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A Kinder, Gentler BIM

Autodesk recently released Revit LT 2013, a cheaper software tailored to small architecture firms.

By Michael Leighton Beaman

This article originally appeared in Architectural Record.

September 24, 2012

It has been ten years since Autodesk acquired the Revit Technology Corporation. In that time, Revit has become one of the most widely used BIM (Building Information Modeling) products in the AEC industries. However, the software’s learning curve, its processing power requirements, and its cost ($5,775 for a standalone version) scare off many would-be users—particularly smaller firms with projects that don’t demand the collaboration of multiple consultants.

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To capture this segment of the market, Autodesk released this week its first pared-down version of Revit, Revit LT 2013. According to the company, LT was designed with small offices and individual practitioners in mind. Scott Latch, Revit’s architecture product manager, describes LT as an intuitive and accessible BIM program, with a less cluttered screen and more tutorial information. It is compatible with full versions of Revit, but has a lower licensing cost of $1,195.

Concerns about the program’s cost and complexity are two factors that have prevented many architects from using BIM in the past, says architect John Klockeman, owner of Minneapolis-based Rebuild Studio, a design firm that focuses on residential and small-scale commercial projects. Klockeman, who contributed to the LT beta testing, says the new software responds to smaller firms’ needs by reducing functionality in areas more commonly used in large, complex projects.

The new software has most of Revit’s capabilities, though functions for work sharing and massing, structural design, and construction modeling have been removed. Other capabilities, including photorealistic rendering, are now offered on a cloud-based service, Autodesk 360.

More information on Revit LT 2013, including pricing, packages, and a 30-day trial, is available at http://usa.autodesk.com/revitlt/.

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