BIM for plumbing design

08/21/2013


Visibility: Some plumbing designers express difficulty with graphics and visibility, especially in regard to printing, with Revit. Part of the solution lies in your view and workset:

  • Elements can be hidden or misplaced outside the floor plans. Adjusting visibility graphics allows you to cut the view depth lower than the floor plan. For example, the standard view will not show a drain in the slab. To make it show up, set the visibility view depth lower. You can extend the view into “beyond” mode, which changes line work—a dashed line means it’s not on that level, but it does exist. This may also result in structural or architectural elements showing up along with the below-slab piping. Be aware that this may cause plotting and clarity issues with the drawings when submitted to the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) or the owner. An alternate solution would be to modify the hidden object by extending it above the floor in order to achieve the visibility.
  • Make sure you are in the correct workset. Use filters to display plumbing equipment and pipes in the plumbing views, add all of your components to the plumbing workset, and complete all design in that space. This will enable you to print only the components you want to see and filter out what you don’t want to see.
  • Using the underlay option in the properties dialogue box while in a floor plan allows you to see a phantom view of piping or equipment below the floor level you are working in. This is helpful for coordination and layout of pipe runs and riser locations, as well as avoiding conflicts.

Connections: In Revit, plumbing connections are typically shown on the MEP model, not the architect’s model. When an architect updates the model and moves a restroom or deletes a wall, the MEP model assumes the plumbing host is still there. As a result, Revit won’t allow the modification. You can’t just “grab and rotate” the plumbing when an architectural change happens; you have to redo the connections. To speed this process:

  • Create a Group and keep it in general relationships; don’t connect directly to fixtures until the architect tells you that no more changes will be made, to avoid having to disconnect and reconnect all piping. We consider it a best practice to not host plumbing piping on objects, as it can save significant time when the architectural background model changes.
  • Remember to pay attention to deliverables. It’s not always cost-effective to show every single plumbing connection in Revit, especially for projects where you anticipate a lot of last-minute changes. Waiting to make final connections until floor plan decisions are reasonably complete adds order and flexibility.  

Document coordination versus full documentation: There are times when it is appropriate to use Revit for document coordination rather than full documentation. The most important factor in success with this approach is making that decision at the beginning of the job. The cost to fix plumbing mistakes later is comparably high, because water goes through the entire building and can’t be modified in sections. The project team and owner must be on the same page from day one; they must agree on the approach and stick with it.

  • Before beginning the design, ask what level of detail is required and clarify the deliverable. Can modeling stop below 2-in. diameter pipe? Can it be performance based? The plumbing only needs to be defined as far as the subcontractor will need it to install, some of which can be done in AutoCAD.
  • In our experience, full Revit documentation has worked best on complicated projects where many changes are expected. When using Revit for document coordination only, be strategic in identifying the areas that typically present clash problems. The MEP can’t be fully responsible for all areas due to the lack of exact materials, lack of control over the installation sequence that occurs in the field, and level of contractor experience
  • Either way, the use of Revit allows contractor questions to be answered more quickly, because there is more information about the design. The model allows you to visualize the final product on the screen before it’s constructed in the field. And as the level of detail in Revit increases, the speed follows suit. Theoretically, the use of BIM should result in a much better coordinated set of plans which, in turn, should minimize requests for information (RFI) during construction and help keep the project on time and budget.
  • Revit also provides a benefit in coordinating with other disciplines. Sloping pipes take up a lot of room in the ceiling plenum, where everyone’s fighting for space. Revit can make collaboration easier for plumbing designers, as they can see the ductwork, cable trays, etc., that are already there, and help the architect set the final ceiling height throughout the building. Ceiling plenum coordination is a significant benefit in areas like Washington, D.C., where height limits put ceiling space at a premium.

Juncheng (James) Yang is a Senior Associate and Plumbing Section Head at GHT Limited. He has more than 15 years of experience delivering highly creative, technically exceptional plumbing designs for commercial, governmental, and institutional projects.


<< First < Previous 1 2 3 Next > Last >>

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.