Industry Insights: Revit and BIM 360
If you use LinkedIn in any capacity, then you are getting blasted with Industry Insights. Most of these insights are coming from vendors that are trying to justify using their products. I cannot blame them, I would too. That was me back when BIM consulting was a novelty. Now it is a giant commodity, and I certainly pick and choose my engagement in that technical space. Of course, I do the BIM presentations, but I never thought 15 years later I’d be giving the same presentation. Either people do not get it, or the value still is not compelling enough for folks to jump over. I do not know of anybody going out of business for not using BIM. I wouldn’t know.
I keep saying BIM, and this is AUGI, so I suppose I am going to talk about BIM and Autodesk. It’s funny, I just got back into AUGI after about a 10-year hiatus. It was the Autodesk User Group International up until about a year ago. Now it is kind of not - it is just AUGI. Sort of like Kentucky Fried Chicken is just KFC. Who knows the behind the scenes activity that takes place with a shift like this. I can speculate…and I do, but I am sort of glad I had nothing to do with it. I think if I had a fan base of hundreds of thousands of people testing out my software and providing training on it for free, I would be pretty grateful. But that is just me. Consider me old school.
So, let’s look at the state of Revit. What is the insight here? The big thing is that letter that went out to Autodesk. I know it was specific to Revit as it pertains to architecture, and I am now the MEP guy here, but it’s relatable. After reading it a couple times (as I often have to do with anything I read), I got out of it that the price to have Autodesk products has raised into the stratosphere, with almost zero improvements, and an insanely convoluted breakdown of what bundle…or package does what, but it’s been the AUGI wish list that gets ignored year after year.
All that being said, and I know it looks like I’m bashing Autodesk, but there’s no serious competition out there. My company has every CAD flavor there is out there. My CEO and CTO will purchase almost anything I ask to make sure we are best positioned for the future. Revit simply blows the competition away. Man, it could be better in so many areas, but come on…Microstation? Let us come to our senses here folks.
So, let us dial it back a bit. I started using Revit because my personal production increased. Even when I was the AutoCAD guru and was awful at Revit…back when George Bush was in his first term. Revit for electrical did not have conduit or cable tray. Yikes. I literally saw people come to me with tears in their eyes with horror stories of trying to slope sanitary piping. We can do those things now. Most of the discussions I am involved with on the Revit MEP side are engineering discussions. Not drafting discussions. Which is the direction I have been pushing for years. I do think Autodesk is dedicated to the fact that we are using engineering software. Firms that stick to the belief that CAD is CAD and engineering is engineering are making a mistake that is costing them. They do not see it because the process of having redlines from an engineer to the drafter back to the engineer back to the drafter is the way they do business. Getting 2% +/- on a project is the industry standard right? I will put one of my engineers at C&S that is awesome at Revit up against a team of 3 or even 4 engineers somewhere else that doesn’t know Revit any day.
I love it. I have to say I really liked the concept right when it came out and I started putting our Revit projects into it immediately. It’s hard to imagine now setting up a file share site so we can copy the architect’s model and overwrite the existing one on our server, then send them all of our MEP models to do the same. Wowza! Thank goodness we started using it too, because once we were all forced to work from home in every one of our offices across the country, I truly believe it allowed us to seamlessly transition almost effortlessly.
That being said… The reason not much effort was made to update Revit was because of just that. Actually, the construction side of this. Autodesk went on an apparent buying spree and allocated a ton of their resources over to construction. I cannot say if that worked or not. I find the construction management side of BIM 360 convoluted and arduous. It could be just be me. What really makes me nervous is it is seeping into the way I like to set up Revit models on the design side. Here is my process:
- Setup a BIM 360 project.
- Workshare my models to the BIM 360 project.
- Tell my engineers and architects the project is ready. Go do your work and as always, sync with central often!
That is easy right? It seems now they want you publishing changes in addition to syncing... I think, then there are duplicate folders all over the place with duplicate models that you need to actually “consume” to get updates from other trades, when the other trades want to publish their changes. You need to set up groups and workspaces with a weird timeline chart. Not for me. I do not know what is going on with that but if my three steps stop working, I am going to need to join a certain club that has 12 steps. Since my company uses both BIM 360 and Procore, it seems like Procore is the application that is more widely accepted. Procore is probably too big for Autodesk to acquire, so it looks like that rivalry will be going on for quite a while.
All that being said, we are definitely being pushed off of our local servers. Which is good thing. My company uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Panzura for our file distribution. It is awesome. We switched over to it about 6 years ago. It was rough, but man did it pay off. It seems to me, like an “untethered” future is what AEC firms need to be pushing for. I know COVID has clouded my judgement, but the future is in the cloud. Having a solid strategy to be able to actually work in huge Revit models and AutoCAD files is where we all need to get to.
Eric Wing lives in Syracuse NY where he is the Director of BIM Services for C&S Companies. Eric is a popular speaker at events around the country speaking on many BIM-related topics. Eric has authored several books includ-ing Autodesk’s official training guide for their BIM solution “Revit” called Revit for Architecture No Experience Required. Eric is also an author for LinkedIn Learning where he has au-thored around 60 full courses on BIM management, Revit, AutoCAD MEP, Navisworks and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). Eric has truly been a leader in the architecture, en-gineering and construction industry since the conception of BIM and 3D design, and has specialty skills in BIM coordination, training and develop-ment of technical staff along with daily application of these tools on multi scale, multi-disciplinary projects. Eric is also currently a Professor at Syracuse Uni-versity teaching BIM and Advanced BIM at the School of Architecture, and at the School of Engineering. Eric has also taught courses at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Clarkson University on the subjects of Ana-lytical tools for Facility Management, BIM, and Integrated Project Delivery.