Do we really need Revit Standards for the firm that are paper-based doorstops? Will anyone read them? Usually, no. Most of us only have the patience for digesting spoonfuls of information at a time.

“The best thing about standards… is that there are so many to choose from.”

What’s wrong with the traditional BIM Standards Manual?

In my younger days, I have created a number of CAD Manuals, Handbooks, Standards documents, and guidelines. Too often the original intent gets obscured by committee ideas of what’s important to document – hint, if it’s in the help menu, leave it out. I am proposing we recycle those old dead trees, and move away from even the paper-centric Word or PDF format most of you probably have on your corporate Intranet.

It Begins

You have a ground-floor opportunity. Do you want to lead, or follow? Of course, the beauty of social network projects is everyone has an equal voice. Knowledge wants to be free. Momentum is building. Announcing: The Open Revit Standards Project:

The idea behind this is a wiki-based, open source, and free location where knowledge and best use practices can be documented for using Revit on projects. Developing a core approach, that is not specific to any one industry, locale or governing body, should allow this to grow and represent a very large collective knowledge base on which firms could build their preferred workflow. We want this to be accessible to new and experienced users of Revit.

The Tweet Heard Round the World

It just so happens, one year ago I picked July 4, Independence Day here in the US, to declare dissatisfaction with the various industry group attempts to create CAD and BIM standards. While they continue to slog along creating behemoth pay for play documents, not even considering that much of the AEC industry gives little thought to CAD Layers anymore, we’ve moved on. Even those that do address BIM, approach it from the wrong angle. We don’t need to keep debating what BIM is, if the vast majority of mid to large firms have already been doing BIM to some level for a number of years.

Coordinating Efforts

As someone in the AUGI forums once said: “The best thing about standards… is that there are so many to choose from.” There’s something deeply disturbing about that concept. When you and the hundreds if not thousands of CAD/BIM managers out there toil away creating your perfect manual (that no one will ever read), it’s not really a standard. Standards are at best: good practices, or recommendations unless you get a larger group to adopt them. My original thought was – Why haven’t application specific solutions developed that work toward helping to define best practices in the US? For that matter, the only real solid efforts known to this author at the time were the AEC UK Revit BIM Standard, and the ANZRS, published soon after the Gold Coast Revit Technology Conference.

I have since learned from the outpouring of volunteer support for this effort, that this could have a global effect on the way Revit is implemented and used every day. That really has some folks jazzed. If we can work with the existing groups mentioned above, who are already focusing on Revit, all the better. So this little community is forming. As the site becomes more active, features are added and the standard grows, it may just help influence your next project.

More About “The Project”

There are too many people to thank that helped get this started. David Fano at CASE has really been instrumental in pulling this new community together. He helped out with initial funding and build out of the hosted website. The Twitter banter was very engaging and can be followed here:!/search?q=%23OpenRevStds. There is also a LinkedIn group:

Other references to this effort, by some notable contributors:

2 comments on “Revit Standards. Open for Business.

  • The thing about standards, especially in a field quickly evolving like CAD/BIM is that they will continue to evolve, its a moving target. I applaud your efforts, I am just curious what you will think of those standards in 20 years if they don’t change with the times.

    Its a process, not a destination.

  • I agree completely, and thus the reason we are focussing on community-driven “best practices” and evolving suggestions for small firms just getting started in the world of Revit.

    The concept of the wiki as a gathering place allows the concepts and ideas to flow and evolve without restrictions.

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