In 2010, my associate and I sat in a Revit training class and pondered the why’s and how’s of working in Revit for our industry. The old reliable, AutoCAD, was working just fine. Staff had extensive AutoCAD training and almost all foodservice symbols were readily available. Could Revit, building information modeling (BIM) software, designed specifically for architects and engineers, work for us too? Would the benefits of Revit outweigh the learning curve and equipment family building that would be essential for it to become a successful tool for the execution of the foodservice design process to its completion?
Fast forward seven years and more than 150 Revit projects later, and I can tell you that the advantages and benefits of Revit to all team members are substantial. As with every software program, there are challenges to overcome that, as a subconsultant, we must understand are limiting but not insurmountable. While Revit may not be the ideal application for every design project – Cini•Little, for example, still uses AutoCAD if required by the client—we recognize that software technology is always changing and moving forward to better assist all team members to deliver truly coordinated projects.
Advantages = Benefits
Let’s look at some of the advantages of Revit and how all of us benefit from this technology.
Improved Coordination: When using Revit, we are creating a 3D model of all foodservice areas. Therefore, when we initially create the equipment plan, we cut sections throughout all foodservice areas and can notice immediately if there are any problems locating equipment because of issues with other disciplines such as architectural or structural. Exporting the foodservice model to Navisworks software allows the entire project team to detect and resolve clash detections in real time.
File Management: Unlike AutoCAD, Revit allows all project data (including all sheets and equipment schedules) to be stored in a single project file. However, multiple users can access and work in the file at the same time. Architects can create a drawing index for the entire project using consultants’ linked Revit models. For a larger project that has foodservice on several building levels, it is much easier and quicker to update and import new Revit backgrounds than it would be for an AutoCAD project of this size.
Standardization: Revit allows us to transfer project standards from the architectural Revit model. Transferring items such as dimension styles, text styles, viewport titles, etc., makes it simple to match all client-required standards for any project.
Streamline Repetitive Drafting Tasks: Revit works in a 3-dimensional environment with parametric modeling; therefore, if an element is moved, modified or deleted in a plan view, it is automatically updated accordingly in all views (elevations, sections, isometrics, etc.).
Collaboration: We can easily create 3D or elevations views for discussion, coordination and collaboration with the design team, the project team or end user.
Flexible Parametric Families: While the foodservice industry has come a long way over the last couple of years with most manufacturers creating at least some Revit content, we understand that it is not possible for most manufacturers to create a Revit family for every model of every item in their catalog. Cini•Little has created numerous flexible parametric families for most foodservice equipment items that can be used to show the actual physical size (length, width, depth) of the equipment item if a manufacturer Revit family is not available. This allows us to select the best piece of equipment for a particular project based on the project criteria without limiting our selection to equipment with manufacturer Revit families available only.
View Templates: View Templates allows you to apply visibility settings to a view or many views with a simple click of the button. The number of linked Revit models that are necessary to compile a complete and accurate background vary from project to project. Setting up View Templates that allow you to control visibility in your views for all linked models for items such as Model Category, Worksets and Design Options is very important. This can be a tedious task but if done properly, it saves time throughout the project. Using View Templates will also allow you to exactly match view settings from an architectural linked model if required.
AutoCAD DWG Import and Export: For project team members who are using AutoCAD instead of Revit, Revit allows for simple export of views or sheets to AutoCAD. Also, if team members are sketching or working in AutoCAD, Revit allows them to easily import or link the DWG file into the Revit project model.
Revision History: Revit makes it simple to document revisions with clouds, deltas and corresponding title block revision information. It is simple to turn clouds and/or deltas on and off for a project and keep a history of all project revisions.
A Tool with a Purpose
Yesterday’s wishful thinking for software that would provide better project coordination became today’s Revit technology. And tomorrow’s technological advances will further the strides we can make as a design community.
By: Michael Perigard
Director of BIM/CAD Design | Washington, DC