Advantages and Disadvantages of Revit

Initially released nearly 20 years ago, Revit has grown to be one of the most widely adopted BIM applications in the world. As with every robust and powerful application, there are of advantages and disadvantages of Revit. While the advantages of Revit are plentiful, there are of course limitations and constraints which can be a detriment to efficiency in your daily grind.

While the vast majority of the time we’re discussing the countless advantages of Revit, in this post we’ll cover three disadvantages that Revit introduces and how UNIFI’s suite of solutions can help.

1. Lack of Backwards Compatibility

Advantages and Disadvantages of Revit

Currently, Revit users do not have the ability to open an older Revit model in a newer version of Revit without performing a hard upgrade the model. This may have a much bigger impact on our daily workflows than we might realize. For example, consider those projects that span over multiple years where you are trapped in an older version of Revit due to fear of corruption during the upgrade process.

Unfortunately, this constraint of supporting older versions of Revit means your Revit families will need to be modeled in an earlier version of Revit. You may even get to a point where you need to manage duplicate content to support multiple version of Revit.

Solution: Future-Proofed Revit Families

UNIFI Pro provides an automated process which upgrades your Revit families in the cloud. Users have the ability to maintain multiple “base files” which serve as the source for all future versions.

The Base File Chart below is an example of how UNIFI Pro handles multiple versions of Revit. This particular family was originally modeled in 2015 and was automatically upgraded to future versions of Revit in the cloud. At some point the family was manually upgraded to Revit 2018 by a user, so Unifi again upgraded that base file to future versions while still allowing for previous versions of the family to be used.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Revit

2. Unstructured data

At the project level, Revit users inadvertently create unstructured data with every shared parameter they create. Because each shared parameter comes with its own GUID, it means schedules are difficult to manage with a project containing content from multiple sources. I won’t go into the details of this limitation in this post, but consider large projects and how this becomes a major issue when trying to build a single equipment schedule from 10 different manufacturers.

Solution: Share Standardized Schedules in UNIFI Pro libraries

One approach when attempting to create a predefined dataset in Revit is to create schedules which use a standard set of shared parameters. These schedules should only contain the proper shared parameters, so families without the correct shared parameters can be identified easily.

Unifi Pro not only provides the ability to store your vetted Revit families in libraries, but native Revit schedules as well. In doing so, you open up the possibility of applying metatags, versioning, and change management to this critical component of every Revit project.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Revit

Prior to loading the schedule into a project, you have the ability to preview the parameters and formatting. It just takes a single click to load the schedule into your active project, which is infinitely easier than the out-of-the-box workflows.

3. No Automated Changelog

Change management should be a high priority whenever collaborating on a team, whether it’s software development, marketing, or BIM. Unfortunately, Revit does not provide a robust versioning system out-of-the-box. I’ll admit, Revit’s automated backups have saved my job on more than one occasion, however there is still a lacking ability to see who changed what in these models.

Solution: Compare Changes in Project Analytics

Advantages and Disadvantages of Revit In addition to reviewing the content within a Revit model, Project Analytics allows you to review historical changes to that content. The screenshot above displays changes to revisions, rooms, and sheets. This is a critical upgrade over simply the out-of-the-box backups as now you can track who made changes to the content within your models down to the detail of who is importing CAD files or changes the area of a room to zero.

A Few Solutions

In conclusion, there are both advantages and disadvantages of Revit just like one can expect with any platform. We’ve covered just three disadvantages of Revit and how UNIFI can help you overcome those limitations. These are just three examples of features that we’ve implemented to help you maintain healthier, high quality models. If you would like to learn more about UNIFI Pro or Project Analytics, click here.

Do you have any additional disadvantages of Revit that you face? What are some solutions, if any, that you’ve found to help overcome those disadvantages? Leave us a comment below and let’s discuss!

UNIFI Announces Hire of Karen Pierce as BIM Specialist and Promotion of Jay Merlan to Strategic Solutions Lead

Jay and Karen

Las Vegas, NV, May 2019 – UNIFI Labs is pleased to announce the promotion of Jay Merlan to Strategic Solutions Lead and the new hire of Karen Pierce as BIM Specialist. 

In Jay’s new role, he will be responsible for engaging with customers to understand their unique needs and advise on how UNIFI’s solutions and services can best enable their success. He’ll also be focused on driving the growth of the UNIFI community in support of growing engagement with customers, providing subject matter expertise across UNIFI’s internal and external stakeholders, and leading the charge on forming UNIFI’s internal BIM standards. 

In his former position as BIM Specialist, Jay was instrumental in supporting UNIFI’s customer success, marketing, and sales efforts by lending his outstanding BIM expertise acquired in over 15 years of experience in the AEC sector. As UNIFI experienced rapid growth in the past year, Jay acted as a consultant to enterprise customers and assisted them with managing their content, forming their internal BIM standards and processes, and implementing best practices around using UNIFI’s cloud-based content management and analytics platform.  

Dwayne Miller, CEO and Co-Founder at UNIFI Labs shared that, “We are really excited to have Jay as UNIFI’s Strategic Solutions Lead.  At UNIFI, our goal is to journey with our customers to help them create value today and be strategically positioned for future success.  Jay’s experience paired with his deep industry context brings a seasoned perspective for both BIM technologies and our user base.  His passion for technology, the industry and our customers is a great asset to UNIFI and to those we serve.” 

As part of the transition, Karen Pierce has replaced Jay as UNIFI’s BIM Specialist. Karen will oversee technical demos of the UNIFI suite of products and lead the evaluation and trial workflow for UNIFI customers.  

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Karen joins UNIFI from eVolveMEP, a software solution that provides collaborative project management for MEP’s from start to finish. Karen has a decade of experience serving in various roles that qualifies her for her new position including MEP Designer, BIM Manager, and BIM Content Manager.  

Karen said, “Based on my broad AEC experience, UNIFI is exactly the type of tool to address data management needs for both Revit and AutoCAD. With my designer and BIM Management background, I uniquely understand both our client’s current struggles and the future opportunities for UNIFI development.”  

UNIFI’s SVP Roberto Jusino echoes Karen’s excitement, “We are ecstatic to bring Karen onboard with UNIFI. We know her skillset and experience will be helpful to our customer base.  Her experience in bringing UNIFI on board with a previous company gives her the unique experience in helping future customers come on board with UNIFI.”  

Karen studied both Architecture and Engineering and earned her Associates of Science degree in Engineering from Kennesaw State University.  

About UNIFI Labs 

UNIFI Labs is the global leader in cloud-based BIM content creation and data management. Our essential data platform delivers a Better BIM experience by helping users navigate the DARK BIM. Hundreds of brands trust UNIFI for their BIM content/data management needs including Disney, Interior Architects, Katerra, Stantec, HOK, Legrand, and Pella.  

MAY 29 @ 11 am pst: Webinar Invite

Across all industries, the implicit value of data continues to grow exponentiallyIn the AEC industrydesign data seems to remain trapped in analog drawings (i.e., hand-drawn plans), unintelligent digital drawings (i.e., PDFs, DWGs), or dark building information models (i.e., unstructured BIM data).  

BIM has become a fundamental piece of our industry’s data-driven workflows and it is widely known that this data can influence design decisions, but what other ways can we put this data to good use? 

Join UNIFI Labs as we discuss BIM data and how it can be leveraged by all stakeholders, not just BIM-savvy designers. 

Click here to register now!

How to Use Revit Worksets to Share Work and Increase Efficiency

Revit Worksets

One feature of Revit that remains particularly controversial after all these years is the implementation of Revit worksets. Over the 15 years that I’ve been using Revit, this topic seems to have the least consensus amongst BIM managers who strive for solid standards.

In this post, I’ll share my views on how to use Revit worksets properly and why.

Using Revit Worksets the Right Way

When first attempting to identify what the “correct” way to use Revit worksets might be, I would recommend to understand the functionality that Revit worksets provide.

Worksets Are Designed for Permissions Control

If you’ve ever been tasked with collaborating on a single Revit with multiple team members (I’m sure most Revit users have), you understand the challenges associated with worksharing. I won’t dive into all of the complexities of worksharing in Revit, however let’s at least try to understand that worksets were implemented to alleviate some of that pain. With all of that being said, one could consider Revit worksets as a way to help assign ownership of elements within a model.

The Borrowing Method

Borrowing elements is a technique that works fairly well for most situations, however it can become particularly cumbersome when team members are working in the same area of a model. Walk through an engineering firm at 4pm on a Friday night when a 100%CD set of drawings are due by the end of day and you’ll hear designers yelling over cubicle walls at their coworkers to sync to central. This is due to the borrowing method, where users don’t check out an entire workset, but rather borrow elements. They’ll maintain ownership until the next time they sync, at which point the ownership of those borrowed elements are relinquished. Once the sync is complete, any other team member can now borrow them as needed and continue the cycle.

The way to avoid the somewhat irritating nature of this workflow is to create a Revit workset and assign model elements to it. This allows any member of your team to make a Revit workset editable, which in other words means they are claiming ownership of all of the elements on that workset. This prevents users from being able to borrow and edit those elements until the user who has the workset checked out explicitly chooses to check it back in, thus allowing other users to either borrow elements from that workset or even make the Revit workset editable for themselves.

Closing Revit Worksets Can Increase Model Efficiency

In addition to controlling ownership of elements, making Revit worksets editable has a major performance advantage. When making a workset editable, Revit no longer has to check for ownership of every element that a user is attempting to modify. This means less work for Revit (which is always a good thing). This is particularly helpful for large models with several users and in my personal experience I’ve seen massive speed increases when connecting MEP systems in a model when the workset that they live on is editable.

In contrast, borrowing elements on the fly means that Revit will have to check if the element is being edited by another user before claiming ownership. Again, more work for Revit and your network connection, means decreased model efficiency.

Closing Revit worksets can also give you a boost in performance on a local level. By closing entire worksets, you are essentially temporarily removing the model elements from the model (for lack of a better term). Keep in mind that you are not simply hiding them or turning off their visibility. Revit actually somewhat ignores those model elements when the workset is closed which means less RAM will be required to work in the model with less worksets open.

Add Linked Models to Worksets

It is common practice to load linked Revit models into their own worksets. There are several benefits to this workflow, one is having the ability to not load links at the time of opening the host model. This can help you decrease the time it takes to open a model or even prevent Revit from crashing due to a corrupt model being loaded through a link.

Revit WorksetsUsing Revit Worksets Incorrectly

Although worksets were designed for permissions, I’ll often see them being used incorrectly. I think the biggest issue that I’ve seen is using worksets as if they were AutoCAD layers.

I remember one design assist project where I was the model manager on the design firm side. The mechanical contractor was leading the BIM effort, which means we were required to adhere to their standards. I was shocked to see that their BIM execution plan had laid out over 200 worksets required for their models, many of which seemed to mirror their CAD standards for layers. In all honesty, if you have a standard to create a workset per model category, I’m afraid that you have missed the point of Revit worksets completely. I might even question your understanding of Revit model categories and V/G overrides in general.

V/G Overrides Should Not Rely on Worksets

Yes, Revit makes it possible for you to control how a workset is displayed in a view. Because of this, many users will create worksets with the sole purpose of overriding the visibility of elements in a view. This is very common among folks who have a strong AutoCAD background, as they are accustomed to being able to control the appearance of an object based on the layer it lives on.

I think it goes without saying that Revit does not have layers and there really is no need for this type of workflow in BIM. We have data as an alternative and we should be leveraging that data.

If using worksets to control visibility of elements is a standard practice at your firm, I would challenge you to try to use parameter data to control your visibility/graphic overrides instead. By using parameter values for your graphic overrides, you’ll require your users to input data into parameters rather than forcing them to model on correct worksets, which can help mitigate human error.

It truly is a shift in mindset to use parameter data to control the visibility of an element, however I would encourage all Revit users to become comfortable with applying view filters whenever possible.

Revit WorksetsThe image above is an example of using filters that rely on parameter data, not worksets. If the parameter data already exists, why would you want to take an extra step and force your team to put elements on a specific workset simply for a graphical setting? In the filter above, you can see that my if my apparent power is equal to 0VA, the element will be colored red. This is just one example of how filters can reference parameter data. With the power of view filters, you can take a step back and identify why you need to override the graphics of an element and which parameter you can use for this (as opposed going the easy route and creating a Revit workset).

In addition, information is always changing in models, so setting up your views to rely on parameter data means your filters will always be as accurate as your model data. In contrast, requiring elements to live on the proper workset opens up the possibility of users modeling elements on the wrong Revit workset. Think about back in the AutoCAD days, how often did you see objects drawn on the wrong layer?

Quality Control With Revit Worksets

Revit Worksets

Implementing a standard practice for Revit worksets can be challenging without the right tools. How would a model manager keep an eye on the worksets in the many models that they’re in charge of maintaining? Furthermore, how can they identify when a team member creates a workset that is implemented incorrectly?

Luckily, we have a couple of features in Project Analytics that can help you maintain control over those worksets. Keep in mind that this information is updated any time a user syncs to central, so you can be sure that you’re always seeing the most live up-to-date worksets within these models.

Visibility of Content Within Models

Revit Worksets

While browsing through the contents of a model, Project Analytics surfaces content types other than Revit families. With this tool, model managers can quickly review the worksets that are defined in every model throughout their organization. You’ll no longer need to open a model simply to review the worksets because these are now visible directly from your web browser.

Monitoring Changes to Worksets

In addition to having visibility of the Revit worksets within a model, Project Analytics also allows you to see changes to those worksets. With our Compare Changes feature, we give you the power of an automatic change log for every model. Yes, that even means you can now review changes to Revit worksets within each model.

In the screenshot below, I can now review the changes made to the model when Jay Merlan synced at 2:00:01PM on April 13, 2019. It looks like he’s made one change, which was deleting a workset.

Revit Worksets

You can imagine how helpful this information can be when you either see worksets disappearing from your models or rogue worksets appearing that don’t follow your standards.

Below is a screenshot of another sync and I can see that Jay added eight worksets, mostly worksets that my BIM manager would disagree with.

Revit Worksets

Can Project Analytics be used as a tool to identify areas where your team requires additional training? With this tool, you’ll be granted the ability to see who made changes to the worksets within your model meaning you can identify who is following protocol and who isn’t.

How Do You Use Revit Worksets?

I hope that this article has been helpful in understanding my views on properly implementing Revit worksets. Again, I propose to only use Revit worksets to properly share work and increase efficiency. As I mentioned earlier, there are many ways to use worksets (whether correct or not) and Project Analytics will continue to build features which help model managers keep an eye on their BIM standards.

How do you use Revit worksets? Do you agree with these views? Leave us a comment below so that we can learn more about your standards and why you implement Revit worksets that way that you do.

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: What is the Best BIM Content Management System?

UNIFI COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

WHAT IS THE BEST BIM CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM? DOWNLOAD OUR FREE COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS NOW

It seems like startups are cropping up every day in the AECO space and when it comes to BIM-specific applications, there’s no shortage of solutions to help with the daily grind. BIM content management systems are no exception and I realize that it may hard to understand what differentiators each platform has to offer to determine the best content management system for you.

In the post, we’ll present two of the most prominent features that set us apart from the competition and makes UNIFI the best content management system. If you’ve been wondering why our platform is chosen by Disney, Interior Architects, Katerra, Stantec, HOK, Legrand, Pella, and hundreds of other brands read on!

Storage: Cloud vs Local

Across all industries, cloud technology is gaining more and more steam. When evaluating the best BIM content management system for you, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is, “do I want my libraries hosted in the cloud or locally on my own local network?”

UNIFI Pro is a solution that is cloud-based, which grants our users some obvious benefits:

•Access Anywhere – Consider your team as they’re working remotely on a construction site, a client’s office, or even from home. How easy it is for them to access their BIM content? Do they need to engage with your IT department for VPN access? Many of these issues can be solved by hosting your BIM content libraries in the cloud.

•Version Control – UNIFI Pro provides a simple change management, which means all content inherently maintains a changelog allowing the team to see who changed what and when. Admins can even roll back to a previous version as needed. BIM content management systems that are hosted locally typically rely on your IT department to manage backups.

•A Single Source of Truth – One could argue that duplication is the enemy of standardization. Storing BIM content on a network drive exposes your team to the risk of duplicate families throughout multiple folders and subfolders. Not only will a cloud-based library help mitigate the risk of duplication, but coupled with Project Analytics you’ll be able to see who is loading content from sources other than your UNIFI libraries.

Revit Content is More Than Loadable Families

In terms of project deliverables, Revit is an all-inclusive platform which provides out-of-the-box functionality to manage details, schedules, materials, and more. With that being said, as you’re exploring some of our competitors to determine the best BIM content management system, be conscious of what types of content their platforms will help you manage other than loadable families (i.e., rfa files).

Some of the types of content that we can store In UNIFI Pro include:

•Materials – Migrate away from managing those adsklib files. Struggling with storing them on a common network location is a thing of the past because we can now store the Revit materials (along with their renderable assets) in the cloud along with your other content.

•Schedules – Store your standardized schedules and their relevant parameters in your UNIFI Pro libraries. You’ll even have the ability to preview the schedules before inserting them into your active projects.

•Drafting Views – Details are a critical piece of construction documents. If you’re currently managing these details as drafting views within a “container project,” consider the benefits of storing each detail as an individual piece of content in UNIFI Pro, which enables teams to implement metatags, revisions, and future-proofing for multiple versions of Revit.

Competitive Analysis

These are just a few of the many features that set UNIFI apart from the competition and make UNIFI the best BIM content management software out there. Don’t take our word for it, we’ve prepared a comprehensive competitive analysis so you can see for yourself how UNIFI compares to CTC BIM, Content Studio, Avail, BIM Object, Kinship.io, CS6 beta, and KiwiCodes in over 150 features. Please fill out the form to the right to download the FREE competitive analysis now!

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UNIFI Announces Global BIM Expert Partnership Network

Las Vegas, NV MAY 2019 – UNIFI Labs, the leading BETTER BIM™ provider is pleased to announce the launch of our BIM Expert partner network, which establishes strategic partnership with several of the industry’s most respected and BIM forward consultants, including bimcoFrancios DionneJohn King LtdNittyGritty, and Paras NanavatiThese collaborations will provide UNIFI’s customer base with access to expert support and advisory for their consulting needs, while expanding UNIFI’s global outreach as the go-to content management, data, and model health monitoring platform. 

In the coming months, UNIFI will continue to deliver enhanced capabilities and customization opportunities for our BIM content and data management platform. The evolution of UNIFI’s data capabilities and the release of their Project Analytics API enables customers to integrate the UNIFI platform into their internal ecosystems in innovative ways to drive efficiencies in their workflow.   

“We are extremely excited to leverage our expert partners to expand our reach and enhance our customer journey. As UNIFI continues to focus on creating transparency into the Dark BIM™ through data enhancement and visualization, our expert partnership network will help ensure our customers drive efficiency and gain valuable, contextually relevant insights into their BIM data, content, libraries, and projects throughout their organization,” said Dwayne Miller, CEO at UNIFI Labs. 

UNIFI’s AECO customers will have the opportunity to work with our BIM Expert partnership network for their training and implementation needs as the network is established and grows. UNIFI’s BIM Expert partners will also serve as an extension of UNIFI’s team to deliver custom services that accelerate implementation timelines, increase realized business value, and improve the industry-leading efficiency that the UNIFI platform provides its customers.  

“We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our UNIFI BIM Expert network. Our BIM Expert partners represent the industry’s foremost BIM consultants and share our passion for accompanying AECO organizations along their BIM adoption journey as they work to drive increased value from BIM.” shares Virginia Senf, President & COO at UNIFI. We look forward to collaborating closely with these industry leaders to support our customers in driving efficiency and advancing their design content and data management processes through expanded use of the UNIFI platform,” 

The partnership will also elevate UNIFI’s global outreach as the preferred content management and model health monitoring platform, as UNIFI’s BIM Expert partners leverage UNIFI’s platform to facilitate content management workflows and content creation requests. 

bimco owner Brad Strauss shared that, “UNIFI operates with efficiency and reliability, which has made signing up our clients a streamlined process. Their ability to accommodate our requests promptly means our clients are able to get up and running quickly resulting in happy customers on our end.” 

UNIFI selected bimco, Francios Dionne, John King Ltd, Nitty Gritty, and Paras Nanavati as their official BIM expert partners for their well-respected and knowledgeable BIM Management support and training offerings for AECO firms in their respective regions. Please read below for further information on UNIFI’s BIM Expert partners. 

 About bimco 

Based in Melbourne, Australia, bimco has the philosophy that successful BIM calls for a multifaceted approach, an intelligent object library, expert support, and quality training. bimco offers a subscription based, per-user, consulting service that gives you the opportunity to scale according to the size of your business. 

About Francios Dionne 

Dionne has offered BIM consulting services out of Quebec Canada for over a decade. As a Revit expert, Dionne offers a wide range of services span across BIM Management, modelization, standards, and BIM training.  

About John King Ltd 

 John King BIM Solutions LTD is a UK-based Consultancy that assists and supports AECOs with their Building Information Modeling adoption, by providing BIM implementation and Revit training support, and content creation. 

About PNC Studios 

PNC Studios provides design and construction technology implementation to designers, builders, manufacturers and owners. As a trusted advisor, PNC Studios provides cross-discipline technology integration that increases profitability by the implementation of best practices, resolution of inefficiencies and mitigation of project stresses from the digital delivery process. Their services include contextual implementation, real time simulation, and customized development. 

About Nitty Gritty 

Nittygritty has provided BIM consultancy, IT Support and Software for creative and construction professionals since 2003. Specialists in digital design tools like AutoDesk Revit, Bentley CAD, Sketchup and Creative Suite, they are creators of innovative software tools and solutions to meet client and industry needs. 

About UNIFI Labs 

UNIFI Labs is the global leader in cloud-based BIM content creation and data management. Our essential data platform delivers a Better BIM experience by helping users navigate the DARK BIM. Hundreds of brands trust UNIFI for their BIM content/data management needs including Disney, Interior Architects, Katerra, Stantec, HOK, Legrand, and Pella.