Revit and the Role of Structural Analysis Software

Structure

By Amy Heilig

Building Information Modeling processes enabled by Revit are leading to advances in the building industry. For more than twenty years, the building industry has used 3D models so that 2D production documents could be created automatically, or the related NC data could be sent directly to automatic production.

Structural engineering plays a significant role in the project’s final planning phase. Design determines the feasibility of the structural concept and is a milestone in the planning process. Without proper design, other services could be delayed.

Many engineering firms utilizing Revit are concurrently using stand-alone structural analysis software for the design phase. These analysis tools accurately capture the structure’s response under applied loads and alerts the designer if the elements are prone to failure. The structural design process can be very iterative.

Revit software supports the BIM process for structural engineers by providing the physical and the analytical model of the structure. The physical model is used for construction documentation, shop drawings and fabrication. The associated analytical model is used for structural analysis and code-checking design. It contains all structural attributes and properties that are needed during this process such as structural material properties, boundary conditions, and structural loads.

The seamless bidirectional interoperability between Revit and structural analysis software is critical. To combat challenges structural engineers can come across, Dlubal Software in collaboration with Autodesk has developed a direct interface between Dlubal’s FEA program RFEM and Revit. A direct interface, opposed to a general import of data keeps, keeps the object’s intelligence throughout the entire data exchange, including bidirectional exchanges for multiple structure updates. This minimizes data loss and interpretation errors and leads to a seamless process for all involved in the final project design phase.

While BIM-oriented planning methods continue to grow with no sign of slowing down, the relationship between BIM providers and structural analysis programs should remain a top priority to ensure efficient and effortless data transfer. Although the industry has vastly improved BIM integration with stand-alone structural analysis programs over the last decade, complete perfection has yet to be achieved.

A future focused on integration perfection and allowing more engineering decisions to made in the BIM environment means increased time efficiency, significant cost savings, and an overall better experience for all involved in a project’s lifespan.

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