Course Syllabus

Course Description:


Building upon skills acquired in the “Introduction to CAD for Construction and Architecture” course, this course presents advanced topics in architectural CAD/BIM software and its uses in design and construction.

Centered on problem-based tasks, topics such as 3-dimensional modeling, design for fabrication, parametric building design, building information modeling (BIM), material takeoff, energy-efficient planning and model analysis, rendering and presentation, and others will be explored.

Industry-standard CAD/BIM software such as Trimble SketchUp, Autodesk Revit, Autodesk Navisworks, and Autodesk AutoCAD will be used to accomplish this.

Meetings: Spring Term – Mon, Wed 9:30-11:00, Design Building 260
Credits: 3
Sections: (all sections meet at the same time)

  • BCT 420 is for undergraduate students
  • ECO 697SB (“Studies in Building Information Modeling”) is for graduate students. See the separate syllabus for additional requirements.

Students will gain from this course:

  • Ability to work in a 3-dimensional CAD enviroment and create 3D models of construction assemblies and buildings.
  • Ability to create a parametric building information model (“BIM” = a 3d object-oriented model of a building where each component has “intelligent” behaviors and embedded data) and extract data. This approach facilitates the creation of construction documents (plans, elevations etc.), material takeoffs and building schedules as well as performance (e.g. building energy) analysis.
  • Ability to use CAD-based tools to solve technical issues (fabrication, energy efficiency, lighting, structural etc.) during the planning process.
  • Understanding of Autodesk Revit as an example of a parametric building modeler (other comparable software is Graphisoft ArchiCAD, Bentley Architectural – those are similar but not covered in this course).
  • Knowledge of options to work collaboratively on Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) projects.
  • Knowledge of advanced CAD principles: Software extensions, scripting/automation, texturing/rendering, workflow methods and others.


  1. In-depth work with SketchUp: Massing models, assembly models, more editing tools, texturing
  2. The ins and outs of SketchUp: Import/export, creating animations, working with Google Earth and 3D Warehouse
  3. Design to fabrication with SketchUp (3D printing, CNC,…).
  4. 3D BIM modeling with Revit: Walls, floors, doors, windows, stairs etc.
  5. Revit families: Using components, creating new types and new families
  6. How to work with BIM content: Plans, interactive models (3D for the web), schedules, materials takeoff
  7. Using Revit and SketchUp models for analysis: Solar analysis, energy performance

Course Components:

  • Class Meetings: Two weekly 1.5 hr. sessions (Mon. & Wed.) are scheduled in the Design Building 260 computer room. They provide a hands-on environment for the instructor to introduce core techniques and for the students to practice these in exercises and group work. Attendance and participation is mandatory. See attendance section for details.
  • Readings/Quizzes: Students are expected to have reviewed assigned readings before class and must have completed a short online review quiz (three attempts, highest grade) on the readings.
  • Projects: 3 projects provide a task-oriented opportunity for students to practice their skills. These projects are either individual or small group projects and they comprise the entire range of topics covered in this course.
  • Assignments: 3-4 smaller assignments allow for practice of more defined skills, usually centering around a single topic.
  • Final Project: A final project requires students to create a full BIM model of a building or house in Revit, including a complete 3D model, construction documentation, material takeoff and an analysis component.

Required Texts:

  • Architectural Design with SketchUp / 2nd Edition / Schreyer / John Wiley & Sons (Amazon link)
    My reference book for SketchUp, which covers modeling, plugins, rendering, making and scripting. We will use it for the first third of the course.
  • Commercial Design Using Autodesk Revit / Any recent edition / Daniel John Stine / SDC Publications
    We will use this tutorial-based book after the first third of the course. You can get any recent edition of this book.
  • If you don’t have one yet, get an architect’s scale. You can get one from the university store or from Amazon.

Optional Literature:

Check the UMass’ Library Safari Books subscription to see if you can get access to any of these for free!



  • Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture / Dzambazova, Demchak, Krygiel / John Wiley & Sons
    (Good next-level reference for Revit Architecture)
  • Autodesk Revit Architecture for Architects & Designers / Tickoo / Cadcim
    (Similar, very tutorial-oriented)
  • Introduction to Residential Design Using Autodesk Revit / Stine / SDC Publications
    (Similar book to our textbook by same publisher covering commercial projects)


  • BIM Handbook / Eastman, Teicholz, Sacks, Liston / John Wiley & Sons
    (A thorough look at the various aspects of BIM)
  • BIM and Construction Management: Proven Tools, Methods, and Workflows / Hardin / Sybex
    (A BIM reference with a focus on construction management)
  • BIM and Integrated Design – Strategies for Architectural Practice / Deutsch / John Wiley & Sons
    (A BIM reference with a focus on architecture)
  • Green BIM / Krygiel, Nies / Sybex
    (Looks at BIM from the green building side)

Construction methods and drafting:

  • Architectural Graphic Standards Student Edition / Ramsey, Sleeper / John Wiley & Sons
    (Reference for general architectural planning)
  • Architectural Graphics / Ching / John Wiley & Sons
    (Reference for drafting and presentation)
  • Architectural Drafting and Design / Jefferis, Madsen / Thomson, Delmar Learning
    (Drafting and construction methods)


Alexander C. Schreyer, M.A.Sc., Dipl.-Ing.
Senior Lecturer and Program Director BCT

Office: Design Building, Room 318
Office hours:
Sign up at
Email: (Click on the dots to reveal the address)
+1 (413) 545-1976

Rules, Exams and Grading:

Course Pre-requisites: BCT 320 (“Intro to CAD for Construction and Architecture”) or equivalent CAD knowledge (AutoCAD and SketchUp knowledge required).

Course Co-requisites: None.

Computer Skills: You should be familiar with computers in general (this is not tied to a particular operating system, but some familiarity with Windows would be advantageous – Revit is only available for Windows). You need to have internet access to download some course material, communicate via e-mail and access the course website.

If you don’t have a computer at home, you can use the computers in the Design Building, room 260 or 235 or any IT classroom computers. All software should be installed on those. If you have any problems, contact the instructor early on so that arrangements can be made.

IMPORTANT: You must have a means of storing your files. I strongly suggest you buy a USB memory stick (minimum size: 4 GB). These are quite cheap these days and are very reliable. Alternatively, you can use the UMass Apps (GDrive), BoxUMass U-Drive, or any other removable storage. It is your responsibility to provide it. Write your name on any USB drives – these are frequently left behind!!!

Software installations: If you decide to install course-related software on your own computer, then you are responsible for maintaining the installation. While the instructor will try to help with any issues, he cannot guarantee that the software will work as necessary. You may use the OIT hardware/software support to fix any problems.

Course Website: This course’s main communications platform will be our Moodle site. You may need a username and a password to access downloadable content on this site. The password will be provided in one of the first classes. It is your responsibility to obtain this password and thus get access to downloadable material (e.g. handouts, projects).

Electronic hand-in of projects: See the instructions on the Moodle site’s assignment pages for details. Uploads will typically be through Moodle, in which case no other submission method (e.g. email) will be accepted. Name all files: “yourlastname_projectnr.ext” (with ext being the file extension)

Attendance: Regular class attendance is mandatory and will be recorded. Classes will start on time. The instructor reserves the right to reduce the overall attendance grade for latecomers. Please note: Missing six classes (unexcused or excused) over the course of a semester makes the student eligible for an F grade in the course.

Absences: Whenever possible, unavoidable absences for classes need to be discussed with the instructor prior to the class (in person or send an e-mail). Appropriate documentation will be required. After-the-fact notifications will only be accepted if no possibility of prior submittal existed. If you have to miss an exam, an assignment or project deadline due to a university-accepted reason, contact the instructor before the event (if possible) to arrange for a solution to this problem. Other than for accepted reasons, make-up exams, assignments or projects will not be given.

You are responsible for obtaining missed course material. Only portions of the full lecture content may be available on our course website. If you can, copy someone else’s notes. Contact the instructor only if you are still missing any material after that.

Late hand-in: Due dates will be set at the time of assignment and are published on the question sheet or the Moodle site. Assignments and projects must be submitted on time. Late submittal (without prior instructor approval) will incur the following grade adjustments: minus 5% per day (including weekends) until the day when the solutions are published and the corrected work is returned. After that point, you will receive 0% (an F) for the missed hand-in.


45% – Projects (3)
15% – Assignments (approximately 3-4)
25% – Final Revit/BIM project
5% – Quizzes
10% – Attendance, participation

Letter Grading:

A ≥ 93.0 % | A− = 90.0-92.9 %
B+ = 87.0-89.9 % | B = 83.0-86.9 % | B− = 80.0-82.9%
C+ = 77.0-79.9 % | C = 73.0-76.9 % | C− = 70.0-72.9 %
D+ = 67.0-69.9 % | D = 60.0-66.9 %
F < 60.0 %

Grievance Procedure: If you feel that an awarded grade is not accurate for whatever reason, you may dispute it by submitting a written explanation together with the marked material to the instructor within two weeks of receiving the graded material.

Special Needs: All reasonable efforts will be made to meet the individual needs of the student. If you have a learning disability or need special accommodation please make an appointment with the instructor to discuss your needs. I also encourage you to contact me if you are an international student (or otherwise new to the English language) in need of help for climbing the “language barrier”. All discussions will be kept strictly confidential.

Academic Honesty: The University Academic Honesty Policy applies. This policy can be found in the Undergraduate Rights and Responsibilities (at and covers plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, and facilitating dishonesty. Occurrences of any of those practices will be dealt with according to university policy.
Original write-up of homework is required by each group/individual (as applicable) for a given assignment or lab report.

Classroom Behavior: As per building policy, it is not permitted to consume food in the classroom. Students are strongly encouraged to turn all cell-phones or other electronic communications devices (e.g. chat software) off during class time. Any disruptive behavior will be sanctioned appropriately.

No component of the course (printed and online materials, lectures, labs, discussion sessions etc.) may be recorded (audio or video), broadcast or re-published without the written consent of the instructor.

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