The Revit User: A Soft Cost Factor of AEC

As part of a larger piece I am developing: “Navigating the Hard and Soft Costs of AEC,” below is one of the components that every user has impact on, one way or another, with some solutions for creating growing, positively impactful processes.

Whether consciously or not, we all fall somewhere between maximum efficiency and maximum inefficiency on the professional continuum and the impact to budgets are a controllable soft cost of AEC.

We are either consciously maximizing our time on projects (to the extent we control), or we are consciously or unconsciously generating waste. Either case, I forward that these are all intentional actions. We are either getting better or getting worse. Stagnation is included in the getting worse category. Our choice, at every action.

Customizing Revit shortcuts (then using them in a growing manner) can, for instance, make every user 10 to 50 percent faster—immediately and into the future. It is a continuously growing scale too ;)

Bad BIM makes bad architecture, or how soft-costs hurt AEC as a whole:
I understand that a lot of good architecture has been created sans BIM and before computer-assisted design and drafting, but if I can clarify my position let’s see if there isn’t a bit of sway… some evolution.

In 2018, with all of the available technologies—AI, ML, sociological and computer sciences, cutting-edge human expertise and the best systems available today—the “best of the best” architecture can (and are) able to be dramatically eclipsed and as we continue to find traditional processes and user inefficiencies are being mandated out by finances, owners, BIM guidelines, etc. So “what can I do?” you ask. Become the best you can be, then get better.

Learn to make yourself the best at the tools you [euphemism redacted] use every day of your work life! You may find this learning never stops. Embrace it, it’s called responsible professionalism… integrity... life.

Every User Controls One Thing: Themselves

 “A-Team” quality professionals all do one similar thing: continue to refine themselves and get better, better… So, if you aren’t pushing to become increasingly better at your craft, please change your ways immediately or please consider leaving AEC. Mediocrity kills projects’ ability to be at their utmost best—architecturally, BIM and construction/coordination, budget wise, and so on.

Revit teams actually hold a large part of production, design, construction, and coordination budget control whether they realize it or not. Model adjustment costs range from hundreds to thousands of dollars; but the same issues forced to be on-site adjustments are not just predominantly avoidable, but cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes more.

Yes, Revit users can save or cost the project literally millions of dollars depending on their modeling chops (architectural, construction, BIM chops are other topics ;)

Conversely, users can keep much of this waste from happening in many, if not most cases. How? Become an expert at the tools and processes used day-to-day… all of them.

Becoming an Expert | A How-To

  • Perfect Practice makes Perfection[1]
  • Automate Repetitive Actions[2]
  • Learn 3 to 10+ (in-your-software) things a day[3]
  • Research and study something new for 1-3 hours a day
  • Research and study something already known to a deeper level for 1-3 hours a day
  • Teach others what you learn
  • Shampoo, Rinse, Repeat…

Look out for more in the future on “Navigating the Hard and Soft Costs of AEC” by following @JayZallan on the tweeties machine, too. 

Figure 1


[1] FWIW, I disagree with M. Gladwell who proffers that 10,000 hours of practice creates expertise, but practicing badly creates failure. I do agree, though, with the idea that 10,000+ (note the plus) hours of perfect practice creates true success. Ask any top athlete, musician, scientist, machinist, etc.

[2] See Footnote #3, then develop efficiency generators with Dynamo, Python, etc. ;)

[3] I was going to write this as a “How-To Modify Shortcuts for Maximum Personal Efficiency” article but after the throat-clearing and finally the guidance above you may want to choose another subject to explore. If you do want to customize shortcuts: GoTo File>Options, then click the “Keyboard Shortcuts: Customize…” button, as shown in Figure 1 ;)

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