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Know what to expect and how to prepare before moving from 2D to Revit

This article will focus on the key factors for a successful BIM deployment and what firms can expect as they transition from 2D, or object-based CAD systems (sometimes called single-building modelers or virtual building modelers), to a purpose-built BIM solution such as Autodesk Revit.

Jay Moolman

Director – Infrastructure GM – Modena AEC
010 595 2535
jay@modena-aec.co.za

If you need more info about Successful BIM Transition please get in touch with me.

A New Order of Things:

At the end of 2003, Autodesk commissioned an independent research study that looked at the process changes, benefits, and challenges experienced by firms implementing Autodesk Revit. A key finding of the research is that practically all the participants in the study were grappling with issues of change. To supplement the study, Autodesk conducted an online survey of its Revit customers, which included questions relating to change. In the survey, 82% of respondents noted their design process was changing as a result of using Revit, and 80% reported that their deliverables were changing as well.

Think back to the resistance of the first 2D CAD systems, followed by 3D modelling systems – the same resistance to change existing for BIM solutions.

A purpose-built BIM solution such as Revit provides architects a distinct, intuitive, and powerful means for building design. Its parametric approach to modelling is the essence of true architectural design, but it also represents a ground-breaking new way of using a computer to design. Transitioning from CAD-based technology to object CAD technology is an incremental change. Moving to parametric building modelling is a bigger change, but one that’s particularly attractive to firms that want to use technology as effectively as possible.

Education and awareness about BIM — the dramatic benefits it can bring as well as the work-flow changes it requires — are key weapons when tackling this natural resistance to change.

Implementation Strategy for BIM:

A formal implementation strategy is an essential component of any successful BIM deployment and must go well beyond a simple training and rollout schedule. It should address head-on the work-flow and organizational changes inherent to BIM.

The implementation strategy also needs to address how the new solution will initially coexist with 2D drafting or 3D modelling applications already in use. Wholesale abandonment of these legacy design applications is impractical and often ill-advised, but as the implementation expands, the strategy may also include plans for the phased retirement of legacy systems if applicable.

Firms should look at how the building information model can be accessed by related applications such as energy analysis, cost estimating, and specifications.
Specifically, look at the work to accomplish today, and match that to the tools put in place today.

If a firm manages very large projects, the implementation strategy should include guidelines for creating and working with large models, including additional hardware requirements, techniques for reducing model complexity, etc.

Bread and Butter Projects – Starting Out

Selecting a project type with known metrics results in an accurate benefit gauge of the new solution. Some of the most important benefits of BIM are difficult to quantify, such as more time for up-front design, clearer presentation of the design to the client, etc.

More immediate and easy to measure benefits include increased documentation productivity – gathering these statistics can substantiate the promised ROI of the system and help garner support from the “show-me” members of the firm.

Checklist for Success

At the top of the checklist for a smooth deployment of a BIM solution are critical success factors:

  • Develop a sound, comprehensive implementation strategy
  • Assemble the right team
  • Select a suitable starting project

Be prepared for the inevitable resistance to change that a revolutionary approach like BIM will provoke. But after the tedious error-prone world of systems that the architectural profession has tolerated until now, those who initially resist will soon realize that the parametric building modelling technology of Revit is a dream come true.