With all of the new levels that are defined (Level of Detail, BIM Level, etc.) we thought there was one additional level that needed some definition: Level of Implementation (LOI).
With BIM, you can use as much or as little of the technology as you are willing and able. I’ve seen dozens of MEP engineering firms use Revit strictly as a modeling tool for coordination, others use it for its scheduling capability, but few use Revit to its full capability which is for calculations. There is no right or wrong way to use Revit, but there are advantages to every Level of Implementation (LOI) at an MEP engineering firm.
LOI 10: Revit for 3D & 4D Modeling
Time to implement: One to two days
The easiest and fastest way to implement Revit at an MEP firm is to use it only for its 3D modeling and intelligent tagging capabilities. This low LOI is acceptable in the building industry as most architects who mandate the use of Revit will only use your model to coordinate 3D elements for spatial planning.
- Modeling on the same platform as the architect makes for an easy project setup.
- Revisions to the architectural model can be tracked with the coordination tools which are built-in to Revit.
- Creating drawings (sheets and views) is a breeze. Designers have the ability to create enlarged plans, sections, and elevations with almost no effort at all.
- Since elements are controlled by categories and filters, it is a simple task to show as much or as little as you like per view and easy to edit these views during future revisions.
- Generally, modeling elements 3-dimensionally helps to facilitate a coordinated building design in every phase, before construction before construction.
LOI 20: Revit for Scheduling
Time to implement: A few weeks
Scheduling in Revit is simple because it pulls the data that already exists in your model. A schedule is simply a way to view your model in a table. If Revit is used correctly and the information is already in the model, why not use schedules to display that information?
- Never have to worry about counting equipment or devices again. Scheduled elements will always match what is shown on your plans since it is technically pulling the same information from the same model.
- Data will always be coordinated between disciplines. As long as your multiple disciplines’ models are set up to exchange data properly, there will never be a disconnect between information between engineering disciplines.
LOI 30: Revit for Calculations
Time to implement: Possibly years
Calculations are as easy to generate in Revit as schedules. The real challenge is getting your team to ditch their Excel spreadsheets and trust a new software enough to develop calculation templates in Revit.
- Using Revit to calculate pressure drop and electrical loads is ideal in a perfect world. If calculating the data that already exists in the model can be automated, why shouldn’t it?
- Revit eliminates the human error factor of counting and calculating. As long as your model is accurate, your calcs will be as well.
- By using a single source for your model, drawings, and calculations, you ensure that your data is always synchronised and there will never be a discrepancy between the three crucial elements of building design.
In conclusion, any Level of Implementation of Revit is an improvement over using 2D CAD for building design. Even if only used as a 3D coordination tool, the benefits of Revit will be apparent during the early design phases of your first project, regardless of the size.
We don’t expect LOI to become an industry standard term, but we do think that you don’t need to go “full BIM” when working on your first Revit project. Start small, then gradually work up to using BIM to its full potential.