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Forums >> General Discussion >> Revit ROI >> Should we buy Revit?

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Sun, Jan 27, 2008 at 3:33:51 AM | Should we buy Revit?




Joined: Sun, Jan 27, 2008
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Background: We are a 7-10 person (architect) firm, founded in 1989, where all employees use AutoCad to draft. Most of our projects are multi-story, multi-family housin apartment buildings in urban conditions. My partner and I do not have any abilities as far as AutoCad is concerned and now that it seems to be fading with the advent of Revit, we may never have the pleasure of learning AutoCad.  However, we have seen Revit demonstrations, and we are considering an upgrade to Revit when we by new software this month. One appealing aspect of Revit, is that my partner and I, both with over 20 yrs experience, think we may be willing to put down our pencils once in awhile and prepare conceptual sketches using this application, and make changes ourselves to drawings developed by staff architects during the early phases of the work.

My main concern is that before looking at Revit, we were leaning towards dropping Autodesk altogether, and adopting ArchiCad or VectorWorks.  On reason, is that we are also sick to death of working with PCs, and have been considering how many fewer problems we could have by tossing out the Dell Computeres wwe have around here and switching to MacPro work stations, running Mac OS X.

We now along comes Revit, and of course it operates  on windows, so we would have to keep at least 10 PCs for the foreseeable future.


TThe question is:  Is Revit here to stay?  Is it going to replace AutoCad?  Will the transition be reasonable?  Should other options be  considered, like VectorWorks or ArchiCad?



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Mon, Jan 28, 2008 at 2:17:46 PM | Should we buy Revit?



naranjo01 Avatar

Joined: Fri, Sep 1, 2006
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10 PC 10 Revit users = very large company. here in the island Autocad rules, so switch to revit is on the horizon. the university "Politecnica" teach Archicad but Autodesk will win the base of users for sure. BIN is the future, the future is now, so don't matter how platform of software you use the change is inevitable. good luck.

ps. the party is here

saludos desde naranjito

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Mon, Jan 28, 2008 at 3:12:32 PM | Should we buy Revit?




Joined: Mon, Jan 28, 2008
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I am new to the forums, and relatively new to Revit for that matter, but thought I would add my two cents worth.

Concerning platforms, I completely understand your desire to move to OS X; one which I am in the middle of making myself. I also have experience from other sources on this switch. A long-time friend, and long-time Revit user (did his MArch work on BIM and Revit specifically), works out of his home and is running everything on a MacPro station. He says that when he is running Revit, he simply boots up Windows using Bootcamp (standard with all new Macs). This setup has worked well for him. Also, at the university where I teach, they are diving in to adding Revit as a significant part of their digital/tech requirements, they are also in the midst of a complete turnover from PC to Mac over the entire campus. One of my colleuges who specializes in the technological advances, says she has been running Revit on her MacBook Pro using Parallels (a virtual desktop which keeps you in OS X while running a Windows based program), and it has been running well. With the nature of the projects that your firm does, it sounds like you might need to consider some beefed up memory options if you were to run Revit in Parallels (or something equivalent).

All this to say that I think your move toward OS X is a good one and the ability to use Revit is still there.

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Tue, May 13, 2008 at 12:38:41 PM | Should we buy Revit?



StructuralEngineer Avatar

Joined: Sun, Aug 19, 2007
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Have you considered switching a few of your more willing staff to Revit while keeping AutoCAD on their machines as well?  In my opinion, Revit isn't a program that any company should "jump" into.  There is a huge investment in re-developing the libraries that you have established in AutoCAD and learning the software, which is an extreemly time consuming process.  Additionally, you probably need to stay productive with your current projects, and you will pull your hair out trying to make Revit work without that inital development/learning time.   When I first learned Revit I would model the building in 3D and if I wasn't happy how the paper copy turned out I would export it to AutoCAD to make it look to our company's standards.  Slowely I would do more and more in Revit until finially it got the same point quality as an AutoCAD drawing.  That took over 2 years, and I still do a lot of quick things in AutoCAD.  If you need to issue a sketch it's still ALOT easier in AutoCAD.  I hope my two cents helps.



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Sat, Aug 23, 2008 at 6:05:28 PM | Should we buy Revit?




Joined: Sun, Jun 8, 2008
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Yes you should !

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Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 6:52:17 AM | Should we buy Revit?




Joined: Sat, Sep 1, 2007
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I would ask the question- what will you get out of Revit that would make a difference in the development and management of your projects? (energy analysis, cost estimating, spec. coordination- these require other software plug-ins and applications- do you need this in your firm?)

How do you work with your consultants? (if your consultants do not go to BIM, you'll have no added value in clash detection, or coordination)

What kind of 3d modeling do you do? (sketcup? 3d max, are your clients requesting more 3d content?) If you want to do more 3d modeling and rendering- Revit is faster than Sketch-up and will allow much more flexibility)

What is the average number of Architectural pages in your document set? (Are you typcially under 25 pages?) Revit is much better at handling small projects than large ones- file size and computer power can be a problem factor for larger projects.

Are you flexible about your document set graphics? Revit doesnt have the flexibility of CAD programs when it comes to graphic standards-  (no pen-weights, non-printable colors, layers, lineweight for text, etc)

Finally, the frustration factor- this is a big one! Revit is NOT equivelent to CAD in any way! Everything is different and the help menu and books on Revit pretty much suck! You have to figure alot out for yourself...(I have heard it said at an Autodesk AIA forum that 80% of initial Revit users put the software on the shelf and go back to CAD.


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Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 11:34:42 PM | Should we buy Revit?




Joined: Mon, May 5, 2008
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This question and discussion crops up regularly... 

It’s short-sighted to think that we will still be drawing buildings as lines and blocks for years to come (think 10yrs).  With the right training and support a small company can leverage competitive advantage and a streamlined workflow by moving to Revit or BIM.

This BIM movement is the way forward and there is no good time to transition to it.  Yes it will be tough, yes there may be downtime due to training and learning, yes it can be expensive.  My advice is to jump on board as soon as possible.  Avoid being left behind.

As far as directors/partners with no CAD experience, it’s not a problem.  Do you really need to draft or model anyway?  Our directors sit beside us and we make changes in real time, showing them the affected 3D views, sections, plans and elevations (you can't do that in AutoCAD). Revit also allows you to focus on the design early on, not on creating the drawings.

Modelling is the way to go, BIM will improve your documentation and you may have doubts at first but your perseverance will pay off.  You may want to keep current projects in AutoCAD (at least those with a good deal of resolution) and start all new projects on Revit.

 And most importantly... Find a champion (or two) for BIM/Revit within your company, get them up to speed and drag the others along with them.  With a competent level of understanding obstacles like graphic standards, library creation and workflow are all rectified.

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Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 10:17:06 PM | Should we buy Revit?



albertobalsalm Avatar

Joined: Thu, Nov 15, 2007
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I agree with StructuralEngineer.  Get a few people started on Revit and use a combination of Revit/AutoCAD.  Our office is going through our first Revit project and it's a pretty big one.  Pretty much all of our plans, sections and elevations are straight Revit but most of our details are started in Revit and exported to CAD to be cleaned up and finished properly.  I think eventually we will get to the point where we use Revit for everything but it takes time to get the graphic standards to match the CAD standards and for users in the office to become profficient and capable enough.  Also as previously mentioned, if none of your consultants or engineers use Revit you will have to convert everything into AutoCAD for them and this is not entirely perfected by Autodesk yet in my opinion.  Still after using Revit for close to a year I like it a lot and I would encourage you to give it an honest shot, I think it is worth it in the end.



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Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 8:12:51 PM | Should we buy Revit?




Joined: Mon, Jan 9, 2006
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Wow, I can't believe how much disinformation you guys are putting out about Revit. Do you still dawdle in Autocad?

 Are you flexible about your document set graphics? Revit doesnt have the flexibility of CAD programs when it comes to graphic standards-  (no pen-weights, non-printable colors, layers, lineweight for text, etc)  This is aboultely wrong, Revit change change anything and everything about its graphics from a single line to all line types in seconds. Text , that's beccause Revit uses Truteype fonts. Pen settings? Who in this day and age use pen setttings, that is old school.

I could go on, but the point is, sit dwon with someone who can acutally use Revit, detailing in Revit is easier, our users will not go back to Autocad after using just three weeks. Put your trust in talking with someone that isn't a reseller but an acutal user. You will hear all kinds of rebuff about Revit can't do this and Revit can't do that, but the reality is they just don't know how to use the program.

 Good luck with your switch over.

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Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 2:09:49 AM | Should we buy Revit?




Joined: Wed, Sep 17, 2008
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I would have to agree with others and say to make the move slowly, mostly because there's no way anyone on the staff can learn revit and churn out quality in a few months time. As someone who's had to swtich from program to program throughout the years because of constant innovation, the transitions are never easy or as smooth as planned.

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Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 1:57:38 AM | Should we buy Revit?




Joined: Wed, Mar 12, 2008
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Tsunami wall of text.  Sorry.


I'm in a large, multi-discipline firm with 250+ in this office.  Of which, Arch & Struct have completed 15-25 (?) projects in Revit.  For our firm, the coordination aspect suits us very well.  Our goal is something like total implementation.  We are able to produce deliverable Construction Documents in Revit- without AutoCAD details.  Of course, we'll still use AutoCAD and other tools as needed, but it is a very useful TOOL in our TOOLBOX.


With that said.


I would give it a fair chance- and I do mean FAIR.  The initial setback you'll probably experience with Revit are user expectations.  It is NOT AutoCAD; the earlier you can accept this the better.  Everyone knows this when they begin using Revit, but they quickly forget it.  You'll run into a problem, curse Revit and say 'I could have done this project three times faster in AutoCAD.'  Well, that might be true, and I still curse Revit from time to time, but it really is an amazing (and user-friendly) program.  Efficiency will come with experience-gained proficiency.


Remember that you are IMPLEMENTING the PROGRAM as a PART of your TOOLBOX.  Is it the right tool for the job?  That's for you determine.  There are so many angles to cover that there is no short answer.


I've now completed four projects and am in love with it.  I've also had many channels of support along the way; our reseller, a BIM manager, and three or four (out of 250+) heavy Revit users.  Your office may be able get away with your reseller, a BIM consultant, and one (or two) users with potential.  Generally, I would say the younger willing and qualified users will adapt the quickest.  That's not to say more experienced (older- I'll say it) professionals can't master it, it's just that the learning curve becomes more steep with age.  I will say this is a very easy program to use once you accept it for what it is and understand the core concepts.


I think other things that can be said are common sense in nature.  Take it slow, start with a few pilot projects, build your content as necessary, and set goals for implementation.  You don't need to do a 40,000 SF multi-story project on your first go-round.  Find a nice, small, simple and straightforward project and take it for a test drive.  This is your trial phase.  But, don't do just one or two projects.  Try to do at least three or four over 12-18 months to stay sharp.  That's about four months per project.  How you go about using the software is dependent upon your comfort level and the needs of your firm.  Maybe you're just designing and exporting plans to AutoCAD, or maybe you're using your model for floorplans, and importing CAD details, maybe you'll even try a few details in Revit.


I'll say with confidence that I am as efficient in Revit as I was in AutoCAD.  I'm able to develop my details from my model and that is a huge timesaver.  Detailing really is just as quick as CAD- after you truly learn how to use the program.  That's all there is to it- you just have to learn the program.  And the learning curve is not that steep.  This is not the abysmal AutoCAD, it's a very simple and easy to use program with a LOT of power and potential.  I think Revit is awesome, I can't speak to other BIM software, but I think it will become the mainstream BIM platform.

Edited on: Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 8:05:44 PM

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Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 3:56:48 PM | Should we buy Revit?



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First let me say that emgeeo's post reflects our thoughts.  Our office now has over 45 staff in two locations and we are architects and interior designers only. 

We started REVIT 3 years ago with one person self taught, then 2 1/2 years ago, we sent 5 staff, including myself (over 60 & 20+ years autocad), to training by our vendor.  This core group used Revit along with CAD on a few initial projects while we evaluated it.  Although there were real ups and downs initially, all in this core group were very quick in deciding that we no longer wanted to work in CAD.   Based on what we experienced, the office decided to go 100% to REVIT except for one client that insists on CAD.

To implement REVIT, our core group created project templates, established procedures and has acted as instructors to teach the remaining staff.  

To be successful, you need several things.  

  1. Total commitment of the firm.  If the staff consistently reverts to CAD or even partially CAD because of "expediency", I think you are doomed for failure.
  2. You need at least one champion.  This person has to be thoroughly dedicated to Revit ... really enjoys it - a quick learner - self teacher, capable of finding a better way and has to be good at dealing with others.  This person can't be a "know it all".  You want someone that enjoys sharing his knowledge and is always willing to help others.
  3. Your office needs to be an open office environment. We are located on three floors and two offices.  Our third floor is open office and we are most successful here because of the interaction.  You need that verbal support and interaction between users. 
  4. Some of your hard-core AutoCAD staff will not be able to make the transition and will reflect the attitudes shown in some of the posts here.  They may be hard to spot at first and they may sabotage your efforts.  You may lose them, want to lose them, find another way to use them or decide their value is too important to lose. ... then?

Although we are not yet 100% effective, we know this was worthwhile and we have been reaping benifits since the very beginning.  Our productivity jumped almost immediately and is still climbing.  We also believe REVIT is not going away and AutoCAD will only become a supporting tool (not gone either).

---- Hope this helps.




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Sun, Jan 18, 2009 at 8:08:18 AM | Should we buy Revit?




Joined: Sat, Sep 1, 2007
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Transition is an issue for all firms. Its typical for mid and large scale firms to have senior technical staff who are responsible for the exterior closure. Exterior work in Revit is much more difficult than interior. Roof slopes, crickets, depressed slabs, and the nuances of exterior systems require more modeling expertise. Many of the older architects who specialize in this work will not be able to transition to modeling. Also, many project managers tend to ignore their responsibility of learning the program. Its frustrating when a project manager wants to produce code and exiting drawings in CAD because they have ignored the program through the SD and DD process. Now you have an exiting drawing in CAD that will not update with changes in the model.

This is also an issue when doing an integrated project with consultants working in Revit. Its great to have a structural model linked into your architectural model. But, when changes occur and your consultant only has a few people who can model, it causes innacuracies to remain in the model for extended periods. This is especially prevelent in section, when secondary framing and beams are not updated, the architect has to deal with it. Even firms who have years of experience in BIM have a shortage of modelers, and many engineers who still hand draw. This causes a bottleneck in the process.

Construction firm also have little experience with Revit. I have found that Constructor and Navisworks are more prevalent.

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Mon, Jan 19, 2009 at 1:46:03 PM | Should we buy Revit?



notagain Avatar

Joined: Wed, Jul 11, 2007
89 Posts
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If Revit didnt' float your might want to take a look at graphisoft's not bad...I have experience both of these slight different than the other...don't give up on's here to stay.....despite the E-turn will play a big part in our industry...


I really want this to work...some good things some bad

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