In late April, Autodesk released the 2013 versions of the their software. This included major releases for Revit, Navisworks, 3D Max, and AutoCAD. SHP has been Alpha and Beta testing the 2013 software since last December and we have found this latest release to be very exciting. This software update brings many changes to how architects, engineers and contractors will work with each other and share information between each team member. A blurring of the lines of responsibility and liability is in the making. There are three things to keep watch on during the coming year that will effect these changes. Two are new features and workflows that are tying disciplines closer together, while the third is a new direction for Autodesk.
For the first time a version of the Revit software is being made available that contains all of the different discipline specific versions of Revit. That means that when you purchase a copy of either the Design Suite Premium or Ultimate, the version of Revit you get contains all of the tools and simulation capabilities of all three discipline specific products. This includes Revit Architecture, Revit Structure, and Revit MEP. This is huge step in providing a more robust tool set to Revit users. It also goes a long way towards answering a two year old question that I heard at Autodesk University asking about a “Contractor’s” version of Revit. I think that we are seeing that version with the 2013 software release. It is also no surprise that the Design Suites that you need to purchase to get this version of Revit come with Navisworks Simulate or Manage, the software that contractors typically use for their model coordination during construction.
Both of the new feature upgrades cater to the new direction that Autodesk is moving in with Revit. The first of these two is a tremendous upgrade in the capabilities for all of the software that is used in conjunction with Revit to produce a building. Both Navisworks and 3D Studio Max can consume native Revit files and do not need an export version of the file. This is significant in many ways. The first, is that the models generated in Revit can be continuously worked on while being “linked” to these other softwares. While testing this link in our office, we were able to link a Revit model into Navisworks and instantly update the Navisworks version of that model with a simple save in Revit and then a reload in Navisworks. The entire process almost instantaneous. Gone now are the days when architects and engineers what to protect or lock their models by exporting them to Navisworks. It will be interesting to see how nervous this makes the entire design and legal communities feel about model sharing and the qualities of the models being shared. If an architect was using a model to only create working drawings, will the model support being exposed completely? It is a good thing we model for more than just the creation of contract documents.
Check back tomorrow when I'll discuss the third feature!