Nowadays, the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry (AEC) is going through a rapid transformation. It all started with the introduction of AutoCAD back in the 80’s — a software solution that allowed engineers to create detailed designs for construction projects. Recent years saw the development of this concept into something far more complex, practical, and powerful — building information modeling (BIM). This type of software uses 3D modeling and parametric capabilities, along with cloud-based tech, to allow for accurate modeling and advanced collaboration features.
One of the most popular BIM software solutions is Revit, developed by AutoDesk — the company behind AutoCAD. While some engineers are still entangled in the AutoCAD Architecture vs. AutoCAD debate, more and more people are switching to Revit. The BIM platform offers quite a lot more in terms of functionality and advanced features.
In this article, we will take a close look at what Revit is and why it is getting so popular. We will also focus on the specific benefits it has for structural engineers.
What Is Revit
Revit is a BIM software that allows you to manage all aspects of a construction project — from conception and planning to execution and maintenance. Revit has features that cover the entire life cycle of a project and allows multifunctional teams to operate with a single, up-to-date data set. The platform is praised by engineers for its interoperability, complex data, and scheduling capabilities. On top of that, Revit is a cloud-based platform, which allows teams to collaborate efficiently and in real-time.
The Advantages of Revit for Structural Engineers
Since Revit has capabilities that support each stage of a construction project, it has various benefits for all people involved. From CEOs and project managers to architects and even field workers — everyone can use Revit to improve their work and performance. However, Revit has various functionalities that make it especially useful for structural engineers. Let’s take a look at five specific benefits that this BIM platform offers for such professionals.
1. Collaboration Between Different Teams
Structural engineers need to be able to efficiently collaborate with all other teams during the course of a project. Revit allows for just that by providing an intelligent model that is used by all stakeholders in real-time. Revit is a native BIM solution, which means that all work is done on a single file that is constantly updated. By using such integrated workflows, structural engineers can ensure that no data is lost and minimize the risk of errors.
Furthermore, Revit allows structural engineers to quickly share and forward data to workers and other stakeholders on-site. Essentially, Revit saves you a lot of time, resources, and logistical challenges. With all project sheets, views, and models being updated in real-time, the likelihood of miscommunication and human errors is considerably reduced.
2. Localized Templates and Libraries
Structural engineers need to keep in mind all the different standards and regulations that apply to different countries and locations. Revit makes compliance with local requirements easy since it works with localized libraries and model templates. Those libraries are created with input from various customers, along with country-specific standards in the industry. Of course, those libraries and templates can be modified and expanded to accommodate the needs of any particular project.
3. Smart Models with Parametric Capabilities
Unlike standard CAD software, Revit has functionality specifically designed for 3D modeling of buildings and other complex structures. Each model in Revit comes with a full set of parameters that can be updated and modified. This data can be used by everyone involved to inform better decision-making and improve the overall working process. The smart building models that Revit produces integrate vital data for the project accessible at any time and from anywhere.
For structural engineers, the parametric capabilities of Revit are especially useful. By creating dependencies between different data sets, you can optimize processes, save time, and reduce risk. For example, if you change the width of a floor slab, the related reinforcement details, steel schedules, and dimensions will automatically adjust themselves.
4. Detailed 3D Models with Bidirectional Views
The ability to create complex, detailed 3D models has undeniable advantages when it comes to structural engineers. Revit lets you create a variety of bidirectional views, including 3D details, schedules, and sections. Even better, all such views work with the same data set and are stored within the same model and file. If you make changes to the 3D model, all those views will also be automatically updated.
On top of that, you can further improve those bidirectional views by adding 2D elements and dimensions. By adding other sheets, formwork, and position, you can generate views that really help you optimize your work, as well as minimize errors and scheduling issues.
5. Reinforcement Modeling
With Revit, you can easily reinforce precast or cast-in-place concrete objects using intelligent 3D reinforcement. This reinforcement modeling can be used in 3D views, 2D views, and in the sheet as well. Reinforced objects, such as fabric sheets and rebar, will retain their dependencies and be automatically updated should you change the model. This is especially useful when it comes to meeting local building requirements. Revit allows you to create in-depth 2D reinforcement plans with all details included — positions, dimensions, as well as steel, cutting, and bending schedules.
The rise of BIM software has revolutionized the AEC field and all associated processes. The extraordinary capabilities of Revit make it an essential tool for every modern construction project. Its features are not simply handy — they help multifunctional teams make the best of their efforts, as well as minimize errors, reduce risk, and optimize schedules. Revit provides you with the means to effectively manage all project stages, including pre-planning and long-term maintenance upon completion.
Structural engineers have a lot to gain by using Revit in their everyday work. The improved collaboration and real-time information contribute to better workflows and project management. In addition to this, Revit has a variety of technical features that make an engineer’s job easier and improve their overall performance. Last but not least, working with 3D models with integrated parametric capabilities allows for better decision making, information flow, and risk mitigation.
Roger Liucci is a senior BIM specialist at Microsol Resources, an Autodesk Platinum Partner in their New York office. He has provided BIM implementation, support, and training to architectural, engineering, and construction firms for over 20 years. Roger is particularly interested in the interaction between design and technology innovation as it relates to digital fabrication and cloud computing. Among his software specialties include Autodesk Revit, Navisworks, 3ds Max Design and Rhino. Roger studied Environmental Architecture at Arizona State University. He has given talks on building information modeling and technology innovation at Autodesk University, AIA seminars, and the Revit User Group.