Moving forward (when your company won’t)

I've got a guest poster today, Matt Stachoni. Thanks for sharing, Matt! 
I hope my readers enjoy his practical advice. 

Q: My company is refusing to move to Revit because they think… (there’s a huge learning curve)(training costs too much)(we’ve got too much work to have people out of the office for a decent amount of training)(BIM is a fad)(Autodesk sucks)(etc).
I feel like I’m being left behind everyone else in the industry by using outdated tools and methodology.
How do I keep myself educated/efficient/marketable when I don’t have the financial resources of my company behind me?

A: I very much sympathize with your situation, because falling behind the technology curve is a terrible feeling. Even working for a reseller, I often feel behind the cutting edge, especially reading some of the BIM and Revit blogs I scan on a daily basis. The stuff people are doing with the product is really crazy nowadays.

I’ve seen many instances where a few people were interested in it, but the attitudes of managers and principals made it all but impossible to be on any sort of cutting edge. In this economy, firms are faced with a real problem... Spend a ton of money to FINALLY get on Revit – and use it - or simply miss out on project work because you fail to move ahead. I've seen it happen in this area. Two years ago, no one used Revit. No one wanted to. No one felt they needed to. Now, it's a completely different story. Many of the subcontractors are using Revit and Navisworks just to make sure their designs work.

Everyone knows it's rolling over the area like a huge tidal wave. If you want to survive, you want to be out of the crashing surf, riding the waves up and down. And if you are still standing on the beach, you at least need to be looking in the right direction.

Yeah, it's expensive. But how expensive are cause delays and interoperability problems with your projects due to your current software? Using old, outdated CAD applications probably hurts your people more than anything else. This artificially limits your employees' progress and overall market worth, and it makes it harder to find quality new employees, because no one wants to work for someone who is still stuck in 1992.

Learning Revit? First get yourself a copy of the software. Download and install Revit Architecture 2012, then after 60 days, get Revit MEP, then Structure. After six months of diligent work, you’ll understand all three applications and be the most valuable person on the planet. If you can still get 2011, get that first; now you have a complete years’ worth of Revit fun.

Then download the Architecture, MEP and Structural tutorials for 2010 from the Autodesk support site. They really do help get you off the ground and understanding the program's thought pattern. The online videos, while helpful, only give a very cursory introduction to the software. YouTube is your best friend – there are lots of Revit videos full of tips and tricks.

Then get a copy of Navisworks Manage and learn that. Download a copy of my “Introduction to Navisworks Manage” class from last year's AU, 'cause it totally rocks, here: http://au.autodesk.com/?nd=class&session_id=6765.

Get two books: “Introducing Revit Architecture” by Patrick Davis, Charlie Busa, Steve Stafford, et al, and “Mastering Revit Architecture” by Eddy Krygiel, Phil Read, and James Vandezande. Read the Introducing book first, and do all of the exercises. Then read the Mastering book to reinforce how it all comes together, as well as learn valuable out of the box techniques.

For the first few weeks, build a project a day. Nothing special, but concentrate on one aspect, such as creating compound walls with articulation (regions, sweeps and reveals), roofs of various kinds with fascia, gutters and soffits, and stairs. Build lots and lots and lots of stairs.

Get Paul Aubin's DVDs series on Mastering the Family Editor and creating parametric families. These are really good instructional videos. http://paulaubin.com/blog/master-the-family-editor-series-available-on-dvd/ I also liked his Revit Essentials videos as well.

Subscribe to all of the Revit blogs you can find. Here are just a few of the ones I like:

http://revit-detail.blogspot.com/ (follow the details tutorials from day one)

Matt Stachoni
Senior AEC Applications Technical Specialist
CADapult LTD
3 Mill Park Court, Suite A
Newark, DE 19713
(302) 733-0477

Matt Stachoni is the senior AEC Applications Technical Specialist and BIM implementation consultant for CADapult LTD, an Authorized Autodesk Silver reseller in Northern Delaware, and has over 20 years’ experience working with Autodesk applications.

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