In Module TL201.01, we discussed a broad question – what is BIM? In this module, we’ll talk about one of the software programs used to create Building Information Models – Autodesk’s Revit.
With all the ‘BIM’ buzz in the Fire Protection industry lately, you could be forgiven for thinking that Revit is a brand-new piece of software.
You might be surprised to learn that Revit was first released on April 5, 2000, meaning that this ‘brand-new’ software is actually over two decades old. No wonder you’ve been getting some major side-eye, or even the occasional smirk, from architects every time you brag that your company is thinking of transitioning to this ground-breaking new piece of software called ‘Revit’.
Revit was first developed and released by the Revit Technology Corporation. The company was purchased by Autodesk in 2002, and Revit has been Autodesk’s flagship BIM software ever since. When it was originally released, Revit was purely architectural software. In 2005, a separate program called ‘Revit Structure’ was released, followed by ‘Revit MEP’ in 2006. In 2013, these programs were combined into a single program, just called Revit.
WHAT IS REVIT
As for the name – the one that sounds suspiciously like the sound a frog makes – Revit is a portmanteau, created from two words – Revise Instantly. This is in reference to Revit’s use of adjustable parameters in the creation of 3D models, and its ability to seamlessly apply changes made in one view to all of the other views in the drawing. For example, raising the height of a roof in Revit will simultaneously extend the height of all the walls that are constrained to that roof. Any building section or elevation showing those walls and roof will also be instantly updated with the change.
AUTOCAD VS. REVIT
One of the main questions that sprinkler designers have when learning about Revit is, how does it differ from Autocad? AutoCAD is a very general computer-based drafting tool that uses lines and vectors to replace manual drafting in the production of drawings. With Revit, the focus is on the creation of an internally intelligent 3D model, which can then be used to generate documents from.
Let’s relate this to our world. In AutoCAD, a sprinkler is represented by a geometric shape, typically either a circle or a triangle, depending on what type of sprinkler you’re designing with. You can use a legend to describe what that circle represents, and you can place it on a ‘sprinkler’ layer, but if you click on it, it’s still just a two-dimensional circle or a triangle. It’s not even the right size… unless you happen to be in the habit of installing sprinklers with 12” diameter deflectors. The only way to know anything about it, is to include a legend that references that specific symbol, and provides the information separately.
In contrast, a sprinkler in Revit not only knows that it’s a sprinkler, it also knows who manufactures it, what its K-factor is, same with thread size and dimensions. If someone was to open an AutoCAD drawing, without a sprinkler legend, all they would know is that it’s a circle. In real-life terms, say your co-worker took off on a holiday, and left a drawing for you to complete. All you would know is that there were a bunch of circles on the plan. You’d have no idea what sprinkler they planned on using.
If that same co-worker had left you a Revit model, all you’d need to do would be to click on a sprinkler, and you’d have all the necessary information right at your fingertips.
I’m Steve Frederick, this is MeyerFire University.
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