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Using Revit MEP - Making projects more efficient

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    Using Revit MEP - Making projects more efficient

    Hi,

    I am a HVAC engineer who had the chance to work on multiple big projects with a team with Revit MEP. I am more of a project manager than a end user of the program. I have a very general question about the program, and would love hearing from the experts.

    I have noticed the advantages of Revit MEP versus 2D CAD in terms of limiting the coordination mistakes and can see the potential of the program.

    On the other hand, I have yet to notice how Revit can help us be more efficient (save time) on the design side. From the experience I have, Revit seems to increase the design time versus our projects in CAD.

    I am curious on your opinions about this issue. Is it the case everywhere?

    And, what are the Tools and tricks designers are implementing to use Revit MEP at their advantage and make project designing more efficient?

    #2
    I'm not MEP. But I work with those who are - and should like to be the first to respond before the tricks and tips come flooding in...

    Using Revit, for what's it's designed for (to enable the benefits you have already observed with improved coordination) is the pay off for the project. Any perceived loss - or lack in gain - of efficiency from using Revit is something you/we (may) have to bear in the process.

    The question, as I pose it to MEP people who I do work with, is this: Are you in this for the project or the money? I've found the answer is usually a clear indicator of how engaged that consultant will be. But that is not to say you/we both are not then well placed to protect our businesses by contesting that the value (to the project) generated by completing the work in Revit should be reflected in our respective fees.

    Otherwise, like you infer, what is the point in doing it in Revit? But trust me, in moment a few will come along with their tricks and tips to speed things up for you no end...


    Oh and BTW, welcome to the forum! :thumbsup:

    Comment


      #3
      I must say, the main reason why I ask the question is that I understand the benefits of Revit for the projects.

      And I understand this trade-off of quality vs speed of execution (maybe in time, there won't be any trade-off?).

      In order to encourage the decision makers of choosing Revit 100% of the time (for the project and the money), I think the best way is trying to find the solutions that Revit MEP can also help projects be more efficient. I am sure some people have come up with creative ways of doing so. I am really curious about these tricks and tips !

      Thanks for the welcome! Hope to hear from all the Revit experts here.

      Comment


        #4
        Welcome to the forum. I'm glad you see the benefits of Revit.

        Tips and tricks aside, here's my advice from a PM perspective. First, understand the fundamental difference between the AutoCAD and Revit platforms. The best way I've seen it explained is this: "Products". AutoCAD and Revit give you different "products". AutoCAD's product is a drawing: lines, circles, text, etc that represents a building. Revit's product is a building: walls, beams, ductwork, etc that is substantiated in a paper format. The lines, circles, text, etc is in fact an embodiment of the real building.

        That being said, as a PM I would have a policy in place that endorsed - even mandated - the process of fully coordinating the building. In doing this, you will drastically reduce flaws in design that may subsequently be costly through change orders, etc. So the best way to endorse this is to get the designers up to speed with a mindset change: to design it as if it were to be built in the real world. Have the designers really dive into the "way" buildings are built.

        I come from the field, then went to the dark side and spent 2.5 years at a consulting engineering firm. When using Revit, and combined with my field experience, I designed it the "way" it would be built, and the engineers absolutely loved it. We coordinated so many things on the jobs I was on that RFI's and change orders were substantially reduced. Construction was very smooth, and made our company and the client (owner) satisfied as well.

        Another thing I'd provide advice for is to revisit your submittal milestones. Revit doesn't go from 0% to 30% very well. Revit goes from 0% to 60% much better, so don't expect much on the set at 30% - but that's okay. Revit's power is in the 60%-95% range, where everything begins to smash together toward the CD deadline. With AutoCAD, you "draw" things to represent submittal milestones, but it really was always schematic. With Revit it requires more time/effort up front, but very little time/effort toward the project deadlines. This is usually the hardest part for the experienced engineers and managers to understand when switching platforms.

        Hope you find this information useful.

        -TZ
        Tannar Z. Frampton ™
        Frampton & Associates, Inc.

        Comment


          #5
          Hello TZ,

          Thanks for the great insight.

          I am still on the "dark side" and I agree with your point that Revit's isn't made for the 30% set.

          Ill try to make my question a little more concrete - because you are bringing good points.

          I think in terms of pure drawing and coordination, there is no way that Revit can take less time then CAD. There is a 3rd dimension to take into account, and I undestand that. But, the end product is way more precise and useful on the field.

          Putting that aside, I think the aspect where we could have some gains with Revit is in terms of using it to help the engineers with all their calculations. Whether it is duct sizing, pipe sizing, Equipment selection etc. I think Revit had alot of promise in this regards, but I haven't personnaly seen the program used this way in the design process yet. Maybe we just haven't developped the right tools internally.

          Have you guys seen the program used in this way, and have you seen any benefits from it, in terms of quality or efficiency of design?

          Comment


            #6
            Spatial coordination, layout, sheet creation, annotation, schedules - Revit is king and for this our RFIs and COs are down.

            Duct sizing and load calcs - not here. Our engineers use Trace and input rooms manually into that program. No gbXML output or anything. Grills are sketched on paper with flow values and equipment is selected by the engineers then given to the designers who make or request/download Revit families. We size duct manually with the Trane Air Duct Calculator and create the layouts and we don't use the auto-generate features.

            I look at system analysis characteristics in Revit afterwards to double check everything is there (CFM) and SP is within range.

            But also, I'm a sheet metal worker, so I know what I'm doing with respect to layout.
            Last edited by TFuller; September 18, 2015, 05:39 PM.
            Thomas N Fuller II

            LinkedIn

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              #7
              In my experience, the engineering and sizing aspect of Revit aren't used as well. A couple reasons for this.... first off you depend on the architect too much, and second it's not as robust as a true load program such as Trane's Trace.

              Architects are already busy enough, and for the MEP guys to utilize Revit's load tools, you have to consider thermal materials, R-Values, proper space sizing, etc. It will be hard to get an architect to do this for you, AND put the trust in their work that it's been done and updated correctly through the design adjustments. And it will be harder to get an architect to let someone on the MEP side of things to jump in their model and apply these changes. So, sticking with what you already use is usually best bet for now - but that doesn't mean firms aren't using this feature because they are. It just takes all the stars to align first is all.

              Revit's load tools are good for simple building envelopes. Public schools, office buildings, warehouses... things like this are usually pretty easy. When you get into more complex buildings with slanted or curved walls, or abstract architectural designs, or split levels/clear stories, things can get tricky. But, Revit MEP's load tools are constantly being updated so the things I just mentioned may very well be capable now. I'm not an engineer, but a designer who supports engineers, so I'm going off previous opinions from engineers who had moderate experience with the calc tools. This should be considered before making a decision based off my own comment.

              -TZ
              Tannar Z. Frampton ™
              Frampton & Associates, Inc.

              Comment


                #8
                I can see that generally, Revit is not used very much for the sizing and calculations aspects yet. We mostly use the same old methods for these.

                If anobody has successfully used it for some of these features, I would be glad to here from him.

                Thanks for the replies

                Comment


                  #9
                  yes Duct sizing is possible, and we can trust that. Duct pressure drop also working well.
                  We have to check or alter the family with proper connectors properties.

                  -RG

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by HVACeng View Post
                    I think in terms of pure drawing and coordination, there is no way that Revit can take less time then CAD.
                    Revit can definitely be faster than CAD if you're just concerned about 2D plans. Especially if you're stick building ducts and pipes in CAD (I doubt it so it's a wash at the least). In Revit you can quickly bang out 2D plans just like you do in CAD. But give each system a fly zone (elevation) and your 50%-75% coordinate with no additional effort and can see it. Coordinate further where needed as the budget and/or as deemed necessary for your sanity. Revit +1

                    Bottom line is somewhere someone is hopefully coordinating the third dimension no matter what tool is being used to present it. With CAD it's often left to an image in your head and sketches on paper. If your lucky you throw down a few sections to help you show it. Problem is if you change the plan view you double the effort for the section. Most sections get left off as time and budget run short. Do it in Revit and you know! You can quickly cut as many sections and isometrics to prove and in very little time and all changes sync. It's a beautiful thing. Revit +2

                    Originally posted by HVACeng View Post
                    Putting that aside, I think the aspect where we could have some gains with Revit is in terms of using it to help the engineers with all their calculations. Whether it is duct sizing, pipe sizing, Equipment selection etc. I think Revit had alot of promise in this regards, but I haven't personnaly seen the program used this way in the design process yet. Maybe we just haven't developped the right tools internally.

                    Have you guys seen the program used in this way, and have you seen any benefits from it, in terms of quality or efficiency of design?
                    Take it in steps. It's all doable in Revit.
                    • First just get your 2D drawings done then move onto more detailed coordination.
                    • Then work on well connected systems to get the CFM's and GPM's to add up. One less thing to do on paper.
                    • Then move to Revit sizing if you like. It works. Honestly I still use the tried and true ductulator. It's quicker to see options.
                    • Then move to pressure drop calcs. This is where I'm at. Not sure I trust it yet though. I know Autodesk keep's making improvements and that I'll need to make an investment to make sure all families and parts are configured properly.
                    • Work live schedules somewhere in that mix too.

                    I've been doing HVAC design for 30+ years. Gone from hand to CAD to Revit. LOVE Revit and would never go back. I can finally see what I've had in my head all these years. Get your engineers/designer out in the field so they can physically see how it all goes together. Learn from the contractor on the job. Ask them questions. Learn why they didn't install it the way you drew it. Ask them how'd they'd layout the job and their rules of thumbs. You're next project will thank you for it and you'll make new friends.
                    John Karben | IMEG Corp.

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