To Revit or not to Revit


That is a question often asked to me in the past years. Although you’re not supposed to answer a question with another, I would immediately ask these three questions;

1. Does the client need it?
In what way is your client benefiting from the creation of this model?
2. Is there enough budget?
Has your staff reached the maturity/expertise at the production level to finish the project in time and within budget or would they do better time using AutoCad? Should you use both (Revit and AutoCad)? 
3. Are all of our consultants on board?
If even one of your consultants (MEP, Structural or Civil) isn’t, you’re going to end up doing their work in order to have a complete model and if that’s the case you have to go back to question #2.

If you answer no to any of these questions you might be throwing money out the window. Think about it, yes, Revit is cool, there are lots of things you can do with it that are not possible to do with AutoCad or any other software. Young Architects, Designers and Interns love using it and I get it, it’s the new kid in town but if you’re not careful it will eat your budget in a blink of an eye.

Nov 2, 13 3:56 pm

"Young Architects, Designers and Interns love using it" - you sure it isn't you who just loves watching others use Revit?
The last production tool set I truly loved using was a vintage Italian lead holder stocked with 2.0mm F-grade sticks, coupled with a German 5.0mm eraser-holder and an Olfa blade (Japanese, for the record).
I have not been able to find any jobs where intimate knowledge of these durable, foolproof, multi-purpose tools and associated techniques is rewarded with money. In my limited experience, skills in this area typically produce effects of bewilderment and utter confusion.

Nov 2, 13 4:45 pm
REVIT has a steep learning curve but is ultimately faster. Question is, can you pay for the learning curve or not? Your third question is not an issue in my experience.
Nov 2, 13 5:37 pm

 I've been learning Revit during my long unemployment, and I kept saying it's not quite ready for primet ime. There are lots of things that are hard to accomplish and you have to cheat some to get it right. I'm getting faster but Cad still seems quicker.

 BUT, I have been helping a friend with his house plans and working in Autocad. I'm telling you I am really starting to miss some of the things that Revit does well. Keeping track of everything in 3D space is what Revit helps with, I have always been better than most at coordinating things drafting wise, but having to use my brain to do it rather than just modeling it is kind of a pain. I find myself loading up Sketchup or Revit  to do a study, theya re great visualization tool.


 I've also gotten to wear I can draft in Revit just as quickly as in AutoCad except for maybe a few tricky things. I wish Revit had all the commands that Cad does, it would help in some instances. I am itching to be able to use Revit in an office environment but still no luick on the job front. I can see there being a really tough time for an office to try to make the switch while on a real job. Doing it at home has made it possible without missing any deadlines or blowing any budgets.

  I've seen way to many coordination issues from so called professionals to see why Revit can be good. If Autodesk keeps improving then I could see it being an absolute must to be be competitive. That it is not indispensable just shows that it still needs improvement. I imagine younger workers will have more say as they move up and Revit will be the standard. It was the same way with Cad, the older generation didn't all take to it.

 1:) The benefit to the client is a better coordinated end product.

 2.) The budget may be a moot point if you start losing jobs because you aren't on Revit. At some point you may have to bite the bullet or just not be in the game anymore.

 3.) The consultant's seem to be behind, but they will have to get on board if they want to get work. It seems as though engineering offices are now scrambling to find people that can do Revit, maybe they resisted to long already.

Nov 3, 13 12:04 am

i keep hearing people say that revit works for big projects where all parties use it to its full potential, otherwise you're better off just drafting it.  then theres that whole thing with small firms where no one in the office except for a couple people really know how to use it and it ends up handicapping you.

Nov 3, 13 12:43 am

That's exactly my point backbay. Not all projects are worth doing in Revit at this point in history, mainly because not all firms have the staff with the expertise to make it profitable, but more firms are requiring new staff to be proficient in the use of the software. It may be a sign of things to come. 

I agree with JSBach, Revit (or a software much like it) is the tool of the future, its just a matter of time. I've been an AutoCAD user since the early 90's and to be honest with you I don't see it disappearing any time soon, if anything I see a merging of both programs. Let's see, in the meantime we have no other choice but to use both.

Nov 3, 13 1:57 pm

JN, what state are you practicing in, because I think a survey of Twin Cities firms, you might find more are using everyday, the three firms I've been with all use it, and every firm I've interviewed with is also using it. It's the cost of doing business. As for engineering firms, structural yes MEP not yet.

Nov 3, 13 4:11 pm

b3, I'm in Maryland. I agree that it's the cost of doing business but it is a cost that many small firms can not afford to pay. In my opinion these firms should be more careful when choosing which software to use and if they did not consider using the software when the proposal was written, accounting for the extra time that producing the project in revit would take, then they should ask themselves the three questions above.

Nov 3, 13 4:38 pm

  There is a mentality that a group of people can get a one week crash course right before a project begins. the bottom line is using Revit means a change in IT infrastructure, and getting actual experienced practitioners of Revit, but companies don't want to pay for the infrastructure, or pay the few Revit practitioners what they are worth.

Nov 3, 13 4:44 pm


Nov 3, 13 4:50 pm
This is the same stupid discussion that people had when CAD was new. You have to keep on moving.
Nov 3, 13 5:11 pm

Use Revit. Yes, it'll take some time to learn but it is extremely efficient once you get a handle on it. Yes, there are some things that are not perfect, even irritating. No, I would never go back to AutoCAD again.

Nov 3, 13 10:56 pm

I have used Revit in small, medium and large offices - is good for everything - I even use it for graphic design instead of illustrator or indesign. - Rendering? I use 360 cloud to get great 4k by 4k renderings - that is until I use up my cloud credits.

Nov 4, 13 12:16 pm
Sounds like a bitter frustration that you are falling behind technologically.

You can use your pencil and draft your drawings too. We'll be using revit or archicad
Nov 4, 13 8:42 pm

Fellows! This is not an attack on the software. I'm a user my self. The advise is intended for all those small to medium firm owners / decision makers that find themselves in a position where they need to decide which software to use. I've seen it happen, when the learning curve has busted through the budget and the project failed to be profitable

Nov 4, 13 10:29 pm

There are a lot of people popping up claiming to know how to use revit. In time though it becomes clear who the real experts are.  Very few have used revit professionally for more than 7 years.  In my opinion the best know about old school standards/ methods and  know the software so well that at any given moment they can find a creative solution.  

Nov 5, 13 6:46 am



I'm quite frankly shocked anyone could even ask this question....

Nov 5, 13 12:33 pm

There are a lot of people popping up claiming to know how to use revit. In time though it becomes clear who the real experts are.

Where I work you are given a test - amazing how many people who claim to really know Revit fall on their swords with this test.

Nov 5, 13 3:08 pm

Xenakis - we don't give test but sometimes I when I sit in on an interview listening to interviewee boast about their REVIT abilities, I eventually ask them if they would be open to "taking a REVIT test."  You should see the looks I get - like someone about to shit a marble staircase.  That reaction to me is what determines who is good at REVIT and who is full of shit.  Not that this would affect them in gaining employment in any way.

Nov 5, 13 4:00 pm

Xenakis- Very wise decision. We had an experience with a co-worker whom had some skills but when the time came to produce he fell short which caused us to do half of the project in AutoCAD and the other in Revit, it was a total debacle of the budget as well which proves med.'s point. 

Nov 5, 13 6:48 pm

don't want to pay for the infrastructure, or pay the few Revit practitioners what they are worth.

There is even after the recession a "you guys is a dime a dozed mentality" still - sadly, a lot of this attitude is due to the many so called Revit experts that fumble the ball at the 10 yard line.

Nov 5, 13 7:19 pm

jnater, i don't understand how that happens.  do you just hand redlines to some kid and expect CD's to pop out?  i guess i've always been in small firms where everyone has to have a bit of real participation in the project.  the idea that an architect would actually have a drafter, who's job is just to draft rather than work out ada clearances or something useful, seems kind of foreign to me.  if your project managers wanted to be involved in a project that was being developed in revit, why didn't they learn revit?

Nov 5, 13 7:33 pm

I think most new arch. graduates confuse knowing revit with knowing how to architect. i find it hilarious when i see individuals come in for an interview 2 days after graduation, requesting 60 - 70k annually, because they have 4-5yrs academic revit experience

Nov 5, 13 7:56 pm

curtkram - he was in charge of putting the model together. The project manager and I assisted with the design and drafting as well, just as you have described, everybody played a part, he just did not meet the expectations.

Nov 5, 13 9:28 pm

A friend of mine owns and opperates a mid-size firm and about a year ago he informed me of some key changes they were making including switching from microstation to REVIT.  They tried to offer me the job in helping them do this but I declined as I'm simply an experienced  REVIT USER not a standards person so I wasn't going to give them any kind of false illusion.  I did however, help them recruit a critical person to help them make the transition.  He was a guy I worked with in the previous shitstorm of a firm.  Basically, he was the BIM and CAD coordinator of the regional office.  When the entire firm ditched their standards and took a gigantic step backwards in abandoning REVIT support he was canned along with many other good people.  He was hired and has been a GOD-SEND to this firm.  Instituted their standards all in BIM and helped every team and person transition into it and also helped them hire key team members who were strong in REVIT.

Nov 6, 13 1:59 pm

Many firms need to let Revit newbies work their way into the firm, give them time to integrate and learn and not fire them the first perception of trouble - give them a chance.

Nov 6, 13 2:29 pm

med. you showed great character by doing that and I'm sure your friends appreciates it. Many small firms do not plan this right and end up going back to the old software. If planned the right way, going in knowing that you are going to take a hit for a while, transition can be accomplished but if you just go in thinking that things are going to transition smoothly you are in for a rude awakening. 

Many firms need to let Revit newbies work their way into the firm, give them time to integrate and learn and not fire them the first perception of trouble - give them a chance.

Xenakis - you are correct, specially if the firm really wants to transition, but this requires a budget and such firms need to have the "investment" mindset to push through.   

Nov 6, 13 4:17 pm

JNater, it wasn't even about me trying to show character, it was just common sense.  I might have been able to pull the job off if I really wanted it but I was pretty much woefully unquilified in transitioning firms and their entire standards into a new software and they would have known it.

It was actually a very inexpensive invenstment for them to hire my friend.  At first, they had him multi-task between instituting standards, training other staff, and he himself was heavily involved in the production of drawings.


I really recomend all firms who wish to make the tranistion, take this route.

Nov 6, 13 4:55 pm


Nov 6, 13 5:02 pm

Your original post doesn't seem like a question. It seems more like you are trying to convince others and yourself not to use Revit because for those reasons. Its ok man, if it makes you happy, CAD is more efficient, Revit is just for coolness and Elvis is still alive.

Nov 6, 13 9:52 pm

"It was actually a very inexpensive investment for them to hire my friend.  At first, they had him multi- task between instituting standards, training other staff, and he himself was heavily involved in the production of drawings."

Med. now,  your friend by doing all that, really showed some character, professionally, and above and beyond the call.  I know what that is like sitting there teaching others what you have taken years of busting your butt to master, and knowing the whole time that they are being paid atleast 10 to 15 grand more, or just as much.  Its not easy being very good at Revit these days either, on the flip side if you have a good project manager it may be ok.  Everyone else wants to use you as a stepping stone especially when you are showing signs of weariness.  Its not easy being good.

Nov 6, 13 11:58 pm

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