Thursday, March 15, 2007

Autodesk Eliminates Product Confusion...

...While maintaining angst for some small firms and private practitioners.

Autodesk has announced that almost all of their products in the Building Solutions Division will share the same nomenclature - matching the commencement of thier fiscal year. This news is most exciting for Revit adopters ("Reviteers" as the case may be), in that the three discipline verticals - Building, Structure and Systems - will become Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP. All scheduled to be released in April 2007 will bear the fiscal year stamp of "2008;" thus avoiding the requisite version comparison tables to remind ourselves that RB 9.1 was compatible with RS 3 and RSys 1 - but only the last compatability build...

While the name change is comforting to the BIM Managers and Digital Design Specialists of the world, some private practitioners are still upset over the fact they must purchase 3 separate packages or verticals if they wish to perform Architecture and Engineering services. The cost of such a complete package is over $10,000 USD. I can only imagine that Autodesk would bundle the 3 verticals into something like "Revit Enterprise" and sell it for $12,000, but that would be missing the point. Much of the questioning throughout the user forums stems from various features or tools available in one vertical, but not the others. For example, if an Architect would like to model some ductwork - even if he or she is not the Mechanical Engineer of record - they must use Revit MEP. I'm not sure what the answer is to this (probably why I'm an Architect, not a software developer!), so I'd appreciate your commentary.

Finally, now that Autodesk is aligning their major BSD products for an annual spring release, how will this affect developers creating plug-ins or add-ons to Autodesk products? Autocad has a famously robust and well documented API, but the more complex connection to the Revit product line will most likely cause a surge of demand for companies such as Navisworks, Innovaya, Trelligence and US Cost to refine the code for their plug-ins and either release an update or a new version when the Autodesk 2008 product line hits the desktop.


  1. I'd imagine that they could create a "Revit Enterprise" or "Revit Total Building" (now that Building has changed to Architecture) package that would include all of the tools in the three current packages in one executable. Or maybe modules would work to be able to add the tools of one package to another. We would love that!

  2. I personally think that the maximum number of tools should be available / shared across all three packages, but modeling tools probably being most critical for example being able to model a duct as you suggest. Aside from multi-discipline applications, an architect can then model consultants input more accurately and usefully if the consultants aren't using Revit.

  3. I work for a GC, where we use both RB 9.1 and Building Systems. I do a lot of crossover work from architectural to MEP for coordination. I am using RB 9.1, our MEP Coordinator has the Systems. One work around for doing MEP in RB 9.1 is to get the needed family files from the MEP program. There is some minor modifications to the imported families, but you can maintain the objects properties. I have done this primarily with plumbing, so far. It works well enough to spot potential problems before hand.

  4. It seems to me that the modeling aspects should be in ALL products. I.e. an Architect should be able to MODEL a duct, and a Mechanical Engineer should be able to MODEL a beam, but only the ME, using Revit MEP, should be able to analyze a duct, size a system, etc. And only a Structural Engineer, using Revit Structure, should be able to analyze a beam. We should all have access to the spacial and graphic aspects, while only the appropriate verticals allow for added professional intelligence.
    And copy monitor should work such that the architect can place beams and ducts and such as "design ideas" in the Revit Architecture model, and the appropriate verticals can then analyze, size and reconfigure as needed to become an actual system, and that change comes back to the architect to then check against the original idea.
    This seems much more in line with the reality of our workflow.


  5. This is all great, but what I can't wrap my head around is the amount of time it will take until everyone is technically capable of participating in a BIM driven project.

    For example, what if your mechanical engineer who you've worked with for years isn't financially or logistically capable of embracing BIM? So you are forced to find a new ME based on whether they are BIM compatible. Using a consultant based on this criteria doesn't seem like the best way to choose your consultants.

    If you choose to work with a non BIM consultant, that means you must take on the extra work of converting their traditional design information into a BIM compatible format.

    It's already difficult enough to make sure your consultants have the correct version of autocad, let alone now another set of criteria to guide you in choosing who you work with.

  6. why can't you just create a "form" in revit and close your eyes and pretend that it is a duct shaft?

    let us not forget that Autodesk is not interested in making things easy for you LT subscribers, it is interested in SELLING PRODUCTS.

    The same reason why Adobe has 6 different products, but could probably if they really weanted to, create one "PhotoMASTERshop" that could do the job of all of them in one.

    Autodesk creates the need for you to buy all the products it puts out, how do you expect them to make money?

    Why isn't there a digital camera, phone, TV, audio recorder, all built into one? So that you buy all these items !!

    come on people, money rules & runs the world.

  7. Good for people to know.