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Thread: How Do You Normally Start a Project?

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    How Do You Normally Start a Project?

    Hi,

    I am an extreme novice about to make the transition from CAD to Revit (have taken a few introductory courses and halfway through the Autodesk Revit Architecture book).

    However, I'm still confused as to how architects normally start a project in Revit, as in what is the typical work flow?

    With CAD, what I normally do is, I start with a rough hand sketch of the plan (gridlines, main spaces, etc.) and draw them and play around with the design on CAD (all 2D). If I need to produce a quick 3D model, I'd import the CAD plans to Sketchup and trace them to build the model.

    Is this how you would use Revit? My courses and the book all take us step-by-step through a pre-determined building design, and it seems to me you have to already have most of your building design completed before starting a Revit project.

    I guess what I'd like to know are:

    1. What is your typical work flow when starting a BIM model using Revit? (Appreciate if you can share your workflow from start to finish i.e. up to the printing of the drawings).
    2. Is there a way to import a CAD plan to Revit for tracing (much like how I do it with Sketchup)?

    Thank you in advance!

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    Moderator snowyweston's Avatar
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    First off, welcome to the forum!

    Second, quick answers to your questions.

    1. much the same as the one you've described - up until the word CAD
    2. yes, but there's little value and a fair amount of risk

    Now to the meat of the matter:
    Quote Originally Posted by Rush_Bijoux View Post
    Appreciate if you can share your workflow from start to finish i.e. up to the printing of the drawings
    Let's be straight - I don't think that's going to happen - but more because almost all jobs demand different conditions - and as much as we'd like, nothing is as linear as we might hope.


    How about you start with explaining what you're finding restrictive to your working...

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowyweston View Post
    First off, welcome to the forum!

    How about you start with explaining what you're finding restrictive to your working...
    I simply don't know where / how to start. I've been given a task as a soft transition to Revit, which is to build a small bathroom. I've worked out the plan in CAD, I have no idea what to do next, perhaps because I'm still on the CAD-Sketchup combo mindset. If this were that, I'd import the CAD dwg to Sketchup and start building the 3D by tracing the plan. If I understand correctly, Revit workflow is a little different, and I think I haven't really grasped that.

    So perhaps to narrow it down, what would the typical workflow be in this case (building the BIM model of a small bathroom, the deliverables include plan, sections, and one rendered interior shot)?

    Also, the courses / book only teach me how to build a model in Revit but I'm not clear on the typical procedure in real life. Most firms here still use both CAD and Revit simultaneously. Usually, the architects use CAD during design stage, and when the design is pretty much confirmed, we'd pass it on

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    Well in the same way all projects are different, all people are different.

    Personally, I like to think backwards, and only work forwards. Insomuch, I ask:
    1. what do I want at the end
    2. how will I get there
    3. what will i need
    4. where to start


    over-simplification of course, but distilling this into sentences on a forum isn't all that easy.


    At least in your case, it's fairly straight forward - you know what you need...
    • Create a sheet
    • Create a plan view, model your bathroom in it (using walls, a floor, place some family components, etc) crop the view, tend to scale and other appearances, then place it on the sheet
    • Back in the plan view, cut/place some sections, tend to their crops and view apperances, place them on the sheet
    • Back in the plan view, drop a camera view down, and so forth.


    Guess my question is, why did you start in CAD with the "design"? Is it that you don't have any content (toilet, bath, etc) in Revit to work with? If that's the case, that's answer to (my) question #3 above... you need "stuff" - because Revit is an element-based modeller, so instead of lines, arcs, polygons and hatches (ala 2D CAD) or extrusions, revolves, blends etc (ala Sketchup) you work with "things" - and (Revit) system families (ala walls, floors, ceilings, roofs and a few more, more involved categories) can only get you so far - and you very quickly need (Revit) component families.

    This is all 101 stuff that any half-decent book should have long explained - so perhaps (and forgive me if I sound blase) you need to go back and re-read the opening chapters...?


    EDIT
    RE: schools of approach, some:
    • do A LOT of modelling upfront - then only think about documentation at the final hour / whereas others document as they go
    • only work in views they get placed on sheets / whereas others will have "working" views
    • model in one file and document in the another / whereas others never work that way
    • will tell you Revit categories are sacrosanct / whereas others champion abusing categories to suit need
    • do EVERYTHING in Revit, even rendering / whereas many have long accepted that that's madness
    • use content they find on the internet / whereas others would have you on discplinary for even thinking about it
    etc
    Last edited by snowyweston; February 4th, 2021 at 12:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowyweston View Post



    Guess my question is, why did you start in CAD with the "design"?
    Thank you. My reply above is truncated somehow. So, as I was saying, the adoption of Revit here is still in its early stage and most firms still use CAD as the primary drafting software and slowly introduce Revit into the mix. How most firms do it here: we'd use CAD (and sometimes Sketchup & Photoshop) in the design stage for the back-and-forth with clients, once the design is pretty much confirmed, we'd pass it on to the BIM department for them to build the Revit model for submission / tender purposes.

    I understand that in Revit you work with things, and we are slowly building up our family library. But it brings me back to my original question that it seems you have to know a lot of things upfront (materials, fixtures, etc) to start a Revit project. Those who use Revit 100% in their works (no CAD, nothing else), how do you use it then when you are still in the design stage and you just want to work on the layout plans first with no regards of the materials, height, etc.?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rush_Bijoux View Post

    I understand that in Revit you work with things, and we are slowly building up our family library. But it brings me back to my original question that it seems you have to know a lot of things upfront (materials, fixtures, etc) to start a Revit project. Those who use Revit 100% in their works (no CAD, nothing else), how do you use it then when you are still in the design stage and you just want to work on the layout plans first with no regards of the materials, height, etc.?
    None of this is true at all, and it is (unfortunately) just some preconceived notion that people "make up" in their minds.

    Im working in VERY early SD, on a 60 story tall building right now. I know very little about the materials, the heights, the construction assemblies, or anything. Since i got in to the model, the Floor to Floor heights have changed, the entirety of the Core layout has changed twice, the footprint has changed, Envelope Design Concept has changed. Its no more difficult in Revit than it was in CAD, and (in fact) weve already uncovered issues in the Revit Model that got overlooked in an earlier (different) version of the tower, where the cores were designed in CAD.

    There is nothing about Revit that makes that ANY different than doing it in CAD, besides the Operators mindset.

    Dont know what the Materials are? Use Generic Walls, just like you drew in CAD.

    Dont know what the Heights are? Who cares? They are editable later. Just leave them as 8 or 10 feet high, for now. Whats the difference?

    Arent sure what the final layout will be? So? Walls are editable (moreso than in CAD) after the fact. Draw what it is today, and change it when it changes tomorrow.

    You dont have to know ANYTHING to start a Revit Model, other than "there is a project" and "i want to work on it."

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    So, literally, only working in plan layout?

    Well, we don't, but if you do, then the action is no different to CAD, only in Revit we "draw" (model) walls instead lines (it's just as fast, point-to-point, and you can ignore height) and instead of hatch fills for colouring in/area takeoff, we simply drop in rooms.

    For sure, you could start at a "higher" tier, and work with Area Plans, where Area Boundaries are infinitely thin allowing you to ignore wall/partition thicknesses (though i've never understood that peculier perversion of process) but personally I find Area Plans truly come into their value-adding element as overlays of a model - approached/begun in the manner explained above, using (modelled) walls.

    ...but before even that, most will have a (literally) sketched layout - which remains the swiftest way to this day - and is something you've already you said you do do... still, at some point that needs to move to a formal output, so in no different a manner to your current CAD workflow, where you would transpose your "rough hand sketch" (but this time to Revit) then "play around with the design..."


    I guess what I'm not grasping is what makes (working with Rev)it feel different to you? Perhaps you could share some examples of the type of expected output you mean?

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    Some of our front end folks, who aren't as savvy with Revit yet, will work out their "big picture" sketches in a working view using detail lines, and then do the modeling once it's settled. I'm talking about "building shape" level design, not drawing walls out of detail lines. For example, if you're exploring different types of building grid configurations, you could lay them out with detail lines first and put the real numbered grids in later. This workflow is roughly equal to how you describe using CAD.

    As you get more familiar with Revit, you won't really need to do this - your brain will eventually develop an "order of operations" for inputting a building into Revit. For me at least, it took many years of using the program before I felt comfortable to use it as an architectural design tool. Once you get comfortable, you will blow CAD production out of the water, especially when it comes to changes. The program name is a contraction of "Revise-Instantly", after all

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    What's the point of drawing Lines and later tracing over them to make Walls or Grids?
    Just draw (model) Walls and Grids right away.
    Sure, Walls have connection issues some times, but if you don't care about that early on, set all your Walls to show as a solid.
    Don't set your Walls to s specific Height. Set them to go from the first level to the second. Then when you change you Floor to Floor heights, they'll adjust.
    As for Grids, I can think of NO reason to use Lines instead. a Grid doesn't behave any different than a Line, except that it's got a number. And that can be changed later.
    If I need to produce a quick 3D model, I'd import the CAD plans to Sketchup and trace them to build the model.
    If you've started with Walls instead of lines, you don't need to import a plan or trace around the CAD.
    If you need a quick 3D model, guess what? You open a 3D View and you've got a 3D model already.

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    This is where I tell my teams that you should be at least thinking about the 3D while drawing the 2D. If you are drawing a line (with whatever medium) you should know what that line represents. If it represents a wall then you would have some general idea about how high that wall is. Like Aaron said you can use generic walls if you don't want to think about the other stuff. My counter point to that is why not just guess. Is the wall CMU or gyp? Pick one and throw it in, if you are wrong, cool we'll fix it when we know. If you throw in a generic wall we are going to 100% of the time have to replace that wall with a real wall at some point. As an architect, when I design I try to think about all these things while going through the process. When I do space planning sometimes I just pick a wall type start drawing. It is a whole lot easier to move and edit walls, doors, and other elements in Revit than to fiddle with lines with a little practice. It is a given that you will not be as good at Revit after 1 day, 1 week, or 1 year as you are with a CAD program you have used for 5, 10, or 15 years. You will never be good at it if you don't attempt to learn to work in it. I know it is an uphill battle with the "designers", believe me most of us here have had those discussion ad nauseum with many people in many firms. That being said, keep you head in it, keep trying, and it will get easier and a whole lot faster before you know it.

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