Thursday, December 8, 2011

December SFDD Meeting

Attendees: Bruce Madsen, Craig Goings, Victor Chu, Stan Stinnett, Marla Ushijima

We discussed issues related to detailing in Revit. Many senior staff members who generate details are AutoCAD-savvy but might not have the time or inclination to take on the steep learning curve of Revit. Linking AutoCAD details into Revit files is possible but unmanageable. The best practice is to create the detail in Revit. Creating standards and detail families, as well as recreating office standard details, is a significant time investment but critical for successful implementation. Once those pieces are in place, Revit is a powerful detailing tool.

Victor reports that BAR is newly committed to establishing Revit as their office standard, having abandoned ArchiCAD and transitioning out of AutoCAD. Currently 30% of the staff are working on five projects in Revit. Larger firms are mostly using Revit for all projects; smaller firms still range along the entire spectrum of BIM implementation.

We continued last month's discussion on cloud computing. Stan's opinion is that desktop Revit requires much more expensive hardware and crashes more often. It also can't open multiple models simultaneously - unless the machine is really souped-up - which is critical for his coordination process. Revit on Citrix can run multiple models (in separate sessions for linked models); and be used on lower-end machines, which means lower cost and/or lighter, more portable laptops with longer battery life. Stan also notes that he can work just as fast at home as at the office (given the impressive screen size he has at home). Citrix is dependent on a stable internet connection and sufficient bandwidth. If a wired or wifi connection is unavailable, 3G is an expensive option.

We also pondered the future of Revit. Autodesk is pushing cloud computing and its subscription strategy. Note that subscription pricing varies by reseller. Craig hopes to see improvements in the detailing process. We all expressed frustration that model files cannot be saved down for previous releases, meaning a whole team must work at the lowest common denominator - which is a significant issue for office family libraries. Improved portability of a model for both viewing and notation is also a big wish item. ADR is still primitive.

We mentioned a few industry-specific apps for smartphones and ipad (such as My Measures and Newforma Mobile). Given the upcoming gift season, we agreed to make mobile apps a topic for our January meeting.