The Future of AEC Firms

It’s been over a month since COVID-19 transformed the world around us. To help AEC firms quickly adapt, we released tips for working from homeshared how AEC Firms tvsdesign and Steinberg Hart are maintaining culture and reevaluating their tech stack, and provided tactics on securing software budget amidst these uncertain times.  

We certainly aren’t alone in trying to support a seamless remote transition for the industry. For example, publications like Architect Magazine offered additional insight into how Architecture Firms across the country are responding to COVID-19. In addition, Nik Karalis, CEO of Woods Bagotgenerously shared their lessons learned from Covid-19 and advised, 

“Technology alone does not make a global studio. More important is culture and behavior. Nearly every aspect of our belief system and business systems—management styles, communication approaches, customized work schedules, knowledge platforms, mobility plans, a matrix organizational structure, bonus structures, and financial structures—ensures that we support each other.”  

Among the many tools, advice, resources, and examples of how AEC firms have successfully transitioned to a remote work setting, looming questions around what the future holds remain. You may be asking yourself, when will we be back in the office? When we do return,  what it will look like What we can apply from the lessons we’ve learned during this time to improve when things are back to normal? We’ll cover the answers to these questions and what we anticipate the future holds for AEC firms in this post.  

 While many employees certainly prefer the office due to cramped apartments, young children at home, or a multitude of other reasons, we should not expect business as usual once offices reopenThrough a remote work setting, firms have found that perhaps we don’t have to travel as often for client meetings that can be efficiently run via Zoom or GoToMeeting. We have also developed new management technique and virtual communication strategies. While it is truly difficult for drawing collaboration to be completed remotely, higher-level employees don’t tend to draw anywayTherefore, once COVID-19 passes, management positions in AEC firms may shift to remote permanently or partially. This transition will allow companies to both expand their work force and downsize their office spaces to save money. 

A recent Gartner survey supports our prediction that some AEC firm positions will remain semi or fully remote post Covid-19On March 30, they surveyed 317 CFOs  and published their findings  wherein they found that nearly 74% of CFOs surveyed plan to shift some employees to remote work permanently. We can expect this to significantly transform  commercial real estate as we know it indefinitely 

Now for the silver lining… those who adapt are those who will come out stronger post COVID-19. As we’ve seen with other disruptive periods of time throughout history, the effect of COVID-19 will be (for better or for worse) for decades to come. For example, during World War II, California saw two brothers open a drive-in restaurant to meet a need to serve the working families’ desire for cheap meals to be served faster than the carhop could manage – their name was McDonald. Something more recent in memory? The 2008 economic crisis. This crisis pathed the way for reinvention. Current multi-billion dollar businesses like Airbnb and Slack were founded by highly qualified young people unemployed due to the recession.  

As we move forward, we have another opportunity to reinvent ourselves in the AEC industry, namely in the area of prefabrication. In 1974, Adam Szymski talked about programming criteria for modular layouts. Obviously, the concept of prefabrication isn’t new and in recent years, prefabrication techniques and programs have gained significant momentum. Since at least 2013, there’s been numerous classes to the topic at Autodesk University and software companies like eVolveMEP have pushed the capabilities to the bleeding edge. No longer believed to be bleeding edge however, as COVID-19 has rampaged society over the last two months, we’ve seen China build hospitals from scratch 

Mccormick place Chicago

Prefabrication plays a big role in getting these lifesavingmakeshift hospitals up and running. recent article from fast company covers HKS retrofitting the Michigan Expo Center to accommodate a crisis surge. Their prefabrication efforts displayed with the modified ductwork and medical gas shown in Michigan Expo Center will make a significant impact on AEC designs moving forward.  Engineering News-Record also highlighted the importance of the prefabrication completed at McCormick Place and how it makes the building so versatile 

In conclusion, reports show there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Our efforts to flatten the Covid-19 curve are starting to pay off and we will be collaborating in person soon enough. When that time comes, we anticipate that for the AEC industry, commercial real estate, how we use prefabrication in design, and the office work setting will be different. We are optimistic that the lessons learned amidst Covid-19 will change the future for the AEC industry for the better.  

Let us know in the comments below, what do you think the future holds for the building industry as a result of Covid-19? 

April 29 @ 11 PM PDT: Webinar Invite

You’re invited to join our webinar, “Revit Tips and Tricks That Will Save You Time” with Brian Mackey on April 29 at 11 am PDT. 

To combat the time consuming process of right-clicking or holding Ctrl + other key to see an outcome in Revit, Brian has developed several tips and tricks as well as keyboard shortcuts that will make every Revit user more productive. 

Join our webinar to get the scoop on these time saving tricks that will make you more Revit savvy. 

AEC Firms: Securing Budget Amidst Covid-19

When’s the last time you had a day of work without a discussion that included Covid-19? If you can’t remember, you’re certainly not alone. These unprecedented times are unsettling for everyone – both personally and professionally. While by now most AEC firms have transitioned to remote work, the full impact Covid-19 will have on the economy is looming in many our minds. It’s almost as if we were driving along on a warm summer day, windows down, with a cool breeze running through our hair,  and then all of a sudden, we encounter a fog so thick that we can no longer see what’s on the road ahead.   

Do these uncertain times mean that it’s time for businesses to hit the brakes on spending? Absolutely not. In fact, now is a better time than ever to invest in tools that: 

•Give your business a competitive advantage 

•Make your  team more efficient 

•Support collaboration in a remote work setting 

•Save your company time and money  

Unfortunately, there can be a disconnect between those who need a solution and the decision maker who controls budget. You may be thinking, in the best of times it’s difficult to justify spending to solve a problem the decision maker will never experience firsthand… how can I possible secure budget during these uncertain ones?  

We understand the struggle and have provided a list of tactics to help you secure budget for the tools you need amidst these uncertain timesbelow: 

1.Focus on ROI (Return on Investment):   

There is an endless number of amazing tools out there that make your job easier, more fun, or are just downright nice to have. However in these times, you’re most likely to get approval for tools that have a quantifiable ROI.  For example, many of our customers tell us that they secured budget for UNIFI by quantifying the amount of time it would save for their organization. UNIFI saves designers over 200 hours a year (or more than an entire working month), which means it doesn’t only pay for itself, it will also ultimately save your firm money.  

Be sure to highlight that while initial budget is required for tools that have a quantifiable ROI, over time they save the firm time and money, which ultimately means your business comes out ahead. Additionally, keep in mind that some of the vendors you’re evaluating may have actually done most of the legwork for you and have ROI calculatorhandy where they can plug in your firm’s unique numbers to show the value of their product in dollars. Don’t hesitate to ask them to help you calculate the ROI you’ll get from their product, which you can pass on to your higher ups. Click here to download UNIFI’s ROI calculator now.  

2. Don’t just say, SHOW the problem (preferably in numbers): 

It’s true… your CFO will probably never understand firsthand the frustration of spending 5-10 minutes to find the Revit content you’re looking for (and only to find out it’s outdated at that!). While they might care about your feelings, this alone is not enough to motivate them to sign on the dotted line. Communicate the problem in the language that speaks to them, numbers. Collect data to estimate how frequently the problem you’re facing occurs, how many employees it’s negatively effecting, and the time it takes to solve it in your current workflow. Then, show them how the tool you’re looking to implement will solve your problem and save your firm time and money. We have created a template of a deck that does just that you can download free at the link below. 

Concrete examples help as well. When a Senior Design Technologist at a leading architectural firm was presenting the business case for investing in UNIFI to his firm’s partners, he asked them to imagine how much time is being wasted when three designers are at risk of creating the same family because they have no visibility into what content already exists in the firm’s library. That mental image immediately hit home with the executives!  

3. Highlight how the tool works with and enhances remote work:  

Given the current times, even the best tool out there with a sizable ROI won’t be approved unless it can easily be used in a remote setting. Cloudbased solutions, or other tools that can be used anywhere, are ideal. In addition, since the current day to day is already more turbulent than usual given the uncertain times, ensure that the training process is straight forward, so that you can highlight to the higher ups the simple implementation of the tool you’re interested in. Emphasize that it won’t disrupt, but instead enhance, your team’s current workflows.  

4. Put yourself in the CFOS/decision maker/budget managers shoes:  

Those in control of the budget are in a tough bind with the current times. Keep this in mind and approach the conversation around obtaining budget with the utmost empathy. Reiterate that you’re on the same team and focus on how the tool you’re looking to implement won’t only help you, but your entire organization.  

Even though you can’t have an inperson meeting right now, be sure to approach this conversation in the most personal setting as possible. While email is great, a lot of communication including tone, body language, etc. is lost. We recommend scheduling a callusing your webcam, and preparing a presentation. For those of you looking to secure budget for a content management system or UNIFI, we’ve created a template slide deck that you can use to prepare a presentation that will help demonstrate the thought you’ve put into the evaluation to your leaders.  

In addition to these tips, always remember that the sales rep you’re working with is a human too and you never know what’s possible when you transparently explain your circumstances to them. There’s an extensive list of companies offering help at this time and at UNIFI we’ve offered free additional licenses for our current customers and flexible licenses for any AEC firm to help them in the transition to remote work for the first time in company history. 

We hope these tips help and you’re able to get the tools you need to succeed. Please let us know in the comments below, what are some tactics you’ve used to successfully secure budget with a decision maker in tough economic times? 

AEC FIRMS: MAINTAINING CULTURE & EVALUATING YOUR TECH STACK IN A REMOTE WORK SETTING

How are you? No really… how are you? It’s been a few weeks since the world as we know it began to turn upside down and many, if not all, AEC Firms have now transitioned to remote work. While some AEC firms already had a remote work structure in place, IT studios struggled keeping up with support tickets as newly remote employees found themselves not only trying to figure out where to set up their desk, but also how to stay best connected both in terms of technology and culture.

We posted tips for working from home for an AEC firm last week and highlighted how leveraging cloud based platforms (such as BIM360 and UNIFI), open collaboration tools like Bluebeam Studio, Tips for working from homeand establishing a solid routine will help AEC firms through the rapid changes that come with remote work. As we all work through this transition, Gautam Ramchandra Shenoy DBIA, BIM Director at Steinberg Hart, published an excellent blog post walking through their tech stack.

One may ask, is it even worthwhile to spend the time to get a great remote work set up or should we just wait for the COVID-19 threat to pass? Exactly how long can we expect the remote work atmosphere to continue? Just last week, Technology Review published an article talking about the timeframe we’re looking at for practicing ‘social distancing’.  While the article acknowledges that while we all want things to go back to normal and quickly, they likely won’t. Therefore,  optimizing your remote work policy is critical. 

Guatam’s post highlights how we can not only make a remote setting work, but how we can also use it as an opportunity to improve. He said, “…at no point in time, have we been able to step back, connect the dots and review the resources at hand.” While a set of deliverables or construction drawings may be part of the consumer product within AEC Firms, at this point other toolsets and how we fine-tune collaboration is key. While once COVID-19 passes it’s likely that AEC firms will go back to an office work setting, the enhanced connectivity and skills developed during this time will remain and benefit workflows.

Architecture firm, tvsdesign, is another great example of an AEC firm transitioning to a remote work setting seamlessly. Prior to the latest updates of the COVID-19 pandemic, tvsdesign scheduled a mandatory work from home day in order to test their remote work capabilities firm-wide. The COVID-19 pandemic shook up their plans however and tvsdesign went fully remote prior to their scheduled mandatory work from home day. Quickly rising to the challenge, their IT Studio quickly compiled numerous resources that were clean, concise and well detailed to make things as easy as possible. They’re also managing to keep culture a top priority by having employees’ webcams on to collaborate during their team meetings. In addition, they have continued to have breakfast together on Fridays, just as they did in the office prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Keeping such traditions and allowing for social interactions beyond typical meetings is a great way to improve morale and keep team members feeling connected.

In addition to Gautam’s article, our AEC work from home tips, and the real life example of how tvsdesign is spearheading the transition, AIA California has published a web page with some fantastic resources for employees and employers alike that you may also find useful. Here, you won’t only find remote workplace policies but also legal concerns and support resources for small businesses. While this particular page is tailored specifically to California, there are resources here that you can take advantage of regardless of where you are located.

Finally, Autodesk has also set up a resource center to help you with their software in a remote setting. We highly recommend reviewing their best practices for accessing Autodesk software if you’re having any difficulties. In case you haven’t heard, they’ve also extended the ability to purchase new multi-user subscription plans to August 7, 2020. Previously, they were going to begin transitioning customers to named users starting May 7, 2020 but this has been extended which is a sigh of relief for users as they are still in the process of getting comfortable conducting business as usual.

We hope these resources help as you continue to establish your “new normal” remote work routine. Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll cover what the future may hold for remote work and AEC firms.  In the meantime, we want to hear from you! Please comment below with any resources that have helped you in the transition to remote work and the greatest challenge you’ve encountered so far.

Pro 3.5 & Portal 2.12 Release Notes

As of 4/20, we fixed some bugs from this release. Click here for details.

Overview

We’re excited to announce our latest software update is available now! Pro 3.5 and Portal 2.12 updates include performance enhancements, saved search updates and several bug fixes. 

At UNIFI, our main focus is to journey with our customers in their BIM data management strategies and deliver a best-in-class platform. Thanks to the feedback from our customers and Executive Advisory Board members, we’ve worked hard to address your valuable input with this release. We are thrilled to report you can now expect your UNIFI experience to be significantly enhanced across the board.

Keep reading for the low down and please note you need to  update your platform to access these enhancements now.

Highlights

•Performance Improvements: 

We’ve focused on improving the overall infrastructure of the UNIFI platform which ultimately means you’ll enjoy an enhanced experience. You will notice a better general performance across UNIFI, including when you’re navigating and performing tasks, such as search and browse.

•Saved Searches

We’ve updated Saved Searches to include options for selecting search fields as well as filtering by Revit parameters. We also updated the UI for creating/editing saved searches to improve user experience.

ADDITIONAL UPDATES

•UNIFI Pro

We’ve made several improvements to Pro. Namely, Revit materials will now simply load into an active project (rather than initiate paint mode) and your shared parameters will be checked for updates more frequently to ensure the latest version is in use.  In addition, content request comments can be saved with CTRL + Enter and time can be specified as part of the due date.

Web Portal

As previewed in our last release, the event stream has been removed from portal and is no longer supported.

• Project Analytics

 

Upon syncing a Revit model that has analytics turned on, you will now receive an alert letting you know UNIFI is collecting data for Project Analytics along with a progress bar.

Coming soon

•Autodesk 2021 Support

We’re just as excited as you are for Autodesk 2021 software!  To prepare, we’re already working on 2021 support.  You can expect that UNIFI will be ready to support Autodesk 2021 software shortly after it’s released.  We’ll notify you directly when it’s officially live.  Until then, check out the Autodesk software versions we’re currently compatible with here. 

BUG FIXES

We’ve fixed several issues affecting your experience with UNIFI including: 

•Fixed an issue where companies that had non-alphanumeric characters in their company name could not download their shared parameters stored in UNIFI

•Increased the number of users that can be saved in a user group

•Fixed an issue where non-Revit file revisions fulfilled through content requests would fail to download and subsequent revisions would fail to upload

•Fixed an issue where some channel selections were not being maintained when creating a saved search by saving

• Fixed an issue where users could not view family types for content in a shared library

•Previewing saved search results will now display the proper results

•Using the Sort By search filters now sorts the results correctly

• Using F5 to refresh UNIFI Pro while browsing will no longer navigate the user to Search

•Revit materials and fill patterns can now be inserted into 2D RFA files

•Usernames can now contain single quotes

•Fixed an issue where batch inserting multiple sheets would fail to insert all selected sheets

•Fixed an issue where base files of Revit families that contain an en dash in the name could not be downloaded

•User groups are now listed in alphabetical order when creating/editing users

•UNIFI will now connect to BIM360 project files that have tabs in the name

•Inserting content from UNIFI that already exists in the project, but the name differs in case will now insert and trigger the overwrite dialogue

•Navigating to a file or content request using a UNIFI URL will now work while the UNIFI application is both running and not running

•Fixed an issue where the material class filter would stick after selecting a material class in browse

•Material class names that contain a dash will now display results in search/browse

•An error message is now displayed when attempting to insert a Revit family that already exists in the project, but the types have all been deleted/purged from the project

•Inserting drafting views and schedules into a project that has the “Open workset default” setting set to “Specify” will no longer prompt the user with the specify worksets dialogue

•On the Dashboard page in the UNIFI Web Portal, the Licenses graph has been updated to properly calculate the values using the UTC time zone

•Fixed an issue where the family category would not update in UNIFI after uploading a revision where the family category was changed

•We have updated all dates and times to be displayed in local time, unless specifically stated otherwise

•File names in the batch editor now match the same formatting as displayed in UNIFI Pro

•Fixed an issue where the Administrators table would not list new admins when viewing library details in the UNIFI Web Portal

•Project Analytics data will no longer be collected when locally saving a workshared model

•In Project Analytics, when exporting Family data to Excel the number of instances is now per type instead of per family

•Fixed an issue in project analytics where data for large projects and models would not display in the project and model level dashboards

One final note, for customers using Project Analytics:  Please ensure all users have the Revit TLS update applied to all Revit versions, otherwise Project Analytics data collection may not occur.

Wrap up:

Thanks for being a valued UNIFI customer and taking the time to get the scoop on our latest update. We hope you find the updates and fixes in this release useful.

While we have you, we want to mention that in the wake of the COVID-19 news, we’d like to reinforce our commitment to journey with our customers and offer you additional licenses on us. If this is something you would find useful, please contact us here.  We’ve also shared some tips for working from home specifically for the AEC industry that you may find useful here.

The health and safety or our customers and employees is our top priority and we hope these tips will be helpful to your team. We’ve implemented these tips at UNIFI to ensure we’re fully prepared, don’t miss a beat, and continue to provide top notch products and support to our customers.

Please stay tuned for updates on Autodesk 2021 support! In the meantime, please remember that your feedback is very important to us and we use it to continually improve our platform. If you have suggestions for future updates, please click here to learn how to submit your recommendations directly in the UNIFI platform.

UPDATE:

As of April 20, 2020, the following bugs reported by users who updated to Pro 3.5 have been fixed: 

•Receiving a “Could Not Insert” message when inserting an object with a name that already exists in the Revit project
•System family types that have been renamed in UNIFI inserting incorrectly
•The UNIFI desktop application crashing while performing operations that involve user interaction
•The UNIFI desktop application becoming unresponsive when uploading files while maximized at certain display resolution and zoom combinations
•The “External Tool Failure” message appearing for some users when launching Revit 


For Project Analytics users, as a temporary measure in reducing data collection times, parameter data collection has been disabled in order to bring collection time to an acceptable level:


•This will not have any impact on the prebuilt dashboards in the web portal. If you are accessing the data via our API, you will notice that syncs performed with UNIFI 3.5.1 will not contain parameter data.
•We are developing a permanent solution that will allow you to choose what data is collected, including parameter data, that will be available in an upcoming release.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

March 18 @ 12 PM PDT: SEARUG Webinar

Join the members of Seattle Revit User Group (SEARUG) on Wednesday, March 18 at 12 PM PDT to discuss: 

-The UNIFI Platform
-Approaches to Managing your Content (and Mistakes to Avoid)
-Choosing the Right Platform for you
-Understanding Cloud Security
-Calculating your ROI to Get Upper Management Buy In
-And Beyond

Space is limited, please click below to save your seat now! 

AEC FIRMS: Tips for Working From Home

Tips for Working from Home

Over the course of the past few weeks, we have witnessed the COVID-19 pandemic change the daily lives of people across the globe. Grocery stores are struggling to restock supplies, schools have closed, bars and restaurants across multiple states in the US have also eliminated their dine-in option, and many companies are transitioning their employees to work from home. While the news has at times been frightening, the pandemic has also been a good reminder of how much of an impact we can have on each other and the importance of embracing our roles of good neighbors and citizens.

In the wake of this news, our team at UNIFI would like to reinforce our commitment to journeying alongside our customers in any environment as our number one priority. In our hometown of Vegas where so much of the economy relies on the service industry, we feel fortunate to have work that is easily continued remotely. We have the processes and tools in place to continue business as usual and will continue to support our customers’ BIM data, project insight, and content management needs to the highest standard of platform reliability. Your projects are certainly not stopping, and neither are we. 

We’re aware that many of our customers and AEC firms across the globe are actively encouraging or mandating their employees to work from home. While some AEC firms have facilitated work from home policies prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, for many of our customers it was on a case-by-case basis and not accepted as a long-term option for employees. This is partly due to the high level of collaboration required for AEC firms, as well as the fact that employees must develop a specialized skill set for remote work to be successful.

In continued support of our focus on journeying with our customers, we’ve created a list of tips for AEC firms to successfully transition to working from home without skipping a beat:

1. HAVE THE HARDWARE, CLOUD-BASED SOFTWARE,  AND TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS YOU NEED

Your employer has likely issued you a laptop as well as the software you need to be successful. To put this to use, having a solid internet connection is a must. Take it upon yourself to get up to speed 😉 Tips for working from homeand understand there are limitations on your household internet speed and  that will affect your VPN connection or cloud-based applications.    Considering employers across the globe are implementing work from home policies and schools are out, chances are you’re not the only one in your home or neighborhood who needs access to the internet. As a result, you may find that your download speed is slower than usual. On top of this, ISPs are within their rights to throttle speeds during peak times. Many AEC Firms utilize a VPN connection for their employees to access their network outside of the office. Here is an interesting article on what else your ISP can do regarding your bandwidth. . 

ISP internet speeds aside, do you know that your VPN server will also further limit your browsing speed as you access the network? Server bandwidth is limited so if 100 people are sharing a 1000 mbps server, that means that each person can average no more than 10 mbps. Please note that encryption protocols take some of your bandwidth as well. As a solution for this, I choose to use cloud-based applications like BIM 360 Design and UNIFI wherever possible to only access the VPN when I must.

2.COMMUNICATION TOOLS

Virtual workspaces such as Bluebeam Studio, Microsoft Teams, and Slack  have made communication and collaboration for remote employees a breeze. However, responses are sometimes not as quick as simply poking your head over the cubicle wall or walking to your boss’ office.tips for working from home You’ll need to be resourceful and learn to problem-solve more independently than you may be accustomed to in an office setting. This doesn’t mean not communicating with your colleagues though, in fact, we recommend over communicating with the tools above. Slack gives you the option to set status’ when you’re away or unavailable. We recommend taking advantage of these to set expectations with your colleagues when you’re not available to reply right away. With clearly defined tasks, you’ll be able to easily communicate with these collaboration tools to and keep your team in the loop on what you’ve accomplished over the course of your workday. 

3. TAKE ACCOUNTABILITY

As we just mentioned, since there is no boss looking over your shoulder at home, there is a continuous pressing need to get your tasks accomplished. Simply showing up and sitting at your desk will no longer show your boss you’re working. You’ll need to be a self-starter and limit distractions. If you have young children at home, consider finding some help during your workday just as you would if you were in the office. Tips for working from homeAs tempting as it may be to rock the pajamas, getting dressed in the morning as you normally would is a must.  While remote work has endless benefits, your work life and home life can quickly bleed into each other and affect your performance if you don’t set specific working hours. Also, set aside a working office. Working from the kitchen table can open your workspace to countless distractions versus working somewhere where you can close the door to the laundry machine or the television running.

Wrap Up

While some AEC firms may have employees already accustomed to working from home, others will struggle to adapt and obtain the necessary tools and skills to be successful. We will continue to provide tips and tricks for working from home for AEC firms as well as provide first-hand insight into how other AEC Firms are adjusting to a life working from home in future posts. In the meantime, please note that UNIFI, impart due to the tips we’ve implemented in this post, is fully prepared to continue to provide the best in class products and support to our customers.

Please feel free to comment below and let us know, what are some tricks you’ve implemented that have helped you work from home in an AEC firm?

Until our next post, we wish you health and safety from our family to yours.

The Best Revit Add-Ins You Can’t Afford to go Without

As we get more and more comfortable with Revit, we find ourselves wondering why Revit doesn’t have ‘X Feature’…. ‘X Feature’ would save us tons of time! Some of Revit gurus out there might even develop our own custom applications utilizing the Revit API. However Not all of us are programmers, which sends us on the search for the perfect add-in. We’re even willing to pay for the best Revit add-ins so long as they significantly improve our workflows. Below is a list of what I’ve come across as ‘The Best Revit Add-Ins’ no matter your discipline of choice. Hope you enjoy and find them as useful as I have.

KIWI CODES – BONUS TOOLS –KIWI CODES have a few products within their Revit add-in line(s), but I’ve found the Bonus Tools product instrumental one of the best Revit add-ins both as a designer and a BIM Manager. With tools like Family Tracker, View/Sheet Creator, Aligning Views on Sheets, and beyond I’ve gotten countless hours back into my day. Starting at $35 for a single license annually, this tool set is a no brainer. 

COINS Auto-Section Box  – this free tool is considered one of the best Revit add-ins because it gives you impressive speed,  dexterity, and creates three-dimensional views while analyzing model areas with native Revit versions 2016 and forward. This functionality allows you to create section boxes from model elements and improves the workflow to allow for aligning the section box to walls or other line-based geometry by showing your newly created 3D view automatically next to the view you started from and more. You can’t afford to go without this tool if you’re a BIM coordinator.

RAVEN – BIM Communication – since Autodesk has done away with the Communicator within BIM360 Design, a few people have asked if there is tool I consider one of the best Revit add-ins that can assist them with inter-model communication. (especially regarding who is syncing the model). Including a Revit model chat room, this easily affordable Revit add-in (starting at $5 per user/per month) notifies users whenever team members join the model, reloads or synchronizes with central. You can easily mitigate hours of wasted time due to overlapping sync with Raven.

UNIFI – a cloud-based content management platform built with Revit in mind, UNIFI can store virtually any file type. With a built-in content request platform for new/existing content, you’ll ensure nothing is buried in email or desk drop-ins ever again. The ability to add additional data to your content as well as search by parameter within Revit components, UNIFI seamlessly integrates into any workflow. UNIFI is a must have to find content up to 78% faster and save designers over 200 hours a year.  To learn more about UNIFI, get a free demo here.

In conclusion, adopting the best Revit add-ins into your team’s workflow for optimal efficiency. On top of that, using Revit add-ins is a great way to be successful in your position as a BIM leader and advance your career.

We want to hear from you… what are the best Revit add-ins that you absolutely can’t be without? Please comment below to let us know!

Revit Class: The Best Places to Learn Revit or Expand Your Skill Set

Revit Class

The time has come… You need help, Revit help. Perhaps you’re just getting started or maybe you’ve been at it for a while. I speak from personal experience when I say I understand the crossroads where we realize we just need some additional help mastering the Revit software. Naturally, once you realize that you need some more help the next time is exploring the best Revit class to learn the software. We’ll cover the best places to get Revit classes to help you quickly and thoroughly learn the Revit software in this post.

TAKING THE TIME TO TAKE A REVIT CLASS

I finally managed to take my first formal Revit class 3 years after I got my first Revit project. Since I already had a little bit of experience (although I’d completed no more than 6 Revit projects up to that point) Revit Classpart of me wondered if it was worthwhile for me to take the time for a Revit class. I already had the basics down and had a plethora of resources I’d gathered should I ever get stuck on something. Turns out, the Revit class I took was one of the best investments of my time.

Among the many things I learned by taking a Revit class, one of the most valuable was the little tips tricks that have ultimately saved me a lot of time.  For example, I learned in my Revit class that sections and callouts like “Hide at Scales Coarser Than” can be used for when I didn’t want my views to show on larger scale drawings. I also learned that Over-Constraining my objects could cause more challenges than it was worth. My favorite little feature of all that I learned in my Revit class was Temporary View Properties when troubleshooting if something doesn’t show in my model properly.

DECIDING WHAT TYPE OF REVIT CLASS IS RIGHT FOR YOU

Taking a Revit class is a must not only to minimize your initial learning curve, but to also advance and expand your skills. Revit classes are offered for all levels of Revit users and are more accessible than ever before.  However, what’s the best medium to attend a class.. in person or online? Keep reading to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of both.

IN PERON REVIT CLASSES

Personally, if I’m a beginner at anything or even a moderate user I prefer to take any sort of skill class (especially something complicated like a Revit class) in person. Being in person allows me to break away from my chaotic work environment and allows me to focus on the material. Albeit, on the more expensive side by far, taking classes out of the office can ensure a solid investment as it allows the ability to pay complete attention. A Revit class in person moves quickly and even as a more experienced user, the most valuable tidbits tend to come and go quicker than it takes me to check my email.  

If you’re interested in a on-site Revit class check out a few of the resources below:

Revit Class

MICRODESK – a UNIFI partner with 13 offices nationwide, Microdesk offers on-site beginner and advanced training as well as customized training for any unique needs.

LEDET– with 17 locations nationwide, Ledet offers more than just Autodesk software classes (Revit, AutoCAD, etc) but also has classes in Adobe, Photoshop, programming and more

ONLINE REVIT CLASSES

Ah, good old online classes. Now, funny tidbit for you here… if I’d ever thought for a moment that my job today would require speaking in public, I certainly would have never taken an online Public Speaking course in college. That questionable decision aside, online classes have a solid following and for good reason. They are often on-demand, easy to locate and even come with sample projects for you to follow along with.

Revit ClassAdditionally, though my first Revit class wasn’t until several years after I was working in Revit, I was all over YouTube for quick “How Do I Do beforehand.  Leveraging the web to learn Revit helped me out more times than I can count! One of my favorite YouTube subscriptions today is BIMscape. Videos are well titled and kept to shorter sessions so I can quickly figure out exactly what I need to do for my project. There’s also a corresponding website where you can access free written documentation, and very affordable Revit modules for additional training help.

Two other sites that I use nearly daily though as the BIM community isn’t just about Revit software are:

PluralSight – offering nearly 80 Revit courses, you have everything from beginning to advanced classes for Revit, but it also offers classes in C#, AWS, PowerBi and more. All of which are applications that I’m needing to use to maximize and analyze my firm’s efficiency in BIM.  

LinkedIn Learning – LinkedIn Learning, formerly called Lynda.com has over 7,000 different Revit classes. Many of which are taught by today’s “BIM Celebrities” Paul Aubin, Brian Meyers and Eric Wing. Like PluralSight, LinkedIn Learning offers other classes across the entire creative industry, also including Business and Information Technology trades.  

Revit Class

Both sites mentioned above have a free trial and can be subscribed to on a monthly or yearly basis. I was fortunate enough to snag a 40% discount around the holidays for PluralSight so shop around and find which best suits your needs.

IT’S TIME TO TAKE THAT REVIT CLASS

Our world has entered the Information Age. The BIM Process is now 7D. 2D and 3D, though very prevalent, are just as important as 4D – Scheduling, 5D – Estimating, 6D – Sustainability and  7D -Facilities Management. Taking that first Revit class will minimize your initial learning curve in a very complicated and capable software. On the other hand, if you’ve been a Revit user for awhile and are looking to enhance your skills, I encourage you to check out a Revit class near you as well. Continuing education is key to your career success and taking advantage of Revit class can help you check this box.

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below; when did you take your first Revit class? Was it worth your time? Do you prefer an  in-person Revit class like me, or did you find an online Revit class more effective?  We look forward to hearing about your experience!

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