Konstru automatically notify users when changes have been made, or do you only find out when you initiate a download from Konstru?
A: Currently, users are only notified through a desktop notifier, and through a web notifier (when logged into the web app). In the future, we also plan to offer automated email notifications to team members based on the user’s preferences.

Q: Are you planning to release API? .NET and .JS?
A: Yes, it is a RESTful API, so when we release the API, users will be able to access it from any language.

Q: What will the pricing structure for this solution be when it becomes publicly available?
A: Pricing will be per user per month, with volume discounts for organizations with many users. We expect to announce pricing in the April – May timeframe.

Q: Can you keep analysis functions of Etabs model such as P-delta, mass, load cases, load combinations, mesh options?
A: Konstru supports certain analysis functions such as restraints, releases, loads and load cases. This functionality lets you translate these types of information between SAP and ETABS. In the future, we will also let users export analysis results from the analysis programs.

Q: is it possible to combine three or four different SAP2000 or ETABS models to one model to create a global model?
A: Yes, you can use the ‘merge models’ feature to merge multiple models into one larger one. Here’s a video that demonstrates this functionality.

Q: The question on origins needs to be dealt with. There are many softwares that give errors if the base level of the building is greater than 0 (for instance in the calculation of wind loads). There should be an easy way to convert a Revit model coord system set to real civil coordinate to an offset downwards to “Zero” for analysis (setting up a Revit shared coord system is not always an option)
A: You are correct. This is on our product roadmap.

Q: Can you export / import a portion of a model?
A: Yes you can, simply mark the checkbox before clicking “Upload Selection”.

Thank you again for all the great questions and participation. Do you have other questions? Send them to support@konstru.com. Or, if you haven’t yet joined the beta user program, click here to sign up and begin your BIM collaboration with Konstru.


About the Author

Thornton Tomasetti

KONSTRU’s user - friendly data environment makes 3D BIM collaboration a breeze. Our web-based platform translates data between building design and analysis applications so models can be synchronized without needing to be reworked. Designers no longer have to waste valuable hours reentering models into their preferred software, so KONSTRU can save time and money – and eliminate the risk of entry errors.

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