Revit Source Data Optimization
When a DraftLogic Electrical-empowered designer starts a project with medium to good DWG architect source floor plans, they will typically go through the Drawing Mapping and Automated Room Creation processes. The main goal in this is to produce room boundaries and room IDs mostly automatically, leaving some acceptable portion to be created/fixed manually.
Revit projects present a special opportunity. The Revit platform requires a higher minimum standard of quality& completeness in the source data versus relatively-unrestricted AutoCAD platform data. Due to these requirements put on architects in Revit, the 2D floor plan export with space boundaries from Revit generally provides DraftLogic Electrical with the best source data possible from all sources! There is thus an opportunity to make Revit projects move into DraftLogic Electrical for AutoCAD electrical design production faster and with cleaner data than from any other source. This document details that opportunity and how best to take advantage of it in DraftLogic Electrical.
Since many projects do not even require a Revit deliverable for electrical design, it makes the most sense productivity-wise to perform the electrical design work in the highest productivity electrical design available in North America--DraftLogic Electrical for AutoCAD. Even projects that require some electrical devices (usually just primary distribution devices) and large conduit to be included in a Revit project can still be done faster in DraftLogic Electrical for AutoCAD and simply have required devices/conduit drafted into the Revit project for required deliveries.
Hybrid Drawing Mapping Approach
The best way to utilize Revit architect source drawing is to follow a hybrid approach in DraftLogic Electrical that involves Drawing Mapping, some manual work, and the Complete Room Review function. Your time and risk is minimized since most of the work involves the use of templates so not much of your time is required. Also, and most importantly, the higher-risk Automated Room Creation process is completely skipped. (By higher risk, I mean quality of results, not likelihood of complete failure.)
Time savings of this hybrid approach versus traditional Drawing Mapping + Auto Room Creation steps is: one-half to 2 hours of Drawing Mapping time, all of the Automated Room Creation processing time (2 minutes for 50 room school, potentially an hour+ for large project), and all the time spent dealing with any low quality boundaries created by Automated Room Creation. I would estimate total time savings as 60-90 minutes on a small school that had high quality CAD source, going up to a time savings of 4-8 hours on a large project like the Go Center. Keeping in mind that we are comparing high quality source going through Drawing Mapping + Auto Room Creation or this hybrid process, since this is all about optimizing how we can best make use of the Revit Export (i.e. not comparing bad quality source to Revit export).
There are three major parts to the hybrid approach:
- Have the Revit operator perform the Revit 2D floor plan DWG export using standard AIA export layers and by following the supplied-by-us-upon-request ' Exporting ACAD files from Revit 2012 for use in Draft Logic Electrical projectsV2.PDF' steps. If you can supply it to a willing Revit user at the start of the project, there is a Revit template available upon request to us, 'ArchMetric.rte', that the Revit user can start their project with in order to have some of the export settings ready-to-go.
- DraftLogic Electrical user performs Drawing Mapping, layers are done for them by loading the supplied-by-us-upon-request 'AIA_DrawingMappingTemplate.map' that covers the layer mapping. Blocks to be selected by prefix groups for mapping (standard Windows list selection keys apply), ignore all blocks other than those we have destination categories for. Minimum to map are doors, walls, and windows although these do not need to be mapped at all if the layer mapping has captured them . Use the 'Preview Rooms' button on the Drawing Mapping Layers Dialog to check your mapping results before proceeding to ensure the mapping will provide reasonably complete room definition via walls, windows, and doors).
- DraftLogic Electrical user performs post-Drawing Mapping steps as detailed below.
Drawing Discovery is done in fraction of time with fraction of risk that it used to take, the user can quickly move on to the Systems Placement phase of work.
Why Keeping Drawing Mapping In the Solution
There are a couple reasons we still want to involve Drawing Mapping:
- Objects of interest that start as blocks, like computers or photocopiers, need to be converted to representative closed polylines (rectangles) and be put on their specific DraftLogic Electrical layers. Drawing Mapping does this completely automatically.
- Wall, window, and door layers are exploded to their component lines and arcs by Drawing Mapping, which then moves these entities to the zDL_DOOR, WALL, or WINDOW layer as applicable, no need for user to do this or for us to write any new functions to do it.
Post Drawing Mapping Steps
We estimate a time requirement of 10 minutes + 45 seconds per room budget for this, all the time intensive parts of this should be done by someone running Drawing Mapping + Auto Room Creation anyway so no time lost or gained due to these steps for the Revit hybrid approach versus the traditional Drawing Mapping + Auto Room Creation approach.
- Rename layers:
zDL_DOOR to zDLWRK_DOOR
zDL_WALL to zDLWRK_WALL
zDL_WINDOW to zDLWRK_WINDOW
- Hit ‘Create All Layers’ tool palette button.
- Quick select arcs from zDLWRK_DOOR and move to zDLWRK_DOOR_SWING
- Move insertion point of any architect room annotation that was not already in its proper space into the ‘home’ space. Delete now unneeded arrows/lines/etc that use to point ‘out of room’ annotation to its home room. Note only insertion point of ID block/text must be in room, text can be completely or partially out of room.
- Isolate zDL_ROOM_BDRY in model space with architect source xref on and ensure all rooms appear good, bring layer to front if it is not already thus. Delete garbage space boundaries, fix/redraw space boundaries that are not correct, and draw missing ones. To draw room boundaries, you can use the standard ACAD polyline tool as long as you ensure the closed polyline ends up on the zDL_ROOM_BDRY layer or you can use the Room Boundary tool that will take care of layering for you--'Skip' the room ID placement if there is usable architect annotation in the room you just drew as we'll create room IDs later that take advantage of architect annotation.
- Run the ‘Complete Room Review’ function from the Drawing Discovery tool group on the Command tool palette to ensure you are 100% happy with rooms and have properly filled out DL_ROOM_ID block in each space. Note architect annotation will automatically be copied into the room ID blocks (aka DL_ROOM_ID) by the ‘Complete Room Review’ process. If the process exits before you have reviewed all rooms, you can restart it with the same function at any time, extra room IDs will not be created.
- Draw floor boundaries and place a floor match block in each floor boundary. If floor boundaries were available in the Revit Export and were mapped in Drawing Mapping, you must use ‘Edit Floor ID’ tool to assign the correct floor number to each of them.
VIII. Optionally use ‘Ceiling Grid’ tools to make ceiling plan if one was not supplied.
IX. Onward to the Systems Placement phase of work!
The above approach for using Revit data in DraftLogic Electrical will benefit you in two ways: reduced time spent in the Drawing Discovery phase of work for your project (i.e. time spent preparing the project to use in DraftLogic Electrical versus electrical design work) and taking advantage of all that the Revit project has to offer in regards to completeness of architect data.
Please contact DraftLogic Electrical technical support if you have questions or comments about any of the process documented herein.