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Ready for LOD & RIBA: The Power of Content-Enabled Modeling

There is incredible value in leveraging content-rich models — it not only adds context to designs but also helps deliver project information throughout the construction workflow.

For example, if a contractor on the jobsite were given access to a mere initial concept model, it would be of little value because it wouldn’t contain enough actionable information to offer any real guidance. The model would lack context, and it would not accurately reflect the real-world, working environment. 

Level of Development (LOD) is a reference to the reliability of 3D models, based on the data included and how useful it can be across the phases of construction. The ascending LOD scale is an industry-recognised hierarchy that communicates the real-world usefulness of the models. 

Think of this scale as a procedural mirror of the RIBA Plan of Work. As the operational UK standard, The RIBA Plan of Work outlines stages for planning, design, and building processes from conception to completion. LOD sets out to do the same, but with the goal of defining the reliability of 3D models along the stages. 

As a way of understanding LOD, consider how it follows the same general progression of the RIBA Plan of Work from 0 (Strategic Definition) to 7 (In Use):


  • LOD 100 - Conceptual design

Outline proposals for structural designs and building service systems, outline specifications, and establish preliminary cost information. At this level, elements are not represented geometrically. Instead, elements are represented with symbols or another generic representation.

  • LOD 300 - Documentation

This level typically includes information about the size, shape, location, orientation, and quantity of elements. Prepare coordinated and updated proposals for structural design, building services systems, outline specifications, and more in accordance with the design programme. Measurements can be made directly from the model.

  • LOD 350 - Model coordination

Prepare technical design to include all architectural, structural, and building services information. Establish subcontractor design specifications according to the design programme. At this level, parts that are needed for coordination with other building systems are included in the model.

  • LOD 400 - Ready for construction

The model contains enough detail for offsite fabrication and onsite construction.  At this level, the model has adequate “as-constructed” information.

  • LOD 500 - Field verified & beyond

For the purposes of facilities management, some models will need to reach LOD 500. The dimensions, location, quantity, and orientation of the elements have been verified, and the models is ready for installation, maintenance, and operation. At this level, the model has adequate “as-built” information.


As LOD increases so does the value of the information contained in the model, and knowing how to leverage the correct construction content is make-or-break for project-wide communication. 


Learn how to deal with LOD in a LEAN way: How HVAC LOD Levels Impact Your 3D BIM Model


Types of content offered in Stabicad

There is a time and place for each LOD, and each level comes with a unique set of advantages and drawbacks. The defining characteristic that sets each apart is the amount of information contained in each LOD. 

From generic symbols without geometry to create mechanical diagrams, to detailed MEP content for high-LOD models, the different types of content in Stabicad allow you to create accurate and reliable models:

Stabicad offers a wide range of generic to manufacturer-specific content

  • Generic content

Generic content is useful as a standard template that can be adjusted to specific project needs. For example, in order for a valve to be sized correctly, a user needs to use non-manufacturer specific content in order to refine sizing calculations and change diameters accordingly. This content is available through the MEPcontent browser and is great for consultancies.

  • Manufacturer based constructible content

This content is placed into a model by choosing objects from the library and placing them manually. This content is somewhat generic, because the geometry representation might not be fully detailed. But, the amount of space that an element takes up in reality is correct and the article data and technical data are present as parameters.

Backed by over 100,000 items from a total of 60 manufacturers, manufacturer-specific content available through the MEPcontent browser is great for contractors. Plus, backed by manufacturer-specific content, models can be used to inform maintenance and operations.

  • BIM Library content

Stabicad contains an integrated MEPcontent browser — an extensive BIM content library of MEP product listings — from which you can place high LOD content into models. Each of the listings have different objects or sizes defined within. Enrich the constructability of a model by adding manufacturer-specific data.

For example, increase the graphical detail of models by lifting high-LOD content from MEPcontent regarding fittings and pipe installation. This browser is commonly used for equipment, such as chillers, hot water cylinders, and specialised valves since this content is strictly geometry and object data.


How Stabicad supports LOD and the RIBA work stages

Backed by sophisticated content integration features, Stabicad helps you get LOD levels right at each stage of your project. With up-to-date UK and international manufacturer-specific content, generic and editable content, and full access to MEP BIM libraries, Stabicad is the design and detailing software specially developed with MEP engineers in mind. The process is simple: 


1. Create a mechanical diagram directly in Revit, or make use of one of the typicals provided within the software. 


2. Start enhancing model constructibility by adding information to the symbols in the diagram. 


3. Add generic or manufacturer specific 3D content in the model and link it with the symbols of the mechanical diagram.  This way you can easily track whether your 3D design is compliant with you mechanical diagram.


4. Once the specific equipment is in place, you can begin the coordination phase and run for example clash detections. 


5. All of this information can then be used to create a prefab drawing so accurate that it can be built from.


Use Stabicad to refine model LOD so models are as accurate as they need to be at every stage of your project. Check out the Stabicad demo videos and see how this software supports the highest 3D model LOD in Revit through integrated calculations, up-to-date manufacturer content, and comprehensive productivity tools.


Learn more on taking your design workflow to the next level using Stabicad.