Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a collaborative process that allows architects, engineers, contractors, and other construction professionals to plan, design, and construct structures within a single 3D model. It also supports owner-operators in building maintenance and management processes.
The Road to BIM
Initially, designers, architects, and engineers created drawings and blueprints to express their visions and information about building plans. Then, computer aided design (CAD) brought the plans into a digital environment. Next, CAD evolved to 3D, enabling more realistic illustrations. The concept of BIM came around in the 1970s, and today it is the standard and increasingly becoming a mandated process to ensure that the planning, design, and construction of buildings are efficient.
The Power of BIM
The power of BIM is the information, or the “I” in BIM, because it is actionable; BIM components are intelligent, have geometry, and store data, and when they are changed, the BIM software updates the model to reflect that change. These automatic and instant updates dramatically reduce the chance of problems associated with outdated information and version control.
Structural engineers, architects, MEP engineers, civil engineers, designers, project managers, contractors, and owner-operators can all access the information in a BIM model through a common data environment, and it can be used in all stages of a structure’s life, from inception through operation and even renovations.
The 4-Step BIM Process
|Generate context models of the existing built and natural environment||Perform conceptual design, analysis, detailing, and documentation||Begin fabrication using BIM specifications; share construction logistics with trades and contractors||Strip unneeded data from models; leverage remaining data for operations, maintenance, and renovations|
BIM is a process, not a tool. There are several tools available that support the BIM process, and Autodesk leads the pack with:
- Revit – One of the industry’s most popular BIM authoring tools used by architects, designers, engineers, contractors, and others
- Navisworks – More of a project review solution for AEC professionals than an authoring tool like Revit
- BIM 360/Autodesk Construction Cloud – Unifies the design, project, and construction processes into a single process
- Civil 3D – Designed on top of AutoCAD for civil engineers; typically broken up in to separate pieces, like grading, alignments, and pipe networks
As powerful as Autodesk software is, it does have limitations. And even though Revit is the leading BIM tool for architects, engineers, and construction teams in the world, users need more. Anyone who checks out the Autodesk Revit Forums can read feature requests submitted through various channels, including Revit Architecture Forum, Revit MEP Forum, Revit Structure Forum, Revit API Forum, and Revit Ideas. Autodesk created Revit Ideas as a way for users to communicate their frustrations with the software, including what they wish the software could do and how existing features can be improved. Other users can give “kudos” to ideas they also deem important. There are also independent Revit forums, such as www.RevitForum.org, where people post questions, share knowledge, and discuss Revit software.
Ideate Software Responds
Regularly reviewing these public channels is just one of the ways the professionals at Ideate Software remain aware of the needs of the Revit community and able to develop Revit tools that address the needs expressed by Revit users. We also sponsor and participate in industry events, host webinars, lead virtual and in-person user group meetings, attend Autodesk University every year, and regularly ask our customers for feedback. Then, we take all the knowledge we gain to determine how to bring exceptional value to our customers by investing in product enhancements and new product development.
Gathering information about the needs of Revit users is our first step. Then we create beta versions and ask our customers to give them a try. Because our professionals have been developing Revit tools since 2008 and have proven over and over again that we deliver products that help Revit users do their jobs better, we have a large and loyal group of people who regularly help us fine-tune our products and updates, ensure they meet real needs, and verify that they perform as described.
Today, our suite boasts six products, each developed and iterated in direct response to requests from Revit users. These Revit plugins for architecture, engineering, construction, and owner-operator industries automate time-consuming manual processes, streamline repetitive processes, make it much easier for designers and engineers to build models that look good, perform well, and help construction professionals and owner-operators perform their duties with fewer errors, less waste, and greater job satisfaction.
Here's how our tools can help you:
Quickly find and delete incorrect, obsolete, and hidden problem items—including imported or linked DWG drawings—as well as find, refine, and revise elements, even those not included in the Revit project browser. This functionality dramatically decreases the amount of time spent on model management and enhances model performance. Included with Ideate Explorer are three additional features that will also help you keep your models in top working order:
Instead of working inside of Revit to verify and/or edit data one element at a time, you can use Ideate BIMLink to export the data you need to review to Microsoft Excel where you can view and manipulate massive amounts of data at the same time. You can then use Ideate BIMLink to import the verified or updated data back into Revit, and the model will immediately update.
Share accurate and nicely formatted non-BIM data with Revit teams by live-linking Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and PDF documents to the Revit file with Ideate Sticky. These “stickies” look nice, are easy to read, and can be easily updated within Revit when changes are made to the original file. Whether it’s building codes, consultant data, abbreviation lists, general notes, or any of the many other non-BIM data critical to a project’s success, you can be sure your team always has access to current information.
Eliminate the problems frequently caused by pasting data from one Revit file to another. Often, styles associated with the original file get copied along with the data, clogging up the model with incorrect information that can take a long time to remove if working in Revit. Not removing it isn’t an option, because extraneous data can cause model performance problems. With Ideate StyleManager, a top Revit plugin, you can quickly and easily analyze, merge, or delete non-standard Revit styles. You can also use Ideate StyleManager to see the view filters applied to views and to clean object and line styles and patterns, text, fonts, parameters, and more.
Eliminate tedious Revit tasks that when performed on large complex models can contribute to mistakes, rework, and frustrations. By using the 10 tools that come in the IdeateApps collection, you can automate hundreds of common tasks. The names of the tools describe their functions: Ideate SpellCheck, Ideate Align, Ideate Clone, Ideate ViewCreator, Ideate SheetManager, Ideate Annotate, Ideate XRay, Ideate ReNumber, Ideate SmartDelete, and Ideate QuickSelect.
Run time-intensive BIM tasks silently in the background while you do more meaningful work with Ideate Automation. Either started manually or scheduled to run at a convenient time, Ideate Automation can increase your productivity, eliminate the need to train staff of repetitive tasks, and ensure task outcomes are highly predictable, free of user errors, and standardized.
Examples of tasks to automate include:
Here’s a short video that shows how to use Ideate Automation to perform Revit model health checks:
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If you have any questions, reach out to us. We are here to help you understand and use our Revit plugin solutions.
Browse our website to learn more about how Ideate Software add-on products help Revit users save time, increase model accuracy, improve deliverables and elevate design. You can give them a try by downloading trial versions or purchasing the bundle for access to the Revit plugin solutions Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer, Ideate Sticky, Ideate StyleManager, and IdeateApps for six months.