Stepping Up to Completing Extra Large Projects in Revit
Mar 27, 2019
In this first part of a two-part series (read part 2 here), guest author Brian Kish highlights five key steps for designing extra-large projects in Revit. From hardware to model organization to drawing management, Brian shares the lessons he learned as the BIM Manager on the Medyan One Mall project, an extra-large retail complex currently under construction in Dubai.
With the introduction of Revit and other building information modeling (BIM) programs, the building industry has made huge strides in efficiency in the last decade. Many offices now have BIM standards and execution plans for the types of projects they typically work on. But what happens when an office wins a project significantly larger than any other project it has previously completed in Revit? Do the drawing and modeling standards developed for smaller projects still apply when confronted by a truly massive project measured in millions of square feet?
Meydan One will be one of the largest malls in the region with over 620 retail shops, 100 food and beverage outlets, and over 12,000 parking spaces, with one of the largest water features in the world. This project is significantly larger than any project AE7 has ever done, and revealed many valuable lessons.
This 2-part article discusses challenges and offers tips for successfully scaling up in Revit to complete a project that is larger than you have ever done before. Part 1 discusses what you can do before the project begins to set your team up for success, and part 2 outlines strategies for maintaining the project throughout the design process.
5. Organize Your Drawing Packages
It is important to think about where the drawing sheets will be located. One approach is to create a single file containing all the drawings for the project. This file would contain no model elements at all, just sheets and annotations. However, this method meant the drawing file would have a lot of linked models and make model opening times very slow. A positive to this approach is that it allows printing all the drawings from a single file. Furthermore, because all the drawings and views are in this model, it is very easy to do callouts to details or other views, unlike the approach locating drawings alongside the elements they portray.
Unfortunately, this approach comes with drawbacks, too. The model takes a long time to open because of the large number of links that must be loaded, and it takes a long time to sync because there are many people in that file. All the dimensioning, tagging, and annotating are done on linked elements. This can cause lost dimensions and keynotes to not populate properly. Finally, during deadlines, the file will likely become corrupted because most people will be working on sheets at that point.
For Meydan One Mall, splitting drawing sheets across several models was the best solution. It is a solid approach for splitting team members across different models and maintaining model performance. This keeps the sheet in the same model as what it is documenting. Keep stairs and elevator drawings in the vertical transportation model and keep partition plans and door schedules with the walls and doors. This allows for easy adjustment of elements when working on a sheet. However, Revit does not let you do callouts, sections, or elevations tags for views in different models.
Firms have various workarounds for referring to views in other models. One option is to create “fake callout” detail items, manually entering the drawing number into the callout bubble. Another approach is to create “dummy views” within the model reference that have the exact same number as the views in the linked file. These approaches work well until details move between sheets or change numbers.
The primary approach AE7 used was to create a series of views that contained reference annotations in the “referring to” model annotations and use the “link view” function to make them visible in the final view. Unfortunately, sections, elevations, and callout bubbles are not visible in linked views, though references are. Annotations made using the “view reference” annotation type can be made to look like sections, callouts, etc. This will allow for drawing numbers to update automatically.
By taking these factors of hardware, personnel, and model organization into consideration before a project begins, you will have a reliable structure in place as the complex process of design throws hurdles in your way. These considerations become even more crucial as projects scale up in size and will prepare you for even larger projects in the future.
In Part 2, we explore how to maintain those systems during the design process.
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