SANS 204 Calculations versus FRESHGROUNDEARTH…round 1

Let’s have a little bit of fun shall we?

Version 2 of the template is now well under way.  So we’re making a few short video’s highlighting the functionality of the current and the new template, and asking everyone out there to let us in on any current methods they may have, which help them perform these calculations in Revit.

If you know of a faster way (this demo shows calculations of a specified storey [1500sq.m.] in under 40 seconds), or want to suggest a new way, don’t be shy.  Comment below, or drop us a mail…

In the mean time, here is the first video…switch on the captioning if yours is off…SANS 204 vs FRESHGROUNDEARTH round 1.

Zone assignment automated

Individual room zone assignments have been removed.


REVIT/SANS 204 Template Version 2 – Room Based Natural Ventilation Calculations

Well, it’s been nearly a year now since I started working on the Revit SANS 204 template.  Thanks to all those who have purchased, used and provided feedback.  It’s been a pretty exciting journey, culminating with meeting some of you at the BIM Summit Africa last month.

But back on point.  As I indicated a few weeks ago, I’m undertaking a re-write of the template to change and improve some of the functionality.  I started with the easiest portion first which I’m putting up today for you all to try out.


Basically I have here separated the zones into 6 different schedules, quite easily identified.  You can now just copy and past the appropriate zone schedule from the template into your project and the calculations will happen real time.  This has taken away the need to select a zone for each room in your project.  While that was never very time consuming, those clicks are now something of the past.


In order to exclude any rooms from the calculations as required, I have included a standard Revit parameter called ‘Occupancy’.  Clicking in the selection box and adding a value in this field space of ‘None’ will automatically exclude that room from the schedule and thus the calculations.

A hidden field exists for ‘Level’ which you can still use in your formatting to separate your calculations per storey (for the uninitiated, we can no longer refer to building ‘levels’ or ‘floors’ they are now ‘storeys’).  I would love to meet the old goat who thought that one up but that’s for another day.

The ‘15% Calculation Threshold’ is still the automated calculation that helps you determine the minimum glazing area, under which you do not have to perform the fenestration calculations.

The color filters you see on your schedule fields are just there to help you see the important values, they will NOT transfer through to your sheets.

Please give this a go, and provide feedback on the use, naming etc. so we can do a BETA-2 version before the final one is released.  As always, all feedback welcome at

By the way, for those who have not yet purchased the template, please note this is the only part that will be publically available of version 2.  Contact me about getting  a legal copy.

If any pirate users are reading this……well you know what I hope happens to your toes.

I look forward to hearing from you all.

Link to version 2…


A while ago I got a really pleasant email form the folks at IQPC.  They have been tasked with organising and hosting a BIM conference in Africa during August 2012.

Following my work on the SANS Revit template I have been asked to speak at the event.  I must admit it is one I am greatly looking forward too.  Meeting with folks who are involved in the BIM industry, practically speaking, and getting a chance to share ideas is exactly the kind of boost South Africa needs to get our combined AEC industries onto the right BIM track.

For those of you who would like more information on the conference, click on the image below and you’ll be directed to the conference home page.

Hope to see some of you there.

The kind of reaction you should be getting from using Revit…..

I met (virtually speaking) Julie about 2 weeks ago or so. Possibly, in terms of email etiquette, the
most polite person I have come across.

Read more about Julie De Zeeuw Architects here.

Julie runs Julie De Zeeuw Architects out of the Durban area in South Africa, and recently started using the  SANS 204 Revit Fenestration calculation template (I so have to get an acronym for it). Her initial reaction  to it really got me thinking about the kind of reaction people should be, but are not necessarily, getting  from switching to Revit. Her response was something in the line of: ‘IT’S WORKING! IT’S WORKING!’ Somewhere  in there was grinning, hero, and all sorts of things that made me blush a little. Granted she had only  just started using the template, but it’s the kind of reaction, techies like me, dream about when people  use your product or appreciate your hard work.

But I digress. The point I was trying to make was that Revit should be getting this kind of reaction from  users, but it does not always do so. Why? To proffer a theory I would say there are 2 main reasons:

1. Proper training. When a company buys into the Revit / BIM ecosystem, make no mistake, the single most  important aspect of that sales is that they buy into proper training. BIM / Revit / 3D, call it whatever  you want, is not a natural way of working for most technicians. We were force-fed 2D from day one at varsity.
And to be honest, at least in South Africa we still have a lot of people who only work in, or think in 2D. As far as your choice of training personnel, as with anything in life, the guy who sells you the things, might not  always be the best guy to teach you to use it. My suggestion is, look for someone with extensive, and I mean  extensive experience in using Revit outside of just the education field.

2. localization.
The SANS 204 and 10400 XA regulations are examples of the need for localization of your software. In the MEP field,  the current lighting analysis in Revit spaces does not match up to what we have been accustomed to use. It needs localised adjustment. Autodesk is not going to localise their software for a small market like SA, so it’s reliant on other users, professionals to investigate this localization and develop it. Get to know them, collaborate, ask, learn, teach, share. Put people in touch with others, reach out, create networks, you are likely to learn more from others than just the standard teachers/trainers. I can vouch for this. Julie asked me the other day if she could just copy paste the schedules from the template into a new model…now see I am not a copy paste  person. I prefer creating families, blocks, standard detail drawings and pulling them in via tools, like insert block/family, attach etc. I admit I am a little OCD about creating content. But there I tried it, and…lesson learned. Small thing I know,
but it would not have happened had I not talked to another user.

If you work at these two issues, then with a little bit of luck…you could just shout out……ITS WORKING!!!!!!

For more information about the services provided by Julie De Zeeuw architects, you can mail her at For more information
about the SANS 204 calculations in Revit and AutoCAD, you can mail me at


Demo this…..

Proof is in the pudding as they say.

So about time you get to try this out I suppose.  Click on this link……and download a DEMO version of the Revit SANS 204 fenestration calculation template.  PLEASE NOTE: This one is highly simplified and has generic values.  It’s for you to get a feel of the way it works, not to actually get calculated results.

Download the zip file, open it, and read through the text document for some step by step instructions.

Try it out and drop me a mail if you want more information.

Your fellow tech head!



Maximum Energy Demand & Consumption from lighting.

This one actually turned out extremely easy in the end.  Not nearly as time consuming as the fenestration calculations.

As usual in short:

A Room schedule, which allows for the assignment of a building class (as per SANS 204 table 12), calculates the maximum allowed demand and consumption from lighting in your building.

SANS 204 building class selection and parametric schedules allow you to keep track of maximum energy demand and consumption as you design.

Once you have the maximums calculated, you’ll use a lighting schedule, which has space for the lamp usage (weeks, days, hours) which then calculates the actual peak energy demand and consumption per year.

Maximum allowed Energy Demand and Consumption

Predefined class lists and parametric scheduling allows you to keep track of your energy allowance for lighting as you design.

As always, should you want further information, drop me a mail at

AutoCAD and SANS 204 Fenestration Calculations

A drop down list allows you to select the appropriate glazing material.

Once again, you can see it here first folks.

Now, thanks to some techy magic, both AutoCAD and Revit can help you perform the SANS 204 deemed to satisfy calculations for fenestration, as prescribed by 10400 XA.

The calculation are performed as follows:

You place a dynamic block at each window, whether on plan or elevation is up to you.  Upon placement the tag will query you for a window and facade number (for sorting purposes later in the calculations).

Numbering windows and facades for later sorting purposes.

By assigning numbers to glazing elements and facades, you'll later be able to sort these to accurately report on your calculations.

A simple set of properties is then used to define the window design.  Height, width, P and G values are simply typed in.  These are then used to calculate the P/H values.

Standard AutoCAD element properties

Simply define the glazing element properties, both physical and SANS 204 based.

Once these properties are filled in, you can then use a simple drop down selection to define the glazing performance values, which then complete your calculations.

A drop down list allows you to select the appropriate glazing material.

Experiment with different material selections to ensure the correct materials and values are assigned to help you achieve deemed to satisfy requirements.


These blocks can then be extracted, either into a table that fits into your drawing, or exports to excel for further analysis.

Dynamically updated AutoCAD block table.

Dynamically updated AutoCAD block table.

Block table exported to Excel

Block table exported to Excel


There it is in a nutshell.  If you would like more detailed info or want to know how to gain access to this open system, drop us a mail at