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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Free RFA and RVT Geometry Exchange Add-on Released for ARCHICAD 21 Users

December 8th, 2017 by Susan Smith

In an interview with Chris Clark, BIM6x ARCHICAD solutions director with BIM6x, AECCafe Voice discussed the release of has announced the global release of a new RFA (Revit Families) & RVT (Revit) Geometry exchange add-on for ARCHICAD 21.

BIM6x, BIM solutions provider and authorized ARCHICAD reseller, put the add-on on their website to test it. “Within minutes we were getting downloads from around the world,” said Clark. We’re anticipating it, put it up as a test, to make sure it was working all of a sudden receiving downloads.

The free RFA & RVT Geometry Exchange add-on enables ARCHICAD users to import RFA (Revit™ Families) into their ARCHICAD project as objects, including doors and windows.  It also enables the geometry exchange between Revit™ and ARCHICAD.

The intent of the add-on is to use with Revit Families that have a lot of content similar to Google Warehouse. “It works within ARCHICAD itself, and we have several clients who work with Revit users, primarily structural consultants,” said Clark. “BIM6x has been working with Graphisoft for over 20 years. “We believe in offering choices and options, this extends that into being able to import the Revit families. We can hotlink merging a Revit model or export it out, but it is basically just a geometry import or export to do a comparison of two models, by no means it is close to replacement for IFC workflow, as it can import or export only.”

With IFC you can work in the other models which this doesn’t allow.

In contrast, when an IFC file is exported out, walls in ARCHICAD become walls in Revit, and translate directly over. Whereas with an RVT import or export, it is similar to importing or exporting a SketchUp file.  “It’s a mass of geometry but there’s not an intelligent translation as with IFC,” explained Clark. “The actual production flow if we’re working on projects together is IFC, that’s the way to go. The add-on allows the export or import of the families for customers who want more access to manufacturer content.”

The users are seeing the files as objects, i.e., as doors windows, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, most RFA content up to 2018. They are non-intelligent objects. Native ARCHICAD objects are intelligent and stretchy.

“Depending on the object, there is some manipulation,” said Clark. “A good example would be a manufactured couch. If I bring in a couch form that’s manufactured, if it’s a native ARCHICAD object it would have the certain style of feet, the style of cushions, etc. If I stretch the couch it could go from a two-cushion couch and then intelligently pass a certain length of couch. It would add a cushion so it has an intelligence. In contrast, when the RFA come in they’re pretty much static. I could stretch it, but it’s going to stretch proportionately and so that intelligence is not native coming in from the Revit family. At a manufacturing level, it’s not an issue because you’re not going to want to stretch it because it is what it is, with specific measurements, you don’t want to extend it three inches then it wouldn’t be the same.”

The benefit of the add-on is to leverage more content as customers leverage SketchUp objects from Google Warehouse.

Since only the geometry exported without intelligence, the add-on can be used instead of IFC for a quick model comparison. But doing an actual project workflow, between the Revit consultant and ARCHICAD user, IFC is what you use.

In ARCHICAD there is a Hotlink 3D geometry feature. If you had a multi-family housing project or hotel, with different room types, for example, you can change the master file and the hotlink feature can go in and automatically update all those room types. If you update the source file, the RVT file will update in ARCHICAD.

If you need to bring over the whole project at the document level, you will need to use traditional file formats. “If we need to share drawing files it will be DWG or PDF file format for 2D documentation,” said Clark.

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Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, AECCafe, Archicad, architecture, Autodesk, BIM, building information modeling, Cloud, collaboration, data archiving, engineering, file sharing, IFC, integrated project delivery, lidar, project management, SketchUp, Tekla

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