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Thursday, May 01, 2008

BIM Is More Than a Technology: It’s a Change in Process

BIM Is More Than a Technology: It’s a Change in Process
One of the powers of Revit is the ability to work in a single-file environment where the design and
documentation of the building happens on a holistic model. This can be a disadvantage if it isn’t
taken seriously. Users who are quick to make changes without thinking about how such changes
will ripple through the model can cause unintended problems. Revit is a parametric modeler—it
creates relationships between building elements to streamline the design process. For example,
deleting a roof underlay in a view doesn’t just delete the roof in that view—it deletes it
in the model.
You need to think before you delete that wall or ignore that warning message!
Be prepared to work in much tighter, collaborative teams. As soon as you enter the BIM multiuser
world, you absolutely need to be communicating with your team all the time. The changes that
you make in the model will impact the whole model and other people’s work. We think this is a
great—perhaps unintended—consequence of moving into a model-based design paradigm.
Anticipate that tasks will take different amounts of time when compared to a CAD production
environment. You’ll perform tasks in Revit that you never had in CAD; and, conversely, some CAD
tasks that took weeks (such as chamfering and trimming thousands of lines to draw walls properly or making a door schedule) take almost no time using Revit. On the other hand, some tasks may
seem to take longer in Revit. This may initially seem true; but remember that as you’re modifying
or adding something in plan, you’re also adding it in section, elevation, and detail. Be prepared to
discover and embrace new tasks with BIM that were never part of a 2D workflow.
Speaking of 2D workflows, in Revit, you’ll often feel as if you are working in traditional types
of 2D views—just keep in mind that it’s still a 3D model. Moving walls, windows, and doors in plan
feels like a 2D operation, but of course it’s not. If you’ve never worked in a model-based environment,
it can be jarring at first to see the drawing you’ve been working on change as a result of an
edit in a different view. As we mentioned, this becomes even more dramatic when you start working
in a team and sharing a model. You’ll learn that preventing movement of elements becomes just
as critical as being able to edit elements to the model. Pinning down grids, levels, and exterior walls
will become part of your workflow, especially in larger projects with many users working in a
single file.

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