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Forums >> General Discussion >> Revit Project Management >> So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office

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Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 6:06:34 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office




Joined: Tue, Sep 18, 2007
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hey there-

Does anyone have any insight in how to convince the higher ups in my office to persevere and keep things in Revit, not just bowing to their perception of how much faster AutoCAD is (for anything).  I am old enough to remember the exact same words coming out of higher ups mouths 25 years ago when the first transitions to computers were being made from hand drawing.  I have a reference set of a million s.f. 45 story building in Chicago where the "repetetive elements" like the floor plans and overall building sections, were done on the computer.  ALL the details and blow up plans for this building were hand drawn because "It is so much more efficient than using the computer."  It took me years to believe drawing any detail on the computer was more time effective than AutoCAD (or any of the myriad other programs I used).


 I know, and told them, that no matter how much they say the plan is done and they pull out the interior elevation sheets and RCP into AutoCAD, I will spend the  last three weeks of the project "painting the golden gate bridge" .  I get to one end of the interior elevations, only to go back to the first elevation on the first sheet and make sure it is coordinated with all the changes that have been made to the walls, ceiling, etc.  It fell upon deaf ears and was greeted with bemused smiles by people who are about as able in Revit as I am at flying the space shuttle.

One of the associates making the pronouncement said, "It is much easier to add a box-box-file cabinet in AutoCAD than it is to do it in Revit."  I corrected him and said, "It is much easier and faster for YOU.  For me, hands down, I can make changes faster in Revit."

So, now that I've ranted, does anyone have any valid discussion points to try and pursuade these guys to hang tough and stick it out with Revit.  I kind of feel like this is Revit's last stand in our office.  Sigh.  It's amazing to me these guys aren't still drawing on waxed linen with ruling pens. . .


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Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 6:17:54 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office



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Sorry ... the old saying " You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink" is applicable here.  That's OK by me and many others.  Those that don't convert will continue to fall behind (and they are already way behind).


The only way to change this attitude is by experience.  Good luck.

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Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 6:23:08 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office




Joined: Tue, Apr 28, 2009
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Remove AutoCAD from their computers and make sure they get trained.  I'm sure there are a lot of unemployed REVIT users that would sure like to have their job.

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Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 6:25:37 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office




Joined: Tue, Sep 18, 2007
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Thanks, WW. 

Judging from something else by you I read, you are an experienced architect (I think you said you were 60+) and a sage as well.  I really do learn a lot from your posts.  I am too old to be a hot headed youngin' but sometimes I feel like it when people refuse to see where the future is heading.  It really is like watching the good architects I knew shrivel into husks of architects when they refused to learn anything on the computer and remained steadfast in thinking it was just a fad and eventually everyone would return to hand drawing.  Not staying current is the fastest and surest way I know to kill your architect's soul.  Your ideas will never be fully expressed if you can't communicate them in the current mode.  Sigh.

Thanks again!


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Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 6:26:13 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office



mbsteve Avatar

Joined: Fri, Sep 22, 2006
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As one who started drawing with pencil, and vellum, and slide rules. I will comment on the necessity for an office to improve its standards and to adjust to the times. While they are having difficulty making the jump from ACad to Revit, I will presume that they are only using 2D Acad which was the practice in my office. I have used beam compass, and ink on linen. During my transition to ACAD and the next transition to Revit I was frustrated with the amount of time needed to do certain tasks that I was able to do in the old way much faster. However, I am using revit now for 3 years, I would not go back. You may want to bring to their attention the simple fact that details created revit from the model, will be much more correct and that all the sheet references will be correct. This can take several days to get correct on a small project let alone a large one. Also the fact that you are making a model as opposed to imagining the model in your mind. Often the model imagined is not quite like the real model will turn out.

Steve Carnes, PE

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Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 12:28:37 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office



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coreed Avatar

Joined: Fri, Feb 10, 2006
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that's why i always say "Revit has to be implemented, Not installed". it will take time. Good Luck

Edited on: Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 6:29:12 AM


best regards,



"Revit has to be implemented, Not installed." 

Long Live Revit

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Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 4:28:36 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office




Joined: Sat, Mar 28, 2009
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 I can totaly understand how you feel. I went through the same thing at my last job. Unfortunatly the higher ups thought so much of Revit and my efforts to implement it there that I was laid-off and the transition was shelved entierly.  The powers that be have to buy into the thransition or it will never happen. If they can't or won't buy into it, the transition is doomed. The best you can do is to try to stay sharp in revit. As the economy inproves, maybe, look to take you skills elseware. There will be firms looking for people who know Revit in the next few years.  You can also try to do some smaller jobs in Revit and build a better argument in which you show them the production benifits of revit, over time. Your position is difficult, but be assured, at some time in the future, they'll be forced to move to Revit or be left behind. The transition to CAD took time. The transition to a BIM work flow will too.

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Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 10:03:59 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office



brettgoodchild Avatar

Joined: Sat, Feb 4, 2006
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In all honesty, I think one of the reasons so many firms either fail at or never attempt to change to a new BIM software is because they do not fully understand what it is that they are actually taking on.

In my opinion, I feel the application(s) of choice are not really what the argument should be based on. Revit may be faster in many ways than CAD but that is such a near sighted argument that it really isn't worth having. Really, the speed of the software will have such a small affect on budget where as improvements to drawing quality (NOT graphical) can reduce RFI's, increase coordination and allow the inclusion if extractable data that can be used downstream for AM, FM and O&M...where the cost saving are huge for us and the owner.

To make a successful transition, everyone (management and the end-users) must have a thorough understanding of what BIM is, NOT the applications that will help achieve BIM. This will also help limit the amout of "road-blocks" from inhibiting an implementation as end-user and management will understand why the transition to BIM is occurring rather than just forcing people to switch and say '...because it's faster..." because again, in some cases it is, but it takes time to get there. End-users will be more inclined to accept a steep learning curve and management will be more willing to accept some profit loss if they understand the huge long term gains.

BIM is not CAD, it is a huge paradigm shift and undertaking and if we don't understand what it is and the benefits then how can we achieve it?


I would focus on an educational course for the management that breaks down BIM and the possibilities and then explain how a BIM models LOD and IDP can HELP achieve BIM.

A worthy note here would be that many owners are not only asking for BIM, but asking for a firms BIM portfolio...looking for BIM washers.

Our clients are becoming more educated about BIM than we are and if that remains...they will be many firms left asking " do we respond to this RFP?" way to late in the game and get left behind.

However, even with education, some firms may still resist and never transition...a shame that it is but that is their choice. As mentioned in previous posts, if the company doesn't want to, there are many looking for good Revit users.

Edited on: Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 4:11:08 PM


"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. "
                             ~ Abraham Lincoln

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Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 11:45:33 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office




Joined: Mon, Aug 27, 2007
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I implemented Revit in our architectural office. The principals in my office are also "old school" and do not possess the skill-set to draw on a computer. The "hand drafters" felt even further removed from the projects that were beginning to be created in Revit. They watched nervously while production time increased and profit decreased during the conversion and really began to question if the effort was worth it. They invested in Revit on the idea that it was the future and they could use the 3D renderings for marketing. They focused on Revit as if it just a 3D program and not necessarily a production tool. They did not focus on the fact that AutoCAD is a drafting program while Revit is a parametric graphical database. To be honest, they really didn't care how the drawings where made as long as the process was economical and accurate.

The new Revit trainees would lament because the new program didn't have the advantage of 20 years of CAD blocks and Details to quickly insert into their drawings. Also the implementation levels the playing field for drafters....that can be a tough pill to swallow for seasoned AutoCAD users who are now grouped with young new Revit trainees. They may harbor a desire for Revit to fail.

I don't know if you are the one in charge of implementation, but whoever is needs to develop two key allies in the company. One would be the higher up that either suggested Revit or authorized it's purchase. The other would be the most willing and skilled AutoCAD drafter. Using these key people, regular Revit meetings (once a week over lunch for us) should start occurring for the production staff. The topics should be simple and focus on the productivity areas....Library of Families, AutoCAD details conversion to Revit, etc. The idea of these meetings is to have the production staff begin developing skill-sets that make them look good. Most drafters aim to please and want to look good. I know it's tempting to talk about standards or the high-end features of Revit, but stick to what helps them get their job done. I would encourage as much participation from the staff as possible. The atmosphere of the meetings should feel like a team building project as opposed to a teacher/classroom scenario. Encourage open and frank discussions about the things that frustrate or things they like about the program. Never defend Revit, let them discover for themselves the benefits of the program.

As the meetings progress and a following for Revit has occurred with the production staff, then a meeting (once a month for us)with the production staff and as many higher ups as possible should have a Revit meeting. However, the focus should not be about commands or technical information. The higher ups don't care and it will bore them to tears. The focus should be on productivity and work flow. The topics should highlight the things that AutoCAD cannot do, but Revit can do easily....i.e.: sheet reordering, last minute design changes that effect multiple sheets and views, instant additional sections elevations, ect... In this meeting it is important for the higher ups to see for themselves. Have a person demonstrate these features on the computer for them. The idea for this meeting is for them to see the return on their investment as well their own staff using it. Furthermore, use Revit in any way you can think of that would make the higher ups job easier or make them look good...i.e.: quick renderings for them to hand out to clients, massing studies, quick elevations, sections, quantity take-offs, etc.

Since your higher ups do not know how to use the program they may feel disconnected from their own projects. It is imperative that they should not feel this way. If they are willing, teach them basic navigation skills or provide viewers, or pdf.

In one of the higher ups meetings I would show them a side by side demonstration of AutoCAD versus Revit. Have a random simple floor plan drawn in front of them, one AutoCAD and one Revit. Make it a timed event and have both users continue to work the entire time. At the end, let the data do the talking. When they see that the Revit user has not only done the floor plan but the elevations, ceiling plan, roof plan, preliminary sections, etc......the perception of AutoCAD being faster will fade.

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Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 7:40:42 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office




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My dilema is opposite. We have backing from the higher ups, but the day to day drafters are bucking the system. I personally like the comment "Remove AutoCAD from their computers and make sure they get trained.  I'm sure there are a lot of unemployed REVIT users that would sure like to have their job." 

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Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 8:07:03 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office



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You have to be wary of hard core CAD users.  Rather intentional or not, they can really screw up a Revit project using CAD solutions rathere than Revit.


I just finished working on a project where there were so many masking regions that I couldn't find the model elements.  Masking regions on top of masking regions on top of detail elements..... 

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Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 8:48:17 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office



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It took some firings and new hires in my office before change occurred.  Several medium-sized projects were aborted by people with cold feet, and a few people who didn't want to become obsolete fought very hard to keep autocad the design tool for eternity.


I actually think that the largest impetus for change was the last big autocad project we did, which was a disaster.  Many of revit's easiest-to-grasp promises appeal to the perspective of a managing architect... smartly updating callouts, the ability to shift walls in the model late in the game and not have to comb through the set to change all applicable views...


So, know who you're trying to sell the changes on.   Even if it's not faster at first for the drafters to put together a set, play up the fact that the ability to see structural and mechanical models weaving through chases and soffits in 3d BEFORE construction starts will result in a much cleaner set, far fewer change orders, etc.   That autocad project I mentioned?  We had some things that were left... not... understood.   Like two massive tapering columns spanning 3 floors, for example.  In revit, you couldn't HELP seeing that things weren't properly aligning.   Catching errors isn't done with massive brainpower and unparalleled spatial reasoning, it just takes eyeballs.


Selling the drafters will be more difficult.  You're basically telling them that all their current skills are worthless, and that hurts.  Tell them that there's a 30 day no-strings-attached trial period for revit, and it's free to download from autodesk's website.  So they can play with it at home.   They'll find out in a less pressured environment that it's more powerful than autocad, and frankly--fun. 


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Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 9:05:27 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office



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oh man its painful to see peoples problems with other peoples CAD bad habits. I work in Las Vegas in the casino/hotel/entertainment industry and it is suprising to see how old school everyone here is. I guess the best news on the horizon is the fact that many owners are starting to adopt BIM workflows and making them a requirement for their projects. I think a combination of facilities management, LEED certs and contractors leveraging the technology is really going to dictate how fast it becomes an industry requirement. There are people in my office who are very old school and reluctant to change, having implemented Revit in 7 companies now I just don't see autocad users as being competitors in our quickly evolving world.

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Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 9:23:45 PM | itsmyalterego




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Quoting itsmyalterego from 2011-09-21 15:48:17


You're basically telling them that all their current skills are worthless, and that hurts.



I'm not sure I'd go that far. Yes, much of the ACAD knowledge can and should be trashed, but the core concepts of drafting remain the same. A good ACAD draftsman shouldn't have much trouble becoming a good Revit modeler.

Something that I have seen and has piqued my interest is how well Revit separates draftsmen from button pushers. I have seen a few people who are great ACAD operators who just cannot make the leap from ACAD to Revit. The more I look into the issue the more I find that they aren't very good drafters to begin with, but they picked up ACAD's commands fairly well. A good indication of how well someone will pick up Revit is how well they put together an ACAD drawing. If it looks good on paper but is a royal pain to actually use (lots of lines instead of plines, exploded blocks as far as the eye can see) there is an excellent chance that they aren't going to make the change very well. I would say that they aren't draftsmen, they are simply operators with the ability to push buttons. The end result looks ok on paper, but they have no real idea how a drawing should be put together.

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Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 4:14:27 PM | So Frustrated with WEAKNESS in my office




Joined: Mon, Jan 17, 2011
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Oh yay... to the last comment! I agree! 

Showing the dudes the shortcuts Revit enables over AutoCAD as well as the use of renderings is what is convincing the guys I'm with.  CryingSince we're into just residential housing, clients are always changing their minds about what they want, so having this program that can allow fast changes is just the ticket....)

Now, I'm trying to convince the power that is that using schedules for windows & doors in a project is REALLY GOOD! Just by showing notation errors that get missed with a last minute hurried change, and then how those errors can be averted by using a simple tool within the program, has likely done the trick! The site super & new service dude love the idea.... The young boss is harder to convince (a young guy with old school thinking?)

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