TOP 6 TIPS FOR THE SWITCH FROM AUTOCAD TO REVIT

By Ryan Solomon on November 13th, 2019


After the success of BIM integrated systems we find more firms making the switch over to Revit. If there is no lack in resources a firm may be able to transition relatively painlessly. For many however, the move can take years, or even prove unsuccessful with users reverting back to previous software.


Here are some suggestions to help make the switch easier.



1. BE PREPARED

Have a plan. We’re not talking about a floor plan, although that helps, we’re talking about a game plan. Take some time to do research beforehand, especially if you don’t plan on doing any of the courses.


Start small and allow yourself time to work through it. Jumping into a large project may quickly prove overwhelming. Give yourself and your team each a small project to work through. To prevent confusion it is advisable to have individuals working on their own project.


Make use of a BIM execution plan beforehand to outline the project’s scope, clients, team and contractors.


2. BE REALISTIC

Set manageable goals for yourself and your team. While Revit will ultimately prove far more streamlined than 2D drafting, the teething process will be a slow one while you are learning. Gaining a solid understanding of Revit can take up to a year, but the time required will vary from person to person.


Below is a suggested outline on how to work through your pilot project:

  • Familiarize yourself with the interface. 2-3 days

  • Import a 2D plan or sketch. Create the walls and then familiarize yourself with the different views including plan, elevation and 3D. 1-2 days BONUS: Open a wall’s properties and try to create new walls, or edit existing ones.

  • Insert doors and windows and understand how they affect your model. 2-3 days BONUS: Open a door family and experiment with its complexity, but understand that this one of the most complex parts of Revit.

  • Add Floor structures and a Roof, preferably pitched. Note that there are separate commands for all of these. 1-2 days HINT: some editing is easier in top-down plan view, while some requires an elevational view.

  • Congratulations. You have your first 3D Revit model. The bulk of your time will now go into learning the various systems that allow you produce a serviceable set of drawings.



3. BE INFORMED

Consider taking at least one of the accredited courses to provide you with a fundamental understanding of how Revit works.


It is possible to learn on your own. If so, you may want to start here. That there are also some great resources for video tutorials such as Balkan Architect and TheRevitKid. Sites for free families exist such as RevitCity.


Having someone in the office that is proficient with the software can be invaluable, but remember that training co-workers can be a full time job!



4. BE SMART

You have a working 3D model, so use it. Get comfortable working in 3D and solving problems in those views. Also understand which changes affect only 2D views and which affect your entire model.


EXAMPLE: You will want to set up and modify your gridlines in plan view, but doing so will affect numerous objects throughout your model. You need to be aware of the fact that columns and beams attached to your gridlines will shift along with them even if they are not visible in the view you are working in.


PRO TIP: Use the section box to cut inside your model and scrutinize your project from the inside. You can also print out various views such as 3Ds and details in order to solve problems by hand.



5. BE RESILIENT

Don’t go back to AutoCAD when you hit a snag. In fact, forget about it altogether or you will be using it forever.


Misconceptions still exist that Revit isn’t an effective tool for detailing. Please don’t try to coordinate drawings within different software simultaneously. The ability to work on a single file with all data built in is one of Revit's greatests assets. See below.


EXAMPLE: Consider the plumber phoning you up last minute and telling you that a large water pipe needs to run congruent to 4 beams, within 2 bulkheads and around an RC column. Where would you even start to coordinate this in Autocad?

With Revit you can slice the building in half and model it out in 3D to display on all relevant sheets. If the contractor is on Revit himself he can simply send you the 3D scaled piping drawing. With coordinates set up, it can be dropped exactly into place with a single click.



6. BE CAUTIOUS

Early on it can be tough predicting what actually needs to be modelled. A good rule is: if something feels like it’s taking too long to draw, then you should probably consider going about it in a different way.


Don’t go overboard on the detail. Experience will teach you what can be omitted vs. modelled, but starting with a conservative ‘less is more’ attitude can save you many late nights.


Not everything needs to be modelled in 3D. While far from best practice, if you are under pressure you can really save time by drawing in (for example) cupboards on plan with 2D filled regions. They will only display in that plan view, but sometimes that may be all you need.


Caution: Don’t let filled regions and 2D lines become your default drawing method. Drawing this way can seriously disrupt workflow and should be used only in an emergency.


Understanding the 'detail' portion of the annotate tab is your fastest, easiest way of controlling visibility in any single view. But use it responsibly.




IN CONCLUSION

Prepare properly, start small and give yourself enough time. Understand that you will encounter hurdles, but remember that there is a wealth of online help available to you.


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