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Revit vs VW

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We are taking a hard look at Revit instead of VW. I am currently going through a 3 day intensive Revit training course. I have to say that the latest version of Revit is extremely impressive, across the board. I hope that there may be some added improvements to VW from the recent acquisition of Archicad. However, it really feels like Revit is several significant steps ahead in the BIM world. It may not be a totally fair comparison between the two platforms taking price into account, etc. However, the biggest issue holding us back is probably the fact that our office runs on macs, and that we would have to get all new computers. I've been frustrated for years that VW has always been a good program, but seems to be able to 90% of the BIM type things required to really do a full project well. That last 10% always seemed like such a huge difference. I'm sure I'll be getting into Revit's own quirks and setbacks, but the interface just seems so much tighter and better thought out than VW. We're not jumping ship yet, but it has been a very insightful couple of days.

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Only advise is test drive a real project. Sales material and training are good and all but nothing beats a deadline to really test if software lives up to expectation. I think you'll find the 80/20 applies just as much to Revit as it does Vectorworks, just a different 80 and 20.

To me any BIM isn't just there yet to be jumpng at, but that is purely a personnel opinion.

With Intel Mac then the windows switch becomes less of a hardware investment issue, as you turn over equipement, and more of a people issue (wetware).

Oddly someone in our office suggested we should move to windows, and half a dozen staff told me on the side that they had worked with windows before and wouldn't be going back there.

Your staff are a bigger assest than any software, so be sure to include them in any discussion of a change. You wouldn't want to have a big staff turn-over issue while changing OS and CAD package.

To us Vectorworks has always managed to stay one step ahead of our companys growth both in terms of people and experince with the programme. Although, It does pay to keep an eye on options and how to get there.

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You might like to try a 3-day intensive course in using Vectorworks BIM too, if possible?

The two major hurdles for us and VectorWorks BIM at the moment are one, having more than one person working on the documents efficiently, and two, the problem of the lowest common denominator in terms of skills base (i.e. we can't use VectorWorks in the most sophisticated way possible because most people in the office wouldn't understand how to carry on with a job if the most skilled person dissapears for some reason).

I wouldn't have a clue if these are the same main hurdles or not when using Revit.

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I have difficulty in believing that Revit has more to offer than VW. For one thing, Revit does not have a 2D drawing environment. For another thing, it does not have spreadsheets. I recently read on a Revit board that in order to get a spreadsheet into Revit, you have to: 1) make a spreadsheet in Excel, 2) import the spreadsheet into an AutoCad drawing as an OLE object, and then 3) reference the Dwg file with the spreadsheet into Revit. Using Revit and AutoCad together in a workflow is not a very elegant process. Revit itself requires 2 gigs of RAM, so I doubt that they would run very well side by side.

Revit, I think, is mostly intended to be used in large corporate offices with engineers and architects working on the same floor plans. In this scenario Revit would probably serve well.

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I agree with Bob. Revit has a distinct advantage in a large office enviroment with several people working on one file. It also seems to be more streemline and efficient when working on larg scale projects with lots repeating elements

However when it comes to flexibility I think VW has the edge because it sort of bridges the gap between 2D Drafting and BIM modeling. For smaller scale projects, particularly residential, Vectorworks is usually better suited in my opinion.

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Couple things from training. Revit has some pretty powerful spreadsheet capabilities. Room, Finish, Window, Door, Area schedules are just the beginning. Not only that, they are bi-directional. Should you select a door in the schedule, it can highlight the door in the view window (plan, section, axon) and can be changed to a different type directly from the schedule (changed in the model). One extremely nice things it has it the view control window. It allows for extremely efficient browsing through views in a project. Like saved Views, but a lot better, and ready to go out of the box and self generating as new views are added. Plan and Elevation views, Details, Schedules, Sheets, perspective and more are all immediately accessible from this menu.

One of the biggest issues we face is our projects will have more than one person working on them, often at the same time. Revit really takes advantage of having all sheets, drafting, and modelling in one file. We continue to experiment with ways to set up projects in VW, but are coming to the conclusion that this is a really good approach. We have to have the ability for two or more people to work on the project/model at the same time. Revit's approach is a little complicated, but at least it is possible. This is quickly becoming a deal breaker for us using VW.

All this said, VW is still superior for us for quick 2D sketching and site planning.

I am posting these comments here not to try to convince folks to switch away to Revit, but to generate feedback on important features VW will need to consider should they want to be/remain a serious contender in the BIM world.

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Couple things from training. Revit has some pretty powerful spreadsheet capabilities. Room, Finish, Window, Door, Area schedules are just the beginning. Not only that, they are bi-directional. Should you select a door in the schedule, it can highlight the door in the view window (plan, section, axon) and can be changed to a different type directly from the schedule (changed in the model).

There is a big difference between databases and spreadsheets. Databases use objects with data attached to them, which can link to a schedule of items. Spreadsheets are independent of database objects, and are flexible to do any calculations they like, as in Excel or Appleworks. That is why I like the spreadsheets in VW - they are not tied to database objects. And I worked with an electrical engineer on several projects, importing into VW his Appleworks spreadsheets with calculations on circuit loads, etc. So while most of our office's drawings are done in AutoCad, the electrical schedules are done in VectorWorks.

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I've been using Revit for three years and am now doing training on VW. Contrary to previous posts you can do 2d drafting in Revit. Thing is, you don't need to do a lot of it.

VW has some features that Revit doesn't, but the main attractive feature of VW is that it is cheap. That is the only reason our office is moving to it. I would never in a million years use VW instead of Revit. VW is slow in 3d and forces you to use wireframe mode. I can go weeks in Revit without ever using wireframe mode. I can rotate hidden line and shaded (with edges)3d views in real time. In Revit your building is always in one piece, not sliced up like a layer cake that has to be put back together all the time. Elevations do not have to be dropped to 2D to get patterns. The list goes on.

You will have problems with Revit, like any other program, but in the end you will be better off.

VW is a good 2d program that has potential, but its 3d implementation is too clunky to be compared to Revit.

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The other thing I've been using VW Architect for is site grading. There were quite a few times in the office when the sitework on our projects had to be adjusted due to the amount of cut and fill. So I'd make a VectorWorks DTM and tell the project manager what the cubic yardage of fill is. I was doing this while other office workers were fighting to have Revit as our one and only CAD program - so we had a real Revit vs. VW battle going on for awhile. I think we gave up on Revit after realizing that we would have to quit our jobs for a couple of months to learn how to use it. Everything in Revit appears to be hidden behind load, info and sketch buttons. While in VW, everything is in plain view of the info palette. So I think Revit carries the steeper learning curve.

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Revit site tools are not as developed as VW. I have created site contours in both and Revit is somewhat easier. I haven't done cut and fill so I can't compare the two. Developing the site with VW is probably easier than Revit but this better left to a Landmark discussion forum than Architect.

Revit is a very different animal than VW. I found it very easy to learn, but that could be me. I find VW very confusing, since there are so many different factors controlling an elements display. Layers and classes are leftovers from 2d drafting and tend to clutter the workflow. CAD programs are all very different, and ones reaction to a program can be very much affected by how you are used to working.

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There is yet another thing I find lacking in Revit compared to VW. VW is very versatile, and can use custom scripts, which the user can make into his own tools or menu items. I find myself constantly customizing the VW toolbars and menus. On the Revit side, I find absolutely nothing, which would take much of the joy out of converting to Revit, if I ever did (possibly through coersion in new job position).

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That's great to hear. I'm starting a course tomorrow and I hope the instructor can drive VW as well as you can.

Once you have your 3d VW model, are the sections live? By "live" I mean can you work in the section and have the changes reflect in the plans and elevations? Do the wall floor and roof assemblies show up in section? Can you view a section without continually having to press "Update"? Can you rotate a hidden line or shaded view in real time?

I appreciate the fact that VW does a lot of neat things, but once you've worked with a real 3D program VW is just frustrating. I've tried producing elevations with shadows and textures from a 3d model in VW and it is not easy. Multiple lights that you have to turn on and off; overlaying hidden line views. Lots of work for something that is automatic in Revit.

Edited by JoeF
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