“Thought that . . . learned different . . . got over it.” This adage is attributed to David Ronson, the eVolve Mechanical product manager. With his former experience working for a contractor and as a senior fabrication specialist, Ronson has had many opportunities to weigh the benefits of change. He now helps contractors with Revit implementation and counsels, trains and supports them to enhance their experience with fabrication in Revit. We all cope with change in different ways. If you’re going to manage that change so your firm can make a successful transition from Fabrication to Revit, avoid the common pitfalls with this advice:
- Face your fears. First and foremost, the issue that causes the most problems with moving to Revit is refusing to learn a new, better way of doing something. Most users have been doing things the same way in AutoCAD for 15-20 years and, quite frankly, dread the move to Revit. So they look for ways to prove that Revit is not a better product – giving them the justification to put off the transition. Fear vampires; don’t fear Revit.
- Do not fall back on AutoCAD. All too often, companies that are attempting to move to Revit still keep certain processes going in AutoCAD. At the very least, this will slow down your migration. In many cases the end user will give up completely on Revit. Why? Because the end user is more comfortable with AutoCAD. Therefore, if they are going to end up there anyway, they see starting with Revit as an unnecessary step for them. Force yourself and your team to replace your AutoCAD workflows with Revit. Oftentimes firms discover that there are much better ways of resolving a problem by using Revit as opposed to AutoCAD-based processes. If you’re going to do it, do it right.
- Do not separate your models. AutoCAD users were trained to think this way, creating different models for every author and exporting tons of data and other models from each of their core models to support their deliverables. With Revit, teams can jointly work together on the same model and keep that data and the project sheets central to that same file. This eliminates an incredible potential for human error, as you no longer have to manage all of those files – which often number in the thousands. Why make it harder than it needs to be?
- Do not change CAM or estimating software. The Autodesk Fabrication workflows are unique over all other solutions in the marketplace because they share a common database among the CAD, estimating and shop departments. This includes Revit. So if you make changes to your estimating or shop software, then you are handicapping your company, breaking workflows that are fairly seamless. In fact, there are many companies who still have not taken advantage of this workflow, trying to mix and match products from different software companies. As we work alongside companies like this, we find they are aggravated that better workflows do not exist for those old products they refuse to give up. The reality is that there has been a better workflow for nearly two decades now. Updating the workflow process is a decision the company needs to make, not the end users. Some of the top mechanicals in the industry – Limbach, Hill, Comfort Systems, Murphy Company – have adopted and rely heavily on the integration of the Autodesk Fabrication CAMduct and ESTmep products with CAD. Managers at these MEP companies and others report they could not imagine operating as efficiently by using alternative solutions.
- Do not start building Revit families for fittings. If you are already using CADmep, then chances are your database is already going to work in Revit. So many companies do not realize that Autodesk has already built in support for ITM, and they assume that moving to Revit means using families instead of ITM. The truth is, Autodesk prefers ITM for LOD 350 and higher. eVolve MEP technicians often get calls from longtime Autodesk Fabrication CADmep end users who have already invested in replacing their database with families. Aside from this being an unnecessary expense, it is not the ideal way to generate mechanical or plumbing construction models in Revit according to Autodesk, nor is it advised by the eVolve MEP team of industry experts. You will find that families are design elements that are not intended to host fine detail or substantial amounts of fabrication or manufacturer information. Interestingly, applications which have tried to use families typically have significant performance issues as a result of trying to work around the intended use of families.
The good news is you can manage the transition from Fabrication to Revit in a way that benefits your firm for generations to come. Step out of your comfort zone. Make the commitment to Revit, while sidestepping the human error component on your projects, and improve your firm’s project workflow permanently. If you would like to take the next step to enhancing your firm’s transition to Revit, contact eVolve MEP for assistance with software, implementation, training, and technical support.
You may have to drag your team (clinging to their box of AutoCAD) kicking and screaming, but ohh, the change is gonna do you good.