I first learned about REVIT when I was in college. A friend of mine started a little business where he would do REVIT renderings for small companies in the area, and use his drawings as a good resume building tool for when he graduated.

I had an immediate interest in the software just because it was new, and seemed to be gaining some traction around the university. At the time I had no idea how important that software would be to my career to the industry I was going in to.

If you’re not familiar with REVIT, it is Building Information Modeling (BIM) software and encompasses both 3D and 2D drafting capabilities. More importantly, it allows the user to actually build an entire building on the computer and have all of its components as close to real as they can get without actually being physically produced.

Now, let me be the first to tell you that I am in no way an expert in the software field nor is it something that I would typically write about, but I do see something very valuable with REVIT and the whole BIM system.

I see that this is much more than a design and engineering software as it goes further than just creating a pretty picture; it can actually be used to maintain the entire facility once construction is complete. I’ll say it right here, BIM is the future of design, construction, and building management. That’s right, building management and its here to stay.

The result of a 100% BIM modeled building is a smart building. This means that if there is a problem with any component of a building throughout the lifespan of a building, that component can be pulled up from the drawing and immediately reproduced by the manufacturer. There will be no need for field measurements, color verification, model numbers, etc… all of the information will pop up right away and be good to go.

A good example of this is would be MEP fixtures. Say there’s a leaky gas line in your science lab casework and it’s causing students to flop over and die. In order to fix that gas line you’ve got to rip out the cabinets and bust through the wall, try to find where the pipe goes, see what’s in the way and hope you don’t create any sparks while doing so…oh and all of this would have to be done before you’re even sure you’re in the right area.

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With a smart building, however, the entire fix can be mapped out on the computer before any physical work is done. This would save a tremendous amount of time and money for a facility manager. Nevertheless, the facility manager may still have to do some deconstructing to get to the pipe, but that’s ok. With a smart building every component that would need to be removed would be in the drawing and could easily be recreated by the manufacturer.

The architectural community is seeking out manufacturers to specify, who can provide them with some sort of BIM solution, for woodworkers the answer is REVIT. There is a certain national architect out there whose slogan is “Build Smarter” and after doing some research I discovered that the slogan came from their desire to have a 100% smart building.

But what are they doing? They’re approving 25 different casework manufacturers in 7 different addendums! What’s that about? Where have the standards gone? If they are so committed to building smarter why aren’t they mandating that all of their specified manufacturers supply them a BIM solution?

Our Director of Casework and I visited an architect in Ohio a couple of weeks ago and the question of the 100% smart building came up. To our knowledge, and the architect’s knowledge, there is yet to be such a thing.

Our discussion uncovered that there are just not enough manufacturers out there right now who can provide a BIM solution to the architects and engineers. However, that does not mean that the smart building movement will stop. You can’t stop technology, and architects are determined to see this through and raise the bar. So, what are you providing to them?

Phil Bowers is VP Business Development for Advanced Cabinet Systems, based in Marion, Indiana. Advanced Cabinet Systems is a Certified AWI Premium Casework Manufacturer, providing design, engineering, manufacturing, delivery and installation for the healthcare, industrial, retail and educational markets.

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