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Why Switch to Revit from AutoCAD or 2D Drafting

In these podcasts, we look under the hood of what makes architecture design engineering work successful.  We then unpack it to give you valuable and useful advice.  Today we are discussing switching from AutoCAD or 2D Drafting to Revit. 

What makes Revit different from other tools?

My wife and I have been talking about renovating our kitchen.  Even though I have a background in designing, drafting, and modeling, we decided to find someone to help us that was a specialist.  We were able to find someone who has a specific background in kitchen design.  She came by the house and did a quick survey where we gave her things we were thinking about.  She returned two weeks later with her drawn plans for us.  She had cool ideas.  It was amazing what she did with such a small kitchen.  As we wrapped up our meeting, we talked about the next steps to move forward.  She told us that we could either pay her firm to start drawing the elevations or I could do them myself.  That is when I had a lightbulb moment and realized that since she had done these in AutoCAD and 2D, we were not able to see the kitchen in 3D.  My wife, who doesn’t have a background in design, found looking at the plain 2D drawings required some more imagination. If they had been done in Revit, the plan would have subsequently created the elevations for us, as well as some 3D views.  That is just a simple story, but the idea is that you must spend that additional time to create the elevations.  You are adding more production work into your workflow, especially early in the design phase. Had she used Revit, we would already have those 3D designs to look at. 

Advantages of Revit

These tools are automatically built-in when using Revit.  While AutoCAD and 2D also have some of these functions, they are somewhat basic. 

  • Developing elevation drawings from the 3D model, right off the bat
  • The ability for the designer to create interactive views – like 3D views perspectives.
  • Isometric views.
  • Sectional views that are in 3D (such as cutting through a plane to see what a wall would look like). 
  • Ability to add in and develop photorealistic renderings and video walk-throughs. Revit also helps with finishes.  One of the things that make Revit easier to work in is the feedback about how things look.  In addition to seeing the project in 3D, you are also automatically linking all information being drawn or modeled to a schedule on a bill of materials.  If you wanted to do a quick takeoff for our kitchen design, you would need to manually tally up all the different appliances and the countertop square footage.  In Revit, it is automatically done for you. 
  • Built-in clash detection tool.  It works by finding things that are physically touching.  There are other tools such as Navisworks, which complement Revit when working on commercial or large-scale projects.  They can let you dial into the exact type of class detection you want and the types of tolerances you are interested in keeping.  Navisworks works well with Revit because it is also an Autodesk product.  Navisworks installs a plugin allowing you to toggle between the two applications. 
  • Ability to see how light interacts with structure.   Using Revit, you can perform a daylighting study.  It also has built-in tools for solar radiation studies.  This is an interesting feature for working on green, energy-efficient commercial projects. 
  • Ability to perform analysis such as egress/motion studies.  The latest version of Revit allows motion studies of how people flow and interact with the buildings.  That feature has been popular with some of the projects that our clients are dealing with.

Reasons not to make the switch from AutoCAD to Revit

Revit is not for every company.  Some people do not switch due to content creations.  If you do a lot of the same types of projects and are reusing the same blocks repeatedly, then you are going to have to invest a great deal of time developing that in Revit. 

The training time is also a factor.  It is quite different working in Revit versus AutoCAD.  People are more familiar with 3D now because there are a lot of tools, like SketchUp and Rhino, but the way you approach the design is different and that takes time to learn. 

Another factor is the clarity of the drawings.  It may be more difficult for someone who either started out by hand drafting or has used AutoCAD for a long time.  In Revit, everything is being populated for you.  It takes time to customize it to your needs.

We are not selling or promoting Revit or AutoCAD––we support either or both. 

We are ArchIT, and we help architecture engineering and design firms with all of their IT solutions.  We can be your fully managed IT provider or help with onboarding new architecture-specific tools.  If you have questions or need help please reach out to us