We were recently asked to answer a question that reminded us about the importance of presenting to Revit users of all levels. Just as there are people who have been using Revit for decades, there are new architects, engineers, designers, builders, and building operators getting started with Revit all the time.
The question we received was, “How do I use BIM tools in Revit?” Since Revit is a BIM tool, the question indicated a need for us to step back and provide a little background information before jumping into the information requested. We thought that others may benefit from this information, so we are presenting it here in this blog post.
Quick Definitions of BIM and Revit
- BIM, or building information modeling, is a powerful, collaborative process that architects, engineers, real estate developers, contractors, manufacturers, builders, building operators, and others use to create and manage a single database of information needed to work together to plan, design, document, construct, and maintain a structure or building.
- Autodesk Revit is a software that supports BIM. Architects, structural engineers, MEP engineers, builders, fabricators, computational designers, and building owners use Revit to collaborate in a common BIM environment to create 2D and 3D models that they use to make more informed decisions during the design process and better achieve their goals.
Revit – A BIM Tool that Connects Teams, Tools, and Data
Revit, initially launched by Revit Technology Corporation in 2000 and acquired by Autodesk in 2002, is the most popular BIM tool within the AEC industry because it excels at transforming data created in the 3D model into realistic visualizations of buildings and structures that architects, engineers, and contractors can use to review and edit designs. All 3D, 2D, and Schedule information is connected and updated as a user creates AEC intelligent elements.
Revit functionality falls into distinct discipline specific features – Architecture, MEP, and Structure. Each Revit BIM feature or workflow is designed for the specific discipline, and they all work well together:
- An architect builds the design model using BIM tools or features within the architecture discipline. They may share design information with the MEP and structural engineers within an integrated model, or they might have a unique model for each discipline that are then linked together.
- Using the BIM tools or features within the Revit MEP discipline and the Revit Structure discipline, the engineers may link to the model provided by the architect or provide information within one integrated model:
- MEP engineers add pipes, cables, ducts, etc.
- Structural engineers add beams, columns, trusses, etc.
- The MEP and structural engineers may link their models to the architecture model, or they may provide real-time design updates on an integrated model within the Cloud. It is probably more typical that many Architectural, MEP, and Structural models are linked together into a master model that represents the whole project.
- When the design is complete, detailed, accurate documentation is provided to the construction team.
- When the construction is complete, documentation with accurate “as built” information is provided to the building operator.
As a single platform for a multidiscipline BIM workflow, from design through construction and operation, Revit is a powerful tool that helps teams enhance design, avoid costly errors and rework, and deliver outstanding employee and client experiences.
Ideate Software - Proven Revit Solutions
Revit, the main BIM tool on the market, does have limitations. That’s where Ideate Software comes in. We are a team of architects, engineers, designers, and others who love the power of BIM and Revit. We develop software that essentially “plugs into” Revit, adding functionality requested by Revit users in all disciplines. Our Revit plug-ins solve persistent problems in Revit workflows:
- Quickly review and edit massive amounts of data in a Revit model with Ideate BIMLink
- Find, refine, and revise elements excluded from the Revit browser with Ideate Explorer
- Connect non-BIM data from Excel, Word, or PDF documents with Ideate Sticky
- Analyze, delete, or merge non-standard styles with Ideate StyleManager
- Streamline common tasks with the IdeateApps collection of tool
We developed Ideate Automation to boost the power of our Revit plugins by running time-intensive activities in the background, freeing users to spend more time on interesting and valuable activities.
Using Ideate Software Plugins for Revit
There are literally HUNDREDS of answers to the question about how to use Ideate Software plugins for Revit, because each Ideate Software product addresses numerous challenges. We recently provided six answers for using Ideate BIMLink at a webinar hosted by The Architect’s Newspaper. Below are high level summaries of three of them. You can get high-level summaries of the other three in this previous blog post. To get all the details and see the demonstrations, watch the recording of the webinar.
- Create New Sheets (Watch the demonstration in the video)
Creating a lot of new sheets in BIM tools like Revit can be time consuming. With the Ideate BIMLink plug-in for Revit, you can create multiple sheets at once, saving a huge amount of time, reducing the chance of manual errors, and freeing time for more interesting activities.
To create new Revit sheets using the Ideate BIMLink plugin for Revit, start by creating an Excel file with the relevant sheet properties. In the example in the webinar, we used Title Block, Sheet Number, Sheet Name, Appears in Sheet, and Created by:
Then add the word “NEW” in each cell in the ID column. From Ideate BIMLink, select the Excel file and click “Open” to check for accuracy. Once you confirm the information is correct, click “Import” and the Revit model will update with the desired information from Excel.
You can also use Ideate BIMLink to place views on sheets. Check out our Help file, Set Up Projects with Ideate BIMLink for instructions.
- Project Standards (Watch the demonstration in the video)
As projects move through their lifecycle, information often changes. While it is possible to update information in BIM tools like Revit by right clicking on an item and making the required changes, it needs to be done one line at a time. With Ideate BIMLink, you can make a large number of changes at once.
In the example shown in this webinar, we add a new division number to each item in the Mechanical Equipment family by creating a new link in Ideate BIMLink, selecting Project Standards and then Rename Types, which brings up a wealth of data.
We filter the results for Mechanical Equipment, and then export everything into Excel. In the Excel spreadsheet, we create a formula to change all the Family Names at once. Then we bring the spreadsheet back into Ideate BIMLink, verify that all the information is correct, and hit “Import.” The model is updated.
To learn more about managing project standards with Ideate BIMLink, read our Help file, Quickly Manage Revit Project Standards with Ease.
- Health Checks (Watch the demonstration in the video)
Maintaining the health of a Revit model is critical. Healthy models perform smoothly. Unhealthy models can move slowly, look sloppy, and even crash. Model health checks are easy with Ideate BIMLink, which comes with preconfigured links specifically for this purpose.
In this webinar, we want to review the floors, windows, roofs, and walls in a Revit model. For this workflow, we start in Ideate BIMLink in a multi-category link and select the categories to export to an Excel spreadsheet called Ideate Health Check that comes with Ideate BIMLink plugin for Revit. We open the spreadsheet, verify the data, make any corrections needed, and then use Ideate BIMLink to import the corrected data back to Revit.
Because of the importance of performing Revit health checks, we have published quite a bit of information on the topic. Here’s a link to a recorded webinar called, Step Into the Clinic – Advanced Revit Model Health Checks.
See More Workflow Demonstrations
As we mentioned, there are hundreds of ways to use Ideate Software plugins for Revit. Check out our Video Library to see how to streamline the Revit workflows causing you trouble.
Browse our website to explore Ideate Software’s range of Revit tools and see how they can make your Revit projects faster, simpler, and more accurate.
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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.