I started this post as a collection of ways to implement Revit into your practice. As I wrote, I relaised that actually these principles are fairly sound for any software implementation. If you are an IT professional – you should know all this already and I apologise, but this post is not for you. If you do not have a dedicated IT department or if you are the architect tasked (taxed) with implementing Revit (or Office 2007 etc.) – then read on.
A successful implementation will rely on a few commonsense rules and a lot of hard work. Ensure you know what Revit is, I don’t mean that to sound trite, but ensure you know what it is that you are wishing to get from the software. Have expectations, begin them fairly low, but know what it is you want and check that the software will be able to deliver. You will be sorely disappointed if after 6 weeks of work you cannot produce what you had hoped.
Choose a small, simple project to trial Revit on. Begin with simple geometry. Choose a project that is homed in one office (assuming that you may have more than one to begin with), this will make it easier to manage and also to address any issues quickly and simply. Feedback will be given and you can train, teach and mentor as needed.
Have a project champion – this person should be respected, have credibilty and gravitas within the office and should be reasonably senior. They do not have to be actively using Revit, though it would help, but should be actively championing the cause and rallying the team when the going gets tough.
There will be an element of cultural change required. Your champion should be able to help with this. But the whole team needs to know that they will be working differently. The project must be executed differently. A lot of work will be done up front before anything sensible can be delivered. I would strongly advise against changing the model close to the deadline for printing and submission. Allow a few days to “lock “the model in order to get prints out. If you don’t – you might get yourselves in a very bad mess.
Be realistic about what to model and what to draw. Some items should be modeled – some merely drawn. Take for example doors. Model them. They will be used often, they will need scheduling, they will be altered, they have common characteristics (jamb, frame and so on). I wouldn’t model them to the fine detail on the door pattern or handles for example. Draw these if you are planning to render. By not modeling every detail you will be able to save time and use your efforts better elsewhere.
For the project you are undertaking – consider the advantages of Revit for different types of work. Residential – clients understand models and visualisations, they are not so keen on floor plans. The rendered model is key here. Hospitality – changes to items within hotel rooms such as beds or baths can flow through the whole model and make large changes easier to bear. Communicate these advantages wt your team, it will help them see the bigger picture and the advantages to what you are doing.
Revit and BIM (Building Information Model click here for Wikipedia definition) can change the scope of services you offer. These can be extended and you can work closer with other professions, structural or environmental engineers for example. Be sensible – don’t offer your services until you have discovered what you can and cannot achieve as a team. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
In short, for a successful Revit implementation – begin small, plan, communicate, train and support. These are absolutely crucial for the success of any project. By doing these five things you will engage the practice, engage the client and be able to change your CAD strategy and ultimately deliver better value and work more effectively.