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Thread: Using a Piping System Schedule to replace Piping Specifications

  1. #1
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    Using a Piping System Schedule to replace Piping Specifications

    So I came up with this today, and thought I'd share.

    At my firm, we use a Drawing Specification for 95% of our projects. It's a CAD drawing with the specification composed in Mtext that we then Link in to our model. Our Piping spec lists piping material, joint methods, fitting types, and valve types for various systems (Domestic Water, Chilled Water, Natural Gas, etc.) I was editing the Piping Specification today, removing systems that weren't included, adding systems that were, when I thought "there has to be a better way to deal with this crap."

    I started tinkering in our Project Template, and pretty quickly came up with a Piping System Schedule that lists all of our Piping Systems, along with a series of plain Text Project Parameters for Pipe Material, Pipe Joint Method, Pipe Fitting Type, and Pipe Valve Type. They're Type Parameters that apply to the System Type. I used the stock "Description" parameter to group them in the same way that our standard spec does (For instance, Compressed Air, Nitrogen, and Vacuum piping use the same spec.) And, of course, I had "Itemize Every Instance" unchecked.

    That's about all there is to it. If any of these modeled systems are deleted, they drop off the schedule, BUT because the Text parameters apply to the System Types and not the Systems themselves, the data isn't lost. If I add a piping system back into the model, the data comes right back. I've seen architects use things like this for their various tables, and now I see why!



    Here are the parameters my schedule uses. Like I said, nothing fancy!



    Now, to see if my bosses (who don't understand Revit) will go for it!

    I feel like I've had a serious "Ah ha" moment here. I'm wondering what other "spec items" I can automate away!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Piping Material Schedule[11540].JPG   Schedule Parameters.JPG  
    Last edited by Necro99; June 15th, 2017 at 02:51 AM.

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    Forum Addict josephpeel's Avatar
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    Yes, exactly!
    You can set up all kinds of preprepared information for different systems, required materials, functional descriptions, relevant standards, links to manufacturer data or 2D connection details, links to the relevant system schematic etc etc...
    Then the schedule only displays the info for the systems that are actually in use in the project and can be adjusted slightly for project specific details.
    This kind of embedded information will eventually do away with writing a specification document and having to constantly check that what is written in the spec corresponds with what has been modelled.

    This is a good way to get engineers who think "Oh, no. Revit is not for me. Its just CAD and 3D modelling" to actually get involved and fill in their own design information in the model/database.
    The advantage of this is that someone modelling pipes can clearly see in the System details what they need to make and a model can be checked to see if pipe materials match specified materials.

    Something you can also try is using the Image parameter in a system schedule. If you make small images showing the pipe, colour, abreviation tag etc for all your systems, you can use a schedule to automatically create a Legend with Image, System Name, Description for only the systems in use. Or with a filter, only the systems shown in one set of drawings.
    Schedules have the great advantage over Legends that they can be easily pasted to selected sheets and auto update.
    Last edited by josephpeel; June 15th, 2017 at 03:19 PM.

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    I'm not clear on what you meant by "links to 2D connection details, links to the relevant system schematic". Do you mean using the URL parameter?

    Today, I've been tinkering with doing the same thing with our Mechanical Equipment. I simply created a Project Type Parameter for the specification text and dumped our standard spec text into it. The "Description" parameter is already filled out for all of our families, as this is what I use to filter my various equipment schedules.

    I can see the graphical drawbacks to this, namely there is no "A B C, 1 2 3..." outline formatting, and no ability to "break" a schedule cell mid-cell if it gets to be too long on the page. But COME ON, how nice would this be, to have the specification sections behave like Revit Schedules? The managers at my firm are constantly howling about efficiency and the hours budgeted for each project, and yet they insist on a meticulously editing the same "standard" specification for each and every project. I'm going to refine this a bit further and show it to the more receptive people in my office.

    I looked at using Keynote Legends for this, but it seems that you can't have line breaks inside the keynote text, which sadly kills the whole keynote idea. I love the idea of being able to remotely edit a file and have it be pulled into a schedule. Maybe there's some sort of Dynamo based solution for this, or some 3rd party add-on.


    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails schedule spec.JPG  

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    Forum Addict josephpeel's Avatar
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    Yes URL is the best way to do it in a schedule. I also make 2D schematics in revit and put view reference links on sheets (The links work in PDF if you print the drawings as one file) but unfortunately you cant link to another sheet in a URL parameter (Would be a nice feature..)

    You can break a schedule on a sheet. Click on the "Z" shaped symbol halfway down the schedule and move the part you dont want to see out of the page border.
    The other half can be shown on another sheet in the same way (Schedules can be placed on multiple sheets).

    This does mean your sheet will no longer be centred on the page border.. so I have a title block/border that has invisible lines extending out beyond the paper area to keep everything symmetrical.


    If you are looking for a way to link external files with revit parameters, and maybe to produce standard reports, you should look into using dynamo (Or a tool like BIM Link) to export/import to excel.
    (There is even the option of using dynamo to export to SQL/SQLite database and use one of the many automatic report generating programs available for databases. Something that would truly automate documenting a revit model. But thats a whole new thing to learn.....)

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    Forum Addict josephpeel's Avatar
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    I have heard there is a 256 character limit to text fields in Revit though. Can anyone confirm that?

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    I'm way over 256 characters in that Terminal Unit spec. The big limitation I'm seeing is that I can't break the cell if it gets taller than the page. The only real option would be to stretch it horizontally to bring the height down.

    I think I'm going to just start using this and show my supervisors once it's too late to change it back. That's how I got them to accept Revit schedules! :P

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    Forum Addict josephpeel's Avatar
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    Yeah I just pasted more than 10,000 characters into Comments with no problem.
    Although I just read that more than 256 characters can cause problems when exporting parameters to other formats/databases (I will test this sometime with dynamo). Also there is a clipboard limit of 36000.

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    So... instead of working on my projects today, I've been obsessively bringing specifications into our families and building a monster multi-category schedule that covers Plumbing, HVAC Equipment, Duct Distribution specifications.

    Behold! I started a new project based off this Template, erased everything in the model, and then started modeling a small mechanical system (diffusers, flex ducts, hard ducts, dampers, VAV, etc.) The specs for all of those items popped right up!


    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Project Template 2016.jpg  
    Last edited by Necro99; June 16th, 2017 at 10:30 PM.

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    Member evan.dodds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by josephpeel View Post
    Something you can also try is using the Image parameter in a system schedule. If you make small images showing the pipe, colour, abreviation tag etc for all your systems, you can use a schedule to automatically create a Legend with Image, System Name, Description for only the systems in use. Or with a filter, only the systems shown in one set of drawings.
    Schedules have the great advantage over Legends that they can be easily pasted to selected sheets and auto update.
    I was messing around with this todayŚbut for my firm's entire symbol legendsŚand am overall pretty pleased with how it's going. However, there are some things that I still have to figure out:

    1. How to make it so that you can display the same image for two different families. I ran into an issue where if I have round and square dampers (say balancing dampers) where the symbol looks the same for both. The image is blanked out even though I put the same one in both families. I guess I could just have round and square balancing dampers in my legend, but that seems pretty lame.
    2. 'common' pipe and duct notation. I can't think of how you would get pipe/duct up & down notation into this kind of symbol schedule.
    3. abbreviations. I think this would have to be a noteblock schedule for consistency sake, but it kind of irks me that I have to have multiple methods to show my symbols...but maybe I'd get over it quickly.


    Current version on the left, schedule method to the right (two columns):
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Capture.PNG  
    Last edited by evan.dodds; June 21st, 2017 at 12:16 AM. Reason: added picture

  10. #10
    Forum Addict josephpeel's Avatar
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    Nice, looks good.

    I didnt know you cant combine types with the same image.. Maybe filter out one of the types if the name and image are the same?
    How do you do Up/Down annotations? I currently use a tag. You could also create some dummy objects of the same category you want to schedule and add the images. You only need one instance of each to exist in your project.
    I did abbreviations slightly differently, I made all the images from a tagged duct in the project. (Consistent size and layout for every system type).

    Looks like this (Belgian Project..)


    Im trying to make a dynamo program that will get all the systems in a project, creates an image of how they appear in a standard way and then add the images to all the system types, but thats still in development...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails legend.JPG  

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