Revit: No Place for Amateurs
Let us look at the typical building information modeling services firm and how things are done. Typically, a CAD manager is hired to create all of the CAD standards that will be used in the firm. He or she will be given the design from the designer and create a “working” file to eventually be used in a set of construction documents or plans.
As they get busy so they will hire other CAD personnel at a lower rate of pay and count on the CAD manager to keep up on the Quality Control. He or she does their best but they are only as good as the team they have created. Designs are like moving targets. As soon as you get your sights on them, they move again. They are ever evolving. They always are changing. Even as the project moves forward, they still change making it sometimes impossible to accurately track. Sometimes questions are asked by the wrong person, about the wrong subject, to the wrong person making the delays in the process even longer.
Ever seen a design go out for construction that was not buildable? Me too. The consequence is a furious owner who has to pay more and a contractor who has to make it up by squeezing the subs. This is what happens when software trumps field experience.
Now it is time to build. I am the contractor and I do not know BIM. What do I do? Many contractors will allow one of the subs to draw the building structure (typically the Mechanical contractor) and coordinate around that. You agree to pay those more and have them lead the coordination process for you. Next comes a plumber who has learned how to draw the building’s steel, only to find a disclaimer stating this was not created by a structural engineer and is for reference only. Sound scary? It should. We are back to having the wrong person doing the work again.
Let us get past that, now it is time to coordinate the trades. So the sub who has the most interest in the process (typically mechanical has ductwork, mechanical piping, controls, plumbing, and waste) is put in charge of the process. Makes sense right? In 7 years of working in the coordination business I will not tell you how many times I have seen things added to a set of signed off coordination drawings that the non-mechanical trades were not aware of.
What is the solution? During design have an experienced team who are field savvy... people who know when a square peg does not fit into a round hole even though the program will allow it. Is it cost effective to redesign the model and re-draw the plans as much as a year later with possibly new personnel? Wouldn’t it make sense to hire experience in the first place and have fewer problems? Look for an experienced dependable team and collaborate with them. Redesigns waste money.
During construction, you will have an accurate construction project rendering to build off of. Allowing one trade to have control of the process can lead to litigation or damages later. Hiring an outside bulldog agency that knows construction and is qualified in all aspects of construction to build, supervise, coordinate, and manage the model saves money. Let the plumber do plumbing. An experienced coordination company with Revit experience will have no vested interest in the project except the successful completion of an on time, on budget project. In the long run, you get a better product, a better project, and a happy owner.