One of the major advances in the building services industry is the growing adoption of parametric BIM modelling techniques, workflows, and processes for more efficient and accurate planning, design, fabrication, installation, and maintenance of MEP systems. Whilst the MEP (M&E) engineering fraternity was relatively slow in adopting BIM model-based documentation techniques, other project stakeholders including main contractors (general contractors), owners, and architects were quick to adopt and realise its benefits. Nevertheless, a competent workforce proficient in BIM management as well as BIM tools, such as Revit MEP, will be one of the key drivers to accelerate BIM adoption for building design projects. As a result, it is imperative for engineering graduates, interested in pursuing a career in AEC industry and the built environment, to enrol on well-structured Revit MEP training courses that supplement the academic curriculum.
Irrespective of whether students attend engineering colleges, MEP BIM Consultants Austin polytechnics, universities, or technical education institutes, investment of time and money into skills development needs to be as effective as possible. Accordingly, they should reflect upon the following points before they decide to take up professional Revit training classes:
Training courses designed by CAD professionals who have hands-on experience working on real-life building services projects are more likely to meet industry requirements than those conducted by training vendors or consultants. As graduates willing to just enter the industry workforce, students need an in-depth knowledge of the capabilities of Revit and access to best industry practises in the realm of designing clash-free and coordinated HVAC systems, plumbing/irrigation systems, and electrical systems. In addition to this, students having a robust grounding in both the traditional 2d CAD design workflows and modern BIM processes stand a better chance of acceptance within the highly competitive AEC industry.
Whilst it is important to be thoroughly proficient in current industry trends, equal weight should be placed on newer technologies and processes that can impact the field. For instance, the MEP design and consulting firms currently employ a mix of 2d CAD and BIM tools to deliver conceptual plans, schematics, detailed designs, single-service drawings, integrated services drawings, spool drawings, and detailed 3d models that adhere to local building codes for HVAC, mechanical, pipe work, electrical, and fire systems. Nevertheless, large modern-day projects require BIM tools and BIM workflows to be executed within the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) frameworks jointly by major stakeholders: architects, MEP designers, main contractors, fabricators, and installation experts.
Prabhat Singh heads XS CAD India’s Training and Recruitment Centre, one of the leading providers of classroom and online CAD, Architectural BIM modelling and Revit MEP training courses [http://www.xscadtraining.com/autocad-revit-mep-training-courses/]. Based in Mumbai, India, the CAD training centre [http://www.xscadtraining.com/] serves students as well as corporate organisations in domains, including architecture, interior design and building services engineering.
Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing design can be intricate and require a significant amount of coordination activity in order to create the necessary detail and design components to install systems effectively. The challenges that BIM modelers face in Revit 3d BIM modelling not only involve issues involved with software deficiencies, the challenge of coordinating with ductwork against ductwork but also coordinating locations of components with reference to other disciplines, and in some cases creating design information for third parties who may wish to integrate with other software.
As we know, building services projects can be complex and they require a high level of detail to make sure everything is built exactly as designed. The globally accepted Level of Development (LOD) standard has helped somewhat to define the extent of detail required for ductwork as well as other services but the challenges within the software itself or the experience of the BIM modeller are still variables that have to be overcome. The extent of detail can of course affect the time taken to complete the design but more detail means that elements such as cost estimating in which Revit can generate automatic quantity take offs, can be added to the scope. So for example a well detailed project will allow for Revit quantity take offs for quantities for duct, insulation and other materials are created.
Turning to software initially, it is certainly true that Revit MEP modelling is now becoming the standard for ductwork modelling. However, this has not always been the case as early versions of the software omitted various components such as ductwork shoes, flanges or even circular ducts. Of course, these elements could have been created using the family set up, but that is both time consuming and costly. The latter versions of Revit have improved considerably and the tool is now becoming a defect to standard in the design industry.
With the software constantly improving the challenge then moves on to the specification and project definition, knowledge of the ductwork systems and the software skills of the users. BIM modelers face a constant challenge as they need to provide a much higher level of detail in the BIM era. Higher levels of detailing and modeling require time and effort and also a good understanding and experience of using Revit. Specific mechanical units and the associated ductwork may be unique in design that must be modeled as generic boxes, and ducts. Mechanical BIM modelers can model generic duct elements as place holders for coordination but these generic ducts may not illustrate the proper weight of a duct and that will affect the cost of material and other take-off data. Examples such as duct socks cannot be created from the fabric and therefore place holders can be modeled to coordinate locations with other disciplines. Whilst unique ductwork can be created, it adds challenges as it relies on the creation of customised families. Complex routing can also be a challenge because of possible multiple elevation changes with elbows. This routing may be created using a window of various views to see elevations and plans at the same time. These views can show how duct changes as you edit them in the model. Routing that requires different sizes along the route can be troublesome because individual runs with similar sizes need to be changed independently, however fitting may be hard to select with the various elevation changes.
As models are developed and a high level of detail is generated, coordination knowhow and experience is necessary to avoid clashes while maintaining an installable solution. Mechanical engineers coordinate with plumbing and electrical engineers to provide water and electricity to HVAC units and exhausts. Projects that involve engine rooms require coordination due to the large number of pipes and ducts that may create clashes due to limited space. Clash detection in Revit or using a tool such as Navisworks can be executed however it requires time to develop the reports and also require time to learn the process. Of course, without detail some clashes cannot be seen due to non-existent components such as small ducts or duct components that are not modelled. Smaller ducts may not be modeled because the detail is described by other means, which can result in potential problems with model. The BIM Modeller also has to give due consideration to lagging and insulation which can add 50mm (2 inches) to the width of a duct and could therefore result in clashes. Reducing the lagging or insulation is not really an option as that can affect cooling or heating capacity. One final obstacle to overcome is the duct hanging system. In some cases the brackets and hangars are modelled but in many cases, the BIM modeler has to allow for hanging and allow that in his layout/model.
As the model is detailed, essential information is developed for engineers. Modelers may be required to supply a high level of detail with duct in order to provide values for calculations. Providing essential information is challenging because it add responsibilities to model to a large level of development and requires modeling components such as ductwork to be precise based off manufacturing information. If the information is not correct then the ductwork can be under or oversized. Oversized ducts can create a lack of space in possible tight quarters or undersized ducts can lead to poor performance and circulation.