Monday, April 23, 2012

Revit MEP 2013 - New Stuff, My Spin...

Last year, I was working to be the first one out of the gate...but this year, I decided to sit back and watch the free-for-all...I've got a lot of burning questions, now that we have a pretty good bunch of projects running in Revit MEP 2012 - which was a huge improvement over 2011, but still had some holes.

For the packages, I'm running Ultimate, so I'm really up for the infrastructure modeling - can't wait to see what this is going to offer for our site based work. Hope I'm not dreaming too much about this one. Otherwise, I like having one package, where all I need to do is turn on and off the panels I need...nice...

First MEP feature - Autodesk rearranged some of the settings for duct and pipe preferences, moving them from the MEP settings menu to the new routing preferences tool in piping types (aka: AutoCAD MEP routing preferences). I don't mind the move, so the sizes and segment settings are actually part of the pipe tool. The segments, while a nice add, aren't something we'll use much of due to the nature of water and wastewater projects, but for HVAC systems that combine both threaded and flanged systems (for example), this is a good tool to have. You can also still edit the segments under the MEP settings tool.

A good note is that centerlines are now available on connecting geometry such as pipe and duct - this answers a request we've been getting - minor, but needed.

It's the little things that count - now, the double click on the wheel of the mouse gets you a Zoom to fit - about time!

If you're using Revit MEP to size duct, you're going to be happier. This is lot easier now that the version 5 of the ASHRAE Duct Fitting database is part of the program. The user has to still pick the table in some cases (especially if a project from an older release is opened in 2013), but at least the analysis can be completed with better results.

Speaking of duct sizing, you can do a lot more with pressure calcs. Autodesk worked in two areas - calculating flow and pressure separately based on subsegments, and fixing the ability to calculate sizes when taps are used instead of tees. You can also produce a pressure loss report for a piping system, and pass it on to your engineers - make sure your system is well formed and connected, since you can get incorrect results if items just "look" connected.

I'm also real curious how the materials are going to play out. Dan Stine has written a great piece explaining the materials, ( ) but the part I'm really interested in is the thermal properties of materials - how well will this translate into the heating and cooling load analysis, etc., especially since we're still using Trace (I'm not sure how well any of the older applications will support the import of the material settings - but is it going to work with Vasari?) Will a ductile iron metal material include the right properties, so any heat gain/loss from items that are in direct sunlight be taken into account for the heat load of a room? I'm not sure yet what the impact will be, but at least I'm interested...

Parts and Assemblies were new in 2012, but we haven't touched them...yet. My thought here is to look at how our equipment families go together - should the saddles for a tank be included in the family, but listed as a separate part - so it can be isolated for construction sequencing? Heck, I'm still having a hard time getting all the staff to do the modeling right. Most are on board, but do we really want our engineers breaking it down for the contractor? Are we getting paid enough money to add this feature? I think this will be driven more by the owner for MEP items than for architecture...

Key platform items I'm happy about (for more detail, check out David Light's column -

- View templates now can update views where the view template was applied, when the view template is changed;
- Being able to apply a view template when you create a view;
- Editing requests are now answer with a direct click - that's a real time saver, makes it easier to not have to step out of what you're doing to grant or deny a request;
- Diameter dimensions - 'nuff said...

So for the MEP user, putting everything into one platform will be of some help. Platform improvements are always good. We're still in the stage of getting the users on the same plane of modeling, and getting them at least to the point of defining systems correctly this year. Upgrading won't be a major headache (except in regard to the segments feature), so that's a plus...but overall, this release is about setting the stage for better analysis of your model. There are still some items that need to be addressed, but getting more out of the model is critical for future users, so we're off to a good start.

Next up - AutoCAD MEP 2013 review...the old man's still got it...

later - David B.

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