There seems to be a chasm in the industry these days between CAD programs and 3D modeling programs. Those who are set in their ways are difficult to convince of the merits of one program over the other. Industry trends seem to indicate that 3D modeling, and essentially BIM, are the way of the future. However, crossing that bridge from CAD to Revit can sometimes take a leap of faith.
The transition from CAD to Revit can be eased by understanding that each type of software has its benefits. There will always be hard-core advocates for either side; however it is possible to use both in a production environment. CAD programs are good for drafting (“Computer-Aided Drafting”). It is often easier to modify an existing CAD file for a minor renovation than to re-create the entire building model in Revit.
Revit is intended to be a 3D modeling program. While it is possible to use drafting views, the real purpose of the program is to build an intelligent, parametric three-dimensional building model that can be used for visualization and documentation. Of course, there are 3D CAD programs, but very few are as robust as Revit. It is also possible to import CAD files into Revit, however this often slows down the Revit project by adding unnecessary line styles, fonts, and other CAD information that simply isn’t required.
Revit implores the user to carefully consider building construction. Building models are created using system families made up of materials and properties that replicate actual construction. Objects placed into the model (called component families) contain geometry and parametric information that can be scheduled, used for quantity takeoff, and integrated into facilities management. Schedules within Revit are live-linked to the families – changes made in the schedule update the family information, and vice versa.
The key to making the move to Revit is understanding that it is entirely different from a CAD program. The argument that it “doesn’t look like CAD” is incomprehensible. Of course it doesn’t look like CAD! Revit is a different type of modeling program with different features and benefits from other CAD programs.
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