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May 9, 2012, by admin

Part II: Blurring the Lines

Yesterday I discussed the first two benefits to the new, improved Revit that ties disciplines together.  Today I'll talk about the third, which is a new direction.

The final feature upgrade provides an interesting debate about blurring the lines of responsibility and centers around the new ability to create linked parts models.  In the 2012 release of the Revit software, users were introduced to a new feature that allow them to take components within the model and divide them into parts.  For example, a wall system in Revit is made up of several “layers” of materials that made the entire wall.   That wall in the 2012 release of the software could be divided into its parts.  Each layer becoming a part.  This was especially useful when doing quantity take-offs or simulating the construction sequencing of how to build that wall.  But the major drawback was that the parts had to reside in the same model that the host of those parts was in.  So if this feature was used in a fully developed Revit model, the model’s size could theoretically double and become tougher to manage.  In the 2013 release, the parts can now reside in a separate, linked model.  Thereby creating a model that is essentially a contractor’s model, allowing them to do quantity take-offs and construction simulation directly from a live model without effecting the size of the design intent model.

All of these new additions to the feature sets of Revit, Navisworks, 3D Studio Max, and Autocad create two schools of thought in the design community.  The first is fear.  Fear that an architect’s or engineer’s model will be used for something that they are not anticipating or are not prepared for.  This is a legitimate concern because the majority of the Revit adopters in the design profession are still only using Revit to produce working drawings.  Those firms have still not transitioned the thinking away from the traditional project delivery methods.  The second school of thought, and the one that I personally subscribe to and support, is that this is an amazing opportunity for the design community to engage with our construction partners to deliver better value to the design and construction process.  We as architects and engineers should grasp ahold of these new features and learn how to maximize our inherent skill sets.  We should embrace this change and benefit from it, at the same time giving our clients better value for our services.