Revitology: The Evolution of Revit over AutoCAD

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Despite all the bold assertions about Revit and its innovative features and flexibility, the scenario remains intact – architectural designers still slip into old "AutoCAD habits" when using AutoCAD Architecture & AutoCAD MEP. Why?

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm (indifferent, uninterested) defenders in those who may do well under the new." - Niccolo Machiavelli, "The Prince".

"Revit", which stands for 'revise instantly', is infiltrating into the AEC industry and is encroaching on AutoCAD. Top-notch architectural firms and construction companies rely on Revit Architecture when precision and efficiency are of utmost priority. Members of Global Fraternity of Architects (GFA) and industry experts affirm that Revit is the “future”. Despite all the bold assertions about Revit and its innovative features and flexibility, the scenario remains intact – architectural designers still slip into old "AutoCAD habits" when using AutoCAD Architecture & AutoCAD MEP. AutoCAD precision is great for mechanical or industrial application. "AutoCAD is a great tool for some things, but too many things can be "faked" with it", concerns a veteran architect.

What does he indicate actually? Will Revit Architecture be able to replace AutoCAD? How does the Global Fraternity of Architects view the future of AutoCAD and Revit?Architectural Evangelist, a non-profit initiative of BluEnt in collaboration with the Global Fraternity of Architects, exchanges views with the veteran architects and experienced users to endorse a clear picture to enable all architects, designers and engineers to make informed decisions.

Revitology - A Distinctive "Ism" in Architecture Industry

Associative, Parametric, rendering output, animation output, formula driven aspects for automation, performance based information, open GL interface, real line weight screen rendition (no more color coded line thicknesses), parametric families, 3D environment – are the much discussed terms in Revitology. Here is a glimpse at each:


Parametric Change management
The Parametric flexibility offered in Revit is compelling. During the design process, Revit Architecture’s parametric change management automatically keep the architectural 2D drawings updated with the integral 3D model, resulting in early phase collision detection and generating high-quality, photo-realistic design visualizations.

3D Environment

3D models provide far more effective communication of design intent than 2D apps. Unlike 2D application, 3D model provides high resolution view. When you encounter a design conflict that requires complex resolution, you can zoom the critical parts including facade, joint sections, supporting structure, etc. and have a closer look all around.


Compatibility of File Import-export
Revit Architecture can import, export and link varied types of files including DWG, DGN, etc.

Automated 2D Floor Planning Tools
Floor planning is the pivotal component in a construction document set. Revit's smart building components and 3D symbol expedite floor planning and schedules. A typical CAD program can't match the quality and speed of Revit's floor planning tools.

Automatic Sheet Set Management​
Revit automatically scales dimensions, text, annotation tags, linetypes and hatch patterns based on the viewport's scale. As sections, elevations, details are placed on a sheet they are automatically numbered and their reference labels are updated in the plans, sections or elevations that reference them.

 

Optimization of Schedule and Cost
Once the developer obtains a Bill of Quantities (BOQ) either using quantity takeoff or from a standard library, Revit enables them to prepare accurate project estimates with a detailed rate analysis process, manage tenders, administer the contract, manage formal change orders, conduct field inspections and finally closely track construction to determine whether it is on schedule and adheres to budgets.

Why Should You Revit(alize) Your Firm?
“AutoCAD was originally designed for the manufacturing/mechanical design industry…Revit was built for architects from day one”, corroborates Shobhit Baadkar, Principal, TITAN AEC. Agreed Ricardo Khan, Integrated Construction Manager, Mortenson Construction, “Revit is set up for the AEC industry, while AutoCAD is too broad of a tool”. Comparing Revit with AutoCAD is like “sculpting with a hammer and chisel vs. sculpting with a big lump of clay on a spindle”, symbolizes Michael Coston, Project Manager/VDC-BIM Architect. He continues Revit allows a team to mold the sculpture simultaneously and monitor the developing results completely in a 3D environment. It brings together effective synergy of plans, sections, elevations, schedules, etc. "Of every construction project in the world, the owner spends 5% on design and 95% on construction. Surprised to the fact the success of the later depends on the former. Revit can identify the potential spatial conflicts and forecast the building performance at the early stages of design more efficiently. BIM process has been one of the most visible aspects of many fundamental changes that is transforming the global construction industry, and Revit is acting as the backbone of the BIM process”, aversRavi Khanna, MRICS, India Head, Brack Capital Real Estate.

“Revit allows for a higher degree of collaboration and communication, and vastly improves a team's ability to be better coordinated”, substantiates Gary McLeod, BIM Provocateur. "The in-built flexible features and parametric facilities in Revit offer the project team greater agility and help them make informed decisions, synchronized design, and accurate construction documents. A successful BIM implementation results in well-managed RFQs, accurate quantities, change management (automatic changes), earlier visualization, detection of potential spatial conflict before construction, better project planning using 4D and 5D techniques, improved energy analysis and collaboration with different project disciplines. BluEnt believes that Revit offers clear advantages for all project stakeholders and is therefore keen to provide 100% Revit solutions to its clients”, corroborates Sajeel Khanna, Director- Outsourcing, BluEnt, Global Architecture and Technology.

Migrating to the Revit platform or moving forward with AutoCAD? The choice is yours. The following differences between AutoCAD and Revit Architecture would enable you to make a more informed decision.

Why Does AutoCAD still Reign over the AEC Industry?
Despite the innovative features and flexibility offered by Revit, unfortunately, architectural designers still slip into old "AutoCAD habits" when using AutoCAD Architecture & AutoCAD MEP. AutoCAD reigns over the MEP industry greatly to which Revit could not manage a success so far. There are several reasons well put:

Lack of "Add-on" Feature​
As explained by Dan Moes, Coordinator at DJM Cad & Coordination Services, "If you are a MEP contractor you will be using AutoCAD, AutoCAD MEP as it is like you will be using an add on program to build your 3D model. AutoCAD has the ability to attach add on programs which adds much greater detail to the model and allows you to do more with the information within the model.” The problem with using Revit in the MEP contracting field is the "add on" programs that will allow you to spool drawing, upload information into cutting tools. Revit is not equipped with this facility. So, Revit has become very popular with Architects and Engineers but not with MEP contractors.

Misconceptions about Revit
There are few misconceptions about the Revit Architecture which choke off the idea of a firm when it considers the move to Revit Architecture. The most common misconceptions about Revit Architecture are: (i) Low Productivity during Transition; (ii) Too complicated for a small firm to implement; (iii) It only benefits owners; (iv)Disruption of the Existing Infrastructure; (v) Resistance to change to a new platform.

Legal Liability
Unlike my colleagues, I have a special love for lawyers. Another day I asked them, if we are creating one 3d integrated model for the building project, completed by various consultants - i.e, the architect, constructor, engineers etc, who is the 'owner' of the document? Due to shared liabilities - whose insurer pays if there is an error? 

Huge Investment
Migrating to the Revit from AutoCAD platform requires huge investment in time and revit training. It might be the biggest barrier to implementation of Revit in small firms.

Conclusion
The very purpose of our article is not to glorify the Revit or denounce the AutoCAD, but rather to endorse a clear picture to the end users about Revit and AutoCAD. "AutoCAD is not really relied on for the most part in the architectural world", avers Ricardo Khan, Integrated Construction Manager, Mortenson Construction. "When contract document plans are shown at 1/8" scale, there is a lot of information that is inferred and not precise," shares Khan. On other side, lack of an "add-on" program has choked off the MEP firms to REVITALIZE their processes. There are many things in AutoCAD Architecture that are very similar to Revit, but there are far less commands to think about when creating Revit model. It is true that MEP portion is slow to jump into the Revit arena (due to lack of content), but in time it will catch up or "Maybe one day we will all be able to access a single generic file using whatever tool we like best...", predicts Mark Christopher Architect, LEED AP, President at Christopher and Kacur Architects, Inc. Only time would give the answer!

 

"To build a virtual building model in AutoCAD was a pain. So, Autodesk started loosing architectural industry to ArchiCAD. In response to that they acquired Revit to retain AEC clients." - Yelena Ptashinskaya, 
Building Design Planning professional

 

 

"AutoCAD was not purpose built for the AEC industry. Revit was. Revit allows for a higher degree of collaboration, requires a higher degree of communication, and vastly improves a team's ability." - Gary McLeod,  BIM Provocateur

 

"Associative, rendering output, animation output, formula driven aspects for automation, real line weight screen rendition (no more color coded line thicknesses), parametric families..." - Carl Kilgore, Jr. AIA, President, Profile Design Inc.

 

 

"Of every construction project in the world, the owner spends 5% on design and 95% on construction. Surprised to the fact the success of the later depends on the former." - Ravi Khanna, MRICS, India Head BCRE (Brack Capital Real Estate)

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