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The difference between Autocad & Revit

Updated: Aug 16, 2021

What you do with CAD and what with BIM? When your office migrates to BIM, does this mean that your CAD files are…. history? There is a belief that when you go to Revit everything will be in Revit…, but this is not the case. You also need your CAD files to work for you. You need it to organize the way your CAD files will be imported to the BIM software. You need to establish a standard workflow to work with both BIM and CAD files. To understand how to achieve that you should understand where you are coming from and where you are heading to.

Here are some simple basic facts on differences between CAD and BIM.

If you are working in a 2D CAD environment, such as Autocad you have multiple files (dwgs) representing various views of your project, elevations, sections, floor plans. You also choose layouts and work with lines and blocks. CAD blocks are named groups of objects that act as a single 2D object. You can use them to create repeated content such as drawing symbols, common components, and standard details. However, there is no relationship between the lines of the dwgs or the views themselves.

Working with Autocad
Working with Autocad

If you work in a #3D #BIM software such as #Revit, then you work in a 3d model that is constructed in one single file. This includes 3D views, floor plans, sections, elevations. In Revit you draw elements once and then you use Revit families to assign structure, parameters and details. When you change the properties of an element, the rest of the views update automatically.

Working in Revit
Working in Revit

In #CAD you will use Lines and Hatches to represent the various materials that you assign in Layers and set the line weights and colors manually for the representation. Your lines need to be trimmed or extended, need to be parallel or not and need to be continuous, in a closed shape in order for you to fill it with hatch patterns.

In #Revit if you need to draw a wall then you actually draw a wall. You can choose a wall from the library or create a new wall from scratch. The wall has layers assigned to it that represent actual layered materials of the actual building. The representation of the wall is controlled by an organized window, where you control the lines, patterns and colors for all the objects that are being cut, viewed or projected. Elements are intelligent, that means a wall knows that it is a wall and a window knows that it is a window. The same applies for the annotation symbols, such as dimensions, text,tags,etc.

In 2D CAD the graphical representation of the 2D symbols depend on the Layer they are assigned on and the office plot standards determine how each layer is printed. In Revit the elements have their own print settings and you control them by Object Styles or Visibility Graphics in case you need a different representation for the actual model or for the different views of the model. You can hide or override the settings of the elements to match your project or your view. You can do this for one object or for the category they belong, or for just a specific View, using View templates.

CAD vs BIM visibility
CAD vs BIM visibility

Panagiotidou Nicoleta, BIM specialist for Breakwithanarchitect

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