What is Revit? Should you switch over to it?

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Last updated Oct 11, 2022

Revit is a Building Design software that helps you in Design and Drafting of a facility. It has features that helps Architecture, Engineering and Construction professionals to Design, Analyze, Visualize and produce Drawings for all stages of Design, from Concept to Construction.

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What is Revit?

Revit is a Building Design software that helps you in the Design and Drafting of a facility. It has features that help Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) professionals to Design, Analyze, Visualize, and produce Drawings for all stages of Design, from Concept to Construction.

As a Building or Facility Design software, Revit utilizes elements such as Walls, Floors, Beams, Pipes, ducts, and so on. By using these elements Revit enables the development of a Virtual Building Model on a Computer. This singular 3D Virtual Building Model can be a unified or an interlinked model that has elements from multiple disciplines, including Architecture, Structure, and MEP.

Since this is a 3D model, it becomes easy to visualize Design in great detail. It allows quick generation of views, such as Plans, Elevations, Sections, and so on. The Virtual Building Model is an Intelligent model that has both Physical and Analytical properties as well as data. The embedded data in the Virtual 3D Model is the result of using Intelligent elements in Revit. These are termed as Families.

Revit Families are much like Blocks in AutoCAD. However, Revit Families can have embedded information within them. This information can be used to develop or generate Schedules, extract Quantities and Cost Estimates. Revit Families can also contain embedded Analytical, Physical, Dimensional Information. The type of information that is embedded is related to the eventual objective of a Revit Model. A Facility Manager may want to extract information related to the Maintenance and procurement of an element. A Mechanical Engineer may be interested in Volumetric information of a space. This information is updated automatically as your design is updated.

Revit for Building Professionals

Revit has multiple built-in support for various Building Design disciplines that include:

●        Architecture

●        Structural Engineering

●        Mechanical Engineering

●        Electrical Engineering

●        Plumbing/ Public Health Engineering

In addition, Revit is used by Construction Professionals and Contractors. Revit in conjunction with Autodesk Navisworks Manage enables Construction Planning, optimization, and delivery of Projects on Time and Budget. Building Models built for Construction typically have a higher level of detail as compared to those built for Architectural, Structural, and MEP Design and Documentation used by Design Professionals.

This Multi-Disciplinary capability of Revit allows accurate coordination between all building elements and prevents clashes. Clashes between elements, such as Beams, Pipes, and Ducts can result in construction delays or design compromise. Revit can prevent such delays and compromises.

Revit is a Design Tool

revit-massing-studiesDesign is a cyclic process that involves Analysis, Conceptualization, Refinement, and Development. This process needs to be efficient for the process to be effective and efficient. Revit excels in its capabilities in Analysis and Quick Modification. In fact, the name Revit is derived from the term REvise IT. This capability allows you to Analyse, develop a Conceptual model, Analyse and re-design to Optimize.


revit-massing-visualizationAn essential part of the Design process involves communication with one Self. This where a designer communicates internally within herself of himself. Revit’s capability to quickly generate Elevations, Sections and 3D Views helps the Designer in precise Visualization.


revit-massing-analysisA Facility Design needs to be compliant with the Statutory Requirements and Constraints. In addition. In addition, the facility also needs to comply with spatial requirements as defined by the Architectural Program. Revit allows you to extract this information dynamically in real-time.

revit-massing-thermal-analysisAnalytical information could be Thermal characteristics. This information can be used to analyze the thermal performance of a facility. In addition, a complete Green Building Analysis can be performed from this intelligent 3D Revit Model. We can utilize these Analytical capabilities of Revit to optimize our design for performance and cost.


Dynamic and Real-Time generation of views and analytical data allows you to make quick modifications as well as analyze the modified design again. This process is repeated till you and your project requirements are satisfied.

Revit for Design Visualization


Design Visualization is one of the critical parts of the design process. Facilities that we design are three-dimensional spaces or building elements. These elements interact with the Site and other building elements. You need to ensure that the relationship between each of these elements is what is desired and optimized. The two-dimensional drawing process relies on our power of three-dimensional thinking. This may not necessarily work to the efficiency needed for complex situations.

Revit can help us quickly visualize these relationships. We can generate views that help us understand these relationships. We are able to visualize and communicate within ourselves as well as with the Design team. All are on the same page and can make informed decisions.

Revit for Design Presentation

revit-design-presentationRevit works as an excellent Design Presentation tool. The process of Design and Presentation is integrated and has a dynamic relationship. All you need to do is to create a Model with the right materials, add elements needed and create views. The views can be rendered within Revit. As your Design is refined and changes are made, all you may need to do is to render the views again and that’s it!


Revit for Construction Drawings

Construction Drawings or Working Drawings are a critical set of drawings that are meant to communicate the Design intent clearly and precisely to the Construction agency. These drawings not only help the construction agency to execute and build precisely but also forms a part of Contract Documents. The Contract between Project Promoter and the Construction Agency. Misinterpretation of drawings may lead to disasters and loss of human life.

Projects can be complex. Building elements belong to multiple disciplines. There are multiple Services, building Structural and Architectural elements, often located within small spaces. Any miscoordination between them can lead to Construction delays in Construction, resulting in increased cost and financial loss.

Construction Contract is a legal document. Discrepancies and inaccuracies in Construction Drawings can lead to legal implications and heavy financial losses.

It is therefore critical that the set of drawings are accurate and well-coordinated. Coordinated drawings reduce confusing information and avoid misinterpretation of information.

Revit is an excellent tool for the production of Construction Drawings. The fact that we create a 3D Virtual Model in Revit ensures all views are automatically coordinated. Any change in one view is reflected in the other view. In addition, the quick generation of views helps in minimizing miscoordination issues during Construction.

revit-quantity-takeoffRevit model is composed of Intelligent elements that have embedded information. This information can be extracted to generate Schedules and Quantities. This information could be physical, analytical, and financial. In addition, it may also include Manufacturer’s name, model number, lifecycle, lead time, and so on. This information can generate Schedules & Quantities. These quantities are dynamically updated as the changes in Design occur. No manual re-calculation is needed. The schedules and Quantities generated are precise and accurate. This precision also helps in accurate cost estimation. Accurate cost estimation from the early stages of Design helps in optimizing Design at a minimal cost.

BIM (Building Information Modeling)

BIM is a process that optimizes Facility Design, Construction, Operations, and Management. It brings together an entire Project team, that shares common data and works together efficiently to achieve project Objectives.

Each of the team members produces data, that is to be used by other members. Over a period, as the project proceeds in Design development, the volume of this disparate data increases. If this data is produced without any common standard, information produced by one may not be compatible or understood by others in the team. This may lead to delays and increased costs.

In addition, today we have an extremely wide range of communication and collaboration options. This often leads to confusion and the entire collaboration exercise becomes inefficient and collapse.

Building Information Modeling uses a well-defined process and a protocol where it defines elements such as:

  • BIM Objectives
  • Project Objectives
  • Software and Versions.
  • Data Formats.
  • Collaboration Platform/s.
  • Review Cycles

Data in Revit

As we have seen above, one of the critical components of this process is Data. Revit has the Data that is needed to enable the BIM process. A Revit Model is an Intelligent 3D Model that has a whole range of information and data, embedded. It is important that the data needed is present in the model. In addition, the model accuracy is of utmost importance to ensure the accuracy and integrity of data that is produced.


LOD (Level of Development)

Design Information needed varies depending on the stage of Design and objective of this information. For an Architect or an Urban Designer, Conceptual Design often starts with Massing Studies. At this point, the design has not yet evolved enough, nor have design decisions in terms of materials, types of elements to be used been taken. This is what is termed as LOD 100.

As the Design evolves and decisions are made, the level of information in the model increases. This results in increased detail in the Model increases and culminates in detail enough for a construction agency to execute a Project. Precise decisions in terms of elements such as Wall types, finishing materials, etc. are taken. So have decisions related to Structural and Building Systems too are taken. The project at this stage has now evolved to a level of Development is termed as LOD 300.

Contractors need to order materials from manufacturers and suppliers. The information needed to place orders requires precise quantities and types. For example, for Curtain Walls, a Contractor will need to know all types and sizes of Mullions along with quantities of each, fasteners, beadings, and so on. Types and sizes of Panels that are needed.

Similarly, a Plumbing Contractor, who needs to place orders for pipes as well as connectors such as bends or “T”.  To be able to generate quantities of materials in such detail, the model is termed LOD400.

As-Built Models

As-Built Revit Models are created for various purposes. These may include:

  • Construction Monitoring to ensure construction on Site is according to Design Drawings.
  • Operations & Facility Management of a newly built facility.
  • Redevelopment or Renovation of an Existing Building Complex or a facility.
  • Restoration & Reconstruction of heritage buildings.

As-Built Models of existing or newly built facilities are termed LOD500

Building Surveys, as well as increased use of special scanners, are used to create data that is imported into Revit. Special cameras create a Point Cloud. Point Cloud is much like photographs composed of pixels. However, in Point Cloud, each of the dots is a point that has the X,Y, and Z coordinates. This helps in creating a fairly accurate 3D model that can be used to create an As-Built Model in Revit.

Revit for Construction Planning & Management

Revit can be used for Construction Planning and Management. Intelligent Revit Components and elements are used to extract information that can be used for the purpose. The type of information may include the manufacturer’s name, Model Number, price, lead time, and so on.

Revit is also used to create Shop Drawings or Fabrication drawings used by fabricators and manufacturers to manufacture or fabricate building elements.

In addition, coordination between elements, resource requirements, and construction sequencing needs to be planned. complementary software such as Autodesk Navisworks.

Drawings and Models from different disciplines need to be coordinated to ensure minimal clashes. Autodesk Navisworks is designed for advanced multidisciplinary coordination. Navisworks is able to take inputs from Revit Models from Architects and Engineers and creates a composite 3D Model. You are able to easily and quickly navigate through various parts of a building, including spaces between the Ceiling and Structural floor. You can view various Services within this space.

Navisworks has the capability to identify clashes and generate clash reports. The project team can view these reports and resolve issues, before actual construction on site.

Navisworks enables the linking of Model elements with cost, time, and resources. This ability helps in Construction Planning, Detailed Estimation. With Navisworks, you are able to develop 5D Models. 5D Models add two additional dimensions that are linked to the 3D Models. These are Time and Cost. A complete Construction sequencing can be planned along with cash flow and resource needs for each stage.

Revit becomes an essential tool, that provides the critical model data, needed for Revit and Construction Planning.

Should you switch over to Revit

Switching over to Revit is a choice that depends on the kind of work you do. Revit requires a higher initial investment. The cost of a Revit license is substantially higher than AutoCAD or equivalent software. In addition, Revit requires higher computer resurces. Let us review below if Revit is for you.

You have been using AutoCAD or another CAD software for a long time now. As we all have seen, AutoCAD is essentially a replacement for a Drawing Board. The workflow of both hand Drafting and CAD is identical. Both are primarily Drafting. Any analysis or visualization that needs to be done for Design, would require external software or takes a long time. Your focus shifts to Drafting, rather than Design. You need to bother about layers, text heights, etc. When your plan changes, you will need to modify corresponding views as well.

The very fact that it takes a long time to create and coordinate views, the capability and your focus moves away from Design.

However, one big advantage of AutoCAD is its flexibility. You can place anything anywhere, and almost any 2D shape quickly. AutoCAD is great in two-dimensional drawings. Especially those that have a little relationship between views.

Revit on the other hand is more precise. You are essentially working on a 3D model. Creating complex organic 3D forms in Revit can be tricky and requires a higher level of skills.

Revit is precise and has very little room for fudging. Every little change you make in one view, get reflected in other corresponding views. A change in one view may look ok and satisfactory, may not look what you expected in the other view. In a way, Revit would force you to think in 3D.

A Design software must be capable of supporting a complete Design Process. Right from conceptualization to Construction Drawings. Design is a cyclic process that involves Analysis, Conceptualization, Refinement, Development, and Documentation. You need to go back and forth between each stage and move forward towards Construction Documentation. As we have seen above, Revit supports this process. It allows quick analysis and extraction of the information required to optimize Design. Using Revit enables you to focus on Design, instead of Drafting. Compliance to Drawing and Drafting standards can be automated, without an individual effort or intervention. This brings consistency across an organization.

Revit, as compared to AutoCAD requires higher computer resources. In addition, Revit costs substantially more than AutoCAD. However, if Revit is used efficiently, this cost difference can be overcome.



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19 Pages, 2600+ words

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