Tag Archives: BIM

LightBytes Masterclass, Dublin

Carl Collins, Digital Engineering Consultant, CIBSE

The second LightBytes event of the brand new, peer-reviewed SLL Lighting Knowledge Series will take place in at the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin on 30 November 2017. In a reworking of the previous Masterclasses, the Society invites participants to a day of peer-reviewed, bite-size presentations focusing on the key factors relating to the following topics — design, specify, build and future.

This year’s speakers are Nick van Tromp and Les Thomas from Fagerhult, Helen Loomes from Trilux, Roger Sexton from Xicato, and Steve Shackleton from Zumtobel.

The guest speaker for this series is BIM and Digital Expert Carl Collins. Carl has over 30 years experience working within engineering environments, including Arup’s unified design group and Arup Associatess. 

Commenting on the new series, SLL President Richard Caple said: “The new format, designed around the PechaKucha style of delivery, is designed to keep the day energised and fast-paced while still delivering and disseminating important information.”

Some of the points that the speakers will address include:—

  • A need to refocus on lighting quality as the number one priority
  • Current standards and metrics in relation to LED light sources
  • Maintenance factors – considering LED life and degradation
  • Lighting controls and the pros and cons of integrated wireless Vs wired systems
  • Sign off and commissioning – confirming that the lighting performs as intended
  • The potential of predictive maintenance with smart lighting
  • The future of lighting controls and how to best utilize the data being gathered
  • The potential for lighting to become a managed service, looking at turnkey solutions and where the design responsibility lies

To conclude each of the topics, Carl Collins will then provide provide perspective on the role of BIM and digital engineering within lighting. Carl will consider aspects such as the exchange between modelling and calculation software, daylight analysis, product data templates, virtual experience before construction, single model shared ownership and blockchain ordering amongst other topics.

All of the presentations are brand new and peer-reviewed, providing the opportunity to add 4.5 hours to participants CPD. Members of the Society can attend at the discounted rate of £49.95 with the standard ticket price at £69.95. Students can also apply for the reduced rate of £29.99 by emailing sll@cibse.org

Click here for further details and to book your place.

Keith Brazill joins RED Group Design

Keith Brazil

Keith Brazil

Keith Brazill has been appointed Senior Design Manager at RED Group Design. Keith is a chartered engineer and has experience working on a wide range of projects within multi-disciplinary engineering consultancies in Ireland and the UK. He is also regional representative for the CIBSE Ireland Limerick Region.

The Red Group has been providing electrical and mechanical design, installation and maintenance services to clients across the industrial, commercial, retail and entertainment sectors, in the greater London area, for over 15 years. Some of Red Group’s key clients include Papworth Hospital and Arsenal Football Club.

Recently the company relocated its Building Services Design HQ to Nenagh, Co Tipperary from where Red Group now offers mechanical, electrical, sustainability and BIM consultancy services to clients in Ireland and the UK.

Contact: Keith Brazill, Red Group Design. Tel: 085 – 133 1571;

keith.brazill@redel.co.uk

END

Is the spirit of BIM being scuppered by avoidant clients?

Chris Hallam

Chris Hallam

A client recently asked me for a view on the increasing prevalence of disclaimers in tender documents with regard to the use of BIM models, notwithstanding that the client had mandated BIM use. Examples included:

“Model content is not verified and cannot be relied upon for accuracy”;

“BIMs are for information only and 2D graphical information (e.g. drawings, schedules and specifications) issued with the tender will take precedence”.

Having given the client my view, it got me thinking. My thoughts on this were all well and good, but they were just my thoughts. Clearly there would be many different views out there. Being a fan of social media, I thought this would be a good subject to “crowd source” some responses, so I posted a question on one of the better-known BIM discussion boards.

Now, it’s fair to say that I was warned about the dangers of going to the wider internet-based community with a question of this (or, indeed any) kind. “Beware the internet” I was told, “there are nutters out there” was the somewhat unkindly observation. “You may be dragged into a cyberspace discussion from which you will never return”.

Of course, “what poppycock”, I thought, “this is a highly-respected BIM discussion board not the Daily Mail online, pffft”. Well, I’m pleased to say that I am not lost in the far reaches of the internet and, despite a bit of ranting here and there, my post generated a plethora of interesting and informative comments from a wide range of contributors, including a number of the BIM glitterati such as engineers, architects, digital strategists, BIM managers and even some fellow lawyers.

My post asked about the use of disclaimers by clients with regard to the use of BIM models by its preferred contractor, while at the same time mandating the use of Level 2 BIM by that contractor. The overall conclusion from the discussion that followed is that it’s pretty clear that not everyone agrees with everyone (or anyone) else! However, a few themes did stand out.

The disclaimers                                                                                                                                                            Many of the disclaimers seem to originate from professional design practices, generally to protect against a concern that their models and information will be used for purposes for which they were not intended.

Several designers pointed out that they often “over deliver”, providing information in BIM models when models are not a deliverable, or where the relevant contractual documents, protocols or execution plans are not in place, correctly pointing out that the designers are usually the first professionals involved in the construction process. This is a perfectly reasonable concern, and as one contributor, Robert Klaschka of Sumo Services noted, is “no different to stamping drawings not for construction”.

That said, in the context of a project where BIM is mandated by the client, the purpose for which information can be used really ought to be covered in the BIM Execution Plan or BIM protocol. As Robert went on to say: “until the industry as a whole is willing to use information only for what it was issued, things won’t change. Suggesting that parties want to protect themselves in an environment where other parties don’t play by the rules is at odds with the purpose of BIM and misses the real problem.

Collaboration and co-operation require trust. The Level 2 1192 process creates and environment where you can trust other parties because fair behavior is contractual obligation. This is quite right too but, but is this happening?

The clients                                                                                                                                                                    This inevitably leads us to the role of the client. If the client wishes to use BIM on his project, he needs to be dealing with this stuff at the outset, so that designers do not need to caveat their documentation and everyone knows which information can be used when and for what. This is pretty much the raison d’être for the CIC BIM protocol.

Clients need to deal with BIM use, protocols and responsibilities in their contractual arrangements at the start of a project. So, are clients doing this? The popular consensus was that they are not. Nor was it felt that there is a great deal of clarity in much of the relevant documentation used. Note to clients – they must do better.

The contracts                                                                                                                                                               The discussion then moved onto existing forms of construction and engineering contracts. One contributor noted that current forms of contract “do not cover the use of BIM …and vary between different team members as to what they have to deliver”. This is essentially true (albeit with one notable exception in the form of the barely-used CIOB Complex Projects Contract).

Of course, and as was pointed out by Robert Klaschka in a more heated part of the discussion thread, this is “directly at odds with the BIM Task Groups statement that Level 2 process should be achievable with current contract forms supplemented by the CIC BIM Protocol”.

He added: “the reason it breaks down is because the controlling party, often the main contractor, chooses to make things up as he goes along rather than taking the time to understand an use the Level 2 process, resulting in the sort of “Level 2 lite” that allows the risk to be skewed in their favour and current adversarial working practice to continue”. Ouch!

So, while it’s true existing contracts tend not to specifically deal with BIM right now, that is not to say that they won’t do in the future. Indeed, I’m aware that several of the publishers of standard forms are actively looking into ways of creating more collaborative contracts that will almost certainly include much more detail with regard to BIM. It is an inevitability of the continued and better use of BIM in the industry that contracts will need to reflect the working practices of, what is likely to be, a more collaborative and connected construction team.

So that’s for the future, but watch this space as change is afoot.

Finally, I can only sign off this article with the words of one of the last contributors to the discussion. Stephen Beadle of FES FM said that BIM is “a very difficult vision that will only succeed in an open and collaborative relationship from client, all contracted parties and satisfied end-users”. He concluded with an almost poetic ditty: “Good luck and keep trying. Believe it, achieve it”. If that’s not a mission statement, I don’t know what is.

DIT Postgraduate Certificate in BIM Technologies

Dr Kevin Kelly, DIT

Dr Kevin Kelly, DIT

DT9775 (Springboard) and DT9876 (self-funding) — The Postgraduate Certificate (BIM Technologies) (Level 9-National Framework of Qualifications) is a stand-alone qualification that also forms part of DIT’s multidisciplinary, collaborative MSc in Applied Building Information Modelling and Management (aBIMM).

This one-year, part-time, up-skilling programme is aimed at graduates of engineering and built environment programmes, including building services engineers, architects, surveyors (quantity and geomatics), architectural technologists, construction managers, and facilities managers.

On successful completion of the Postgraduate Certificate programme learners will be able to:

Define and explain the principles underpinning a wide range of current and potential Building Information Modelling and Management technologies and processes.

Use BIM technologies and processes for a variety of tasks within their discipline (domain), and will have an understanding of how BIM will impact on other domains. They will be able to select appropriate technologies and methods for domain-specific and cross-domain tasks, with an ability to work with other professionals in a BIM context, to review the BIM work of others, to lead domain-specific teams, and to take responsibility for quality assurance.

Advise clients on small to medium-scale BIM projects, selecting appropriate BIM technologies and standards for project planning and execution of tasks.

Evaluate the performance of BIM projects and assess their compliance with specifications and standards, and recommend new approaches to domain-specific BIM, with due regard to collaborative BIM processes.

Evaluate their strengths and limitations in terms of their own knowledge through critical reflection on project performance and through possessing an appreciation of the beneficial and detrimental effects that BIM processes may contribute in relation to industry and society.

Programme delivery & application process: The programme will be delivered outside normal working hours, with classes taking place typically on evenings between18:00-21:00 (see www.dit.ie/bim for timetables).

A limited number of places are still available on this highly sought-after programme. Applications will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis with a final deadline of August 31st 2014.

Anyone interested can get further information from Programme Director Dr Avril Behan: Avril.behan@dit.ie or kevin.kelly@dit.ie 

Presentation of BIM Diplomas & Certs at DIT

Ms Orna Hanly, Head of Architecture with Cormac Allen, Head of Architectural Technology andDuncan Stewart, former lecturer DIT;

Minister for Training & Skills, Ciaran Cannon, TD, recently officiated at the inaugural presentation of BIM diplomas and certificates to 65 mature students at DIT Bolton St. The evening was a major success with approximately 150 people attending to witness the awards ceremony, and to hear presentations from a diverse range of academic and industry experts.

Dr Kevin Kelly, Head of the new School of Multidisciplinary Technologies at DIT, opened the proceedings and put the occasion into context. He outlined how the demands of the construction sector have dramatically changed and explained that DIT has responded accordingly, devising a whole programme of courses to satisfy this new environment.

“BIM is especially important in this respect”, said Kevin, “because BIM is not just about software but is a paradigm shift that brings collaborative design forward in a way that combines the best design ideas with organised implementation and excellent communications. This allows for off-site construction and speedy delivery of low-energy projects in a cost-effective way.

“The creation of the School of Multidisciplinary Technologies breaks down silos between disciplines and builds collaborations, BIM being an excellent example”, continued Kevin. “BIM is not about the future … it is about now. Building professionals and contractors not adopting BIM are like airlines not using online booking … they will soon go out of business”.

Professor Gerald Farrell, Dean of  the College of Engineering and Built Environment, echoed and reinforced Kevin’s sentiments. He explained how, in response to the need for change, DIT amalgamated two areas, the Built Environment and Engineering. “One of the key drivers of this restructuring was to allow us to deliver more multidisciplinary education” he said, “reflecting a world where everything around us that we plan, build and use is developed by teams of people drawn from many disciplines.”

Following restructuring, the College now consists of seven schools. Each school covers a range of disciplines and one school in particular, the School of Multidisciplinary Technologies, demonstrates DIT’s commitment to provide all graduates with the multidisciplinary skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a diverse range of careers. The School of Architecture also reflects a strong multidisciplinary nature, through its combination of architecture and construction-related programmes.

Many of the graduates on the BIM course were funded through the Government’s Springboard initiative. This allowed DIT develop new technologies and techniques in building information management education to deliver useful CPD programmes, among them the BIM courses.

The BIM graduates have gained a fresh and very relevant set of skills and knowledge that will enhance their careers and employability. Of equal importance for Ireland is that they will, in turn, transfer their skills and knowledge into Irish industry, in particular construction. They will also redress the emerging skills deficits in the sector.

DIT will continue to collaborate in developing programmes and modules in areas with the potential not only to underpin successful careers, but also to help Ireland develop a sustainable construction sector capable of meeting the many challenges it faces. In this context teams in the College and the wider DIT have applied for further Springboard funding with a view to running these programmes, and others, again from next September.

In closing Professor Farrell thanked Minister Cannon for his support and for attending the proceedings. He also acknowledged the support of Government in providing the resources nationally for the Springboard initiative over the last few years, explaining that it was a critical component of the Government’s strategy to achieve full employment in Ireland by 2020.

Finally, he thanked DIT President Brian Norton and all his colleagues in DIT for their contribution to the success of these Springboard programmes, and in particular the staff of the College of Engineering and Built Environment. “I am only too aware that the development of new initiatives at a time of constrained resources and decreasing budgets is a very significant challenge”, he said. “However, I firmly believe that the graduates here this evening are tangible evidence of the ability, and willingness, of DIT to overcome constraints to the benefit of our stakeholders.”

 

Developments in Lighting in Ireland and the UK

Dr Kevin Kelly, President-Elect SLL, and Head Electrical Services Engineering, School
of Electrical Engineering Systems, DIT

In EN 12464 minimum requirements for lighting are laid down for both interior (Part 1) and exterior (Part 2) lighting. In particular, minimum values for average maintained illuminance, minimum colour rendering and maximum glare are specified. Historically, equal illuminance across the whole working plane was the goal of lighting designers. However, this is wasteful of energy because the working plane was interpreted as the whole plan area of the room.

For offices, 300/500 lux was specified, depending on whether work was mainly PC-based or paper-based. This resulted in high levels of lighting throughout the space, whether needed or not, and often for periods extending beyond the working day. These days such energy inefficiency is unacceptable.

New recommendations, such as those specified in the SLL Code for Lighting 2012, provide a pragmatic balance between adequate lighting to perform the task efficiently and quickly, and financial costs. The SLL Code for Lighting is based on quantitative recommendations that meet minimum lighting requirements, but also acknowledges there is now a need to target lighting more carefully.

Modelling of people in offices to ensure good visual interaction is now recognised as being important, and good-quality lighting and energy efficiency are now as important as quantitative specifications. Good-quality and efficient lighting in buildings also includes the need to maximise daylight penetration.

Maximising daylight offers opportunities to lift the spirit with natural light and so daylight must be carefully designed into the building, along with the artificial lighting and controls, to create good-quality and efficient lighting in a space. There is a growing consensus in industry that the way to address this challenge is to use a holistic design approach – integrating the design of the architecture, glazing and engineering design. Input is needed by the architect, structural engineer, surveyor, heating and ventilation engineer, electrical engineer, lighting designer, interior designer, control systems engineer and most importantly the client and facilities manager. 

Modern Building Information Modelling (BIM) software facilitates such a holistic approach with multidisciplinary interaction and the use of BIM is expected to grow exponentially in construction projects in the years ahead. The EU is encouraging the use of LENI, the Lighting Energy Numeric Indicator. SLL is of the view that the targets set by EN 15193 with respect to LENI are modest and is presently addressing this issue with the UK authorities in order to set more stringent targets for the UK building regulations (2013). 

Effectively, a good quality LENI will aid lighting designers to move away from installed load benchmarks to more meaningful consumption targets, and hence take account of the benefit of good quality controls. This is particularly beneficial in buildings where daylight penetration is high or where there is intermittent occupation of the building.

While standards, demands and design methodologies change, there is also major change happening in lamp technology. The development of solid state lamp technology is revolutionising lighting; with any revolution there is collateral damage and early adaptors of poor quality LED (Light Emitting Diode) lamps are among the casualties. A study by Philips Lighting (2012) estimates that while only 6% of lighting was solid state in 2010, 75% of lighting is expected to be LED lighting by 2020.

Similarly, McKinsey estimates LED lighting will be a €65 billion industry by 2020 but is more modest about the overall use at 60%. At present the biggest applications of LED lighting is for stage, external lighting, architectural lighting, retail, cold rooms, transport and hospitality. LED lamp technology is expected to impact upon office and general lighting in more interiors in the future.

To sum up, this is an exciting and challenging time for the lighting industry with huge growth potential for LED lighting and improved lighting controls generally. We are challenged to provide robust solutions that maximise the benefits of new technologies, while protecting our clients from poor-quality products and installations.

We must maximise light quality and minimise energy use by integrating daylight with appropriate artificial light in a way that lifts the spirit of those using the space and enables them to operate and override automatic lighting controls when required. We also have to ensure the reliability of products we specify and this is particularly challenging when

Dr Kevin Kelly is President Elect of the Society of Light and Lighting (SLL). He chairs the organising committee for the CIBSE/SLL International Lighting Conference scheduled for Croke Park on 12 April next. He will also make a lighting presentation in a seminar at the Energy Show in the RDS on 11 April next.

 

CITA BIM workshops – keynote address by Judit Kimpian

Last year it organised a series of ten BIM workshops to improve the awareness of Building Information Modelling among professionals in the sector, writes Judit Kimpian, Director, CarbonBuzz Project Manager, Aedas. The final session was at the Royal College of Physicians – a beautiful space, built well over a 100 years ago, entirely without any computer technology. As the keynote speaker I was asked to put Building Information Modelling into an international context, talk about barriers and opportunities globally.


Ralph Montague, Director of ArcDoc, pictured with Dr Judit Kimpian, Director ofSustainable Architecture & Research, Aedas R&D, Derek Mowlds, Chairman CIBSE and Alan Hore, Director of CITA.

Aedas has been a major global player for integrating information technology in the design process and the practice and has a great portfolio of projects demonstrating this approach. The tools and platforms used over the years have varied enormously – to illustrate this journey through the evolving technologies I showed a cross section of case studies.

A key characteristic to these was the variety of software packages used to achieve design aims, which were both aesthetic and performative. Many of the projects shown are complete, with some on site, while others are still on the virtual drawing board. Much of the recent work built on the findings of Aedas-led research, such as CarbonBuzz, as well as detailed post-occupancy evaluations.

This type of collaborative project helped the industry expose the gap between design stage predictions and actual energy use. The practice now works towards targeting low operational energy use and relies heavily on virtual information models.

Judging from the questions after the talk, what seemed to interest most was the business case for adopting BIM, ie the day to day benefits and costs. Most of the audience associated the use of Autodesk’s Revit with the ‘B’ word. Although it has taken a while, the US software house has become very successful in promoting its platform in North America and internationally.

There was some awareness in the 70+ strong audience of other platforms too, such as ArchiCad, which is big in Continental Europe and well known around the world, while Bentley is particularly popular for infrastructure projects and large design-focused London practices such as Fosters or Grimshaws.

This is not atypical – software packages like Digital Project and Rhino tend to be used mainly by complex high-end projects not because of cost but because Autodesk has done such a good job of automating what most people think BIM is: interactive drawing extraction and scheduling. Given the functionality available today one does wonder why anyone would do an area calculation or ironmongery schedule by hand ever again.

Yet the term BIM refers to more than this. At the least it gives an opportunity to get all disciplines, mechanical, structural, architectural, to use the same 3D model for coordination, reducing the risk of having to rectify clashes onsite at a high cost. Where this works, it tends to lead to much faster design times and greater  certainty of the outcome. Where it can fall short of expectations is the willingness for the whole design team to model in 3D.

Most engineers are reluctant to put anything to 3D for a “simple” project until the design is “finished” as in most cases their calculations do not rely on 3D models. If the design changes, not only do they need to recalculate but they need to remodel too, adding further to their workload – for a fixed fee. It is only the more complex projects that make sense to model early, as these would need to go through 3D based analysis.

The issue here is that interoperability between analysis packages and mainstream BIM platforms is notoriously bad. Users rightly ask why they should model twice, once for the analysis and once for BIM. Major software developers are now looking at this problem more closely and are beginning to see interoperability as a business opportunity. Platforms like Rhinoceros became extremely popular among young professionals for exactly this type of flexibility – watch this space.

To adopt building information modelling a practice needs to invest in training, new hardware and software infrastructure and allow teams the time for the learning curve, all of which is costly. When the process is well managed the gains are substantial.

But when not, the consequences can be costly. It is everyone’s worst dream to be staring at a computer screen close to a deadline unable to extract the right information for a submission. It is therefore essential to have one person on every team that understands how to set up and run a model depending on the information likely to be extracted from it.

The Holy Grail of building information modelling is to be able to manage all information relating to a project from “cradle to grave”. Use 3D scanning to model existing buildings in 3D, develop concept designs, extract information and drawings, use the 3D and the associated database of components and properties to drive facilities management and reuse/ recycling at end of life.

The catch is that different stage models need different data structures. Early stage models need to be light and nimble, provide great visuals and feedback about the impact of briefing decisions and appearance on cost, whole life cost, thermal comfort, structural performance, embodied carbon, etc. Aedas’ Tall Building Simulation model is a good example for this. In later stages a model requires lots of components and data attached to those components, such as typology, fire performance, cost, maintenance requirements, etc and provide feedback about quantities, schedules and assemblies.

It is currently difficult to “design”, “analyse” and get beautiful images from a program fundamentally geared towards drawing extraction and scheduling, while it is equally hard to schedule and extract drawings and work packages from a conceptual modelling tool.

With more evidence emerging about the productivity gains to be had from BIM and more and more projects placing an emphasis on building performance, adopting the technology is increasingly looking like a no-brainer. The trick is knowing what to use and when – after all, some things are best solved with a pencil.

 

Detailed MEP Design Part 1 – Mechanical Services

Traditional design involves taking some of the information produced during the concept stage as was outlined in the previous article. This may be in the form of developing building systems around a naturally-ventilated scheme, or a more heavily serviced mechanical ventilation or air conditioning scheme.The various components must be sized, selected, assembled into systems, scheduled and specified to produce pricing documentation.

The move towards building information modelling means that engineers need to carry out specific tasks at a much earlier stage in the design process. This includes listing components that will be needed for the project such as air conditioning units, tanks, pumps, boilers, fans, valves, radiators, etc so that the component families for these items can be either sourced directly from vendors, BIM resource websites or created in-house.

Figure 1: Typical chilled beam modelled in BIM format.

Figure 2: Typical coarse/medium detail of valve.

The optimum scenario would obviously involve sourcing families from vendors but, at this stage in the evolution of BIM in Ireland, there are only a select number of vendors who have produced their products in a BIM format. In-house component families can be created based on manufacturers product data sheets and these will more than serve the required purpose as all relevant information relating to mechanical performance, electrical input and technical specification can be edited to suit specific requirements. See Figure 1.

Figure 3: Typical fine detail valve.

One of the most onerous tasks, which inevitably becomes something of a work in progress in most cases, is the editing of 3D families to incorporate 2D symbols that are visible when 2D drawings are being produced. This is done in the form of drawing a 2D symbol, either directlyor as an annotation symbol, into a 3Dcomponent and creating weak reference that is visible in a coarse or medium detail view on a 2D drawing sheet. The detailed 3D component view will only be visible with the view setting at fine detail level. This ensures that the standard of 2D drawings produced from the 3D model is consistent with the quality and presentation of 2D drawings produced using software such as AutoCAD or similar 2D drawing software. See Figures 2 & 3.

Designing domestic water services and drainage systems in Revit MEP is facilitated through use of demand units or “fixture units” within sanitary fittings. WCs, wash-hand basins, showers, etc are typically created within the architectural model. Individual component families can be edited to include the drainage and water service connections. See Figure 4.

Figure 4: Typical WC family with plumbing connections.

One of the issues that is not present within Revit MEP in its latest versions is a hot water return system. This is overcome through the duplication of pipework systems and modification of the calculation setting to none. This will effectively prevent the hot water return system from being overridden by either the cold water or hot water system and allow designers to specify the pipe sizes manually. This is not ideal but is a temporary solution while software designers develop a means of sizing hot water return systems automatically. See Figure 5.

Figure 5: Modifying the pipe system calculation setting.

Figure 6: Creating a piping system group.

The creation of pipework systems can either be done manually or through Revit MEP. Using Revit MEP, groups of appliances can be linked together to create local systems, or all appliances can be grouped together to create a whole building system. See Figures 6 & 7.

Figure 7: Automatically generating pipework layout.

At this stage there are still inherent difficulties associated with using the automatic method of creating pipework systems. In order to efficiently ensure the system is designed as accurately as required, and that the actual layout of the pipework system will avoid clashes, the manual method of “drawing” pipework into the model along desired routes and connecting to the sanitary appliances and system components is preferable.

Much of the same techniques used to develop the pipework models for domestic water services and drainage pipework systems can be applied to hydronic systems such as heating and chilled water.

Experience thus far has taught me that it is easier to develop the pipework system from start to finish, i.e. boiler to radiator, and then add piping components such as valves. The same is true for ductwork systems and this will minimize the number of times components such as valves, balancing dampers, fire dampers, etc are re-entered during the iterative process of identifying routes and risers.

The design calculation software within Revit MEP for performing heating and cooling load calculations is more developed than that for the water service systems. Revit MEP can carry out steady state heating and cooling load calculations based on user-specified building design conditions, either based on building or space type.

The ability to interlink the building design conditions for individual spaces within the model allows design checks to be carried out more efficiently and also ensures that the environmental performance criteria required are satisfied. Several variables can be selected from a list of predetermined options to create a schedule. See Figure 8.

Figure 8: Typical space heating design schedule.

Schedules such as these can be manipulated to sort by level, space name, space number, system, etc with automatically- calculated subtotals. This offers improved efficiency in developing the overall design and can create a more robust design filing system. Updates and progress revisions of the building design can be revised and will automatically revise once schedules such as this have been created.

Once the design has been completed, the ability to automatically schedule components within the MEP model saves time in manually counting, selecting and scheduling these components. Any number of components can be scheduled by reference, level, model, output and input properties, costs or material. This greatly enhances the ability to accurately quantify the tender design and reduces the cost risk for contractors who are able to use this design format. See Figure 9.

Figure 9: Typical MEP component schedule.

The evolution of building services design engineering tools is happening apace and we are starting to see the fruits that have been in use in the industrial and maritime sectors for many years. While the benefits to engineers and ultimately clients are obvious, there is considerable time required to set up company standards, family libraries and project templates, and to discover the various nuances of using the software.

While this is initially a steep learning curve, the fastest way to learn is to get training from a certified training provider and look to identify pilot projects as well as personnel who will use the software. This is fundamentally a design engineering tool and the mistake of believing this is simply a CAD drawing tool should be avoided.