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Developing Revit Skills and Why They Matter

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is intelligent 3D model-based software that significantly improves outcomes for all project stakeholders, not just architects and designers, but also owners, contractors, facilities managers, and so on. Revit is a BIM software specifically designed for 3D modeling and data management that STG Design adopted around 2012. Revit is an invaluable part of our toolbox, but it is also challenging to master.  Despite its complexity, the benefits of using Revit are immense. Modeling design elements accurately in 3D, and then documenting directly from the model, leads to better coordinated drawings and buildings. Better coordination leads to real (sometimes major) time/money savings and fewer headaches during the life of a project. Even though BIM can be challenging, the benefits are significant. 

Why Revit? 

So how do we reconcile the need for Revit with the difficulty in learning it? STG has continuously invested in training our staff to do BIM well. It’s as simple as that. 

Except it isn’t actually simple at all. 

Revit is a legitimately difficult software to master, even with training. Revit (and other BIM software) comes with a pretty hefty learning curve for beginners. Layer on the complexity of the projects at STG, and Revit often remains difficult to use even after a couple of years in practice. How many other consumer software applications can you say that about? 

On top of learning basic industry BIM standards, Revit comes with considerable customizability, quirkiness, and dysfunctionality that a user needs to become familiar and comfortable with. I counted, and STG’s Revit standards intranet page has over 120 articles detailing everything from basic best practices to standards specific to our firm. 

How in the world do we get an architect or designer to learn all of these often unrelated chunks of information? Certainly, there isn’t an expectation for our team to memorize 120 help pages. Instead,  STG provides gradual – and intense – on-going training. And then we make sure the training works through a comprehensive system of monthly live training sessions, skills assessments, and automated data visualization that, together, help the STG team continually improve our skills individually and as a firm. 

Data gained through rigorous training gives STG an overall picture of our firm’s Revit skills down to tracking individual user progress day-by-day. This system allows the firm to be efficient and target training of individuals and by topic. 

Additionally, STG assesses Revit skills during the hiring process. While these assessments are not pass/fail (some really good designers don’t know Revit well – and that’s ok), we are able to determine how much training a candidate needs or what a realistic role for that person might be. In a perfect world, everyone in the architecture/design field would have 8+ years of Revit experience, however that is the exception rather than the norm.  We’re lucky to get a few highly-experienced applicants each year. So, we focus on quickly bringing new hires up to Revit speed as fast as possible. 

The Revit Pay Off 

Why go through all of this effort in initial and ongoing Revit education and training - why not just rely on BIM specialists or drafters? AT STG, we believe the best deliverables come from cohesive design teams where everyone takes ownership of processes holistically. Revit – or more precisely, the sealed PDFs that come from it – are legally the final product and form of communication about a design to our clients. The ability of STG’s architects and designers to communicate through Revit ensures our designs are not lost in translation. Through assessment, diligent training, and a continued commitment to Revit/BIM, we are able to provide the best overall service and product to meet the firm’s goals … the success of our clients. 

Matt Feaga, RA, LEED GA is the Design Technology Manager for STG Design. He is a BIM and AEC technology enthusiast skilled in building design, Revit/BIM management and production, construction drawings, and contract administration. 

Founded in 1976, STG Design serves clients nationally and internationally with primary offices in Austin and Nashville. Constantly working to make our clients, our world, and ourselves better through design, STG Design serves clients in multi-family, commercial, science and technology, healthcare, higher education, non-profit, and hospitality sectors. STG Design’s legacy includes work for Trammell Crow, Karlin, Oracle, Apple, Dell, Box, Indeed, NI (formerly National Instruments), RetailMeNot, LCRA, Pulte, Del Webb, 3M, American Campus Communities, and the University of Texas. 

To experience the STG difference in design for yourself contact

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