Revit and BIM 360 bring AEC collaboration to the cloud

Lainie Ransom Lainie Ransom December 9, 2019

4 min read

Ask a project architect about keys to successful design development and you may hear about three C’s: coordination, collaboration, and – more recently – “cloud.”

The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry increasingly runs BIM projects in the cloud. Global, multidisciplinary teams coordinate and execute all aspects of a project relying on the real-time exchange of data, with Revit cloud models at the center of better collaboration and tighter integration across all project phases. “Teams are no longer necessarily co-located, so it is really important to be able to work effortlessly across the world with people,” says Autodesk senior product manager, Sasha Crotty. For my final post of 2019, I’m digging into “Connect,” an important pillar of the Revit product roadmap. Connect is about extending BIM collaboration across all phases of a project, through the right mix of AEC-focused tools and multidisciplinary workflows.

I asked Sasha to pick out the basics: show us how to get started in moving a Revit project from a server environment to the cloud, and then to describe how Revit synchs with BIM 360, and what this will open up in terms of sharing work across disciplines, offices, and time zones. I’m taking the highlights from our chat and providing context with links to relevant content.

Hopefully, this can give you perspective if your firm is thinking about moving to the cloud. You may want to check our Youtube playlist down the page for some tutorials in getting your first cloud model published with Revit (it’s very easy!). And if you’re looking for more on the design automation API for Revit, Sasha is hosting a webinar tomorrow (12/10/2019) on how you can use the cloud to supercharge your workflows.

Without further ado, we go to the highlights:

“One of the things that has made Revit so powerful is that it has embraced collaboration for a long time. We figured out a path for doing multi-user worksharing more than 15 years ago and we’re now able to bring it to a new level with the cloud. The more we can connect AEC project teams, the better buildings and businesses they will build.”

Revit 2019 and 2020 provide tighter integrations with the BIM 360 project environment, creating a better platform for sharing work. Revit supports working together simultaneously in the same model using Revit Cloud Worksharing in BIM 360 Design. The focus here is on providing better dataflow and communication for teams that collaborate remotely across offices, regions, and continents. “No need to set up a server or new hardware, just save to BIM 360 and start working together.”

“Now you can upgrade your whole project with one click.”

The Cloud Model Upgrade capability removes the friction in updating cloud models in your BIM 360 projects. Because each version of Revit has a different file format, upgrade to the latest release was tedious. “You would download all of your models, upgrade them locally, and then you had to create a new project — it was not the best.” Crotty says. “With the release of Cloud Model Upgrade, you can now upgrade your cloud models with a few clicks, and without the back and forth between versions of Revit and your models in the cloud.”

“Revit Home is a much more modern user interface (UI), and you can manage all of your cloud models here.”

Introduced in 2019.1, Revit Home is an improved experience for connecting the Revit desktop with the BIM 360 cloud. With Revit Home 2020, publishing and controlling user permissions is made simple. “It’s really important because you now go to one place to manage your models, rather than working through a bunch of different UIs. We’re trying to unify the experience, and make sure that everyone knows where to go, and that collaboration feels effortless.”


Want a click-for-click overview on pushing Revit models to the cloud? Check our Youtube playlist for the Revit Cloud Fundamentals. 


“Cloud Models for Revit comes with your Revit subscription, so if you have access to a BIM 360 Docs project through a license or a share, you can use the BIM 360 project ecosystem.” 

Cloud Models for Revit is a single-user capability that takes advantage of the same underlying data storage and data exchange capabilities as BIM 360 Design. “Even if you’re not worksharing, Cloud Models for Revit enables greater participation and visibility between contractors, consultants, and the project team. Small or consulting firms can be part of the collaborative ecosystem,” Crotty notes.

“The cloud is a rapidly maturing service, but we still plan for the unexpected. That’s a big focus at Autodesk.”

As more and more work moves to the cloud, resilient infrastructure is key. Revit 2020 and BIM 360 Design are building the infrastructure to prevent outages and interruptions in service. “Being resilient is not something that you achieve and are done with — it’s a process. We continuously invest in it. We know that service availability is mission-critical for our customers, for every discipline on a project and for owners,” emphasizes Crotty. “We’re invested in continuously modernizing how our products are deployed and making sure our software is in synch with how we provision and fortify our data and service networks.”

“We believe it’s going to give firms a real boost in how they add automation to their projects.”

Finally, we asked Sasha to describe an exciting development from October: the launch of the Design Automation API for Revit. This service allows the creation of applications that use the same familiar Revit API to work with “headless” Revit in the cloud. “We look forward to hearing back from our users across AEC about the opportunities they take to automate some of the workflows that can be time consuming or difficult. You can create Revit models or you can modify and extract data from cloud-hosted Revit models. This new service really brings scale and speed to workflow automation.”

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