Civil 3D and Revit – Let’s Get Together!

It’s not unusual for different CAD techs to have different methods of entering information into either Civil 3D or Revit. Shortcut keys, ribbon panels, and toolbars will all lead to identical results. (Digitizer, anyone? Excuse me, I’m showing my age!) What makes sense to one tech may seem like the longest path to another. When push comes to (deadline) shove, what matters is that the job gets done in the most efficient way possible, whatever that means to the individual tech. We could debate for hours the different methods of input.

Let’s throw in a plot twist of importing Civil 3D files into Revit, and vice versa. This is where the “how” can sometimes be a sticking point. Having been on both sides of the design coin in both the Architectural and Civil realms, I can understand the varied opinions of each. When creating a C3D model, certain things are necessary for construction documents that may not be needed when linked into a Revit model. The same holds true for the reverse.

So what is the magic potion for seamless integration? Communication, of course, and compromise. Ask questions! Find out what the other side needs before sending off a massive model that will take hours (i.e. client time and money) to sort through. Make sure file formats are compatible. Even in the same office, we are currently in the midst of upgrades, so not everyone is updated at the same time. Coordinate project or survey base points. Decide who will handle the dissection of the models, and who holds responsibility for maintaining the integrity of each model. Find out the purpose for the integration – renderings, for example, may not need as much gusto as a clash detection model.

Plan the integration before hitting the import or insert button. Use filters to your advantage when importing. Revit gives the ability when linking CAD files to only bring in the necessary layers. It also gives the ability to export only the parts of the model necessary, and to an AIA layer standard for CAD drawings. In Civil 3D, use XREFs and layer filters to your advantage. When it comes down to it, there are a myriad of ways to accomplish either direction of coordination. Knowing what is expected from both sides helps to eliminate frustrations and delays.