Engineering the Digital Civilization

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Saturday, 9 June 2018

Reverse BIM workflow | Using Revit for Planning instead of modelling


Revit is an extremely useful software tool, sadly most small business in India don't accept it as a standard as yet.

As a freelancer, I get a couple of design related projects where my client proposes his requirements and I furnish those in my design. Recently, I learned Revit and learned that AutoCAD is now an obsolete piece of technology which is just too much manual intensive to work on. Now the design work was quite complex, initially, I thought I'll just make it on AutoCAD but as I progressed with the design work it became quite tedious to modify stuff and then rearrange those again until you get the final combination.

The next thing I did was just prepare a Revit Model, I simply made a model on Revit using the built-in families of walls and other components. To my surprise, this was quite easy and fast, unlike on AutoCAD where I had to draw a line then offset it and then add layers or add a property to make sure it represented a wall. Also, modification and movement of walls were quite simple, in AutoCAD I would have had to use extend, trim and offset commands while in Revit it was just select the wall and move it, the doors and windows move along with it. (seems quite wonderful though).

Finally, I ended up making the entire drawing on Revit, also the best part is Revit does a few calculations itself for an example I was to stairs, I just grabbed the stairs command then it just calculated the tread and risers all by itself. I was astonished to explore this feature. Next part was the sections feature, the ability to cut and create a section anywhere in the building was quite useful in the planning phase itself as I was having an exact idea of how stuff would look like when I plan it. I was able to use the space below the waist slab of the stairs which I didn't consider using while making plans in AutoCAD.

Now with all the modeling work done, next question was how to send this to the team ahead, as I was just supposed to make the Civil Layout and the Interior was supposed to be done by the interior designer ahead. The designer didn't have any idea of how to use Revit so the next question was how to sent him a file, they'd told me that they would accept a .dwg or a .dxf file so I just explored Revit to find the model can be exported to .dwg and other formats. I tried this feature and learned that it actually automatically creates an AutoCAD drawing with all the layers for walls, windows, etc.

I exported all the levels from the building project and forwarded to the designer, it took me quite a little amount of time and I did have to make a few modifications in the drawing due to on-site changes but it took me a few minutes to move a few walls and export the drawings.

So the give away here is, just make it on Revit and export the files to a CAD format.

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