There’s no denying that BIM platforms like Revit have changed how we manage complex construction projects. Industry-specific tools like Revit MEP have changed how mechanical and electrical engineers view and manage project data even more.
However, while these tools are fantastic for collecting, collating, and analysing project data at the highest levels, there are still some bottlenecks and bumps in the road when it comes to design and construction. Let’s take a closer look at how you can improve your MEP design and project management process with specialist Revit MEP design tools.
Whether we like it or not, construction is one of the industries that has tended to lag in the technology arena. While architects, engineers, and project managers on project teams have embraced BIM tools like Revit to design, model, and manage their projects, it’s taken some time to trickle down the many levels below them.
Some companies still use a patchwork of technology solutions to get things done. Because many of them are too busy getting the job done to worry about how they design and plan it, many have been making do for years or even decades.
The problem with these patchwork processes is that there’s usually a lot of rework involved in transferring information from one spreadsheet to another tool and then to something that can be submitted to project teams. Rinse and repeat every time you have to update something.
Every time we touch information in this way, there’s always a chance that errors creep in and accuracy will be affected. In the highly precise world of MEP construction, those odds just aren’t acceptable.
So, the challenge has always been how to design and create so that we can transfer data and collaborate in as few steps as possible.
The right specialist MEP design tool is the solution. Here’s why.
1. Integrated MEP Design Calculations
The MEP design process is, arguably, one of the most calculation heavy in the construction process. Whether it’s calculating building efficiency, flow rates or something else, everything you do needs to be calculated with a high level of precision.
Many MEP design professionals use their own spreadsheet-based calculators. Some even do their calculations on paper. However, as with everything, accurate data transfer is always a challenge. When there’s rework involved, it’s not very efficient and human error is always a concern. Second guessing your BIM calculations is a big problem industry-wide, and finding tools that offer reliable calculations should be high on your list of must-haves for any tools you use.
So, when you’re looking for a specialist Revit MEP design tool, find one that has integrated design calculations so that you can calculate and design in the same digital workspace.
2. Use Content Libraries
Another hurdle in the Revit MEP design process has always been sourcing the right parts and equipment and capturing specifications and manufacturer’s data.
We’ve all seen an MEP design office packed to the rafters with brochures, catalogues and data sheets. It’s not efficient and it’s very hard to keep track of all your options when you’re using separate digital files, paper-based catalogues and supplier websites to put together the puzzle!
Not only is it inefficient to flip through all those folders, files and catalogs, but if you don’t have the latest version, you might still not find the right product or equipment for your project. And if you do, there’s a high chance the data has changed and you end up using incorrect information.
The best Revit MEP design solutions have built-in managed MEP content libraries that include tens of thousands of always up-to-date product datasheets and specifications. So you can always find the perfect part when you need it. Not to mention that you’ll never specify a discontinued product again!
3. Access Symbol Libraries
As a designer, you probably use similar products in your MEP design process many times a day. Sure, there are unique challenges and requirements for every project, but when you get right down to the nuts and bolts of it (and the actual nuts and bolts), there’s a lot of crossover from one design to another.
Don’t waste your time drawing the same components over and over again. A good Revit MEP design solution will have built-in symbol libraries with the most common products and components—no need to reinvent the wheel.
4. Built for Collaboration
Construction is a complex industry. That’s probably why so many of us still use that old patchwork system, building data silos that make collaboration and data sharing so much harder than it needs to be.
However, while we might all be quite attached to our systems (after all, we created them to solve our unique design and construction problems), they’re inefficient. There’s no time, in the modern MEP construction environment, to reformat information so that you can export it just so that someone else can import it, change it, and then do the same thing in reverse to send it back to you. There’s even less time to manually capture data every time you need to use it somewhere else.
The best Revit MEP design tools are built for collaboration. They’re easy to access and they have ready-to-use integrations with other industry software solutions.
Even better, a CDE or Common Data Environment acts as a hub for all of those separate platforms, packages, and programs, collecting data and making it as accessible as possible. Data compatibility is always a problem in complex IT environments, and a CDE is designed to solve that problem by acting as a bridge between the different programs, platforms and tools your team uses to get things done.
5. Native Connectivity
Another key factor in ensuring you choose the right Revit MEP design solution is to ensure that every part of the system offers native connectivity with the others.
While it is possible to convert data from one format to another, when you use tools that are built to work together, those steps are eliminated. Fewer steps mean less work, less time, and better accuracy.
6. Always On
We’ve all experienced a self-hosted program or software solution that works great when it works, but that grinds the whole company to an agonising halt when it doesn’t.
The best Revit MEP design tools – like most modern software these days – are easy to access.
They’re maintained by teams of experts, secured with the latest technology, and housed on servers that are always professionally maintained. Time is money, so choose multi user enabled Revit MEP design solutions so you never have to waste time waiting for access again.
The best and most flexible accessibility options for specialist Revit MEP design tools are designed to ensure that your team can always get to work when they need to. They allow you to choose how many licenses you need, and what kind of access level each user will have. Granular permissions that are easy to manage ensure that your team is always connected to the exact parts of the system they need to get the job done - but that you still have total control.
They even allow your team to login with personal credentials, and on multiple devices. So even when some of your team is working remotely, they can still access all their projects as and when needed.
7. Work with MEP Design Specialists
One of the earliest problems that arose with Revit MEP was that it was built by CAD specialists rather than MEP design professionals.
This means that while the software itself worked well, it didn’t do everything MEP designers and engineers needed it to do. So, even with a custom-built platform, there were still customisations, spreadsheets, and other tools required outside of the system. Back to square one.
Revit MEP design software that is built by MEP design specialists does not have these limitations. Every feature, function, and tool is carefully planned to address every possible requirement of the design process.
It’s all built right into the software because the people who built the software know exactly what their biggest problems have always been. So instead of trying to make software work for you, you can focus on the competitive advantage it gives your team.
Learn More About Stabicad for Revit and Trimble Connect
If you’re ready to delete the spreadsheets, put the catalogues in storage and give your IT department the week off, it might be time to learn more about Stabicad for Revit and Trimble Connect.
Download the comprehensive ebook here to discover how these tools can change the way you work.
These purpose-built solutions for Revit MEP design solve all of the problems we’ve mentioned here and more, and they’re developed and maintained by the world’s leading construction software company.
The good news is that you never have to try to force a square-peg software solution into a round-hole MEP design process again. You don’t have to make do, design a calculator worksheet, fix an accidentally deleted formula, or copy and paste from one program to another again.
It’s one specialist Revit MEP design solution that works the way you need it to, right out of the box.