Beyond Autodesk

By Pawel Gotlib, BIM Manager

It is hard to imagine a modern MEP consultancy without a thorough knowledge of Autodesk products. In the last decade, Revit has become the #1 BIM tool for the AEC industry, with AutoCAD sliding to more of a sidekick, but still important role. Both Revit and AutoCAD are thoughtful, robust packages that continue to redefine the design process all over the world. That being said, there are tools being developed outside of Autodesk that greatly enhance what are already fantastic products. At MEYERS+, we research them continuously. Below are those that we find most impactful.

Revit add-in RushForth Tools is fired up every time there is a need for batch processing parameters in Revit. We also use it for creating and managing sheets and views, assigning revisions to sheets, importing Excel spreadsheets to Revit, and creating 3D sections and spaces.

Every Revit model we receive from our collaborators is trimmed down before we incorporate it into our set. The goal here is to make sure our Revit user experience is as smooth as possible. We are often able to decrease the size of these models by half or more, removing tens of thousands of excessive elements, including unused views. This can be accomplished either manually by handpicking elements in Revit's project browser or by using an add-in called KiwiTools, which reduces the process to only a few clicks. KiwiTools is there if one needs to investigate where certain elements (filters, view templates, revision clouds, etc.) are being used, adjust print sets based on assigned revisions, and more - it contains 100+ other features.

At MEYERS+, every AutoCAD user has more than 100 custom commands available to use. Some of them are written in-house while some are found on AutoCAD-related forums or blogs. It usually starts with a task that requires a lot of manual labor to be accomplished. Before we dive into it, we ask ourselves a number of questions: Can we automate it? How much of it is repetitive? What are the chances we run into it again? It often takes time to come up with a solution, document it, and implement it across our users. Is it worth it? Despite AutoCAD's diminishing role in our industry, it is still important to our workflows, and our answer is often "Yes!".

It is difficult to overemphasize how much faster, more efficient, and more accurate one becomes once familiar with these add-ins and routines. What is not to be forgotten is the necessity of making sure users are aware of them and understand the benefits. Tools we possess gain value with every implementation, while even the most sophisticated solutions are worthless if not used. Because of this, we keep all of our add-ins and routines listed in our knowledge base, which is easily accessible to every employee. We also closely observe how our team uses Revit and AutoCAD on a daily basis, and take opportunities to suggest helpful, outside the box solutions. At MEYERS+, we not only ask how one can deliver a good set on time with Revit and AutoCAD, but what other programs and add-ons can produce an even more efficient deliverable?

At the end of 2018, MEYERS+ BIM Group was involved in more than 50 projects. We are very serious about the quality of work we provide, and make it possible by combining the power of Revit and AutoCAD with additional solutions outside of Autodesk offerings.

We go beyond, because it pays off for everyone.