AutoCAD MEP General Discussion

AutoCAD MEP General Discussion

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Valued Mentor
smbrennan85
Posts: 285
Registered: ‎09-29-2010
Message 1 of 7 (830 Views)

Question for Electrical CONTRACTORS

830 Views, 6 Replies
02-14-2013 05:08 AM

How do you most effeciently use AutoCAD MEP? The company I work for has had MEP for the past 4 years, and the only time we actually come close to using the MEP functions is for 3D coordination wiht conduit. Even at that, we use it so seldomely that we haven't taken the time to develop proper tagging because by the time we get to that point, we don't have time to research and develop a tag.

 

The problem we face, is that most of the jobs we work on, are designed by an electrical engineering/consultant group, and they send us the files. Our jobs are mostly in the commercial industry.  We are located in Chicago, so all systems require conduit, even low voltage cabling. Our jobs can range from reconstructing a single room (little to no CAD involved, usually at the end in the "as-built" phase of the job) to a full blown data center.  WIth that, we don't have the freedom to choose how we work. It seems like the Architects are using Revit, and somewhere between the architect and us, the file is flattened into basic 2D CAD. Whether it's the architect or electrical engineer, we don't know; but we usually receive AutoCAD files, usually with blocks and not devices.

 

Have any of you found a way to utilze MEP the way you want? For example, it seems like Autodesk doesn't quite understand that WIRE is INSIDE the CONDUIT. Why are they different? Why can't I run my conduit, add junction boxes (that know what circuits are part inside, including any spares). Why do they have to be different? I feel that if we could get that much, we'd be so much better off.

 

What about just going flat out Revit on all jobs, even the ones you receive AutoCAD files that have no intelligence. Have you found a value to this approach?

 

Thanks in advance for any feedback you're able to to share.  Furthermore, if you are able to share a drawing where you received a flat 2D file, and used MEP for your content for the electricians, I'd like to see that for some ideas.

Shawn B.

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Distinguished Contributor
alan.skipper
Posts: 117
Registered: ‎03-01-2008
Message 2 of 7 (827 Views)

Re: Question for Electrical CONTRACTORS

02-14-2013 05:26 AM in reply to: smbrennan85

I wouldn't bother unless you have the skills to rewrite the software, in which case you would be a software engineer and not an electrical contractor.

 

I think both Revit MEP and AutoCAD MEP are fine for Mechanical and Plumbing but totally useless for Electrical. For instance; cable trunking(raceway), cable tray and cable ladder are ducting renamed and conduit is pipe renamed.

 

The Autodesk guys don't appear to know that trunking is different to ladder and ladder is different to tray etc.

 

Are there any UK electrical engineers/contractors out there that have got to grips with it without writing software etc or buying third party software?

 

Alan

Valued Contributor
jcleghorn
Posts: 101
Registered: ‎03-17-2008
Message 3 of 7 (811 Views)

Re: Question for Electrical CONTRACTORS

02-14-2013 10:49 AM in reply to: smbrennan85

The MEP process of electrical contracting where I am is becoming indespensible. It's at a point where contractors (we are design/build) can be denied projects if we don't have MEP capabilities. And the BIM portion of our work is becoming more important, from the owners and GC. We don't use the engineering portion much but rely heavily on 3D modeling when coordinating with other trades. AutoDesk has come a long ways from first introducing the software, especially with OD conduit sizes and there is certainly much to improve on, but from what I'm seeing in the industry, there's no going back.

Contributor
sbrennan85
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎01-15-2009
Message 4 of 7 (805 Views)

Re: Question for Electrical CONTRACTORS

02-14-2013 11:25 AM in reply to: jcleghorn

What major city do you work near? We've found that the East coast, Midwest, and West coast each have their own trends. We're located in Chicagoland.

 

We're starting to see 3D modeling in some of our basic tenant build-outs (which if you ask me, is a waste of time because the scans aren't accurate enough, plus no one cares enough to sit and de-clash and install off a coordinated model).

 

We have done 3D modeling for data centers, and that is starting to become our norm on those types of jobs, and that's where we see the largest benefit.

 

The OD conduit sizes were (in my opinion) the last feature added to the electrical content of AutoCAD MEP. Since then, not much has changed.

Valued Contributor
jcleghorn
Posts: 101
Registered: ‎03-17-2008
Message 5 of 7 (798 Views)

Re: Question for Electrical CONTRACTORS

02-14-2013 11:36 AM in reply to: smbrennan85

We work mainly in Seattle and surrounding metropolitan areas. 2 of our competitors work on 3D projects in other states but mostly West and Central. The owners have started asking for linked submittal information with the RD turn in so device information is becoming more important. We do a lot of Tech and Biotech here, which may explain the level of detail owners want, as your experience with data centers suggest.

Contributor
dvclark5
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎02-08-2010
Message 6 of 7 (783 Views)

dvclark5

02-15-2013 07:40 AM in reply to: smbrennan85

I am in NJ.  We see "BIM" as a requirement for most data center and large projects.  If they have an existing building that was built using BIM, they want you to update it with the changes as well.  Our biggest use for MEP has been for clash detection and creating shop drawings.  Once you go through all of the time to coordinate everything, you have to be able to produce as set of drawings for the field to build with.  Backgrounds vary from Acad 2007 flat drawings to full blown Revit and Navis coordination. 

As you will see in previous posts like this, Electrical is on the bottom of the list for Autodesk.  Its pretty sad that MEP has been out since 2007(?) and it took them 4 years to get the actual size of conduit correct.  As far as Revit MEP, we are not wasting our time with it because it is geared more towards the design/engineering side.  Revit still seems behind with conduit function as well. 

I still use old fashioned multileader tagging for the field drawings to show elevations and offsets.  Martin Schmid from Autodesk has made some cool add ins.  One is  "conduitrunlength".  You should find that thread in here as well.

I think we are stuck with hoping that they keep making improvements.  It also helps to submit suggestions as well.

Valued Mentor
smbrennan85
Posts: 285
Registered: ‎09-29-2010
Message 7 of 7 (731 Views)

Re: dvclark5

02-21-2013 05:12 AM in reply to: dvclark5

Yeah right now my company is at the same point. We only use ACAD MEP for conduit, and not much else. We are exploring going towards Revit, but just as you said, files we receive from the architects range from ACAD lines, all the way to a flattened Revit background.

 

As a company, we are about to assess the value of opening up dialogue with the architects after we are given the job, to work in the native Revit files.  Most of our shop drawings contain conduit, but they are only diagramatic, not necessarily dimensioned and used. I do see a value in BIM with the ability to do parametric changes, and more so Revit because of it's ability to be further customized (like wire ticks ... we group our hots to be associated with a neutral, so if neutrals look like | and hots look like i, a conduit with circuits 1,3,5 & 7,9,11 will look like |iii |iii

 

There's also the fact that most of the engineers that design the systems are working with old-fashioned CAD with their own set of customized routines.  Bringing this to Revit could be counter-productive because now we not only need to try to obtain the Revit file, but if it doesn't exist we have to create new walls. On top of that, if the engineered electrical system was done in AutoCAD, we basically have to do the entire job over (Walls, devices, panels, circuits, etc) before we even START with our own drawings.

 

That's not to say that doing that becomes our job, and a complex routine is created to allow us to quickly add the content we as a company require.

Shawn B.

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