Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Who does what?

Now we're going to delve into another major problem with Revit implementation - the way it blurs the lines between who is responsible for what.

Traditionally, these lines were very clear.  For example - electrical designers were responsible for doing lighting layouts based on photometric calculations - however it was the architects (or architect lackeys) responsibility to create and coordinate the 'Reflected Ceiling Plan' or 'RCP' showing lights, hvac plenums, sprinkler heads, etc.

Now, in Revit (depending on how a firm has decided to use it) the electrical designer is expected to populate the model with light fixtures, and has to constantly update, tweak (or completely redo) their design to keep up with the non-stop changes the architect makes. 

It is not the electrical designers job to populate the model with ceilings, however they have to be created before fixtures can be inserted.

In the case of open ceiling areas with pendant or chain mounted lights, it is necessary to insert a fake clear ceiling to give the fixtures something to attach to.

This means that other people now have the ability to fuck up the workflow - and if architects know how to do one thing - it's fuck things up (ceilings are just the start).

In a perfect world, the architectural model would be at least to a minimum level of completion before electrical even starts on it, unfortunately - reality.

The same goes for mechanical equipment - which dictates the size and locations of panels, and determines the amp ratings of the breakers, disconnects, conduit/wire, etc. - and yet unless information such as voltage, phase, MCA (Minimum Circuit Amps) and MOCP (Maximum Over Current Protection, or other factors like locked rotor amps, horsepower, etc. are entered properly (which may not be until the end of the project (if ever - since the mad rush at the end of most projects usually means this info just gets manually slapped into schedules).

Basically - the more work that gets done populating the model with electrical equipment early on in the project, the more guarantee there will be that you will get to do it all over again.

Other disciplines will look at equipment that has been inserted based more or less on best guesses and take it as gospel - and start 'coordinating' around it, only to have to redo their work as well when concrete locations and requirements are determined.

The ability to work independently of others in order to actually complete drawings gets viewed as a negative in the Revit hive-mind - neglecting the fact that having to depend on traditionally unreliable people in order to get your design work done is a guarantee that you will get fucked over - brutally, and repeatedly.

It would literally be possible for a design team to work on a project in Revit for decades - only for construction to start and the first thing they do is hit a snag that requires something to be moved, adjusted, or completely redesigned in the field because of some important detail got overlooked.

Fortunately with most electrical equipment/lights (with the exception of larger items) can be bumped around here or there in the field to make the design work around unforeseen details - meaning that it is an especially huge waste of time to design a project down to the gnats ass instead of simply showing it schematically.

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