Monday, 11 February 2013

Testing Revit Architecture Skills - A 3-Step Approach

Revit Architecture is the most popular test title in the KS library. No big surprise. So let's take a look at how an AEC firm might create an appropriate testing environment for Revit Architecture, catering for users of all levels of experience and abilities.

Firstly, it's important to establish that not all users need to become Revit 'experts'. Many people have a primary role which means they come into contact with Revit on an occasional basis, but no more than that. So, do they need to become adept in the finer points of massing, curtain walls and Family editing? Certainly not! For example, PM's, Project Architects, Practice Principals, and so on.  However, in many instances, these people can benefit from a degree of knowledge and familiarity with the technology, not least from a project planning or resourcing perspective.  So some basic knowledge of the tools can be beneficial.

For these individuals, we have created a 'Level 1' assessment, called 'Revit Architecture for occasional users'. As the name suggests, it is a fairly gentle, introductory level test, which looks at some basic concepts, including:  Files & File Formats, Navigation, Views & Sheets, Measuring, Exporting Data, Families and Element Selection.

The fact is, casual users of Revit software sometimes make silly mistakes, mainly through lack of understanding, thus creating work for more experienced users tasked with tidying up their mess. This is a common complaint from design firms and one which is easily avoided.  Simply put, no-one gets access to a license of Revit, without first achieving a minimum 'pass' mark on the Revit occasional test (level to be determined by individual firms). Don't give someone the keys to the car, without first establishing they have a basic understanding of how to drive.

For the primary modeling team, we have the 'Level 2', or 'Revit fundamentals' level material. This is a general level test, covering a wider range of topics, including: Basic Element Creation, Views & Sheets, Detailing, Keynoting & Annotation, Worksharing, Dimensions & Rules, Interoperability, Families & Parts, Scheduling, Coordinates & Orientation and Outputs.

This level of test material can be used to create reliable benchmark data for the firm, compared to industry average statistics. Performance 'quartiles' (see image below) are an effective way of targeting users with incremental productivity improvements over time, with the appropriate modular training workshops addressing highlighted skills gaps.

For users placing in upper quartile 3 or quartile 4, we have a variety of modules which are designed to address more advanced Revit concepts. The 'Level 3' material covers more process based scenarios and looks at the impact of using the software in a project environment. Topics such as Revit Families, Work flows, Project process and Worksharing are covered in greater detail. 

In addition to test modules about Revit software, we have written some general questions about BIM and BIM management. So firms can create assessments which cover technology and also the wider Building Information Modeling environment, within which the software is deployed.

By targeting users with material appropriate for their job function, and also their current level of ability, AEC firms can now create more meaningful benchmark data, plan a more focused training strategy and adopt a stepped approach to measuring Revit and BIM knowledge across their teams.