I’m often asked to outline definitive steps for a team to setup a new Revit project. If you review a typical Revit manual or handbook, the process seems pretty straight-forward:
- Start a New Project – Select a Template
- Setup Levels
- Model near the template’s center
Now, in an isolated design model world, this really IS enough information to get going. However, in the real world of architectural design, this is rarely ever the way to go. What really needs to happen can’t be outlined step-by-step, because there are too many variables that need to be considered, which can redefine the specific steps significantly. What CAN be outlined, however, is my suggestions for the assessment process:
- Define the design team as much as feasible. Know what software they will be using, and what format their deliverables will be, and what they need to get from your team.
- Catalog the key resource documents. Is there a survey available? Are there existing building documents? What are their formats? Will the proposed design documents need to ‘marry’ back to these resources?
- Define – really define! – what deliverables are expected from YOUR team. Handing over the model is QUITE different from providing CDs and CA services. This includes having a concept of what is critical to model in 3D, and what isn’t, and how to make those decisions.
- Know who will be using your model as the basis of their own discipline’s design work. Establish a ‘chain of order’ of who will begin modeling first and subsequently.
- Be realistic about the project size. Plan ahead for needs to divide up a large program model to manage file size and workflow. Assess your design team to setup logical divisions of work. This is truly a critical aspect for successful project processes!
- Establish a team lead for model maintenance. This includes managing model exchanges, model maintenance, model coordination review. This does require a process which increases in complexity very quickly, and a person to see that iterative process through.
- Know which team members WON’T be modeling. Know if they will be contributing to or reviewing the design in the model environment, or if export processes need to be used throughout the design progression. Plan for specific, repeatable methods. This is key for efficiency, and to gain confidence in modeling as a design process.
- Establish internal goals for both the project and your firm’s overall BIM initiative. Set aside time/budget to measure, assess and adjust as necessary. Just as a design never progresses in a perfect linear progression, neither does the modeling process. Allow for adaptability.
And my final and most adamant piece of advice: Don’t over-commit what you will deliver with a 3D model. Know what aspects take on the highest priority per the project needs and client desires, and set expectations accordingly.
Clearly, there are many considerations, and each project will be different. Plan ahead, and be diligent in maintaining processes, and keep the Big Picture – your specific project goals – in mind!