What Happened To the "Single Model"? (And Co-location, part 2)

When we started the Autodesk project, we assumed that the project would use a single model (comprised of several Revit files, of course) during design and construction. Not the case.

The short answer: M/E/P/FP

The long answer: Our subcontractors, who are “BIM-enabled” and have been using 3D programs for quite some time, cannot use Revit MEP. There are the obvious reasons of the lack of content in the library, but the real reason is software functionality: Revit MEP cannot do the appropriate calculations and Revit MEP doesn’t support spooling, an important function for pre-fabrication.

Because of this, for the past few months, two models have been developing concurrently and separately: the engineering model (Revit) and the fabrication model (CAD-MECH, Hydra-CAD, etc.). Coordinating the content to make sure they are identical has been quite an effort, and we have had issues with it from the start. It is near impossible to verify that every tweak and change that KlingStubbins made was communicated to the subcontractor - tools like Model Compare work in concept, but not in reality, when design is moving so quickly.

The solution came from the subcontractor and ended up being quite obvious and simple – short-term co-location. For two days last week, the HVAC engineer and subcontractor worked side by side at KlingStubbins Cambridge (the engineer is actually based in Philadelphia), right next to the rest of the team. In that time, we devised a method to transfer information between the two, which includes marking-up paper documents in pen with information that takes less time to jot down than it does to model. We also managed to completely turn over a floor from engineering to fabrication, and compress the schedule for turnover for the rest of the floors. We were able to work through areas much more quickly, because the subcontractor was informed of design constraints and the engineer was give constructability feedback.

It was the most logical thing – and it was definitely an “IPD success moment”.

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