Revit modelling InstaCrete vs Revit comparison

InstaCrete vs. Revit : which one is the best for Revit modelling?

In this article/ blog, I’m going to put the Revit add-in InstaCrete and Autodesk Revit itself to the test.
The comparison is limited to Revit modelling (structural concrete) only.
So if you’re looking for a DEEP comparison of these two modelling tools you’ve come to the right place.
I’m going to compare InstaCrete vs. Revit in terms of the following tools:

  • Grid & Level
  • Structural Foundation
  • Structural Column
  • Structural Beam
  • Structural Floor
  • Wall
  • In-place concrete stair
  • Quantities
  • Concrete Costing
  • Opening
  • Project animation according to the schedule.

The Revit add-in InstaCrete & Revit both have these tools.
So it’s time to answer key questions. Who is better for concrete structure modelling overall?

Let’s do this!

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Table of Contents

Who is better InstaCrete or Revit while drawing the grids?

First, I decided to see which tool was best for drawing the grids.
Let’s see who came out on top.

InstaCrete grid manager 

  • You can draw multiple grid lines at an equal or unequal distance using the dialogue box.
  • The grid lines come with dimensioning (new feature in the next version of InstaCrete)
  • No need to use the graphics window to draw the grids.
  • The user can operate this tool from any view.
  • Grid manager is simple & easy to use.
  • See all the Grid Manager related videos.
Revit modelling Grid manager dialogue box

Revit Grid Tool 

  • Grid tool helps to draw the grid line by selecting two points in the drawing area.
  • You can draw grid lines by picking existing grid lines or wall & using the offset distances.
  • The user can draw a single grid line at a time.
  • Putting dimensions will require additional efforts.
  • Revit is capable of drawing inclined as well as circular Grid lines.

Comments 

  • Revit is better in the circumstances where the architect initially draws the drawing & then generates the grid lines from it.
  • But if the user already knows the grid positioning then InstaCrete grid manager is a clear winner.
  • InstaCrete reads the gridlines drawn by both the tools. So, the user can use his choice of tool to draw the grids or he can make a combination of both the tools.

Conclusion 

  • There is not much to choose from. Both the tools are good in different circumstances.

Who is better InstaCrete or Revit while drawing the levels?

Next, let’s compare the tool Level.

InstaCrete Level Manager 

  • A simple self-explanatory tool.
  • Capable of drawing multiple grid lines at equal or unequal distances.
  • In-put the value for the number of levels & the distances between them.
  • Easy to operate, works from any view.
  • See all Level Manager related videos.
Revit modelling adding levels

Revit – The Level tool

  • Works only in an elevation or the sectional view.
  • User can draw levels by selecting two points or by picking existing level.
  • Easy to operate but takes a lot of time to draw all the levels if it’s a tall building.

Comments 

  • If the floor height is not established & you have to draw a single level at a time then Revit is better.
  • But if the designer has fixed the number of floors & in-between height then InstaCrete is better.
  • InstaCrete reads the levels drawn by both the tools. So, the user can use his choice of tool to draw the levels or he can make a combination of both the tools.

Conclusion 

  • There is not much to choose from. Both the tools are good in different circumstances.

Who is better InstaCrete or Revit while placing the Foundations?

I am going to compare the structural foundation tool from the perspective of its placement in the drawing.

InstaCretes Foundation tool 

  • The user uses the foundation manager (dialogue box) to place the foundations in the drawing area.
  • The user selects the foundation type/ size from the drop-down list. After hitting the “OK” InstaCrete places all the foundations at the grid intersection points without any extra efforts.
  • In the case of symmetrical structure, the user can place footings symmetrically across “x” & “y” axis.
  • You can attach data like concrete cost along with the concrete mix.
  • The phase property is very useful for the construction company. Using phases they can get schedule-wise cost.
  • So, adding foundations & attaching data to the foundation is done from a single dialogue box. The same dialogue box saves the construction data throughout the project life. The same data becomes handy to edit the foundations.
  • You can place the foundations from any view.
  • While placing the foundations the user never uses the tools like zoom & pan. Hence saves a lot of valuable time.
  • See all the foundation related videos.
revit modeling foundation manager

Revits Structural Foundation tool : Isolated

  • It works best in plan view. So, you have to change to a plan view every now & then to place the foundations. Revit regenerates the drawing while changing the views. Revit requires a lot of time to regenerate & to change the view specifically for large project files.
  • You can place several foundations at a time. But, they all are of single size or type. In real practice, the foundation sizes change from grid to grid.
  • To change the foundation size/ type or to attach data the user has to move from graphics area to properties palette many times. For this procedure, he uses zoom, pan tools multiple times. This results in a lot of time-wasting.

Test Result 

For testing purpose, let’s add a few gids, levels & then place foundations using InstaCrete & Revit. Revit took 11 minutes to complete the task. InstaCrete completed the same task in 7 minutes. 34% of time-saving.

Video – Grid, Level & Foundation comparison.

Comments 

  • InstaCrete is much faster than Autodesk Revit when it comes to placing foundations in the drawing area.
  • The user can place 30 foundations & attach data to them at a time.
  • The same dialogue box & the data is useful to edit the foundation & its data.
  • Unnecessary zooming, panning is not required to place the foundations.

Conclusion 

  • InstaCrete beats Autodesk revit hands down when it comes to placing of the foundations in the drawing area. There is absolutely no comparison.

Who is better InstaCrete or revit while placing the Columns?

Let’s see who fares better while placing the structural columns in the drawing.

InstaCretes Column tool 

There are two tools to place the columns.

Revit modelling adding columns
revit modeling single level column
  • Both the tools are capable of applying various offset distances, attaching data like username, cost & phase from the dialogue box.
  • The user can place columns in symmetry along “x” & “y” axis.
  • The column data is interchangeable between the two dialogue boxes.
  • You can place columns from any view.
  • The same dialogue box is useful to edit the columns & its data.
  • InstaCrete is not capable of placing inclined/ slanted columns.

Revits Structural Column tool 

  • It works best in plan view. So, you have to change to a plan view every now & then to place the columns. While changing the views Revit regenerates the drawing. Revit requires a lot of time to regenerate & change the view.
  • You can place several columns at a time. But, they all are of single size or type. In real practice, the column sizes change from grid to grid. To attach the data or to apply offset values the user has to move from the drawing area to the property box. This involves constant use of zoom & pan, constant regeneration of drawing. A lot of time-wasting.
  • Placing columns one above the other, changing its size & applying proper offset is a lot difficult in Autodesk Revit.
  • Revit can place inclined/ slanted structural columns.

Test Result 

Let’s add a few columns in the drawing. The Revit procedure took around 3 minutes 50 seconds while InstaCrete took two minutes twenty-eight seconds to complete the same procedure
Instacrete saves 36% of user time while drawing the columns.

Video – Structural Column tool comparison.

Comments 

  • When it comes to placing vertical columns the Revit plug-in InstaCrete is much better. InstaCrete is capable of everything, placing, attaching data & editing columns from the dialogue box.

Conclusion 

  • Revit add-on InstaCrete wins handsomely when you want to place vertical columns.
  • When you want to place slanted columns you have to use Revit. InstaCrete does not support inclined columns.

Who is better InstaCrete or revit while placing the Beams?

Now, that we have seen the foundation & column tool, wherein, InstaCrete was seen to be faring better. Let’s test the beam tool.

InstaCretes Beam Tool 

There are four tools to add beams in the drawing.

Quick Beam 

  • This tool can place beams at sequential grid points. Like A1A2, A1B1.
  • the user can place multiple beams at a time.
  • he Can attach data like concrete mix, cost & phase from the same dialogue box.
  • the user is able to apply different offset values.
  • the user can also place beams symmetrically around “x” & “y” axis.
  • you can place beams from any view.
  • See all the videos related to quick beam tool.
Quick beam manager

Beam by Selection 

  • This tool can place beams at non-sequential grid points. Like A1A3, A1C1.
  • the user can attach data like concrete mix, cost & phase from the same dialogue box.
  • You can add beams in the model from any view.
  • you can place the beams at different offset values.
  • See all the videos related to beam by selection tool.
Revit modelling - Beam by selection

Direct Beam 

  • This tool helps to join the two beams.
  • It’s the tool in InstaCrete which requires working in the drawing area. It works in the plan view.
  • The user can place the beams at different offset values.
  • The editing can be done from the same dialogue box.
  • The user can attach data using the dialogue box.
  • See all the videos related to direct beam tool.
Revit modeling- direct beam

Cantilever Beam 

  • Three shapes of cantilever beams are possible.
  • InstaCrete can build complex shapes by using the dialogue box. The user does not need any 3D modelling knowledge.
  • You can attach data like concrete mix, cost & phase from the same dialogue box.
  • The user can place the beams at different offset values.
  • The Revit modeler can place cantilever beams from any view.
  • A single dialogue box to build as well as edit the beams.
  • See all the videos related to cantilever beam tool.
revit modelling adding cantilever beams

Revits Beam tool

  • The beam tool works better from the plan view. So, you have to change to a plan view every now & then to place the beams.
  • While changing the views Revit regenerates the drawing. It requires a lot of time to regenerate & change the view.
  • To change the beam size & to attach data the user has to constantly move from drawing area to the properties palette. This involves constant zoom & pan, constant regeneration of drawing. A lot of time-consuming processes.

Test Result 

We have 20 columns from Level 1 to Level 2. We will have 19 continuous beams in between these columns. These beams have different sizes. All these beams are arranged along with one of the column edges.

Revit completed the procedure in three minutes 39 seconds. While InstaCrete took two minutes 29 seconds to complete the same procedure. Around 32% of time-saving.

Video – Structural Beam tool comparison.

Comments 

  • When it comes to placing beams the Revit plug-in InstaCrete is much better. InstaCrete is capable of everything, placing, attaching data & editing beams from the dialogue box.
  • InstaCrete builds complex cantilever beam shapes easily while in Revit you should know 3d modelling procedure to build them.

Conclusion 

  • Revit add-on InstaCrete wins handsomely when you want to place beams.

Who is better InstaCrete or Revit while building the Structural Floor Model?

We have seen that InstaCrete can build grids, level, foundations, columns & beams from the dialogue box. Let’s see if it can build the floor model from the dialogue box & how it fares with the Revit’s structural floor tool.

InstaCretes Structural Floor 

InstaCrete uses the structural floor manager to build the floor.

  • InstaCrete does the floor modelling by providing values from the dialogue box.
  • InstaCrete is capable of cutting/ opening the floor when it clashes with columns & beams on its own.
  • The user can build the Floor model from any view.
  • He can attach the data & apply offset values from the box.
  • The same box helps to edit the floor.
  • See all the videos related to structural floor tool.
Revit modelling to build the Structural floor.

Revits structural floor tool

  • The floor is built by drawing a close loop in the drawing area. This involves the use of tools like trim, extend, delete, pan, zoom & so on.
  • The floor tool works in plan view. The user has to provide openings at necessary places.
  • To provide offsets or to change the floor type user moves to & fro in between drawing area & properties tool palette.

Test Result 

Revit completed the procedure in 3 minutes 45 seconds. While InstaCrete took 1 minute 18 seconds to complete the same procedure. Around 65% of time-saving.

Video – Structural Floor tool comparison.

Comments 

  • To build the floor you must form a close loop in the drawing area. InstaCrete does that very easily by using the values it gets from the dialogue box.
  • Otherwise, when you use Revit to build the floor, you have to use tools like zoom, pan, trim, extend, delete. Quiet a tedious job!

Conclusion 

  • Again, I must say the floor manager by InstaCrete is far better to build a structural floor model then Revit.

Who is better InstaCrete or Revit while building the Walls?

In the following analysis I am going to compare the wall tool.

InstaCretes Wall 

There are three tools. Let’s analyse them one by one.

Quick Wall 

  • This tool can place walls at sequential grid points.like A1A2, A1B1. InstaCrete calculates existing columns, beams sizes & then places the wall accurately in between.
  • the user can attach data like concrete mix, cost & phase from the same dialogue box.
  • The Revit modeler is able place multiple walls at a time.
  • He can apply various offset values & place walls symmetrically around “x” & “y” axis.
  • A useful tool to place walls specifically brick wall in between columns & beam.
revit modelling for quick walls

Wall by Selection tool 

  • This tool can place walls at non-sequential grid points. Like A1A3, A1C1. InstaCrete calculates existing columns & beam sizes & then places the wall accurately in between.
  • the user can attach data like concrete mix, cost & phase from the same dialogue box.
  • He can apply various offset values while placing the walls.
  • A useful tool to place walls specifically brick wall in between columns & beam.
Wall by selection for Revit modelling.

Direct Wall tool 

  • This tool helps the user to place walls between two grid intersection points.
  • the user can attach data like concrete mix, cost & phase from the same dialogue box.
  • He can apply various offset values while placing the walls.
  • You can use this tool from any view.
Revit modeling for walls

Revits Wall tool 

  • This tool works best from the plan view. Wall is drawn between two points or by picking a line.
  • The user can decide the wall height & its properties from the properties palette.

Test Result 

Revit completed the procedure in 1minutes 56 seconds. While InstaCrete took 50 seconds to complete the same procedure. Around 57% of time-saving.

Video – Wall tool comparison.

Comments 

  • Wall manager by InstaCrete is more suitable when the user wants to draw walls in between columns & beams. Such as a brick wall, partition walls.
  • In other cases, the user might find Revit's wall tool better than the InstaCretes wall manager.

Conclusion 

  • InstaCrete is a better tool when it comes to placing a wall between columns & beam.
  • While, Revit is better when it comes to freehand wall placement. InstaCrete is not capable of drawing a circular or slant wall.

Who Calculates accurate concrete cost? InstaCrete or Revit, let’s see.

During the execution of the construction project, the concrete cost fluctuates many times. InstaCrete as well as Revit help to arrive at a proper cost. Let’s analyse both the tools & see which is better.

InstaCretes Concrete Settings tool 

InstaCrete uses the Concrete Settings tool to define the concrete mix & it’s cost.

Revit modelling-concrete settings

Revits concrete settings tool 

  • There is no such tool in Revit.
  • The user has to define many parameters to arrive at an accurate cost.
  • For a large project, it’s very difficult to manage all the parameters.

Test Result 

There can not be a competition when it comes to the concrete cost of a project. InstaCrete handles this complex issue in the easiest possible way.

Video – Using concrete settings. (Illustration)

Comments 

  • The aim of the tool “Concrete Settings” in InstaCrete is to define the concrete mix & its cost.
  • This tool keeps a record of all the concrete mixes & their fluctuating costs.

Conclusion 

  • There can't be a comparison between InstaCrete & Revit when it comes to the total concreting cost of a project. InstaCrete is a clear winner.

Who is better, InstaCrete or Revit while creating a Concrete in-place Stair Model?

In this section, I am going to make an in-depth analysis of the Stair tool.

InstaCretes Stair Model 

This tool is meant for the in-place concrete stair modelling. The user can build 5 types of stair models.

Revits Stair tool 

The user can use three methods to build a stair model.

  • Stair by component method – It adds stair by building a common run, landing & support system. The user can use this tool in the plan or the 3d view.
  • Stair by sketch – The user can build the stair by drawing the run or the boundary & treads. The user can use this tool in the plan or the 3d view.
  • In-place stair family – The user does the 3d modelling to build the stair. Requires a lot of time & needs expertise in 3d modelling.

Test Result 

There can not be a competition when it comes to build a concrete in-place stair model.

Video – Stair modeling. (Illustration)

Comments 

  • InstaCrete’s stair tool is an easy tool to use & powerful as well. It does its job for what it has been designed for. (i.e to build a concrete in-place stair)
  • Revit’s stair tool is a well-rounded tool with a lot of flexibility in its use. It is a versatile tool & is capable of designing almost any type & shape of stair.

Conclusion 

  • Whenever the user comes across an in-place concrete stair, his choice should be InstaCrete. In all other circumstances, he should use Autodesk Revit.

InstaCrete vs Revit : Comparison between the Reports/ Quantities tool.

Extracting quantities from the 3D model is a very important procedure in BIM implementation. I will compare the Reports/ Quantities tool in the following analysis.

InstaCretes Reports tool 

  • This tool can extract quantities of construction members like foundations, columns, beams, floors & walls.
  • The user gets the output directly in the Excel format.

Revits Quantities tool 

  • This tool is capable of extracting quantities of all the building components from the 3D model.
  • The user gets the output in the Revit project file.

Comments 

  • When it comes to extracting quantities from the model, RCCCAD’s InstaCrete is limited to structural members. As the user gets the output in the Excel format which can be advantageous.
  • Revit’s quantities tool is more versatile & is capable of drawing quantities of a vast majority of building components.

Conclusion 

  • The user should use InstaCret’s reports tool to draw quantities & costing of the concrete structural members.
  • He can use Revit’s schedule/ quantities tool for other building components.

Who is better, InstaCrete or Revit while creating openings for MEP components?

Openings are provided for various purposes like, for artificial lights, for human movements etc. They are also provided to pass through various MEP components from the building objects.

InstaCretes Opening tool 

  • This tool helps to create openings into walls, floors, beams & columns by the MEP components like pipes & ducts.
  • The user can make multiple openings in a single command.
  • The user can apply a tolerance value to the opening.
  • It’s specifically used to create openings by the MEP components.
revit modeling openings

Revits Opening tool 

  • This is a general tool to make the openings.

Comments 

  • One should use InstaCrete’s opening tool to make openings in structural members by the MEP components like pipes & ducts.
  • Revit’s opening tool helps to create large openings or openings with specific shapes.

Conclusion 

  • InstaCrete’s opening tool is far better when it comes to creating openings by MEP components like pipes & ducts. In other circumstances, the user can use Revit.

Who is better, InstaCrete or Revit while animating the model according to the schedule?

InstaCretes InstaSys tool 

  • It animates the projects according to the schedule provided by the project management team.
  • A useful tool to make a presentation before the top management team.
  • Has additional facility to add labels in which you can highlight details like name of the contractor, specific quantities & its cost etc.
  • The user can animate the project in two modes – Automatic method - in which he can determine a time lag between two frames.
  • & the manual method – in which the operator uses the “enter” key to display the next frame.
  • See InstaSys in action.
Revit modelling simulation of the project according to schedule.

Revits tool for 4D animation 

  • Revit does not have a specific tool as such for this purpose. However, the user can apply phase property to the different model components according to the schedule provided by the project management team. And then select different phases manually from the properties palette.

Video – InstaSys in action.

Comments 

  • InstaSys has been developed for the specific purpose of “project simulation according to the schedule”. And it does it beautifully.

Conclusion 

  • InstaSys is a cost-effective tool which does the animation of the 3D model according to the schedule in the native Autodesk Revit environment.

RCCCAD InstaCrete vs. Autodesk Revit: And the winner is……… ……

I am using Revit since 2006. While doing structural concrete modelling, I use to think about these enhancements in Autodesk Revit. I have taken into consideration all those enhancements while developing InstaCrete.

InstaCrete software acts as data entry software. The user needs to select appropriate structural component sizes against the grid points. The placement/ modelling is taken care of by InstaCrete.

The data goes on accumulating as the user builds the model. The same data becomes handy to edit the model.

As InstaCrete is data-driven software, the designer can forward his design in the form of Excel format. This saves a lot of time as the designer is not required to convey his design in the form of drawings.

Last Word 

While considering the winner I took into the consideration following points –

  • Time saving.
  • Ease of use.
  • Easy to learn & implement.

Autodesk Revit is an “all-rounder” tool in the BIM space. But when it comes to structural concrete modelling, InstaCrete is a clear winner. It saves more than 30% of the modelling time.

And now it’s time to hear what you have to say.

When it comes to the InstaCrete vs. Revit battle, which tool do you prefer for concrete modelling?

Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

Revit-modeling

Vikram Baraskar is the founder director of the RCCCAD IT Solution Pvt. Ltd. He is a civil engineer by profession. He has got over 25 years of handling construction projects, teaching CAD software. He has carried out over 6 million sq. ft. of RCC auditing & Revit modelling work. 
He loves all sports with a special liking to chess.

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