Everything you need to know about Autodesk Revit
What do you need to know about Revit to get started?
The age of BIM (building information modeling) is here—actually, it’s been here for nearly a decade, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to get on board. While AutoCAD used to dominate, Autodesk Revit has taken over, bringing 3D modeling to just about everyone, along with the ability to share projects across the platform with all of the members of your team.
But a lot of people are still hanging onto what they know, and hesitating to make the switch to Revit, since the transition will take a bit of effort and training. Fortunately, Revit Courses are available to help temper the learning curve. And if you don’t have time for a class, we’ve put together a list of everything you need to know about Revit to get you started:
The main differences between AutoCAD and Revit: While both programs are owned by Autodesk, AutoCAD is predominantly used for drafting with geometric lines, whereas Revit is a BIM platform that is useful for architects, engineers, designers, and even landscapers. While AutoCAD does a great job at creating geometry that represents real life, Revit creates models that actually contain real-life information (which is why it is referred to as a building information modeling platform).
- There are different versions of Revit: Originally designed with architects in mind, Revit has been expanded to include versions that are specifically designed for mechanical, electrical and plumbing firms (Revit MEP) and structural engineers (Revit Structure).
The major shortcomings of the Revit platform: While Revit is a powerful program that provides useful functions such as viewing, sectioning, and connecting elements, it is for that very reason quite complex, and can be a bit difficult to navigate when you first start on the platform. The process can be particularly complex when trying to create complicated, highly technical models (which is sort of the point of the software).
Other tools are available to help make Revit more powerful: Revit specialists understand that the platform can be complex, particularly for technical, niche uses. That’s why they have developed a number of add-ons to supplement the Revit software. These tend to be geared toward the user experience and ease of use, and allow you to customize processes rather than depending on the auto-routing options that come stock with Revit.
- The content you need for your project: While some models will be adequate with generic inputs, many will require specific content that is based on actual manufacturer availability—particularly if you want your model to provide an accurate estimate of costs and time. By making your digital model as life-like as possible—reflecting actual costs, time constraints, availabilities, and the labor and supplies offered by real vendors—you set your project up for success rather than unexpected shortcomings. When this is done correctly, your model can then be connected to various members of your team, informing everyone from accounting and acquisition experts to contractors and project managers.
- The key players you want to connect with on Revit: Because your Revit model is intended to a real-life representation of your actual build, it has the ability to effectively inform all of the members of your team. Revit can share vital information across the platform, and should be used by just about everyone, including your project owner, manager, contractors, wholesalers/suppliers, landscapers, interior designers, architects, various engineers, etc.
- Your model can be shared with those who are not on Revit: Ideally your entire team will be on Revit—but in reality, there may be members who are not on the platform. Fortunately, data can still be shared with them via IFC-based software and Revit-based software that was created for exactly this purpose. There are pros and cons to each option, of course. For example, IFC-based solutions risk the loss of information when it is exported from Revit, but they also allow for users to view the entire BIM model, which helps to communicate all aspects of the future build.
- It is vital that your team members understand BIM models and Revit content: Not everyone on your project team will have experience with Revit or other BIM software, so it may be worthwhile enrolling everyone in a Revit course before the project begins. Revit courses are typically taught by certified Revit instructors in either a classroom or private setting, and can be customized to the needs and pace of the class or individual. If the course runs concurrently with your project, the instructors might even be able to use the actual project as part of the classroom curriculum, so that students are getting valuable, hands-on instruction that is relevant not only in the context of their Revit lessons, but in regards to the actual project they are working on.