Thursday, January 14, 2010

Project Structure and Following Process in the Revit Platform

Starting on a new project, I'm coming to realize just how important the structure of the project is, especially if the project is headed for a lifecycle management situation, or even something as simple as coordination.

My first observation is this - all disciplines, consultants, etc. need to set their worksets up exactly the same, from the architect down to the last specialty consultant for fire protection. For example, in a multi-story, mutli-quadrant building, each discipline should make each workset follow the following structure, in order:

- Shared Levels and Grids (default)
- Floor Level
- Level Spanning Building Elements
- Horizontal Work Areas

The first two are pretty easy to follow - even the architectural model should be broken up into level based worksets, to make visibility by level much easier to accomplish. If a wall, curtain wall, column, etc. spans more that one floor, then a workset of the spanning region should be used - and their could be more than just one spanning region of a building.

Horizontal work areas should especially be separated if part of a building is being renovated while another section is new. I'd even venture not to include a renovation area of the building in the same project, but on especially large jobs, breaking the renovation section out to another project, and using shared coordinates to line things up. Some of this passes back to earlier post I have made about the importance of elements being able to connect through linked files, or at least having some level of connection - that's my new favorite wish list item.

I would also consider breaking interior upfits out into a separate project on a core-shell type of job. With file sizes in Revit rapidly approaching breath-taking proportions, breaking up projects into logical horizontal areas just makes more sense.

MEP projects should also be approached the same way - break up objects by level, to make coordination easier. It creates a mess on a job if one department breaks a job up by level and another doesn't - each MEP related area should ALWAYS have identical level- and quadrant- based worksets, breaking down each discipline. Even sub-disciplines, such as low voltage communication, fire alarm, telecom and security systems should have their own level based worksets (and even separate projects in some cases).

WHY? Because when the time comes to build a project, if the Revit model is a deliverable, whether it's for coordinaton or life-cycle management, a well-organized and well-formed project structure makes these tasks much easier for both the contractors and owner. Architects and Engineers - make yourselves aware that the work you do in a BIM world is NOT the same thing as what you produced in the 2D CAD world. You have to think outside of the box, and work as though all players involved are in the same room, on the same team - you don't work in a vacuum. Communicating and following these methods saves all involved time and money.

And one last vent - use Revit correctly - don't skip steps!!! MEP Engineers, you have to create defined systems and circuits, especially in electrical. I could care less if you don't like the panel schedule - that's not the point of BIM. It's every bit as important as the tag you place on your old CAD files. By not placing lights and other power devices on logical circuits, you're forcing the electrical contractor to go back to the "chalk on a rock" method of referring back to paper docs to see how items are circuited - which is insane. Take the time to create panels, assign then distribution systems, and add your lights and other power receiving devices to a circuit. It's not a matter of whether or not the load is correctly being calculated - it's because that when BIM is required deliverable, the EC needs to know quickly what devices belong on what circuit quickly (by selecting or highlighting a device, and pressing the TAB key). This helps with the correct placement of junction and pull boxes, and the routing of conduit and cable tray.

Okay, I'm done - enough soapbox for one night...enjoy the weekend!

David B.

1 comment:

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