By Henry Coombs
There are a number of different BIM workflows and technologies that can help us collaborate better. Here I would like to look at how we can improve the process of the design team working together in Revit, and sharing models with the wider team for review. If you are working on a BIM project the likelihood is that design teams are working in Revit on a central model, then sharing that model with the wider team using something like Navisworks, which, don’t get me wrong is great, but there is room for improvement.
By introducing Autodesk’s cloud solutions, we can speed up the way we work and communicate with each other as well as streamline the way that we share models with the wider project team. The two technologies we would use to do this are Autodesk’s ‘BIM360 Team’ and ‘Collaboration for Revit’ which in conjunction with each other are fantastic.
BIM 360 Team is a cloud-based application where project information can be stored, reviewed, marked up and commented on. It uses the ‘Large model viewer’ which has the ability to view over 100 file formats including; .RVT, .PDF, .DWG, MS Office and more. For example, we can upload a Revit file to BIM360 Team and then view the file in the web browser, meaning you don’t need Revit to view the file or go through another application like Navisworks. Since all project members have access to BIM360 Team in the cloud, they can begin to navigate around the model, markup and comment in real time with each other. There are some other cool features such as a Skype style instant messenger, meaning we can have conversations in real time. We can upload new versions of file and track revisions and even compare them. We can also review the model and information on mobile devices such as iPads.
With BIM360 Team, you get a single environment for information and communication on the project, resulting in significantly reduced numbers of sent and received emails, and no more marking up drawings/taking screen shots and sending them via email. As everything is in the cloud you can easily go back to it at a later date, without having to go through emails/document management systems.
Collaboration for Revit is designed for working in a central model environment in the cloud, rather than on your server in your office. It uses BIM360 Team to store the central model of which all Revit users can work on simultaneously. Revit users can be in the same office, alternative offices or anywhere for that matter, with no need for a VPN connection into their office, which can sometimes be troublesome. It is no different for the Revit user in terms of usability, there is nothing new to learn in terms of syncing with central, creating worksets etc so the transition is easy. The central model is just being stored in BIM360 Team, rather than on your server. The benefit here is that there is no requirement for any physical hardware, all of the data is stored on BIM360 Team in the cloud. Since the data is stored in the cloud, this then means that the whole project team has access to the central model and can review and discuss from within BIM360 Team in real time (as long as they have the correct permissions of course!). We have essentially created a live model in the cloud that all project members can review and discuss in a single environment.
So working in this way really can streamline an already efficient BIM process by taking out some of the leg work involved in sharing information and managing changes and comments. Not to mention we can significantly reduce the need for expensive hardware such as servers and PCs.
I recently delivered a webinar on BIM360 Team and Collaboration for Revit and have uploaded the recording to our website which you can watch here:
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