In preparing material for this blog I rediscovered this 'manifesto' from the recent past...
(Scroll to the end for the date).
Architects have relied upon drawings to mediate design and construction since the earliest organized buildings. The abstract language of plan, section, elevation and detail has evolved into a consistent, global standard for conveying design intent to engineers, builders, and owners. So why change now?
However comfortable they may be, the current processes are beginning to prove inadequate in the face of the increasing complexity of projects. Although architects, designers, and consultants have been using computer aided methods for nearly twenty years, the building construction industry still has not realized the productivity benefits experienced by other enterprises that have adopted automated design and production. A recent study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology reported that the lack of integration among the various components of the construction industry costs the United States capital facility industry $15.8 billion per year.
Revit is more than a modeling program; it is a parametric building information modeling system, the next generation of CAD software. This new tool serves the entire process from design and documentation through procurement, construction and building operation and maintenance. The parametric building modeling technology upon which Revit is built eliminates the most common sources of errors by maintaining a fully-coordinated representation of the building at all times, while accessing that information through the language of plan, section and elevation.
Revit was designed to overcome the shortcomings inherent in the standard two-dimensional CAD construction project documentation process. In the Autodesk Revit building model, every drawing sheet, every 2D and 3D view, and every schedule is a direct presentation of information from the same underlying building database.
Some of the benefits of this system include:
- Three-dimensional building modeling for design visualization, rendering and walk-through animation. Models may be exported to other programs for high-end, photo-realistic, imaging.
- Plan, section, and elevation drawings are automatically generated from the building information model. In Revit, it is impossible for the various drawings in a construction document set to not be in agreement.
- Changed information is instantaneously and automatically updated throughout the building model and construction documents.
- Annotations, dimensions, and text use True-type, not vector, fonts, and are automatically re-sized if the scale of a drawing is changed.
- The location of sections, elevations, and details is automatically referenced and automatically updated when drawing and sheet numbers change.
- Door, window, and finish schedules are automatically generated from model data. Changes made in schedules are reflected in the construction drawings.
- Revit is extremely accurate. Building components are defined by their actual dimensions. Construction of a building model in Revit allows the resolution of conditions and conflicts which otherwise would not be discovered until they are encountered during construction.
- Model data may be exported through ODBC for use with cost-estimating and construction management programs.
The impact of modern technology has finally reached the building construction industry. With better planning, construction predictability will increase while cost and cycle time will decrease. Companies that perform additional planning will benefit from additional fees and reduced risk. Ultimately, the economic beneficiary of better planning is the building owner.
As building owners demand more efficiency and better integration of information, AEC businesses must adapt or find themselves facing obsolescence.
With each successive project for TCF, we expect to add more capability to our building information models, and more value to the services we provide to our client.
A. Jay Holland
Little Diversified Architectural Consulting
January 9, 2006