AEC Tech News (#284)

27 Jan, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

Will BIM Make CAD Irrelevant? At Larson & Darby, the Answer Is 'No'

A transition to Autodesk Revit doesn't need to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Day to day, AutoCAD still gets the job done eloquently.

By Heather Livingston

Editor's note: Through a sponsorship by Autodesk, Cadalyst editors bring you this feature, part of a special series of articles that highlight the role of AutoCAD and 2D design in today's demanding CAD work flows. You can watch for the next installment in February.

Building information modeling (BIM) seemingly is ubiquitous in design firms today. Large, medium, and small firms are using it. Clients increasingly are asking for it. There's no doubt that its rendering and integration capabilities are unsurpassed, and its life-cycle planning potential as of yet isn't fully realized. So, then, with all that power, should we assume that traditional 2D programs such as AutoCAD eventually will go the way of the dodo? Gedeon (Ged) Trias, Assoc. AIA, Associate Director of Design with the Larson & Darby Group in Rockford, Illinois, firmly believes that answer is no. Although the architecture, engineering, and interiors firm has rolled out Autodesk Revit and successfully completed numerous BIM projects using that software, Larson & Darby still chooses to perform the bulk of its work in AutoCAD.

Larson & Darby was one of the first firms in its region to integrate AutoCAD into its daily work flow, and during the past twenty-odd years, the firm has produced the majority of its projects using AutoCAD. The firm typically installs every other version of AutoCAD and currently is using 2010, although it does have a few seats of 2011 to afford designers the opportunity to try out some new and updated features, such as the text editing, transparency, and constraint tools.

Although Larson & Darby has started to used Revit in project work flow, AutoCAD remains its choice for a lot of its design work. Here, an overall shot of a project lets the designers quickly show clients how the proposed design integrates with their building. (Image courtesy of Larson & Darby.)
Although Larson & Darby has started to use Revit in project work flow, AutoCAD remains its choice for a lot of its design work. Here, an overall shot of a project lets the designers quickly show clients how the proposed design integrates with their building. (Image courtesy of Larson & Darby.)

The ability to bring all its legacy information forward through each AutoCAD update is an invaluable asset for a firm that has a many long-term and repeat clients. "DWG is still the gold standard for our industry, at least as far as I'm concerned, so the fact that we could pull up those old projects and work on them today, we wouldn't know what we would do without that capability," said Trias. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Heather Livingston is a Wichita, Kansas-based freelance writer specializing in design, sustainability, and architectural technology. She also works with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering of the American Hospital Association.


Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


Winter 2011 BIMForum
February 10–11, 2011
San Diego, California
The Winter 2011 BIMForum will focus on real-world examples of projects where teams have used BIM (building information modeling) to address building envelope challenges that arise during design, fabrication, construction, and management. Read more »

7th International Revit Technology Conference (RTC)
May 26–28, 2011
Jupiters Gold Coast, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
RTC is an independent conference covering all things Revit: BIM and the ecosystem that supports it. Speakers and delegates represent all aspects of the industry, including designers, owners, surveyors, and facility managers. Read more »

Revit Technology Conference (RTC) 2011, North America
June 23–25, 2011
Huntington Beach, California
This inaugural event will focus on BIM (building information modeling) and the whole ecosystem that supports it. Attendees can share ideas and insights with an international community of peers, explore the latest trends and technologies, and cultivate business and professional contacts. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What’s New at


CAD Clinic Civil 3D Tutorial: AutoCAD Civil 3D and Pay Items, Part 2
Learn the ins and outs of the formula file, the last of the three files that create a master pay items list. Read more »

Revit Tutorial: Making the Switch — AutoCAD to Revit, Part 2
Building design firms transitioning to Autodesk Revit should plan for setup and troubleshooting before anything goes wrong. Read more »

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