How to use Revit like a pro

What are the challenges MEP engineers face when they start with Revit?

“In addition to giving MEP engineers more control over their design, Revit offers great basic functionalities. Functionalities like: sectioning, viewing, (auto)routing and connecting elements. But at the same time, working in the platform can be very complex. For example, it can be quite time consuming to connect elements or to create a realistic representation of two pipes and flanges in plain Revit. Or to connect a ball valve to a pipe, you’d need to know all specific sub-parts in order to create a solid connection. It can be challenging to achieve the desired level of detail in Revit because of the more generic working environment. Detailed technical situations are complicated to achieve within Revit.”

What can engineers do to overcome these complications?

“There are several custom add ins developed by Revit specialists that you can use to overcome these challenges. There are different Apps available that enhance existing Revit functionalities. Apps is the way we call them, others also talk about add ins, plugins or Revit add-ons. These Apps are more user-centered and allow you as a user to take control. With these Apps, you can easily create the model that you need, based on your preferred specifications instead of default autorouting functionalities in Revit. Take for example the Productivity Tools App, Excel Import and Excel App and the MEP openings App.

Manufacturer specific jobs are hard to achieve with plain Revit if you’re not sure whether you can trust the source of your content. There are Apps available that allow users to work more flexible with content without having to search all kinds of content from all over the internet, allowing for a more consistent level of quality. The free MEPcontent browser and our Product Line Placers are great examples of this.”

How to make sure you have the right content in your project?

“Depending on the goal of your model, you’ll need to work with manufacturer specific content. Sometimes it is enough to work with generic content to make estimates about what products are needed and their associated dimensions. It’s not always necessary to have the exact product data available in order to calculate and estimate. But if you want to avoid failure costs and have full confidence in your project, you’ll need an accurate digital representation of the building project before actual construction takes off. A digital model that accurately represents the real deal, allows you to understand the complexity and potential conflicts in your project. Therefore, you need manufacturer specific content. This way you can create an exact copy of the building you want to realize in the real world. If done properly, you can use your Revit model to work with prefab, connect it to pricing information, coordinate tasks and much more. Manufacturer specific content allows you to get the most out of your investment in BIM.”

Who should you take into account in your Revit project?

“There are different stakeholders to take into account. First, there is the construction engineer. He’s the primary stakeholder. Second, there is the facility manager, who needs to understand the maintenance costs that will be involved. Third, there is the wholesaler/distributor who needs to know which materials must be delivered for the project. Key here is to only involve the information that is relevant for the stakeholders. Make sure that you agree with your partners what information is needed and what information will be left out of the model. This can differ per project.”

How can you share your Revit project with partners not using Revit?

“IFC based solutions and Revit based solutions are most commonly used. The downside of using IFC is that you risk data being lost when exporting your Revit model to IFC, which is not desirable when it comes to sharing information. However, the benefit of IFC is that the entire BIM model can be shared among different software. Which solution you use, depends on the partners you are working with and which platforms they use. However, it can also work the other way around: the way you’d wish to share your project can influence which teams you decide to partner up with. In some cases, one party will deliver the model and define what software needs to be used.

But it’s not just external parties you need to exchange information with. Also within your own organization you may need to share information from your model with people not using Revit. For example, when creating bill of materials for the purchasing department. In that case, you can use Apps that allow you to quickly export the information, such as the Stabiplan Export and Import Excel App. With this App, you can easily export Revit data to Excel to share information quickly with those not using Revit. This way, you can collaborate successfully in BIM, while working with the tools that each party is comfortable with.”