Get the Most Out of All That Software

At the end of July, 2016, Autodesk ceased the sales of perpetual licenses, the type of license everyone has been using going back as far as 1984.  One of the results of this deadline was that in the preceding months, many of our clients purchased new licenses or upgraded their existing licenses to Building Design Suite, usually Premium.  Whether or not you are getting the most out of these licenses is the topic of this blog.

If you want to actually deliver on the promises of BIM we have all heard about, read on.  If you are happy with the benefits you are seeing, if you feel you have maximized your ROI from the software and time you have invested, don’t bother.

Expectations from a BIM process

Now that many of you have all of this software, the real challenge is to actually see the return (ROI) from using it.  We have been upgrading from AutoCAD to Revit to Revit Suite to Building Design Suite and now we are on the verge of moving to Collections.  But really, the common denominator to all of these is Revit – be it Revit Architecture, MEP, or Structure (all now part of Revit).

Why is it that designers have had Revit as the foundation for BIM for 10 years and if you asked them today, many would still talk about the challenges rather than the benefits.  How is it that a piece of software that enables you to create a model ONCE, extract many drawings from it, have it automatically generate labels and hatching and cross-referencing, and allow you to make changes at any stage which automatically updates all of the drawings, schedules and tags is still being criticized as not being architectural enough, or too hard to use?

Why is that people still say that changes are too hard in Revit.  One of the biggest, if not THE biggest advantage of BIM with Revit as its foundation IS to make changes quickly, accurately and seamlessly.  In fact, that is the very origin of its name – REVise IstanTly. We must find ways to enable use as early as possible and as simply as possible in order to garner these benefits.  Then, and only then, can we start talking about the downstream and co-benefits that will accrue.

How to be successful with BIM with Revit

Let’s examine the things that need to be done and the ramifications if we don’t:

  • Do you have a way to work that reflects the expectations of all participants and information users in your firm AND makes it easy for users to create and/or harvest that information, whether graphic or non?
  • Do you know what you want to get from the model?
  • Do you have a set of components that reflects this way of working at every stage and for every building type that you traditionally are involved in?
  • Do you have a framework to work within so that when anyone in your organization starts a project, they know exactly how to approach your use of Revit?
  • Do you have a way to move from design into production, taking simple representations to detailed ones seamlessly?
  • Can you connect details to your model without utilizing model slowing AutoCAD details?
  • Do you have a process for adding detailed data to the model when it is available?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, you need to read this blog, attend our webinars, and find ways to change the answers to yes. Without a positive answer there is really not much point in trying to implement Revit as you will not get what you want out of it and users will get frustrated trying to get there.

Of course, the corollary to this is to wait until a complete BIM infrastructure is developed for your firm which is also not feasible since it is doubtful that the entire BIM infrastructure will ever be in place. In addition, who is going to be responsible for building this infrastructure?  Are you going to hire a BIM Manager to do it? Quite honestly, most firms who have hired BIM Managers end up disappointed because they typically do not understand the culture of your firm and attempt to shoe horn your requirements into some standard set of BIM protocols.  You need to find a way to engage somebody or an organization who understands YOUR requirement and will work with your staff to aid in the development of your BIM infrastructure; somebody who can be depended on but does not come with the full-time overhead of a staff member who may or may not be successful

  • What must be developed to commence a successful BIM implementation
  • Do you need a BIM Manager?
  • How do you get your models to output the right information, in the right format at the right time?
  • Who is responsible for what information?
  • What do you tell your clients when they ask if you use BIM?

The reason for this blog is to analyze what our expectations are from a BIM process and how, if we are not achieving them, we can.

The next installment will look at those people who use Revit and what they want to get from it.  We look forward to seeing you again.

Bob Heyman


Bob Heyman is the President of Summit Technologies. With over 10 years of experience in architectural practice and over 22 years consulting and supporting design professionals, Bob has extensive experience in helping companies to optimize the design and construction process.

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