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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

AutoCAD Architecture Update

I have nothing to say about AutoCAD Architecture except that why does no one talk about it, there are so few blog posts about it and it's just not even worth talking about.

It just struck me as interesting that from the contractors' perspective, I've never seen or heard one mention converting a 2D AutoCAD set of dwgs into an AutoCAD Architecture model.  What does that really tell us?  To me, it's just that ACA is just way too complicated and the contractors find Revit so easy to use, why would the even bother learning an AutoCAD based product.  

The closest thing I've seen is that subcontractors will use AutoCAD MEP for their shop drawings.  Typically, that's for those that had already been familiar with AutoCAD.  Imagine a contractor who's never used AutoCAD.  How much time would it take them to learn AutoCAD and then learn AutoCAD Architecture.  At least a year or more to get really comfortable with it.  We've trained contractors to be functional and productive with Revit within a week, so is there any relevance to everyone on the construction side never talking about ACA?

What does that mean for architects?  How many of you AutoCAD Architecture users really do all of the constructs and sheet set manager tools?  Just what I thought...so few of you.  I can't remember the last time I sold a box of AutoCAD Architecture especially since it's included in the Revit Architecture Suite package.  

It's ironic that the 3D modeling feature in ACA is called "constructs" yet no contractors use it to construct their models. 

3 comments:

dailyoccurrence January 20, 2010 at 12:38 PM  

Greg, people hear what they want to hear. If you want to hear people talking about AutoCAD Architecture, subscribe to those blogs. There are a number of them out there, including my own.

Second, it's not really that difficult to use Project Navigator in ACA, with its Constructs, Elements, Views and Sheet Set. Either that, or I am an outright genius for being able to grasp it. Feel free to pick one, or both.
.-)

Third, whether it's Revit or ACA, it's no problem for people to become 'comfortable' with using it in a week, but that doesn't mean they're anywhere close to fully (or even largely) grasp it. It simply takes time to learn a program enough to know how to handle situations that require something other than the step-by-step procedures you've learned in a week. Don't get me wrong, it's a necessary foundation, but who declares a building finished after the slab is placed?

Finally, to truly make a software platform shine, you need an expert (preferably in-house) who can develop and evolve processes and support the users in a way that will bring the most benefit to their individual firm. Each company has its own ideas about what its goals are and what are the most profitable processes to accomplish those goals. These processes must be weighed and executed carefully whether your are Architect, Engineer, or Contractor.

As always, thank you for your blog posts - especially the ones I take issue with. They allow me to focus my thoughts more clearly and get them written out. In fact, I think I'll copy this to my blog...

Robin Capper January 21, 2010 at 9:37 PM  

If, and it's a big IF, you use AutoCAD Architecture (ACA) as a bulding model tool I think the transition to Revit easier. The problem is most people "thunk AutoCAD" when using ACA and the prgram's affinity with it gave you an easy "out".

Creating a model isn't much different in either platform, once used to the workflow. Revit is far slicker at leveraging the model date and managing change.

Coming from ACA it's surprising how much of our object data structures (ie property/classification) can migrate to Revit without change. What is surprising is the things ACA still does better than Revit.

The most painful loss being the ability to automatically manage content updates (from master files) across multiple projects automatically. That part of the BIM toolset in ACA leaves Revit in it's dust.

Anonymous,  May 14, 2010 at 1:01 PM  

"That part of the BIM toolset in ACA leaves Revit in it's dust."

CAD jockeys wish..

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