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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Yesterday's Demo and a true understanding of Revit

Elias and I went to a firm of 10 drafters. They do lowrise commercial and government work. Demo went well and everyone was impressed with the product, but several repeat issues came up.

Lineweight: Revit lineweights are exactly the same as AutoCAD lineweights. You can tweak Revit to make any plan, section, elevation or view look exactly the same as an AutoCAD drawing. Revit automatically adjusts lineweights and fonts when you change the scale of a view. It's two clicks and it's automatically updated. The owner of the firm is committed to having perfect looking drawings and the output is critical. As a former General Contractor, I always find it intriguing that so many architects care about how the lines look, but not what's on the drawings. So many times when I estimated projects, I found inaccurate door and window schedules. The schedules looked beautiful and the lines were wonderfully drawn, but the plans had errors. Revit is comprised of great looking lines and accurate drawings.

Next, I think I found an easy way to describe Revit. You create a scaled replica of the building on the screen. It's a model. It has real doors, walls and windows that you can see through. But, imagine that it's a digital model with 1,000 cameras. Each camera takes a shot of something different. Some cameras take pictures of the elevations. Some looking straight down (plans). Some looking straight up (reflected ceiling plans). Some at angles (perspectives) and you can take them all in black and white (normal plans) or in color (shaded or rendered). There are moving cameras that give you animated walkthroughs. They are xray cameras that give you sections and callouts. And just like you can use Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Paint, you can draw on top of any of those pictures and add lines and details. Does that make a little more sense? If you adjust anything anywhere on the model, any camera pointing at that item or group gets updated instantly. And the biggest difference....it works in reverse. If you change anything on the camera shot, such as moving a door, adjusting a wall, it updates the model itself. That's why it's called parametric modeling and can automate the creation of construction documents. Your CDs are a byproduct of creating the model. Any questions?

As a subtopic of above, Revit stands for Revise Instantly. So, any changes you make anywhere on the model, views, sections, elevations or callouts are updated everywhere else on the drawings. Unlike AutoCAD where you have to manually go through each sheet and make modifcations, Revit takes a fraction of the time to make changes. That's part of the reason that productivity goes up and coordination time goes down. If you even change a sheet number, all of the related section and callout numbers are automatically updated.

"We only work in 2D we don't work in 3D. Glad to hear it. Revit is not a 3D program. Really you say, but that's what I've heard. Well, ladies and gentlemen, the answer is "Revit is a 4D program. Yes, you get double what you get in 2D. You get all of your lines, you get a model, you get intelligent schedules. The 4th D is the building intelligence and parametric functionality.
So, it's not about just seeing your building in 3D, it's about the ability to bring in Revit Structure and Revit MEP work and do interference detection and see where the pipes and ducts hit beams and columns. Wouldn't you rather catch it now than in the field?

Transistioning. Lets say you have a firm of 12 people. You can't take them all offline for three days to do training because you have production deadlines. We recommended sending the threee best drafters to our training center for Revit Essentials. They would go back to the office and start on the first Revit project. Once they've got the hang of it, send the next batch of 3 people and get them started on a new Revit project. The first 3 Revitechs can assist them with what they went through. Send the next batch of 3 and the first batch is now into advanced features and can really help move everyone along. So, you've slowly made the transistion at your pace and not affected the productivity of your firm. We assist you the whole time, add in advanced training and with our project template implementation, we can help you set up projects based on types of work so you don't have to worry about that. We can duplicate all of your AutoCAD layering, fonts, lineweight and more into Revit so you're ready to go. That was easy.

Revit has no layers, xrefs, model space or paper space or command line.
Layers are replaced with intelligent categories that can be adjusted on any view. You can duplicate a view of a plan and turn on the furniture layer and halftone the rest of that drawing.
Model space and paper space are replaced with an intelligent project browser where you just drag one of the camera shots of a plan, section or elevation and drag it onto a sheet and can instantly adjust it's scale in 5 clicks. Command line is replaced with an intelligent toolbar that shows you just the tools you need depending on the task. Creating a wall, see connection types and heights. Dimensions, see the individual item or whole wall choices. Simple and intuitive.

You can reuse data. If you create a project template for a school, all of your door types, wall types, schedule setups are all there. Reuse your model and project information quickly and easily.

Well, that's all for now and I hope it helped.

Thanks for reading and give me a call if you have any questions.


Steve February 22, 2007 at 12:17 PM  

Great explanations. Just be careful not to use 4th 'D' (in 4D) to describe "building intelligence and parametric functionality." For years the 4th 'D' in 4D represents the Time factor. In a true 4D program, the design model would have construction schedule information tied to each element to avoid constructability issues as well as aid in equipment staging. Revit has 'phases' but cannot yet produce a building assembly sequence schedule or product delivery plan. See the link below:

Great work

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