May 01, 2012
If you’re on the design/engineering side of the foodservice equipment or facilities business, you probably already know about Revit software. The Revit line isn’t exactly new, but it’s relatively new to our industry. There’s been quite a buzz about it of late, including a big story a few months back in FCSI The Americas Quarterly.
First thing about Revit: Just about everyone refers to the software’s 3D capability, although recent editions of AutoCAD, the industry standard, also offer 3D. Both software lines are made by Autodesk Inc.
Another big advantage, designers and engineers say, is that it updates all drawings simultaneously, and if you have a conflict somewhere—say the oven’s fine until you move a wall, or an item is 6” too wide, or maybe you have plumbing and wiring conflicting—Revit will alert you right away.
Another big plus, designers say, is that Revit allows much more extensive notes for specs and whatever other comments might be needed.
The trend to Revit is largely driven by the architectural community. Architects have been adopting the architectural version for awhile now. Downstream, foodservice facilities and equipment types interfacing with those architects sooner or later discover they need to get with the program, literally, and they begin working in Revit too, often the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing version.
For all those reasons, among others, it’s no surprise that design consultants are tending to be among the earlier foodservice adopters. Notably, Foodservice Consultant Society Int’l. members are moving in that direction, and leading dealers with serious design departments are heading that way, too.
Most commercial chains, on the other hand, are not, at least not yet. An industry architect points out chains don’t get hired by consultants. It’s the other way around. So chains don’t have as much external motivation, and the cost-benefit numbers are different from the chain point of view. Long story short, they don’t have as much reason to make the up-front investment in the new software.
Among complications, some say, is that a Revit operator has to have significantly more building knowledge than a basic draftsperson. Also, the high level of detail in the drawings is a double-edged sword—updating can involve some lengthy regeneration times, and computer equipment upgrades cost money.
So it’s not all sunshine and smiles, but it does appear that as time goes by, the general shift will make it worth everyone’s while to get on the same page.
Pricing varies hugely, based on how decked out you want to go, what your situation is, the number of “seats” you’re buying, and so on. If you’re coming in from nowhere, list prices at usa.autodesk.com range from about $5,500 for a seat to almost twice that. If you’re upgrading from an existing Audodesk product, the incremental price is far less, of course. Then, of course, you have the ancillary costs of installation and training. Some can teach themselves, but most figure the training sessions are the way to go.
When all is said and done, it looks pretty clear Revit will change foodservice design and engineering much the way AutoCAD did over the past 15 or 20 years. Some users and companies that develop CAD symbol libraries predict Revit will grow to be dominant over the next five years or so.
Check it out. You might want it now. Or you might want it later. But you can figure you’re going to want it at some point.