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The Future of Design Master and Revit

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Time and again, a simple support call from a customer ends with the question, “By the way, are you doing anything with Revit? I’m getting a lot of pressure from my architects to start using it.” It used to be a monthly question, but now we are asked this a few times a week. We know that our answer to this question is becoming more and more of a concern for our customers. Let me share with you what we are doing to allow you to continue to use Design Master and keep your Revit-using architects happy.

Most of our customers are getting pressure from at least one architect to use Revit MEP. This creates a conflict: you don’t want to use Revit MEP and you don’t want to lose any clients. The next version of our software will solve this dilemma for you. It will support collision detection (3D-BIM) between Design Master and Revit. Our goal is to offer the industry a better alternative for 3D-BIM design than Revit MEP.

When your architect asks you to work in Revit MEP, what he means is, “I want to coordinate my 3D model with yours.” He doesn’t know that, because the Autodesk reseller told him his MEP subs need to use Revit MEP. Your architect wants 3D coordination. Autodesk and the reseller want you to buy Revit MEP.

Fortunately, 3D coordination does not depend upon you purchasing Revit MEP. With the next release of Design Master, you will be able to handle any project that requires 3D-BIM. You can keep using Design Master and you don’t have to switch to Revit MEP.

Here is how the process will work:

  • Use Design Master in AutoCAD: You continue to use Design Master and continue to work in AutoCAD. Your design process will be the same as before, with the added step of specifying the elevation for your devices. When your project does not require 3D-BIM, you can ignore the elevation setting and not be burdened by the 3D model.
  • Export an IFC File: The 3D model you create can be exported to an Industry Foundation Class (IFC) file. The IFC file format was developed by buildingSMART, a non-profit industry group, to be an open standard for sharing information between different BIM software packages.
  • Check for Collisions: You share your IFC file with the architect. They can import the file into Revit, Naviswork, Sketchup, or whatever program is being used for 3D coordination.
  • Resolve Conflicts: This last step is one that might never be automated. Once conflicts are found, you and the other designers will have to work together to find solutions. Done right, it is possible to reduce the minimum ceiling space in a hotel bathroom from 10 inches to 6 inches.

This workflow allows you to keep using Design Master when working with your architect in 3D. If you want to be on the list of beta testers for this upcoming release, send us an email. We hope to have the beta version available in the next month or so.