Moving from AutoCAD to Revit: part 3

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Sean Bryant gives more practical advice on how a CAD manager in a medium-sized, multi-disciplinary practice can help smooth the path from AutoCAD to Revit. This month he tackles data transfer


This is the final article in a series of three about making the move to Revit.

Using the scenario from part one of the series

A medium sized, multi-disciplinary CAD practice, involved in architecture, structure and services, which often works with external contractors. Based in London, UK, it has fifteen core users, with anywhere up to twenty-five users when contract CAD personnel are brought in to make up capacity. A CAD manager is in place who acts as liaison between management at director level and the users in the CAD team. The team is currently using Autodesk AutoCAD for all of its work and is up to date with the latest version, due to an active Autodesk subscription agreement.

The practice has decided to use Autodesk Revit as its BIM tool of choice. There is a need to manage both the implementation and training required to make the practice both effective and efficient.

The article is written from the CAD manager’s perspective.


Addressing data transfer

CAD manager to director level


“We need to transfer large amounts of data to a database related product so that large-scale repetitive changes can be exported, edited and imported back to Revit. I can look for free apps on the Autodesk App Store, but we will need to look at paying for a suitable proprietary app to work with, so will need budget”

CAD manager to the CAD team

“As we move forward with Revit we will need to work with large data exports. We don’t have the skills in-house to automate these imports and exports, so we will be using an app we can all use to work in this way.” The CAD manager needs a budget to ensure s/he has a proprietary app that works. As the practice grows, so will the projects. Free apps have limitations and are aimed at the VSB/SME sector. This does not work for large scale commercial/residential projects that require large data transfer. A professional app is required to transfer Revit data to products such as MS Excel and MS Access. This will enable quick and easy data transfer which can be edited by a non-Revit trained user. Once edited, data can be imported back in to Revit.


Deciding on commercial Revit data transfer software

CAD manager to director level

“There are a number of products out there in the marketplace and we need to make sure we get the best we can for what we can afford. I don’t want to spend thousands of pounds on an app we only use once”

CAD manager to the CAD team

“I need you to evaluate these Revit data transfer products. They will need to be tested against our existing projects and some past projects. This will allow us to set a benchmark of whether we would have saved time on completed projects and whether we can save time and beat deadlines on ongoing projects.”

The CAD manager is approaching the team to test and evaluate the products. This will give the practice a good idea of what app it needs, and allow the entire team to make a group decision on what is best. Delegating tasks is a good managerial skill, empowering the team and allowing the CAD manager to utilise the skills the team already have. It will build familiarity with the products before purchase, saving learning time when using the chosen app in a live environment.


Choosing the app

CAD manager to director level

“We will make a decision on the app to be used based on what results the CAD team present us with. They will be testing the apps on past and existing projects to assess time savings and ease of use.”

CAD manager to the CAD team

“We will decide on an app that YOU want to use. It will need all of you to thoroughly test and assess all of the products we are looking at, not only on an individual user basis, but on how they will enhance the performance of the practice as a whole.”

A CAD manager has to delegate tasks to his or her team. That is the art of good management. Delegate tasks and empower the team, and then manage the results the team provides. A good CAD team will give the CAD manager the information needed to make the right purchasing decision. The CAD team are on the ground at the coal face every day. They will quickly assess which app will make their lives easier.


Using the app

CAD manager to director level

“We now have a working Revit data transfer app in the practice. We should now see time-savings on our existing and future projects. It has been fully assessed by the team and will be used as and where necessary.”

CAD manager to the CAD team

“The Revit data transfer app is now in place for all of our projects. An investment has been made in the team to assist us with the use of data in and out of Revit on our projects. We will make sure that we use the app to our best advantage.”

Another role of the CAD manager is to lead. The above quote to the team is encouraging them to take advantage of the investment made in them, and to use to app to increase team performance on their Revit projects. This, in turn, will make their Revit projects more profitable and benefit the whole practice.



In this final installment about transitioning to BIM, we have looked how to bring in third party data transfer apps that work with Revit.

Revit, and other BIM-related applications, create large amounts of data, especially when scheduling. Sometimes, updates to this data via Revit, can be time-consuming, so the ability to export out that data to a proprietary application, such as Microsoft Excel, can save large amounts of time, with editing work being able to be done by a non-Revit trained member of staff. Then, when the editing is done, the data app will allow for the edited data to be imported back in to the Revit project, thus saving time.

Third party data apps such as Ideate BIMLink fulfil this need, allowing practices to handle large amounts of BIM data that they might not be able to handle otherwise.

These types of third party apps allow you to build up your BIM app inventory, making your BIM toolkit bigger and better, enhancing BIM performance and empowering your CAD team.

About the author

Shaun Bryant is an Autodesk Certified Professional with twenty-six years total industry experience using AutoCAD and Revit.

The first part of this article can be read here.

The second part of this article can be read here.

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