Ultimate Revit Guide for Architects

What is Revit?

Revit is a design software under the software giant Autodesk. Like its sibling AutoCAD, Revit can create 3D models. However, unlike its more mainstream sibling, Revit’s 3D models focus on structural designs and detailing. This makes it a popular choice for professionals in the construction and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineering industries.

Revit is a BIM tool that focuses on the detail models for the design of structural materials, MEP fabrication, and to predict the feasibility of design to fabrication for concrete structures. Beau

Since it is under the umbrella of Autodesk’s software, Revit can be used alongside other BIM tools for architecture, engineering, and construction. 

The features of the latest Revit include PDF underlay support; analysis for how people move or navigate through spaces in the building; support for the drawing of advanced wall geometry such as elliptical wall designs; enhanced multi-rebar annotation; steel connection features; and improvements on electrical homerun wiring improvements, among others.

Why architects love to use Revit

Revit has features for professionals in the construction industry: architects, structural engineers, and construction and ME engineers. Because of its versatility, Revit is excellent for syncing with other teams in a single construction project. This allows easier communication of ideas and design work, making work more efficient and productive.

Architectural design tools found in this software include conceptual design tools, architectural modeling, 3D design visualization, analysis with Insight, point cloud tools, multistory stairs, and cloud rendering to produce photorealistic outputs. In addition, Revit allows plug-in and/or add-ons, which is perfect for architects who need multiple software for their work set-up.

Architects love Revit as it allows them to render their output without large or fancy computer hardware. Revit can be used depending on the user’s needs and resources, making it a great investment for those who are planning to get into the industry. Users can ‘grow’ with the software by updating their system requirements as needed, making it a cost-effective way to make the most out of the program and provide satisfactory outputs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is Revit for me?

Most Revit users are often those migrating from AutoCAD, or are at least deciding to either specialize in Revit or AutoCAD. To know if Revit is for you, you must assess what are your career plans and features. If you want to stick purely to 2D and 3D model drawing and rendering, you may not need Revit. However, if you are looking into a career for building information modeling (BIM), Revit is something you should consider. Revit has essential BIM features to relate the different disciplines required for construction (e.g., structural design, plumbing and electrical design). There may be a learning curve, but once you’re past that, Revit is an efficient way to go around large projects requiring interdisciplinary teams.

Q: Are Revit and BIM the same?

A good analogy for this is painting and a paint brush. Painting is a process where you can use different liquid media to produce a picture. A paint brush is a tool one uses to make this process possible. This can be said for BIM and Revit: BIM is ‘painting’ while Revit is the ‘paint brush’.

BIM stands for building information modeling. This is a type of building process which focuses on planning, design, construction, and management of buildings and infrastructure. This is a 3D model process, and will require different tools to help create the 3D model.

Revit is not a process. Revit is a tool that has BIM features to create BIM models.

Q: What is BIM?

BIM is a 3D model-based process. This process focuses on the creation of an intelligent 3D model, and allows document management, coordination, and simulation of an entire lifecycle of a structural project.The entire lifecycle of a project is in five to six stages: plan, design, build, operation, maintenance, and (if applicable) demolition.

The models produced by BIM are called intelligent 3D models as every building detail is modeled. These building details do not only refer to the architectural design of the building; it encompasses the structural integrity, plumbing and electrical design, and other related design options. This model is used primarily for simulations and visualizations for stakersholders. If a model is approved, it is used to generate a respective design documentation for construction to begin.

Q: What are the differences between Autodesk Revit Architecture, Revit MEP, and Revit Structure?

Revit Architecture, MEP, and Structure all have the same base program: Revit. The main difference is what the supplementary features of each software will contain.

Autodesk Revit Architecture, like its name implies, focuses on architectural modeling. This version has architectural & curtain walls, floors, roofs, ceilings, and column design options. This pack also has features for modeling for rooms, site designs, stairs, ramps, railings. Its tools contain Sketch, Anti-aliasing, Construction, Modeling, and Parts & Assemblies.

Revit MEP—which stands for Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing—has features for MEP contractors and design firms. This version of Revit has features supporting HVAC Duct, piping, plumbing , power & lighting systems.

 Revit Structure focuses on the structural integrity design of the building. Features in this version are structural walls, columns, floor slab, foundation, beams, braces, slanted columns, trusses, and reinforcement.

Q: I am in a small firm. Can I use Revit or the BIM process? 

Because BIM is an interdisciplinary process, the biggest assumption most people have is that it is an expensive process to operate and maintain for building design. Because of the impression that it is costly, smaller firms are often discouraged from implementing it.

However, the return of investment (ROI) BIM brings is often not taken into consideration by smaller firms. Because BIM focuses on each aspect of the building design to work interdependently, design decisions and analyses are more efficient. Programs like Revit, which have BIM features, allow seamless connection of one area to another—minimizing revisions on architectural design when it fails structural integrity tests, or improving MEP when changes are needed on the spot. 

BIM software like Revit can be costly. But because of the efficiency of BIM, there is considerably less time consumed on revisions and unnecessary meetings. This generates faster drawing outputs, and allows you to be competitive with cost and design quality. 

In addition, just because it’s BIM it doesn’t have to be Revit. The idea of BIM is that the contributory disciplines in the construction process create their models in their respective software, then combine them into a single appropriate format. This may seem more cost-effective, but the costs in purchasing different software for each discipline, and the time lost in syncing and formatting one format to another may be something to look into. As Revit has all the features needed in BIM, employing a single software will make the process much smoother.

Overall, small firms considering Revit or BIM must weigh in the capital costs of BIM and its benefits, and see if it is something that is applicable to their current situation and needs.


Want to do more with Revit? Check out our additional Revit Resources.

Top Websites for Revit Tutorials

Top Revit Plug-ins and Add-ons