Earlier this month, Autodesk released the Revit 2019.1 update. Although it was a relatively minor release, I’ve seen one feature which has gotten people excited: the Free Form Rebar tool.
“In Revit 2019.1 the Free Form Rebar tool can now be used to create rebar sets with planar bars distributed along the faces of a structural element and aligned to a distribution path. This new type of the free form rebar distribution increases 3D rebar modeling versatility and helps you define accurate reinforcement for standard and non-standard shapes of concrete elements.” -Sylvia Knauer, Autodesk
Revit has made it easier to design buildings for our architecture and engineering colleagues for quite some time, however it is only at its infancy in regards to detailing tools for the construction side of the industry. In 2017, Autodesk rolled out tools and libraries in Revit for MEP fabrication, but with the 2019.1 update it seems as if they now have their sights set on the concrete trade. It was only a few months ago that I worked for a general contractor who self-performed concrete (shout out to Lease Crutcher Lewis in Seattle!), so seeing Revit improve on its tools for modeling rebar details hit really close to home.
Currently, Revit is not typically known as the BIM application of choice when it comes to rebar detailing and we all now how picky Revit can be when it comes to interoperability. Most users have to work with other file formats such as IFC, 3D DWGs, and even Navisworks models to reference rebar in Revit, but it’s never been in a true BIM fashion, as you seem to lose a lot of model data in this process.
New for Revit 2019.1, rebar can now populate the host surfaces by the reference as shown in the screenshots below. I immediately began to consider the possibilities of a contractor getting even more estimates earlier on using a structural design Revit model.
Now that Revit 2019.1 has improved its capability in detailing rebar natively, Autodesk has gotten us one step closer to bridging the gap between design and construction teams. I believe we can all agree that Revit works best when using native Revit elements so that you can view element parameters seamlessly. Needless to say, I am looking forward to seeing more subcontractors adopt Revit and I believe tools like this are the missing link.
“Free Form Rebars can now be used to create rebar sets with planar rebars distributed along the faces of a structural concrete element and aligned to a distribution path. Just like with the surface distribution type, modeling of the aligned distribution type can be done by working in 3D views and selecting the structural element faces to align the bars.”
– Tomasz Fudala, Autodesk
Overall, it great to see that Autodesk is pushing for even more tools for the construction side of the industry which helps our trade partners out in the field to get on the same platform (and someday perhaps even the same model) as the design team.