Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Making Revit Systems Work

The question I always seem to come back to is this, What is it going to take to get Revit Systems working for me? If you seem to be asking the same thing, I'll share some advice. It has everything to do with your expectations. This might not help if you don't know what to expect. Here is some food for thought.

BIM
If you are wanting to switch to Revit Systems because you are feeling pressure to complete a BIM model, Keep in mind, nobody can agree to what the Hell a BIM model is. Seems like every one is working on it, but it is plain undefined.

That being said, someday we will know, and someday our contract documents will reflect the legalities of BIM. When that happens, my money is on Revit to deliver. Sticking your toe in the Revit waters now will acclimate you now so you are ready to jump when it's time.

My Architects are using Revit Building
This is a good reason to have Revit Systems, not necessarily a good reason to use Revit Systems. Having it means, I'm capable of translating Revit files myself both from and to the architect. The important thing to keep in mind for collaborating with your architectural clients is communicating what they can expect of you and developing new procedures in house to deal with a single Revit project file instead of multiple DWGs or DGNs. At this stage delivering HVAC and electrical content in model form for interference detection is a real bonus and a valid expectation. In the end producing coordinated CDs spending more time on design and less on drafting is the real benefit to MEP firms. Marketing that you have or use Revit Systems can get you in trouble if your client believe you have or can do something you can't (plumbing).

How Fast Can I get up to Speed?
I like the analogy of Revit products are like ipods. AutoCAD is record albums and ABS is CDs. There are people who love albums and will never stop. Transitioning to CDs is relatively easy for the user, they are just tiny digital albums. Transitioning to an ipod however is completely different. I think ipods sales would suggest that this is the way of the future, but I still read all about people still trying to figure out how to use the darn things. Once you do, you tend to love them.

If you want to get up to speed, understand it will be different for every firm, but here are the basics.

Find out what you don't know. Take a class, contact your reseller, research, do what ever it takes and allow your self time to understand what you are getting into. You will want to know what the software is capable of and what it can not do.

Plan. Decide what makes sense for your company. Just because the software may do something, your firm may not need to use that function. (Scheduling, Phasing...). Now plan out the purchases (Hardware and Software), the required content creation. Your firm will undoubtedly require objects not supplied with Revit Systems the same way AutoCAD did not come with Blocks or Layers, you will have to make them or pay a consultant to help you. Currently you probably need hundreds of families created and you may have no idea how Revit plots.

Educate. Your design team needs to learn how to function in the Revit interface. Not how to create templates and families, how to model and create construction documents.

Test. Validate what you have done on a small project. Something you do enough on that you can bail if you need to. Something you are comfortable quantifying. This will help you decide if Revit is faster, better, stronger.

Practice. I bet things are not all that faster or better on the first project, but as you continue to produce in Revit (tweaking as you go) Things will improve.
I Want to do what I'm doing now, only BETTER.In the end, this is the best and only reason to move toward Revit Systems for me. Yes, my clients use it, I heard the buzz about BIM, It's really cool according to my CAD guys... all things to consider, but oddly just wanting to improve your design process is what will really count in the end.
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