I am an architect and use Revit. Our structural engineers do not. They use RAM Steel to perform their structural analysis (Gravity only) and then give the work to CAD operators to document in AutoCAD or Revit. The problem is that since the structural engieers are not ativly working in Revit because they cannot use it for design and only documentation, they are detacted from the process and slowing us down with constant requests for 2D CAD exports or PDF files. Can Revit Structure be used for structural analysis?
Yes. We are finally beginning to do just that after many years of half-**** experiments. Our engineers use STAAD, and we have had good results using Structural Integrators' SI Xchange to translate from Revit to STAAD. Bentley has their own Revit plug in to create a "Repository" that can be imported into various Bentley products but we've not had good results with that. We are also starting to use Revit to model buildings and produce the 2D prints. Revit Structure does a great job at making the 'usual' 2D structural stick drawings from the models. We can model a structure in just a day or two that would take the structural engineers two weeks to model in STAAD. We've still not added loads in Revit to export. The engineers still like to add the loads on their own in STAAD. I'm not sure if this helps you with RAM, but it's a start.
Oh, of course if you get Autodesk's Building Design Suite Ultimate, you get the Robot Millineum (sp?) structural analysis program that works directly with Revit Structure. You're engineers would have to learn a different analysis program, but I think the younger ones would not object. I think the price tag would be worth it in the long run if you do a lot of analysis.
Yes that does help. My purpose for the post was just to solicate opinions from structural engineers and try to determine if it is a software limitation or them just not wanting to change or adapt. I know initially the software was very imature from a structural perspective. I would not push someone to use a tool that did not make their life easier.
In the analitical model, are all of hte 3D sticks manipulated in Revit and exported to STAAD for analysis, i.e. one way direction, or to you have two seperate models in two seperate software packages?
My company does have the Ultimate Suite and has access to Robot (sp?). Is that a valid software package. I imagine it would have better integration. I have heard of RAM Steel and STAAD, but Robot seems a little on the fringe. I can image reaction I would get from architects if a structrural engineer told them they should use Vectorworks
With SI Xchange it is a one way transfer from Revit to STAAD. The Revit plugin actually starts up STAAD and builds the model in STAAD. I'm not sure about updating the STAAD model from afterwards. You can go back to Revit from STAAD too but we've not tried that yet. You can update both ways with the Bentley plug in through the repository which is kind of a third model used as a 'middle man' kinda thing.
I am a Structural Technologist in a small Structural Engineering firm. We are starting our first projects in Revit and it is bumpy but I am staying positive. Our Engineers use a number of analysis programs; Ram, ILevel ect. lets say 5-8 diferent programs. Revit needs a definitive system to prove and explain how Robot can cover all the different analysis types reliably in order to sway our Engineers to start learing a new program. Our Engineers had not heard of Robot untill I brought it up in a meeting - it does not seem to be on their radar. I do see potential benifits with integrated analysis and modeling, as the engineers and existing programs are generally not as efficient as the Technologists in modeling. The problem is liability, they are using proven software that while slow, can be trusted to output reliable structural design. I think Revit should seperate the visual model from the analytical model in order to have a more controlled analysis with fewer variables.
Robot is a full fledged structural analysis package. I've not used Robot, but absolutely... if you have it, give it a shot! Autodesk bought Robot a few years ago and has integrated it into the Revit suite. I suggest you get together with one of the more 'forward' thinking* structural engineers and watch some YouTube videos and work out a plan to experiment with Revit and Robot. Let your supervisor/boss know what you're doing and how much time it will take. Also let him/her know how much time and money it can potentially save by doing away with the architects and engineers duplicating work all the time.
Tip: Don't ask the boss if you can SPEND time and money experimenting, let him/her know that you want to experiment to see how much time and money can be SAVED.
* I know some of our older engineers are reluctant to change while the younger ones who are more familiar with computers in general are more willing to try new things.
I own a small structural engineering firm. Our whole workflow is based on Revit. We only hire engineers, no drafters. There is no need for a drafter as it's quicker for the engineer to generate the drawings from the model than redline printed drawings and have a drafter do them, only to have to check them over again. I can't remember the last time we used Autocad to draw something (probably close to 10 years).
Bear in mind that Revit doesn't do any engineering calculations. Revit provides an easy way to generate an analytical model for your structure. You can even apply most of the loading inside Revit. You then export to your favorite analysis software. Once exported, you setup your load combinations, and verify the member design parameters, materials, boundary conditions...etc and run it. I spend more time checking the results than actually running the models. The whole process is much quicker than if you had to generate it from scratch. You can sync back to Revit any of the sizes that changed.
We use the analytical model that Revit provides to export models to a few different structural engineering software packages. We mainly use Risa 3d and Robot (part of our subscription package). Each has it's strengths and weaknesses. At this point, if I have a simple structure that has a lot of wood members, I'll use Risa. Otherwise, I'll use Robot for everything else. If Robot had US based wood design, I would have no need for Risa.
This works great for syncing with architects as all of the members are sized correctly and in the correct location. It's much easier to coordinate than with 2d cad drawings. If we had to go back to autocad, I'd quit and find something else to do. Plus having the 3d structural model opens the doors to other services that just arn't available to firms that only use 2d drawings.
There are a few engineers in our area experimenting with Revit. I would call around your area and ask. I bet there are a few, most likely younger firms that don't resist change so much. Worst case, tell the firms you use that you will look else where if they don't start using Revit. I guarentee that will get things moving.