From CAD to Revit

Hurray!!! I have finally migrated from CAD to Revit, …recently I compelled myself to produce an entire architectural drawing for a project from start to finish in Revit without recourse to AutoCAD.

This was after I read an article by Bob Borson FAIA on his blog: ‘life of an architect’. He was talking about architectural graphics with amazing examples of what he had done then in passing said his office had moved from CAD to Revit.

It inspired me and I decided to give it a try and must say it wasn’t easy but was worth it.

I started using AutoCAD in 2005 and Revit in 2007. Up until recently, I used Revit mostly to produce exterior 3D models which I exported to other software for rendering.

I was more concerned about the model and not the total package Revit offered, I didn’t follow the proper Revit modelling procedure.

My aim was to ensure that my final model was detailed enough for the purpose I wanted it for.

The tools I mostly used were the wall, roof and modelling tools, nothing more. Therefore my initial use of Revit wasn’t in-depth, for detailed work and drafting I still depended heavily on AutoCAD

On my latest project done completely in Revit, my basic knowledge helped me a lot but it was still hard working entirely in Revit.

I had to watch numerous YouTube videos to complete many major tasks, but when I got them.

I realized how appropriate Revit is for architects and why architects should migrate from CAD.

CAD software such as AutoCAD etc are mainly drafting software and in my opinion, are like the computer’s alternative to manual or hand drafting.

Therefore, the same method or principles with which you draw on drawing boards are mostly the same methods and principles you use in CAD but this time you do so in front of a computer.

While drafting in CAD you have to draw almost everything yourself, which is time-consuming and tasking. Also in CAD, there is no relationship or link between your floor plans, elevations, sections etc …so when you have to make corrections you have to make it across every relevant drawing. It was pure hard work!

One advantage though I feel CAD may have over Revit based on my current and limited experience with Revit is the flexibility and ease of using line weights.

I feel CAD is more flexible when it comes to editing and manipulating graphic output.

Another concern I have with Revit though it isn’t a demerit is that Revit expects you to think, act and use the software in a specific way.

The feeling I have when I use Revit is that I am constructing a real building even though in a virtual environment, therefore I am required to follow certain procedures which I find rigid.

And feeling this way may make you want to go back to CAD because it’s just a blank black sheet where you can express your ideas any way you desire just like you would do with paper and pen.

But in the end, Revit and other BIM software are clearly the way forward. Though I still use a very old version of Revit and can only imagine what the 2017/2018 version will be like.

In rounding up, part of the immediate advantages I spotted from the onset when I committed myself to using Revit the right way was that I could now devote time to producing and detailing my plans.

Unlike CAD where they are simply details relating only to that plan alone, are automatically updated with no extra effort on your part.

This update reflects in sections, elevations, 3D, sheets, schedules, keynotes etc. Which is mind-blowing.

Another part of Revit that excited me was the title blocks which update automatically with the name of projects, clients, project locations, firm names, dates etc.

Unlike CAD where I had to manually update each myself.

Also, the keynotes, schedules, legends etc were all intelligently designed to automatically document and update information from the drawings.

So retrieving information from drawings is easy and stress-free.

Lastly, drawing sections! -the nightmare of most architects. You can only imagine my joy in taking advantage of automatically generated and accurate sections produced by the Revit section tool.

Also, elevation (both exterior and interior) are piece of cake for the elevation tool too. All you need to do is focus on detailing the building plan and the rest is history.

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