This weeks Revit Vs AutoCAD post is from Ryan Solomon from The Revit Network. The Revit Network is an online platform that hosts a vast selection of Revit content, including pre-made templates, project files, free families, and materials. Take a moment to check them out.
Top 3 Benefits of Using Revit vs AutoCAD
With the increasing trend of practices adopting Autodesk Revit we find many AutoCAD users asking the question: “Exactly why is Revit better than my current software?”
Not only is there widespread contention on this subject, but also a large amount of speculation in the area of non-Revit users. For example, it is widely appreciated that Revit allows you to draw in 2D or 3D and produce a working 3D model towards the end of it. Unfortunately, misconceptions also arise such the expectation that Revit automaticallydraws your sections for you. Not only is this false, but it gives non-Revit users recourse to argue, rightly so, that automatic sections would be of a poor drawing quality. This in turn creates negative assumptions on how Revit and its users operate.
Let’s unpack the truth behind what Revit is, particularly in comparison to AutoCAD and try to understand what is possible and what isn’t. We would just like to clarify that this is by no means an attack on AutoCAD software. We are merely referencing one of the most commonly used 2D drawing platforms.
We’ve all heard about it by now, however so many of us still have no idea what BIM actually means. Fewer still understand it’s potential for macro-functionality within building industry as a whole. Here are the basics.
BIM stands for Building Information Modelling. Think of a timeline in the sense of AutoCAD first having insertable 2D files (blocks). It saved time by grabbing complex pre-created 2D objects from a database, rather than drawing them from scratch. Soon after Sketchup allowed for the same functionality, but in full 3D. Suddenly objects could be represented in plan and elevational views. Oddly this functionality still remains foreign to many firms today since most don’t use Sketchup for drawing purposes. Currently at the forefront of our timeline Revit’s BIM capability adds a 4th dimension, in the form of information.
Let’s take for example a window family in our Revit project. It can have multiple pre-set sizes built in according to manufacturer specifications – and selecting these presets instantly alters all windows of that type within the model. Further manufacturer data can be built in such as specifications, pricing and website links. Edits to this window can be implemented and updated across the entire project. With families correctly set up we are even able to schedule all of these items with the click of a button.
Once we start to understand BIM, the pros and cons become quite self-explanatory. For example, unprecedented savings in time and cost, but at the expense of large initial setup times.
Tying in with BIM above, effective Revit use promotes a far speedier and healthier workflow both in and outside of the firm. Multidirectional associativity means simply that changes made in one view will dynamically update all affected elements and views. For example, increasing a floor or finish thickness is done within the object’s properties itself, but will then reflect universally within the project. In all views and schedules.
This functionality can be utilized across professions. For example, an engineer can open the 3D model, add structural elements on a live layer and send back to the architect. The architect can then import this layer into his model in full 3D to analyse potential conflicts or impact. This model can simultaneously be sent to a mechanical engineer for HVAC or similar to be added. In fact, any number of professionals can add input on a single project from entirely separate locations.
As you can see, Revit generates far more than just a 3D model for presentation purposes. If used properly Revit is capable of creating an information-rich database for ALL phases and disciplines, cutting their time required potentially tenfold.
Workflow with regard manufacturers is also streamlined. If your Doors and Windows are set up correctly, they can be instantly scheduled with all their specifications already inserted. Material takeoff can be extracted from any object, provided that the data has been inserted in the first place. A 3D wall for instance can have cubic quantities inserted for masonry, mortar and even paint or waterproofing, thus allowing for easy scheduling once the drawing is complete.
Revit actually allows multiple users to work on the same file simultaneously, while periodically synchronizing all edits to a live central file. As of 2013 users need no longer be on the same server, or even in the same country to work on a single central model.
Due to its 4D nature, Revit boasts vastly superior interoperability with other software. Exporting of .DWG drawings is as easy as printing a PDF. External .DWG files can also be inserted into Revit as a reference, or assimilated into the drawing. Other software such as Sketchup, Rhino, IFC or other Revit files (linked) is also supported. Revit also offers a number of useful features such as point clouds, structural analysis, energy analysis, solar studies, daylight analysis, pipe and duct calculations, fill legends, rendering and much more.
Revit has streamlined to the point where an entire firm need no longer all learn advanced Revit techniques. Rather, someone with Revit skills can be employed to start in assisting with the transition, or start up the firm’s Revit department. It’s also possible to have one of the lead architects complete a basic massing or feasibility study at the start of a project and then pass on a link to the central file so that another user can continue drawing up plans.
AutoCAD functions as an extremely effective drawing tool, much like programs such as Photoshop or Sketchup. Revit on the other hand is an information-based 3D drawing and documentation software intended to support all phases and disciplines. A single central file is intended to function as the project database, allowing all trades constant, simultaneous and up-to-date access to the information required.
It should be noted that these programs are not mutually exclusive. In fact, most firms maintain several versions of each for ease of interoperability. At the end of the day we don’t advocate for replacing your existing software, merely to keep an open mind on all available options.
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