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Implementing Revit - do I need a consultant / general advice

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    Implementing Revit - do I need a consultant / general advice


    I work for a small (c.45) person architecture firm that will shortly be implementing Revit for an initial pilot project. Some of the team (maybe five of them) have used Revit before, but only one or two are very confident with it.

    I know that we'll need some intensive training and I expect we'll hire a BIM manager in the medium-term, but for now, how important is it that we get a consultant in to advise on how we set up our standards, workflows etc.?

    Any other advice on what we need to consider would be very helpful.

    Thank you!

    First off, welcome to the forum! :thumbsup:

    Personally, despite knowing a few, I'm a little sceptical of BIM Consultants. Bringing one in for a particularly project (bigger/more-complex/esoteric workflows) has clear benefits, and as a 'pre-sounder' for firms, sure.

    But it would appear you (or at least your firm) have already skipped the first part of the SWOT, by already electing to opt for Revit, (how was that decision made might I ask?) - which in itself channels you from the get go, so you're (already) not looking for a BIM Consultant, but a Revit-bias-BIM-Consultant (some, including me, might shout "semantics!" at this point, but its still worth noting).

    At that/this point; what might you get from said (external) consultant? Well that depends. You could get an email with some links to read, or perhaps even the same bundled up into a jazzy report (my cynicism)... essentially nothing you couldn't source yourself without some footwork. Likewise, you could end up being gifted a pre-made .rte (Revit Project Template), but that's going to be base-generic, and hardly "aligned to your firm"... if the latter is on offer, I'd be impressed if such a token was not priced accordingly - that might put your higher-ups right off. Of course there's multitudes of 'SLA' from consultancy, some outfits provide rolling-services, going much further than the "smash & grab" lot - but I still, being of the in-office sort, question how the day-to-day can really ever be truly supported with such a service agreement.

    You say you expect to hire a BIM Manager in the 'medium-term'. Aside from me needing to clarify what 'medium-term' (in your mind) means, you/your firm need to ask yourself what happens if (when said BIM Manager arrives) they don't understand - or even worse agree with - said gifted template? Money, time and understanding all goes out the window.

    When you say "one or two are very confident with it", can their confidence be measured? Are they confident they can setup a project, accounting and accomodating the work of others (that is, others of the 'other consultant' kind)? Would they be able to makeshift a template in lieu of a BIM Manager? The most pointed question I guess would be, "Do you actually have any work demanding Revit be rolled out?" as a succesful (Revit) implementation demands key driving influences - and that's kinda the big one.

    It's a shameless plug, (from which I don't actually proffer) but this forum is an essential tool - for sure, an online forum can't quite match the tactility of an on-hand BIM Manager (slash/ Consultant), but conversely, does offer the myriad experiences of many debating on some of the more intricacies of making Revit really work (for you/your firm) - where a singular consultant will, unquestionably, be guided by their own (singular) experiences. Even if it's a team, and not a person, the same is true - and worse, there could be an agenda (more unregulated cynicism I know!)

    But we haven't even got into the meat of your OP... you mention a pilot...

    What type of work?
    What scale of work?
    What region of work?
    What other (software) platforms do you use?
    Are your clients demanding BIM?
    Are your consultants working with Revit?
    Does your office have, and does it use, standards/protocols?


      (Full disclosure: My company IS a Practice Technology Implementation Consultancy. Wanted to get that out of the way so everything is fully transparent).

      Allow me to make one simple recommendation, REGARDLESS of if your company decides to bring on a 3rd party consultant or not:

      If you have *one or two* who are "confident in Revit," there is a decent amount of work to be done BEFORE doing a Pilot Project. Bear with me, and ill explain why that is the case:

      It made sense for firms (10 years ago) to do "Pilot Projects" to ascertain "is there really a benefit to this new thing, this new undertaking? Is this really something we want to get in to as a company? Will this make our work better?" But here is the problem with jumping in for a Pilot Project:

      The intent was (or should have been) that the ONE Pilot Project is done, so people can reflect and take lessons away from it. After the Pilot Project? Everything stops. Then real implementation starts, and then at some point in the future, production work starts in the new toolset.

      For whatever reason, it doesnt go that way in A/E firms. Pilot projects kick off (with no standards, no implementation thought, no anything), and its not REALLY a Pilot Project, its just "project one" in our new set of tools. The drawings end up sloppy, the lineweights end up terrible. The graphical standards dont match anything else, and guess what happens when Project One is done? Project Two starts, because the team is suddenly available and "weve done that before."

      Having said that, my advice would be: If they are available, have management sit with them and come up with a list of things you think you might need to procure (in house or otherwise) prior to DOING a project: Depending on the types of building typologies you work on (or are considering for the 'pilot') content may or may not be an issue. Little things though, like: Wall Types (does your firm have standard partition types? Are those details drawn somewhere, or are they planning the ghetto-convert-from-CAD-in-the-11th-hour)? Have you compared your typical door schedule to a Revit door schedule? Lineweights and/or symbols used in drawings? What shows in each drawing in your company standards, and is the team planning on doing all of that as they work?

      Snowy is right: Materials built specifically for your company WILL be expensive, and doing them in-house is always an option (and a good one, if the folks that are confident in house actually know what they are doing). He is also right that buying SOME materials from consultants is only partially beneficial, since it needs to get converted to your offices standards regardless. But my PERSONAL advice is that the "Pilot Project" methodology is flawed: People dont end up with Lessons Learned, they end up with "Lessons Perceived." Things like "This part is really hard in Revit. Lets fake that." (Is it hard, or do they not know how to do it?)." A LOT of that happens when firms try to *learn by just jumping in."

      I dont think a firm necessarily needs outside help, to be successful. But i think there is a lot of work to be done, before the platform is "ready to deliver quality work." Thats just my two cents, however.

      And yes: I would stay logged in to this forum on one of your monitors, all day, for the near future. LOTS of information here. Good luck with the transition!
      Aaron "selfish AND petulant" Maller |P A R A L L A X T E A M | Practice Technology Implementation
      @Web | @Twitter | @LinkedIn | @Email


        Thank you both for the quick but detailed responses.

        The questions you ask (as they are clearly the questions we need to be asking) are particularly useful.

        To answer some of them immediately:

        How was the decision made? - I was not in the company when it was made (I only joined very recently), but having discussed it with the teams, the key reasons are:

        A) Moving to using BIM in general would be an enormous time-saver (in the long-term) in terms of managing all floor plans for a project, making changes to plans, keeping all information about a building in one place etc.

        B) Revit is the industry standard. Using it will help attract and retain talent.

        C) The client for this pilot project is expecting us to work on Revit.

        D) Revit is used by the engineers we work with on projects.

        Do you have any work demanding Revit? - yes, per the above, the client is expecting this. Twiceroadsfool, I completely agree on the prep, but unfortunately this project will be starting within the next month (maybe the next 2-3 weeks) and so we don't have the time.

        What other software platforms do you use? - we use Vectorworks and Sketchup.

        From your posts, the most important question seems to be - 'How confident are our experts with it? How much are they actually experts?'

        My follow-on question to that would be - if they don't feel confident enough, could they, with training, pick it up enough to implement without needing a consultant? I realise that is rather a 'how long is a piece of string' question without knowing more about the pilot project - I'll get the details you asked about.


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