This resource was built to equip you with the tools to reduce project risk and cost with fast, simple, and productive project collaboration.
In this Guide
From 1964 to 2002, construction efficiency decreased despite the widespread use of new technologies in the 1980s and 1990s. It seems that fax machines, cell phones and computer-aided design should have improved efficiency for a booming building industry. Maybe they would have, if it hadn’t been for the specter of rework that has overshadowed the industry for so long. Even sixteen years ago, it was estimated that the cost to the construction industry due to inefficiency – primarily waste and rework – was over $15-billion a year. It hasn’t improved much, because the basic process of design-bid-build hasn’t changed much. For decades there’s been a disconnect among the building designers, the contractors and the operators. This has resulted in work proceeding from unfinished designs, work on the wrong set of drawings, and basically the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Though not always, it seems the mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades have borne the brunt of these issues.
The building information modeling (BIM) process grew out of the need to establish a connection among the distinct groups of project partners – particularly the MEP trades – and restore efficiency to the construction industry. Since 2000, the point of BIM is to fix the disconnect between the building designers, the contractors and the operators. Beginning with reducing duplication of efforts, the process morphed into coordination on the model before the building was built. It includes modeling in 3D, facilities and even geography. Organization of data and the analytics around data are where BIM really shines. The BIM process results in clean workflows, data integrity, as-builts for project handover, and models that tie everything together.
Autodesk has a Revit MEP forum where users can ask questions, share knowledge and research Revit MEP topics. Find crowd-sourced solutions to hundreds of issues such as: “Adding parameters to family,” “Piping systems – trouble calculating volume,” “Pipe break line,” “Making a smart plumbing schedule,” and “Tag rooms and see ceiling grid…”
Autodesk Revit is the world’s leading software tool for the BIM process. It allows the designer to model to a high level of detail. The Applied Software Guide to Revit explains BIM, introduces the features of Revit, describes complementary products, and explains how Revit is used by architects, structural engineers, fabricators, MEP engineers, and construction companies. For companies using Revit version 2019, there are features in Revit that can transform your workflow and make you a more valuable player on your team. As of April, 2020, the most recent release of Revit is version 2021.
Revit 2021 was one of the most significant releases in years. New features included Dynamo 2.5, generative design, real-time realistic views, slanted walls, beam and column stiffeners, circuit naming schemes, and worksharing enhancements.
One of the most sought out guides for Revit users is the list of system requirements to most efficiently run the software. In System Requirements for Revit 2021, you’ll find recommendations for entry-level configuration, value configuration and performance scenarios involving large, complex models. Revit 2021 can suit a variety of configurations and needs.
View our webinar on the newest Revit features.
If you’re using Revit 2020, you benefit from: 2D PDF underlay; legend copy/paste; tag, schedule and filter view for elevation; nested MEP family connectors; elevation from level parameter; offset from host; previewing large models; slope deflection; CSV exports of items; middle elevation setting for pipe and ductwork.
The specialized software tool eVolve MEP is propelling the MEP industry forward by harnessing the power of Revit. A combination of software and services enables a faster detailer workflow, fewer errors, smarter use of skilled labor, and higher quality. Leaders in the mechanical, electrical and plumbing industries have put eVolve MEP to work in order to improve productivity, enhance quality and enhance the ability to sell more work.
Revit software produces consistent, coordinated, complete model-based building designs and documentation. It automatically updates floor plans, elevations, sections, and 3D views. Revit uses 3D visualization to “see” a building before construction even begins.
Revit features for the mechanical, electrical and plumbing design process include:
HVAC design and documentation – Complex duct and pipe systems can be designed to express intent. Duct and pipe systems can be modeled with mechanical design content.
Electrical design and documentation – Electrical systems can be designed, modeled and documented. Electrical loads can be actively tracked throughout the distribution system.
MEP fabrication detailing – Fabrication-ready models can be created in Revit. MEP LOD 400 components can be modeled and coordinated.
Advanced analysis – Centralized access to performance data and advanced analysis engines allows building performance to be optimized.
Fabrication service conversion – Design-level model elements can be converted to construction LOD elements.
Fabrication documentation – Model layout can be documented more effectively. Fabrication elements can be documented, scheduled and tagged.
Plumbing design and documentation – Create sanitary plumbing systems with sloped piping and layout piping systems to design and document intent.
Implementing a BIM workflow in a company is significantly different than implementing a CAD workflow was back in the 1980s. When firms began transitioning from manual drafting to CAD, new tools had to be learned, but the basic process of generating construction documents was still based on the same rules of drafting that had been in place for decades or longer. We simply traded our parallel bars, triangles, leroy sets and all of the other paraphernalia that allowed us to create our drawings for computers, plotters and software that allowed us to more efficiently draft. But we were still drafting. Not so with BIM.
For example when moving from Fabrication to Revit, there are ways to make the transition successful. First and foremost, prepare yourself because the workflow in Revit is not the same as in CAD. Second, because of that different workflow, no matter how good you are at CAD, you will need some training on Revit. Third, take advantage of plug-ins specific to your workflows which are designed for use with Revit.
Likewise, there are pitfalls to avoid when transitioning to Revit. The biggest temptation is to fall back on AutoCAD when the work isn’t going as quickly as you’d like. Some companies try to work in both Revit and CAD, which endangers the transition and can create a big mess. Make the commitment to Revit and stick with it. Another suggestion is to keep your CAM or estimating software (i.e. Fabrication CAMduct and ESTmep) and the workflow that’s already functioning with the shared database that ties them all together.
BIM is a disruptive process that in large part uses disruptive technology. Although the term “disruptive” may conjure up negative images, in fact, most leaps forward in history have been the result of disruptive technology. The recent whitepaper by Architect and Applied Software Core Services Director Matt Dillon, BIMplementations, explains best practices for a transition from CAD to BIM, how to plan and map out the implementation, and the corporate culture and commitment to continuous improvement that are necessary to make the BIM process a long-term success.
What makes BIM so important now is that the inefficiencies in the construction industry have been exacerbated by the skilled labor shortage. The BIM process is one way to overcome the strain being placed on the industry to keep pace with the demand while squeezing more productivity out of the existing inhouse talent. New technology is giving the industry ways to attract talent, improve training, increase productivity and safety, employ machinery, reduce errors, and adapt quickly. Emerging technology is addressing the construction labor shortage with new equipment and machines to perform dangerous and repetitive tasks; Internet of Things (IoT) and web-enabled devices that can track just about anything; artificial intelligence for choosing the optimum project design; efficient data searches; tools for on-the-job training.
By using Revit, project contributors from all disciplines can share and save work to the same project. A plethora of tools has sprung up around Revit and BIM, so project teams can seamlessly collaborate on a job. This includes:
Architects – Innovative developments have been held tightly by AEC firms since the very first building projects. It is the very stuff that distinguishes one firm from another. In addition, innovation bring notoriety, awards, and ultimately customers/owners looking for a firm to best and uniquely memorialize them in their building project. This “mine all mine” dilemma can be solved through the sharing of information gained through research, as is the current practice in the medical industry. A supportive process of collaboration on a foundation of knowledge could elevate productivity in the construction industry beyond where we’ve ever experienced it.
Engineers – Revit allows users to increase detail and accuracy in a model. It enables engineers to create geometry and work in 3D views. You can immerse yourself in a design and share that design with clients. You can actually experience your project from the inside out. When designing in 3D, you can see an actual connection instead of a symbol for the connection. Software enhancements now allow complex piping networks in parallel, pump networks and separators in flow calculations.
Designers and Detailers – eVolve MEP is one of very few solutions on the horizon that are positioned to help solve the skilled labor shortage. In the Bridging the Gap video “Revolutionizing MEP Detailing,” the discussion is around trends in prefabrication and how eVolve MEP ties workflows together. Harnessing the Revit platform enables seamless collaboration so companies can do more with less in a safer environment. By design, eVolve MEP puts the contractor first, encouraging interactions with customers that result in a customer-led journey. Development team members comes from industry, so they have first-hand knowledge on how to bring a revolutionary look to the prefabrication workflow.
Geometry and survey data are both foundational details that need to be handled correctly from the start of a project or they’ll come back to bite you as your project proceeds. There are best practices for manipulating geometry, working with survey data and handling multiple buildings. For instance, in order to preserve the attached elements, geometry should be modified, not replaced. A rule of “site” is to keep the site model and the building models separate and use shared coordinates. By keeping the site and building located near the Revit base point, collaborators can link the model into their projects using “origin to origin.”
Trades – Even the most basic designs can result in complex interactions among the MEP trades and the equipment they install. Although the idea has been slow to catch on, MEP trades can be part of the collaborative process to deliver profitable projects to satisfied owners ahead of schedule. Collaboration with MEP firms matters in terms of defining space requirements for airflow, electrical and plumbing components. The foundation of knowledge on a project needs to involve all the players, especially the ones that have a high degree of interaction. Using BIM technology doesn’t automatically translate to a perfect project scenario. First you need to establish a fundamental quality process. Once that is established, you can concentrate on working faster and becoming more efficient.
Since the BIM process shortens project delivery times and saves money, it’s fitting to promote implementing BIM at your company. To achieve that, develop a vision and communicate it, being careful not to oversell the “magic” of BIM. It takes work on everyone’s part. Technology is one component to achieving a BIM vision, so be sure to enlist a diverse team in sharing that vision.
Owners – Perhaps the best technology news for building owners lately is the looming trend around using the data amassed during BIM and putting it to work after the project is finished and the building is operational. Digital twins are already being used to provide owners and facilities managers with an as-built model of the project upon handover. Daily operations data can be gathered and analyzed about how the building is being used. With the latest IoT sensors gathering data and processing it in the cloud, building operations can be optimized for the full lifetime of the equipment.
Revit features impact all project teams in their portion of a project. For MEP, the 2020 version included: more customizable electrical home runs; insertion of MEP components at elevation from level or offset from a host; and connection of electrical panels by feeding through lugs.
Fabrication and prefabrication
- The entire mechanical industry benefits from easier fabrication deliverables and workflow using the BIM process. Revit, with its purpose of taking a model to the next level, is the best way to get there. The tools in Revit work alongside Autodesk Fabrication CADmep, ESTmep and CAMduct to better capture design and fabrication intent using manufacturer-specific content.
In 2013, The Hill Group implemented Autodesk Fabrication software throughout the company. THG President Robert Krier reports that the company has been “paid back tenfold” for that investment. As explained in the Autodesk customer success video, “The Hill Group,” using the software has improved the core business, from the detailing of building systems to prefabrication, manufacturing, and installation at the jobsite. The Autodesk Fabrication portfolio has given the company a competitive advantage.
Prefabrication is increasingly in the news as companies strive to get control of escalating costs, the labor shortage, tighter schedules, and jobsite safety. Prefabrication provides better working conditions, more precise materials usage, easier staging, better labor coordination, and increased safety. Best practices for using prefab include addressing clashes early, automating as much as possible, managing the schedule through collaboration, and using mobile technology to keep each other informed.
Specifications, coordination, documentation, estimating, and change orders are all challenges to any workflow, including prefabrication. If anything can go wrong, it will, burning through profit and schedule. So it’s best to avoid the following situations where mistakes can be made in the prefab process: verifying specifications, coordination, document annotation, cost estimates, materials shipments, and change orders. Leave nothing to chance. All of these activities need attention to ensure they don’t end up harming your job’s bottom line.
One example of streamlining fabrication processes to gain a competitive edge is by using eVolve Properties. This gives access to the dimensional information to create a tag. Total fabrication bearer length is a calculated parameter, not one you’ll find in the properties list. Schedules can also be created from the information.
The post-MEP Force 2019 blog article on DfMA explains how design for manufacture and assembly grew out of the trades. Prefabrication is a natural fit for MEP trades. It improves productivity, lowers project costs, reduces schedule time, improves quality and safety, and improves recruiting response.
Revit takes the best parts of traditional fabrication workflows and combines them with the best platform for the BIM process. Anyone familiar with fabrication parts will find converting to Revit is simple. It can be made even simpler through the use of eVolve Mechanical, an important part of the future of fabrication. eVolve Mechanical provides the essential tools to take a Revit fabrication model to manufacturing and installation with streamlined production.
Autodesk Fabrication CADmep supports detailing and installation workflows for MEP contractors. Some of the most useful features of CADmep include:
- Shared content – Shared databases will help you produce detailed fabrication models.
- Extending Revit – AutoCAD MEP and Revit models can be imported and exported.
- Design line detailing – Use real components and connections when producing drawings.
- Multi-service layout – Parallel services can be modeled simultaneously.
- 3D spooling – Create detailed fabrication shop spool sheets.
- Clash detection – Identify and resolve issues before fabrication.
electrical and Mechanical industry
ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY – Companies in the electrical trade have been fairly progressive when it comes to adopting technology. Aside from Revit, one of the most innovative and transformational software tools available is eVolve MEP. eVolve Electrical is transforming the way electrical projects get done. The eVolve Electrical software solution was designed and continues to be refined in functionality based on electrical contractor/customer input. Customers actually have access to the development team. The focus of eVolve Electrical content is enhancing current workflows and processes.
As a Revit add-on, eVolve Electrical increases accuracy and enables a “just-in-time” environment by providing bills of materials for purchasing as the detailing model develops. This eVolve Hangout video explains the best practices for putting eVolve Electrical to use and reducing rework. Some of the suggested best practices are: building in a controlled environment; using phases to group work; developing deliverables for prefabrication; prefabricating conduit; and taking advantage of opportunities for scalability.
Changes are taking place in electrical fabrication. Lean construction, new technology like total stations and an uptick in kitting are all trends affecting the MEP industry. Workflows are moving toward more offsite fabrication. For the discussion, see the eVolve MEP Bridging the Gap video “Electrical Trends.” Adam Heon, Director of Strategic Services at Applied Software. Adam discusses the changes happening in electrical fabrication and explains that an important response to these changes will include standardization of methods and organizing teams that combine expertise in the trades with expertise in technology.
MECHANICAL INDUSTRY – Companies in the mechanical trade have been a little less anxious to adopt the new technology engulfing the MEP trades. For those who are tech resistant and still weighing the pros and cons, you should know that one tool that is backed up by real numbers and process improvements statistics is eVolve MEP. Studies have shown that the issue with tech adoption isn’t necessarily the value of the change, it’s an organization’s willingness (or pushback) in response to paradigm shifts.
eVolve MEP enables greater efficiency. The features of eVolve MEP are especially helpful for the CADmep user who is transitioning to Revit. With eVolve MEP, workflows become the solutions, not just workarounds. In addition, eVolve MEP customers interact with the development team and actually drive the software’s roadmap. The development team encourages customer feedback. They work closely with customers, including monitoring performance of the software in actual use, to build and deliver technology that advances the goals of efficiency and productivity.
The productivity enhancing features of eVolve Mechanical include: clash detection, auto-dimensioning, hanger placement, stable field points, and multiple schedule views. Features added to eVolve Mechanical version 4.0.4 included suggestions from users of the software and included metric capability, and sleeve, filter, browser, and stability improvements.
revit mep training
There never seems to be enough time to do training, even though most people agree it empowers them in their career. Applied Software training classes are offered for different levels of learning, ranging from fundamentals and essentials to intermediate and advanced. Check out the Applied training calendar and select the classes that best fit the needs of your staff and yourself: Applied Calendar.
1. LiveLab Learning – As technology becomes available, companies are making the decision to have at least part of their workforce working remotely. Remote training is also gaining in popularity. Online LiveLab Learning is one option.
- Instructor-led with hands-on, real-time class interaction.
- No travel expense or travel time required to attend classes.
- Half-day sessions provide the optimal learning period.
- Annual Pass bundle allows up to 14 classes for the price of three or less.
Visit the Applied Software LiveLab Learning course schedule to choose the classes that are right for your specific situation.
2. Custom – The Applied custom training option begins with standard content to meet the most common needs of your industry, then tailored to fit your requirements. In tandem with training, we often recommend remote or onsite mentor consulting to ensure training is incorporated into your process to ensure success. Ask about mentor consulting options when requesting training services.
3. Remote – Applied also offers remote training via the GoToTraining platform direct to your team’s desktops. With this delivery, half-day class durations are usually recommended. Learning is metered, fostering better retention and allowing students the opportunity to continue working on current projects. This option is also popular due to the flexibility of training staff across a wide geography.
4. CADLearning – As a benefit of working with Applied Software, clients who subscribe to Autodesk are provided with access to CADLearning at no extra charge. CADLearning is a best-in-class on-demand learning environment for the latest 3D design, engineering and entertainment software from Autodesk. CADLearning self-paced video content allows you to learn Autodesk software on your schedule and pace to quickly find concise expert answers exactly when you need them. The learning content can be used as a self-paced course, an ongoing resource, or a help tool.
5. Autodesk – The Autodesk Education Community includes free online learning resources. The Revit Quick Start Guide can help users improve their skills. There are Revit key concepts, a “driver’s manual” and a User Interface tour for starters. Articles on basic tasks and project management explain creating designs in Revit. There are also sample project files you can work with that give hands-on instruction on using Revit on a project. The Autodesk Knowledge Network has over 5,000 brief lessons and videos by other users on specific Revit commands and usage tips.
Visit the Applied Software LiveLab Learning course schedule to choose the classes that are right for your specific situation.
“The tech was helpful and very friendly and the issue was resolved promptly.” “The personal videos are extremely helpful…” “Fast and friendly response.” “Great job listening to issue and resolving.” “…we are quite happy with the results.” “Tech was prompt, polite and got the job done quickly.” Learn what eVolve MEP customers have to say about their experiences with eVolve Mechanical and eVolve Electrical at: Customer Stories.
Highlights include the ability to start sooner on jobs, better workflow for conduit bends and rough-in assemblies, identification of key data, quick turnaround, online learning, leveraging the development team’s knowledge of the software with the customer’s knowledge of the trades, and timely updates. One customer estimated a return on investment with eVolve MEP within 2-3 months.
Spooling – With eVolve MEP you can define a spool using Revit assemblies. Spooling can be automated, and the spooling nomenclature will be maintained across all spools. From defining to managing to annotating spools, James Simpson takes you through the process of automated spooling in his YouTube video.
Spool Manager – After defining spools using Revit assemblies, you can use the spool manager for filtering, groupings, hierarchies, and more. See how it’s done in the Spool Manager video..
Modeling – eVolve Mechanical includes tools to quickly set alignment of model elements and spacing. You can hide and isolate services or restore those services afterward.
Toolbar – Learn about the eVolve MEP toolbar, including the function of each button.
Project Templates – Learn about getting started with eVolve MEP project templates.
Family Browser – In addition to organizing your library, the Family Browser feature keeps your modeling and related families safe. The graphical interface makes this feature easy to use. You can also do key-word searches or filter by category and other parameters. In the Family Browser video, learn about this powerful feature in eVolve MEP.
Custom Browser – Learn how to create a custom family browser within the eVolve MEP Family Browser. Customize your Family Browser to include any custom libraries.
Fully annotate models accurately and efficiently with eVolve Mechanical, including item number, size, elevation, offset, length, alias, multi-category, and many others. You can also overwrite those on the ribbon to your preferences. The customizable annotations feature of eVolve MEP eliminates frustration and speeds up your processes.
Save time by creating placement rules based on sizing, spacing and hanger types. Create clash detection rules and change them at any time. Once the rules are in place, the hangers can be automatically placed avoiding clashes. Watch the automated hanger layout process in a quick video and see how this tool can change your workflow dramatically.
RTS Point Layout – There are four ways of capturing layout points with eVolve Electrical.
MEP Force 2020: Registration is open for the fully virtual event MEP Force 2020. Developed especially for specialists in mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades, MEP Force has a singular focus on fabricating the future. Over 80 sessions will be taught by industry peers and experts. MEP Force will be held August 31 to September 2, 2020 online. Gain a competitive edge and learn from MEP industry peers during this exclusive conference.
MEP Force 2019: The theme “Fabricating the Future” highlighted the opportunity that the trades have to take up the mantle of becoming leaders in the BIM movement. Read about the keynotes, watch videos of breakout sessions, discover why you should make MEP Force 2020 part of your industry education this year.
MEP Force 2018: Read about the keynotes, watch videos, get a glimpse of why this conference is so popular with your MEP peers.
In App Community – There are a couple of ways you can stay in touch with eVolve MEP. These include an Idea Station, a user forum and interactive help docs.
Customer Stories – “The tech was helpful and very friendly and the issue was resolved promptly.” “The personal videos are extremely helpful…” “Fast and friendly response.” “Great job listening to issue and resolving.” “…we are quite happy with the results.” “Tech was prompt, polite and got the job done quickly.” Learn what eVolve MEP customers have to say about their experiences with eVolve Mechanical and eVolve Electrical at: Customer Stories.
Are you doing a good enough job managing construction projects? Job sites are complex, with RFIs, approvals, design changes, team conflicts. Frankly, there are a lot of moving parts. And they’re expected to keep moving under tighter budgets and shorter schedules. Collaboration and the following features of good construction management can be yours:
- Using a common data platform – a single source of truth – for RFIs and data management.
- Access to project data from anywhere using mobile apps.
- Changes updated real-time.
- Designated responsibilities and accountability.
- Tracking of communications to ensure contract compliance.
If you use multiple tools in your design process, your company can benefit from subscribing to the Autodesk Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection. The 18 products in this specialized industry collection, which cover access to CAD and BIM technologies, allow for:
- Virtual reality
- Coordination among teams
- Performance analysis
- Reality capture
- Generative and computational design
On Demand Fabrication Content Creation
Building your own items takes time and can sometimes be frustrating. Alternatively, using the eVolve MEP Autodesk Fabrication Pattern Catalog enables you to search for the patterns you need and download them on demand. The content includes:
- Customized specs, reports, worksheets and services
- Autodesk Fabrication pattern catalog
- Job profiles, service templates and services
These are all pre-built and available to you in the eVolve MEP On-Demand Content Creation service in order to streamline your workflow and increase your productivity.
Fabrication Database Administration
One of your most important assets is your project data. The eVolve MEP team can either replace or supplement data management resources in your company, offering:
- Data repair and cleanup
- Customized specifications, services, reports, and worksheets
- Creation of job profiles, services and service templates
- Data purging and compacting
- Archiving old project profiles
- Updates to eVolve Origin (formerly Fab Value Pack)
Available in six-month or one-year terms, an eVolve Data Management agreement can free up your inhouse team with on-demand access to ensure your data is up to date.
Integrations and Add-Ons
eVolve MEP works closely with the following integration partners and products to bring solutions that will seamlessly fit into your technology platform:
How and Where to Buy Revit
Revit is available on an annual subscription basis. Contact Applied Software for a quick discovery call with an Applied Revit MEP expert to choose the best technology solution for your company’s individual needs.
How and Where to Buy eVolve MEP
eVolve Mechanical and eVolve Electrical are available on a subscription basis from eVolve MEP, with a presence across the U.S. and offices in Atlanta, GA and Denver, CO. You can request a demo of the eVolve MEP products tailor-made to your business focus and goals.
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