Ever since the inception of computer drafting tools were introduced to the architectural and engineering world, production and efficiency in collaboration became more closer to reality. Changes to an existing design or moving things around was no longer a big deal. In the CAD world, once the architect shares his backgrounds, engineers follow and update their design accordingly.
CAD was the gateway to computer generated plans and details. Revit, however, builds a model in 3-D allowing the users to view the entire structure and have an overall model of their vision and design. In CAD structural engineering elements are drawn separately and the sequence of the drafting process is somehow free because the drawings are not linked to each other.
Modifications, especially last minute changes, are very difficult to trace and track. In CAD these changes cause designers and drafters to make sure that updates in sections, elevations, plans and other related view are manually modified to reflect these changes. On the other hand, changes and modifications that will be implemented on the plans will reflect on all related sections and views automatically, and that is a huge advantage for using Revit.
In Revit, designers and engineers think about all design elements in the building simultaneously. The reason is that everything drawn on a plan is generated in the design of any elevation, section, or 3D views. At first, especially for a CAD user, it sound onerous and a lot of work but, in reality, it offers huge advantages. It helps structural engineers and other engineers to think as architects, always thinking of the design as a whole piece instead of each discipline separately.
There are many other benefits for using Revit over CAD. CAD was an amazing tool transitioning from hand drafting into computer base production tools, but for complex ground-up construction it is the time for all engineers and architects to get ready for the new generation of 3D drafting which in many ways allows all involved parties to think as a group not as an individual discipline. Also, it makes construction much more efficient and less RFIs and confusion when the plans are coordinated and well connected between disciplines. CAD will always be around in some shape or form, especially for small projects with small tenant improvements and other small projects that does not really require much coordination.
The future demands innovation and creativity from all professionals in this industry, and thus, it is only appropriate for us structural engineers to evolve and utilize these tools to enhance the design and construction phase experience for our clients. Revit will dominate whether we like it or not, so let’s get familiar with it and maximize its potential and enjoy this amazing technology which makes our design more structured and more precise.