Software Review - All about Revit

Revit is a Building Information Modelling (BIM) application, owned by Autodesk, exclusively for Windows operating Systems. It is intended for use by architects, engineers, contractors, and associated consultants in the built environment. First designed in 1997 by Charles River Software, it was later purchased by Autodesk in 2002.

 

Design

Packaged as a one-stop-shop BIM, Revit can potentially be used as a design tool, but many learners struggle to penetrate its unintuitive database-like interface. Like most BIM applications, Revit is designed to represent real-life construction systems, and this formality often suffocates fluid creative expression. Ironically, the sophistication of Revit’s modelling system means that many designers turn to FormIt, Dynamo, or SketchUp to mass a conceptual model elsewhere before needing to import the file into Revit and remodel it in a true BIM environment.

As Revit is not able model NURBS or edit individual polygons, Dynamo or Rhino would be the best choice for designers requiring true organic modelling software.

To further frustrate this process, your model will not be able to transfer directly into Revit out of SketchUp if you are working in a Mac OS environment, as detailed below.

Revit’s ‘Families’ (architectural elements) allow for efficient modelling of standardised components. Experienced users can also customise and create their own Families for repeated use in numerous projects (in a similar fashion to most CAD / BIM software solutions).

Documentation

Documentation for statutory approvals and construction is largely automated in Revit to the extent that the building is accurately modelled. Embedded building information can be annotated, listed and quantified for use by design professionals and contractors during construction.

Finer detailing can then be linked to the model and edited or overlayed using a combination of parametric objects and basic 2D elements before being annotated manually.

With sufficient experience, the entire documentation workflow can be completed within Revit. Many Autodesk devotees instead choose to use a combination of AutoCAD for 2D documentation, which can then be added to their Revit model. It should be noted that while commonly satisfactory for producing project documentation, this process devalues the BIM development, and is more likely to result in an uncoordinated or mismanaged project delivery.

Collaboration

Revit Server is a WAN server-based work-sharing service, and is similar to a central server.

Autodesk also hosts a cloud-based file-sharing platform Collaborating for Revit (C4R) to accommodate users storage and collaborative exchange of BIM files between project teams. It is built into the Revit system, and inaccessible by non-Revit users. Much of Revit’s ease in collaboration is enhanced by its market dominance (particularly in the US).

Revit can also utilise IFC as a generic BIM file sharing format when collaborating with other BIM compatible software solutions. BIM 360 Team Hub is Revit’s generic file sharing platform.

Visualisation

Revit has limited in-built rendering capability, especially in regards to the visualisation of interior spaces and animations. Instead, many Revit users export their model into 3D studio Max, VRay, Enscape, Lumion or Twinmotion in order to produce photo-quality rendering results, sometimes in a fraction of the time.

Exporting files into stand-alone rendering packages can be frustrating if textures and lighting need to be reapplied. Workflow solutions that do not sever the link to the original file work best.

“Can I use Revit on my Mac?”

Unsurprisingly, this is the 2nd most frequent question I get asked about Revit. Right after, “Which is better, ArchiCAD or Revit?” The simple answer is no, Autodesk does not provide a version of Revit compatible with Apple’s OS. My answer to their first question is, “In my opinion, ArchiCAD, but why don’t you try both and decide for yourself.” In all my years teaching I have never had someone proficiently learn both and tell me they prefer Revit. Most switch to Archicad, many worry about finding a job, and they nearly all struggle coming to terms with how much the professional software costs.

Bias aside, in order to run Revit on your Mac you will need to Install Bootcamp, Parallels, Citrix, or similar.

  • Bootcamp allows you to re-boot your Mac system using Windows OS. This process can be frustrating as you need to switch between OS’s, and expensive if you are frustrated by switching between OS’s and choose to install a 2nd copy of all your usual software to be Windows compatible. If this sounds too anecdotal, you are right, I’ve experienced this pain personally.
  • Virtual Machine options like Parallels avoid the need to reboot, but limit hardware performance when compared to a dual-boot solution.
  • The use of remote access allows you to access another computer (PC) remotely (sitting beside you or on the opposite side of the world) while working from your Mac. Issues with available bandwidth can cause lag, making it hard to work. This option also means that you are effectively utilising 2 computers and chewing through internet data to perform one task sub-optimally.

 

THE BORING (IMPORTANT) BITS

Developer: Autodesk

Current Edition: Revit 2020

OS: Windows 10 64bit  (Not Mac OS compatible)

Hardware Requirements:

CPU: Intel Core i5 (6+ MultiCore i7 or AMD equivalent recommended) 

RAM: 8GB (16GB or more recommended)

GPU: DirectX 11 capable with Shader Model 5

Monitor / Screen: 1 screen (2 or more recommended)

1280 x 1024 pixels / 13inch (27 inch or larger recommended)

Storage: 30 GB free (1TB or higher recommended)

 

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The information contained in the article and website are general in nature and are the opinions of the author, through his professional experience and study. Click here for more details of our content.