7 Misconceptions About the Fab to Revit Move
Written By Carol Dunn

A move to Revit presents an opportunity for users to right some of the wrongs that have been done in CAD. Don’t we all like the chance to start over if we can? Preparing for a move from Autodesk Fabrication to Revit requires a few key steps. Changes to your database will be required. The user needs to have a new mindset for the ways the workflow is different. Training is the optimal way to get up to speed quickly. And it’s worth considering tools that make modeling easier.

Some users may not have mastered AutoCAD at a level where they can use it very well, so take time during the Fab transition to learn to really use Revit. Your instinct may be to try to learn along the way, and that might work. But experts recommend at least creating a sample project to work with and practice on, so you can learn how Revit works one piece at a time. Learn the simple things before moving on to fabrication work.

Here are some of the misconceptions about moving from Fabrication to Revit:

1. How different from CAD can it be?

This statement carries a certain note of forewarning just as the sentiment, “But we’ve always done it this way.” Things change. First off, changes will need to be made to your database, so make sure your database is ready. Don’t use an older database that’s not adequately prepared.

  • In order to load your database into Revit, go in and select the version, and make sure there is a unique identifier (this only has to be done once).
  • Your button appearances and descriptions should be set the way you want them to appear in Revit. This is an optional “comfort” thing but will make Revit feel friendlier.
  • Your items will need to have a material set, or they won’t work in Revit. You will need to edit the items, and set a material for piping items particularly. Make sure they work.

2. Items are items?
“Parts is parts,” right? Well, in this case, not all items are supported in Revit to become ITMs. Certain pattern numbers work, and some don’t. There is a list you can refer to on XtraCAD.com about this, or you can just load the item into Revit and see if it works. If items are grayed out, they’re not supported in Revit. Either remove the grayed out items or explain to your users why they don’t work. If you need certain items that are not supported, you may need to rebuild them.

3. My Families will convert?
Maybe, maybe not. If you’ve been using the DesignLine feature in Fabrication, which applies an algorithm to families, they will convert. If you haven’t, your services are not button mapped or button coded, so the Revit families won’t convert. They will need to be mapped or coded, and fortunately there are tricks to make those conversions easier. For a good how-to, check out this Mapping Inline Families video from Autodesk University by David Ronson, Applied Software Senior Specialist. This will be helpful when converting families to ITMs.

4. The workflow is the same?
Brace yourself. You’ll need to prepare yourself mentally for the way the Revit workflow looks. Be open minded to the changes. You may not realize until you start modeling a project how different Revit is. Some companies actually get a Revit model, convert it to CAD and work with it there. It can speed up the process of modeling and is much better than starting with a 2D background and building the entire model from scratch. It could also help make you more enthusiastic about using Revit.

5. I can learn it on my own?
Just for grins, I googled “I can do it myself,” and got 1.2 billion results. So this is a common theme among human beings. But consider how valuable training can be, especially when it’s structured. Whether it’s in-person, live online or a prescribed learning path you follow at your own pace, training allows you to set aside your daily activities and projects for a while and focus just on learning Revit. If you try to squeeze out bits of time to watch YouTube videos or read up on Revit, there never seems to be enough time in the day. A class will not only get you started, it will get you excited about using Revit, thus you’ll spend more time using it. And there are specific classes to educate you on running fabrication parts inside of Revit. You can have fun using Revit after you overcome your trepidation.

6. I don’t need a plug-in?
The Revit platform is intentionally built for building design and construction, so yes it provides you with a vastly improved workflow over using a platform like AutoCAD. You can model MEP systems, load your fabrication database and even run reports. However, as a CADmep customer you know you have other requirements such as spooling, hanger layout, point exports and annotations. Plugins like eVolve Mechanical provide you with the tools you need to replace CADmep and automatically perform those necessary tasks and more. eVolve provides one cohesive process for integrated workflows.

7. I can do it manually since there are too many tools to choose from?
Yes, that’s how I feel when I try to find a pair of needlenose pliers in our workshop. Same with Revit tools – sure, there are a few out there. But who wants 15 different plug-ins just to do your job when eVolve is the most complete option? If you’re stubborn and insist on avoiding the need for tools such as eVolve, you can manually move things back and forth between Revit and CAD. However . . . warning bells should be going off. Just like trying to use a pair of tweezers instead of needlenose pliers, the manual process is not always seamless, there can be hiccups, it’s not a great workflow, and it may not save you as much time as you might have imagined it would. All that moving stuff around can cost you labor and may not be cohesive enough to help your productivity. Think seriously about utilizing the tools you need, so Revit will be ready for you to build your model as efficiently as possible.

When your firm decides to make the move from Autodesk Fabrication to Revit, it’s a positive step for your future of making things. If you need or want expert advice on your firm’s misconceptions, there are helpful advisors at Applied Software with industry experience who can help you decide which changes will make your transition as smooth as possible. When it’s time to move your Fab experience forward, request a demo of eVolve Mechanical.

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