One thing is, however, already clear. The component models used, from the central ventilation unit to the regulating valve, have to be designed more flexibly than they have been up to now. We would like to allow the planners, in other words the “consumers” of design software and component models, to have a harmonious model for each design phase without manual corrections to individual components over the long term.
Above all, a consensus has to be found on how component models should be structured in order to meet these requirements. With this article, we would like to throw some light on how this may look.
Basics for developing the building model
In very early pre-design phases, the MEP contributes mainly with supply concepts and the space requirements needed for these. Space requirement is ideally modeled in the form of provisional placeholder solids (“Provision for Space”) in the building. This initially involves the placement of equipment rooms and the pipeline routing. Component models do not yet play any role here.
These are only used later in the pre-design, initially for components with relevant space requirements. For these components, the planner needs provisions in order to be able to make a more concrete statement about the space required, for example in the equipment rooms. Additional details are also rather obstructive; because you are committed with this thus have to pay more attention to it than is strictly necessary.
In the outline planning, at the latest, all components are required with information about their function and connection position. In this case, it might make sense to use manufacturer-specific components wherever the use of a specific product is already relatively certain and a later re-design is rather unlikely.
For public building projects, the planner still has to be able to provide a neutral or neutralized model for tender. At the same time, however, it becomes more important to be as concrete as possible starting with the implementation planning and, at the latest, in the construction design. Non-specific, neutral components show insufficient accuracy in many areas. If a neutral component was used in the earlier phases, it is now replaced by a specific component. It is obviously easier if the component is specifically modeled from the beginning, but is able to hide the specific features up to the point where they are required.
Structure of the component model
Initially, we distinguish simply between neutral and manufacturer-specific components. Neutral components should be structured very flexibly as a Revit family, so that they can approach as close as possible to reality in terms of space requirement and, where relevant, operating side. However, no neutralized variants of families, which form manufacturer-specific components, are needed. The advantage of a neutral family - the flexibility and the fact that you do not yet have to commit yourself exactly - would thus be given up.
Manufacturer-specific components require more nuances in detail, as the planner initially only wants to map the space requirements or concept, and later illustrate the functionality, only becoming very specific at the end. Everything with a single family. In addition, manufacturers would like to have their products identifiable as such in model planning - and quite understandably visually as well.
This important aspect should not be ignored. Manufacturer-specific products are essential at the latest for construction design or even pre-fabrication. The effort to capture the models and data for this is huge and therefore expensive. If we force manufacturers to reproduce their models with as little detail as possible, they often lose the recognition value and the manufacturers eventually lose the desire to continue the effort. The aim therefore has to be to build the models in such a way that the manufacturer is marketing department is satisfied and planners are - nevertheless - happy to use these components in their building models.
What is important to the planner here? The planner expects good component models to be dimensionally accurate, especially in the connections, to perform well - i.e. the components do not require too much of the computer’s resources either in terms of memory or graphics - and he also expects a completely neutral representation of the component up to the tender stage. However, the component should be able to “come out “then.