Photo of Zaha Hadid’s ME Dubai hotel at Opus. Photo: Laurian Ghinitoiu
Anyone who spends time working in Revit has surely experienced the common frustration of not being able to accomplish seemingly basic tasks without needing some sort of convoluted “workaround”. Well, some of the leading BIM-forward architectural practices in the world, including Zaha Hadid Architects, Grimshaw, Rogers Stirk Harbor + Partners, and others are finally having enough.
An open letter published by the trade publication AEC Magazine sheds light on those companies who report various problems, both with the Revit software itself as well as with Autodesk’s business and licensing practices. The letter, according to the magazine, represents an unprecedented effort, with AEC’s editors writing, “In the thirty years we have been following the AEC technology market and the 18 years in which AEC Magazine has devoted itself to the BIM process , we’ve never seen like this – an open letter from a community of national and international design practice expressing their angst at a technology vendor. ”
The letter protests the “increasing cost of owning and running Autodesk’s Revit software” as well as its fundamental “lack of development”, among many other problems, and highlights the program’s ubiquity as well as its occasional malfunction as a that intertwined problems that have an impact and ultimately limit the work of architectural firms.
One of the biggest issues is how companies access software through an ever-evolving set of licensing agreements with Autodesk. The authors of the letter explain that “During the period between 2015 and 2019, most of the practices that participated in the survey had at least 5 different licensing models in play, ranging from individual product licenses to sequels, in going through collections and now, in 2020, to individual licenses User licenses Overall, respondents saw costs increase by up to 70% and beyond until the end of 2019. “
The letter added that “Firms would be less worried about these cost increases if they translated into productivity improvements and a progressive software development program.”
“While Autodesk Revit was once the industry driver for smarter work, there is more and more of a constraint and bottleneck. Practices find that they pay more but use Revit less because of its constraints, ”the letter continued.
Autodesk has yet to respond to the letter.