By Jason Bogdanowicz-Wilson, AIA, LEED AP, VP of Architecture and Interior Design
BIM technology has already transformed the practice of architecture, though it’s necessary for software companies to continue to improve upon their offerings. Just last month, Autodesk and Trimble – the companies that provide Revit and SketchUp, respectively – announced an interoperability agreement. It’s good news for those of us who traverse between the two programs, as this agreement should eventually alleviate the workflow inefficiencies that result from relying on two separate programs.
At The McBride Company, we’re partial to Revit, which is becoming the standard platform for architecture firms around the US. Yet, we’ve found that many professionals in our field aren’t utilizing the program to its full potential. Building teams can save more time, improve accuracy and offer clients more creativity if they consider how much more Revit can do, and collaborate to put the right processes in place.
Read on for five ways to get more out of Revit.
1. Give project partners more access.
Even if consultants or clients don’t work in Revit, they can still view the model in 3D on their own desktop or mobile device. Collaboration tools such as A360 Viewer allow others to navigate through the model while it’s still in the design process. We see a lot of opportunity to save time and improve communication when our project partners can flythrough the model on their own and make comments.
These types of tools also make it possible to access the 3D model remotely while on the job site. There may be instances when the traditional construction documents on site are not clearly communicating the design intent to the contractor. Having the capability to access the 3D model helps communicate the intent in a more effective way. Some progressive construction companies have already seen the potential of having in-house BIM support.
2. Market the property.
We’re able to produce beautiful renderings in Revit that clients can use for marketing purposes. We do everything in full color at The McBride Company, so it’s easy to extract any kind of view that a client may want as it’s already visually appealing.
3. Make prototypes.
You can use a Revit model to pull profiles for any aspect of the project that could be manufactured by a CNC machine or 3D printer. (I happen to believe this 3D printing technology will someday transform the design and construction industry.) We’re seeing this type of workflow starting to be adopted in the product design industry. Recently, an office building in Dubai was printed by extruding a cement mixture layer by layer.
4. Re-create existing conditions with ease.
Teams can save a lot of time – and improve accuracy – on a renovation project by sending information from the 3D laser scans directly into Revit. By having point cloud data in Revit, you have the beginning of your model. Even smaller firms can implement these technologies by utilizing a 3D laser scanning service or utilizing a handheld Bluetooth laser-measuring device. There are many affordable handheld devices that you can use to document building dimensions directly into Revit utilizing software such as PointKnown or by utilizing an in-between method such as Redstick CAD that runs on your smart phone or tablet device.
5. Leverage the model after project completion.
The Revit model can be put to use in many ways after the project is built. Building Owners and Facilities Managers can integrate the model's information and assets with various building management software. They can use the information from the model to help manage building assets, environmental control systems, maintenance management programming, etc., which allows for a seamless transition during the turnover phase of construction. By utilizing software such as Autodesk's Building Ops software, the owner and management teams can manage various aspects of the building remotely.
What’s more, it helps to have an accurate model in place for determining the feasibility of future expansion and/or renovation projects.