Why better knowledge of Revit could lead to better Architecture
If you don’t have time: in short I’m arguing that if your team knows the tools to produce better and quicker models and drawings, there will be more time to focus on actual design. Obvious right? Well, yes and no.
For those that do have a few minutes, here is a longer explanation of how to potentially get there.
It seems obvious: if workers know their tools well, they will be able to work more efficiently. As a matter of fact, they might even come up with tips and tricks on how to use the tool slightly differently, more effectively, how to bypass its shortcomings, and most importantly: be aware of its shortcomings. This seems to be universal, and frankly, obvious. Yet, the architectural industry and academia have either a “good enough” understanding of the software, or simply ommit it for as long as possible. Why? In many ways it is so capable, that no matter how intuitive the tools within it can be made, it is packed with functionality that eventually can become confusing, if not overwhelming.
More importantly the use of Revit makes sometimes little sense in an academic setting. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you know Revit in one way or another, and maybe had to work in it. But to include those that might be just discovering it, it is a collaborative 3D modeling software that allows its users to include complex building information (everything from plumbing to electrical, technology, fire safety etc.) and ultimately produce comprehensive 3D and 2D deliverables used to communicate with contractors, consultants and city officials to get an architectural project approved and constructed. A bit of a mouthful, but that’s because it truly is the one tool that a crushing majority of today’s architectural projects simply cannot be completed without from start to finish. The concept design phase may still be much more freehand and Rhino oriented, but usually that can represent a fairly small portion of the entire design process. So why does it make so little sense to use Revit in an academic setting? The answer is quite simple: most school projects don’t go beyond the concept design phase. Furthermore, the software is most prominently used to collaborate on larger teams (that can grow as the project is progressing), making it of little value to students that most often work on their own project, by themselves.
So what’s the issue? Can’t entry workers just learn Revit once they enter the workforce? The answer seems simple, but as is nearly always the case, reality is more complex.
First and foremost, many employers nowadays expect some sort of familiarity with the software even for entry positions. So landing an internship or two during school where one can tag along and learn as much as possible about it before applying to full time positions, is always a plus. Many will also offer Revit tutorials as part of onboarding, and while these fairly dense and quick downloads on how the software works are great, it will never replace the experience of working with it over a longer period of time. Let me elaborate.
A majority of tools are straight forward: there’s an issue, and in most cases, someone somewhere has taught of a tool to resolve the problem at hand. Revit isn’t a single tool, but a collection of tools. A very large collection of tools. And usually it can be (and is quite often) added to, via more plugins. This large variety is what can make it so difficult to transmit knowledge of the software in a few sessions before starting on a project, because not every single tool and process will be used on a daily basis. Meaning that getting a tutorial about a certain feature now may seem at first relevant, but in many cases it might not be for the next few weeks, sometimes even months. And once that tool does need to be picked up, the understanding of it is fuzzy and one needs to re-learn how to use it.
The point I’m trying to make here isn’t that team members need to be familiar with every aspect of Revit. But working with Revit over a longer period of time will eventually lead to the usage of most of the crucial tools and thought it, users can become familiar with Revit enough to understand the processes, how to work most effectively, the importance of organization, standards, a BIM execution plan and so on.
And while even that seems like it will become a natural occurance after working at a firm, for many, it may not be the case. From omnipresent deadlines, to pushing for that one more itteration of the façade, the reality is that many won’t find time to truly understand the software and its features. This is why BIM managers are so key; they not only attempt to keep everything in check and help collaboration among all the team members smooth, but they can also be the source of more intimate knowledge of the software and serve as a guide.

How to end this…? I guess one can say smthing along the lines of: Revit is complex, and it’s good that some aren’t as familiar with it – they can design more freely. But if everyone was aware of it, communicating would be so much easier? Hmmmm am I really making a point here. I guess back to my point – I’m trying to figure out how to save time. If we know Revit really well, we can potentially finish projects.. quicker…? Or have more time to talk about design…? Eh. Maybe this piece isn’t worth putting together afterall.
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