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Thanks for your comments, Don.


They are consistent with everything I’ve heard about Revit.


You’ve already offered the caveat that you can’t answer interoperability questions, but that’s one of my Big Questions™. As many others, I rely on a floor plan produced by an architect. I attach it to my foundation and framing plans by using the architect’s plan as an XREF. I then draw the structural elements, usually represented by lines (beams, footings, etc.), text (notes and dimensions) and symbols (detail and section bubbles).


When I start to think 3D, I wonder how these files would be exchanged. Is there a Revit equivalent to XREF’ing? It’s not an issue for an AE firm where all disciplines are in-house, but that scenario doesn’t represent the majority of the market, particularly the smaller market.


As it is, I have a difficult time getting my architectural clients to draw to scale, use associative dimensioning only, use color by layer, create blocks on layer 0, etc.  I can only imagine that the nightmare would explode when going to 3D.


What about exchanging files across software platforms? I currently have one client who is quite proficient at ArchiCAD, one who is learning ArchiCAD and another who is comfortable in Revit. ArchiCAD and Microstation export files to AutoCAD. Will these other programs be able to “talk” in the near future?


With regards to analysis software, I haven’t used it myself, so the following comment is based on hearsay, but I believe the analysis module is only really valuable in a practical sense when it comes to steel and concrete buildings. Wood buildings and the hybrids (metal deck over concrete fill supported by masonry or tilt-up concrete walls, etc.) would probably not be able to use this feature. Of course, as always, I could be mistaken.


T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E.


Consulting Structural Engineers
V (949) 248-8588 F(949) 209-2509

-----Original Message-----
From: Donald Bruckman [mailto:bruckmandesign(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 9:07 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: REVIT


About a year ago I let the board know that I’d started with this BIM software from Adesk, “Revit”.


So, briefly, a report. 


I am extremely pleased with the system, really like what it can do for an architect like me that works alone.  But rather than extol the virtues of the system from an Architectural standpoint, I’d like to let you know first impressions of its usefulness to engineers.


First, I don’t know a single SE that uses Revit Structural, so any questions about trading files and the like will have to wait.  Revit has a structural sister program that is supposed to be able to be plugged into analysis software, but I know nothing of what software or whether it works.  I will say that even on the architectural side, if I drop a 6x12 or a W24 into a drawing, the computer has the requisite section moduli, etc. already established so I can see how this might sometime be fed into some kind program that will eventually be able to juggle a lot of balls at once.  Dynamic analysis in wood?  Maybe this kind of program will eventually allow it. 


But here’s the thing.  The BIM system is stunningly good at recreating any issues or allowing the view of obscure areas of work that just can’t be adequately explained in a series of 2D drawings.  If an engineer is unclear about a specific area, I can cut, (or if he has Revit too), he can cut a section anywhere in seconds.  You can take perspective camera shots anywhere, anytime in seconds.  For this, BIM is unbeatable.  It’s been as large a jump for me from ACAD to Revit as it was from hand drawing to ACAD.  It’s THAT much better.


But there is some downside.  In order to get it to be able to see an issue, you have to have already drawn the entire building correctly.  This is a good thing for large buildings and even new small projects.  It’s not such a good thing for very small projects and particularly bad news for remodels and additions.  As I noted above, if eventually all this structural data can be evaluated by some kind of program, that means you need to feed all this stuff into the computer to allow it to effectively model an outcome that is relevant.  That means a lot of data entry for perhaps a very limited structural need.


But for anything brand new, I would heartily recommend it.  I would also let you know that for Architects, this is so much better than 2D cad that I don’t think many architects will be using 2D for much longer.  So, perhaps to get a jump on your competition, you may want to look into it.

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