Innovation Defined. Thomas Edison said, “There is a better way – find it.” There are aspects of engineering that have stayed the same for hundreds of years, and then there is a new wave of technology allowing us to work in very different ways. Advanced technology has its challenges. Exploring the transition from old to new begs the question, “When the tools of the past no longer work, what does the solution look like?”
It looks a lot like what Austin has done to streamline our Revit templates. Project templates provide a starting point and standards for new projects. The design and implementation of these templates have reduced set-up and modeling time for our designers and engineers.
What templates accomplish. Templates include various content, such as families or symbols within Revit. These are organized to maximize workflow efficiency. For example:
- The project tree simplifies the modeling and document preparation workflow. The intuitive interface is easy for our team to work within.
- Filters and view features make vital design elements more visible.
- Our designers can now spend less time fiddling with Revit and more time modeling and designing.
- The overall workflow is much more efficient, and we can get the project modeled and a set of plans produced much quicker than we could in AutoCAD.
The ever-evolving process. The most significant benefit of Revit templates is how much time they can save. The downside is how much time they take to develop. The refinement of our templates is an ongoing process that is continuously improving. It can be challenging to find time to refine when billable projects await and deadlines loom. Fortunately, investing in this ongoing process yields long-term gains.
Once you finish the template, how often do you review it and keep it updated? What if you have a project that’s a new building-type? Does your template still work for that kind of building? What if you need to follow an owner’s BIM standard? Can you modify your template to fit their requirements?
We continue to learn more about best practices with each project and as product updates are released. It takes discipline to continually implement these tools and keep ahead of the maintenance required. Our goal is to find a simple, effective, and easy-to-maintain solution to every challenge we encounter.
We use a spreadsheet within Microsoft TEAMS to log issues as they arise. Then we systematically address each one by crowd-sourcing answers within our team and through industry resources.
Time and Money: two limitations to innovation. Solutions require professionals who understand the engineering process. They must be knowledgeable regarding the inner workings of Revit, the projects, and teams.
User input critical to success. End-users play a critical role in the design process. Reminders of this can come in the most unlikely of places. For example, I went on a USS Midway tour, a retired aircraft carrier in San Diego. On the flight deck was a jet that stood out to me. The tour guide claimed it was the best jet ever designed because pilots were consulted throughout the design and manufacturing process. The pilot never had to take their eyes off the sky to operate the plane. It was a good reminder to me of the importance of user input in solving design problems.
Applicable across disciplines. Any discipline can look inward and address efficiencies. For example, architecture is usually going to include floors and walls on any given project. Mechanical will commonly have diffusers. Taking the time to pre-define these types of reoccurring items in a project template is a wise strategy. When information is well defined and pre-loaded, a template can save a lot of time by automating repetitive tasks.
The demands of today’s design–build industry are too great to believe there is no room left for innovation. We look to do more, better, and faster. Leveraging technology gives us a greater ability to master time. So, what repetitive tasks do you do? Maybe the next technological advancement lies there!