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What is BIM? How good is Revit in adopting BIM?

BIM and Revit are the terms we keep hearing more and more these days . Even though they become a part of our common vocabulary it gets confusing when it comes to draw a clear line between them. Why do you keep hearing about BIM, every time Revit is mentioned? When you know how to use Revit, does it mean you are fully adopting BIM? Lets dive into it.

BIM as you probably heard about before is the acronym standing for the term Building Information Modelling. The idea of Building Information Modelling is to create a digital representation of a building to be used during all the stages of a building’s lifetime. It is to start from planning and designing, continue with construction and assembly, and carry on with operation and maintenance.

BIM is a methodology aiming to bring multidisciplinary information into one integrated model hence the name building information modelling. It is built not only with architectural, structural and mechanical information, but also time, cost and maintenance information.

Origin

Despite we keep hearing more and more on BIM recently, the concept of building information modelling is not so new. Initial forms of the idea have been around since the 1970s and 1980s and have been evolving since. The early software applications were considered costly and did not spread widely.

Evolution of BIM

BIM has become a widely known and accepted term around early 2000s with the development of ArchiCAD and Revit and the involvement of companies such as Graphisoft and Autodesk.

Radar CH was released for the Apple Lisa Operating System. This was the software later became ArchiCAD in 1987. It was the first BIM program that also reached a wide user base. However, it was mostly used developing residential and small commercial projects.

Soon after, Revit software was developed in an aim to tackle more complex projects in the year 2000. Two years after its release, it was purchased by Autodesk.

Growing BIM Applications

Once started as an idea, today applications of BIM is becoming a bigger and more important part of the building industry. Integration of BIM with virtual reality, augmented reality, cloud computing and generative design is opening up new possibilities.

The countries are starting to build their national BIM standards. Moreover, there are attempts to create international standards to support the global collaboration projects.

Architectural offices such as Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, BIG, Grimshaw, Perkins and Will, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and companies such as HOK, Arup, Gensler and SOM are only some of the ones adopting BIM into their processes.

Image retrieved from knowledge.autodesk.com

Adoption of BIM with Revit

Revit is a pioneering software in the integration of visual programming into BIM. It brought up the parametric families and allowed to include timely and costly features to be added to a project. This opened up a possibility of a whole other dimension of simulating the construction processes. Soon after Revit Architecture, there were structural and mechanical versions of Revit in order to adapt the more collaborative environment idea of BIM, allowing big teams of architects and engineers to work together.

Revit has gained a large user base not only thanks to these features, but also delivering a cross-software compatibility among the other Autodesk software. Today, it is no surprise that it has become the most popular BIM software.

Demands and Criticism An Open Letter to Autodesk

However, in July 2020, a number of major architectural offices including Zaha Hadid Architects, Grimshaw, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and 14 more offices had signed an open letter to Autodesk regarding their concerns on the increasing cost and lack of development on Revit.

“Every day digital design leaders around the world wrestle with software which at its core is twenty years old and incapable of the potential of multi-core computing and graphics power designed to process within today’s real and virtual workstations.”

“Practices would be less worried by these cost increases if they were mirrored by productivity improvements and a progressive software development program.”

Just a few days later, Autodesk’s Senior Vice President has replied. Autodesk was promising to hear the feedbacks while still not agreeing everything on the letter. This response hasn’t been received well enough. So that, this time Autodesk’s CEO has responded in August 2020.  In this reply, Autodesk was admitting the progress on Revit Architecture didn’t happen as quickly as it should have, but rejecting the claims on the cost that it was too high.

Final Thoughts

The raising voices show that the demands on the matter of BIM are quite challenging. Sure enough with all the pioneering features Revit has been the most widely used BIM software so far, and it is no wonder that it became almost interchangeable with the term BIM. However, it is very clear that Revit still has to keep up with the needs of the users, and still has to improve and compete with other BIM software.

Let us know your experiences with BIM and Revit! This time we could only briefly focus on BIM and Revit. Make sure to comment if you want to hear more on other BIM software!

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