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Thread: Is Revit now too big for my business?

  1. #1
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    Is Revit now too big for my business?

    I own a small interior design firm. We've been using Revit for many years (since around 2005 approx.) and had 3 seats . We all collaborated on projects and saved to a central model on a server in my office. It was easy/peasy and it all worked well enough. Since the pandemic, I've set up my office at home, and I am trying to sub out drafting to drafters outside my office. The old stand-alone versions of Revit were getting very quirky so I downloaded the 2021 version of Revit LT (which has all the tools I need for the work I do). Only problem is that now I'm having problems finding a way to collaborate on a single project when all the collaborators are in different locations. I understand that Bim 360 is the solution to this problem, but it doesn't work with LT (which means I have to pay for the full version), and it also forces me to have to pay for BIM 360, not only for myself, but also for any draftsperson I hire to work remotely.

    It seems to me that this product is becoming more of an obstacle than a solution for a small firm like mine. Am I missing something that I'm not grasping with this? Is there a more simple solution to this, or is Revit now just too big for my business?

    Desperately seeking a solution.

    Thank you,

    Fred

  2. #2
    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Forum, Fred.

    With respect: Revit didnt "change" in the last year: Your firms situation did.

    But im also curious: In previous versions, i imagine you all had full blown Revit (not LT) because you were working on workshared models saved on your company server. Is that correct? So your Version Changed (and you moved down to LT), and suddenly everyone is at home (pandemic). Also, what does "getting very quirky" mean? I have to use Revit 2018-2021 currently (and i still have 2016 and 2017 installed) and all of them still work great here. So what happened that you needed to change them?

    If you were still all in your office, working on a Workshared Model on your company Server, with the older versions of Revit OR using 2021, everything would still be awesome! Right?

    Yes, BIM360 was created to allow:

    -Multi Firm Collaboration
    -Working from Remote Locations
    -(consequently) working from home

    Even BIM360 doesnt solve ALL of the issues related to working in Revit Remotely.

    But yes: Revit- working from remote locations- isnt cheap or easy. There is a whole thread posted here on your options, but working in LT with multiple users in a model at the same time, isnt possible regardless. LT wasnt made for that.

    Regarding WFH, your simple options are BIM360 or a Remote Desktop application. If that means Revit doesnt work for you anymore, i would wager its time to evaluate your other options.

  3. #3
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    Yes. Correct. My firm's situation changed. But that shouldn't make my drafting program obsolete. I didn't switch to baking as a business over the pandemic. It's drafting and modeling. It should fit the whole range of firm sizes (or maybe not?).

    So you're right. If I can't hire a freelance draftsperson, or sub out part of the drafting and modeling on a project because the technology doesn't reasonably and easily allow for that, then yes. It's time to evaluate other options unfortunately.

    About the quirkiness, I was using 2014 version and it started to have constant fatal errors. There were a few older projects I couldn't even open. That's why I tried out Revit LT and it works great (except for the ability to delegate work to different parties within a project). but Revit has always been quirky. I've been using it since around 2005 for the main drafting and modeling program and it's always been quirky. You get used to the quirks, (at least I did), but its quirky.

  4. #4
    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Well, not to split hairs, but typically Fatal Errors can be traced back to one of several occurrences, that are project or hardware related. Its been extremely rare that it does that, in my experience. And its never happened with a high degree of repeatability, unless there was something wrong with a project (which can certainly make it happen a heck of a lot!)

    Regarding your situation: The technology does​ reasonably and easily allow for it, but there are a number of situations where people disagree (not even by small margins, sometimes by entire factors of multiplication) about what something should cost. This isnt relegated to AEC, by the way:

    Last night on Reddit, i saw a post in an IT forum from a lawyer, who truly believed they should be able to get secure Cloud Hosted VDI replete with security to stop employees from copying outside the environment, and they didnt want to pay more than 20 dollars per user for it. Simply put, they were an entire order of magnitude off, because its what they "thought" it should cost. The Windows licensing alone would cost more than that, and thats before you even get in to the hardware and the "hosting" of it all.

    All of that to say: yeah, its drafting and modeling.

    I *personally* wouldnt consider Revit LT, even if i was getting commissioned to work on single family residences. Its missing too many important tools, to make it worth it. Id head straight for Revit (full version). So, thats the floor, in terms of cost. The "rules" of what Revit needs (and has needed) for multi site collaboration havent changed. Options for non-LAN collab have been (for some time now):

    1. BIM 360
    2. Revit Server
    3. Remote control apparatus for a machine on local premises
    4. Some really sketchy/dodgey solutions i wouldnt recommend

    None of that happened this year. Unfortunately, a bunch of us are feeling the effects of it more, since we all suddenly tried to start doing WFH without a plan in place. Nothing changed (from the software side) that "made" your program obsolete, but your circumstances changed, and that definitely puts more complexity (cost) in the mix.

    So... yeah. Your options are limited.

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    Well even if I step up to the "floor" of cost, which I don't mind if it improves my situation, It still won't solve the problem that any hire will need to do the same, and then some! Or we can't work together. Another situation happened today right in the middle of when I was trying to figure this out. I sent drawings to an architect for a bid on some work. His response: "oh, you're on 2021. We're still on 2020". He couldn't open the project... It's absurd. It's one block after another. So now the options on that are: He spends the money to upgrade his whole office, or I have to spend the time exporting files to DWG's so he can read them. Or I have to find another architect...nuts.

    I didn't consider Revit LT either. I didn't think it was going to work, but when I did the trial I realized that, toolwise, it has everything I need. There are a couple of work-arounds on some modeling things (like modeling furniture, or things in-place which you can't do in the LT version), but aside from that I haven't seen many limitations. And I do work on single family homes, but tons of interior detailing and modeling.

    I think to work around this I'm going to have to get used to exporting elevations,etc. to DWG's so that the draftsperson can work on those in Autocad, and just use Revit for the modeling things. I have steam coming out of my ears right now, so I'm going to limit this post to this. However, if anyone has found a workable solution to this, including switching platforms, I would be eternally thankful to hear it.

    Thanks again,

    Fred

  6. #6
    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredDesigner View Post
    Well even if I step up to the "floor" of cost, which I don't mind if it improves my situation, It still won't solve the problem that any hire will need to do the same, and then some!
    Yes. Or you have to provide them with the License for BIM360. Thats what we did last year, when we had someone helping us on a large project on a limited basis. And you can buy/rent the licenses month to month, which made it that much easier.

    Or we can't work together. Another situation happened today right in the middle of when I was trying to figure this out. I sent drawings to an architect for a bid on some work. His response: "oh, you're on 2021. We're still on 2020". He couldn't open the project... It's absurd. It's one block after another.
    Correct. But- and im sure you already know this- its ALWAYS been this way in Revit. Its never been backwards compatible. Its probably coming as a shock to you because you were in a pretty old version (2014, you said?) so everyone that you worked with was probably in something newer than you were. I have to imagine so, as you cant even get access to the 2014 installers anymore without a lot of extra digging.

    So now the options on that are: He spends the money to upgrade his whole office, or I have to spend the time exporting files to DWG's so he can read them. Or I have to find another architect...nuts.
    I hate to ask, but what is the final deliverable, here? Im only asking because exporting to DWG wouldnt even be a consideration of mine, personally. The way Revit exports to DWG is nothing like how someone with experience setting up a documentation project in AutoCAD would set it up, and i would HATE to work with DWG exports from Revit. If i was going to have deliverables in CAD, id just start in CAD.

    I didn't consider Revit LT either. I didn't think it was going to work, but when I did the trial I realized that, toolwise, it has everything I need. There are a couple of work-arounds on some modeling things (like modeling furniture, or things in-place which you can't do in the LT version), but aside from that I haven't seen many limitations. And I do work on single family homes, but tons of interior detailing and modeling.

    I think to work around this I'm going to have to get used to exporting elevations,etc. to DWG's so that the draftsperson can work on those in Autocad, and just use Revit for the modeling things.
    Well, i think there are a number of different problems you are facing, at the moment, and you have to decide which are NEED to solve, and which are NICE to solve. For instance: Worksharing. Unless you are all taking turns working in the file, that one (to me) is a deal breaker. So LT is out. Now, if you can get around not needing worksharing, then yeah... You can make LT work if you dont care about addins, Dynamo, In-Place, Rendering, etc.

    I have steam coming out of my ears right now, so I'm going to limit this post to this. However, if anyone has found a workable solution to this, including switching platforms, I would be eternally thankful to hear it.
    To my last point, we can certainly point you towards solutions, but to which portion? So far i read:

    1. Multiple Users

    2. Remote Work Locations
    3. Freelance or Staff Member turnover (or onboarding/offboarding of partners, however you like to term it).

    4. Multiple Versions (Project started in 2021 LT)

    I broke them up in to 1, then 2 and 3 together, then 4, because i think those are the different situations you find yourself in.

    Number 4 is a toughie, and (frankly) im surprised the Architect didnt tell you what version to use. As the Prime on projects, i would always tell my consultants on day 1, what version we were using, to avoid this issue. But this one is simple: Either the Arch is upgrading, or you have to start over in 2020. Thats basically the only answer there. (except punting to CAD, of course).

    Number 1 is the most straightforward. Its a simple: Do you plan to use Worksharing, yes or no? If yes, needs to be Full Revit. Then the answers to 2 and 3 will dictate what else you could do, to mitigate your situation, of course.

    Sorry there arent better answers. We have had a LOT of customers get "surprised" by the technical requirements of WFH, in BIM Software, since March of 2020. Unfortunately, its not as simple as some firms think it should be. I hear you, on that.

  7. #7
    Moderator Robin Deurloo's Avatar
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    To add my 2 cents.

    I work freelance sometimes and I bring my own license, so tell the people that freelance for you to get their own, pretty sure they will have one anyway, how else are you supposed to work for yourself? Maybe not BIM360, but that's 120$ a month, so that does not break the bank imho.

    I have asked somebody to help me out with a project in a few weeks, just finished school, so still on a student license and does not have a job yet. That is of course a No-Go for a real project so getting her a real license for a few month and added that into my quote to my client together with BIM360 licenses for the both of us for a few months.

    I started with LT when I started my company 4 years ago and that really sucked, so after 1,5 months I was on full Revit, expansive, maybe, but it is the way I make (good) money, so a tool to do so, and all calculated into my hourly rate. Pretty sure any plumber of carpenter does not get his tools from the dollar store either.

    As a rule of thumb I usually look at software or hardware or any other purchase for the business and figure out if it is going to safe me time, make my work better or make me more efficient. Yes to any of those I usually buy it because in the end it will save or make me more money that I need to spend.

  8. #8
    Forum Addict tzframpton's Avatar
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    Hey Fred, I know you're wanting a solution to the CAD program, but I think my first question would be have you done a financial analysis on the business itself to see what your costs look like and see if the Revit platform + BIM 360 can easily be absorbed into your billable rate? If Revit is the best tool for you and your process I would start here first. Also, what does it look like for you to ask or even require your subs/freelancers to use Revit + BIM 360, giving them time frame such as 3 or 6 months to transition? While in the meantime look for other subs that are already in this wheelhouse? Networking is important and it sounds like you've got a small circle which may need to be reassessed.

    Just thoughts out loud is all.

    -TZ

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    Member Marcel Jansen's Avatar
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    Not the most popular reply , but if you want to use Revit LT, the only option to work together is sending the file between you two and work in it after the other.
    Not the most ideal workflow but it saves you a lot of money if you only need the LT licenses.
    Last edited by Marcel Jansen; March 19th, 2021 at 12:03 PM.

  10.    #10
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    Robin,

    Thank you so much for your feedback. You're right and I think I was looking at it wrong. I tend to not like monthly subscriptions in general so usually think of things as a yearly subscription or full seat or program buyout, and that was causing me a lot of stress. I think I needed a couple of days to adapt to the idea.

    I'm an early implementer of Revit (since around 2005 or so) and I've always had the full versions. Having that experience I can say that Revit LT does everything I need, with exception of the collaboration feature. Aside from that, almost every single tool that I used in the full Revit versions is available in LT. The small detail is the collaboration thing, which renders it almost unusable. And because of this long commitment is also part of the stress of feeling kind of "stuck" with a product I don't love. But enough of that. I have to get back on the horse (even if the horse is slow, fat, and expensive) because it's the only horse I know how to ride right now.

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