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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Revit MEP Alternatives to AutoCAD Procedures

It is safe to say that most MEP engineers who are trying to make the switch to Autodesk© Revit© MEP have arrived there by way of a DWG-based product. With years of refined processes in place, it can be difficult for established firms to find solid footing in unfamiliar software that seems to play by completely different rules. Finding ways to incorporate time-tested methods from the AutoCAD© days and improving them for use in Revit MEP can help make the difference between success and failure. The following example shows how Revit MEP can improve upon a layering trick that is used often in AutoCAD.

The AutoCAD Way

Mechanical equipment often requires an electrical connection, but not always. This equipment is drawn on mechanical sheets, but if it requires an electrical connection, it must also be shown on an electrical sheet. The mechanical representation of an air handling unit may have a fairly detailed plan view that is accurate for size and configuration, while the same unit could be a simple labeled rectangle on the electrical plan. Using a mechanical equipment block with a unique layer, external references (xrefs) in the electrical plan can turn off or freeze mechanical layers that are not required, leaving only mechanical equipment requiring power on the electrical sheet. This can be a simple and effective solution for 2D coordination between electrical and mechanical designers.

The Revit MEP Alternative

Getting the same kind of functionality in Revit MEP takes a solid understanding of Revit, but it can be just as easy for users and can produce better results. The approach is as easy as 1-2-3.
  1. Add a Yes/No parameter to any mechanical equipment family that may require an electrical hook up.
  2. Add that parameter to the shared parameters list and have the mechanical designer check the parameter “yes” on mechanical equipment that requires an electrical hook up and “no” when it doesn’t.
  3. The electrical views should use a filter that leverages the Yes/No parameter to turn off all mechanical equipment not requiring electricity.
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