When using Revit for electrical design, using Panel Schedules should be an important part of your design process. Revit provides the user with some default panel schedule templates with the software, but most organizations modify the templates to function and appear the way that they desire. Revit allows the user to do quite a bit of customization to the templates, but be aware that there are still limitations to the customization ability and some nuances.
Revit Help has instructions for basic electrical template modification. In this article, we will look at some aspects of customizing a template that are not so obvious to the user.
If you are utilizing Revit for electrical engineering design, then you are using electrical panels and likely electrical panel schedules. While the process of inserting electrical panels and connecting basic circuits to them is pretty straightforward, there are some items that are good to know to help you better utilize panels and their associated schedules.
First off, a requirement in this process is to make sure that after you place an electrical panel in the Revit model, you set the Distribution System for it. Otherwise, you will not be able to connect any electrical device or other electrical equipment to the panel. The Distribution System is shown in both the panel’s Propertiespalette, and on the Options Bar on the ribbon.
Panel Schedules in Revit are a report of the information that is contained in the electrical panel, and schedules cannot be created without having a panel family placed in the project file. They are not like a spreadsheet where the numerical values are entered into the spreadsheet. The values shown in the panel and on the panel schedule are a result of connected loads to the panel and are only as good as the information in the items connected to the panel.
Autodesk Revit includes the ability to define enclosed areas within the building as Rooms or Spaces. While both items allow the user to assign a name and number to the area, they have different purposes and parameters for information within that designated area. To put it in the most basic of terms, Rooms are for Architects, Spaces are for Engineers.
I have talked with engineers that don’t believe that they have any need for Spaces. They believe that using the Rooms in the architect’s model works just fine for them since all they care about is having a tag on the view that shows the room name and number. If the engineer simply tags the architect’s Rooms, then the names and numbers will always be up to date. This is a very narrow-sighted view of the purpose of Rooms and Spaces.
Customization has always been a mainstay of design software, especially with the Autodesk products. Customization of Revit for the user/non-programmer is finally here with Dynamo. Dynamo has been in development for some time, but has been gaining momentum among Revit power users. It really opens up the door for users to achieve more functionality through the open-source visual programming extension for Revit. It provides similar opportunities to the Revit user like AutoLisp did for AutoCAD users.
As someone that creates a lot of Revit families, I always appreciate Revit enhancements and new features that help with creating or working with families. Reference Planes are a critical component of families and Revit 2017 has some interesting changes in regards to them.
When creating Revit families, it is important to easily see the entire family model in plan view while you are creating or modifying the family. While this may seem obvious, by default Revit does not necessarily provide this ability. You may add some information, such as an extrusion, to the family and have it “disappear”. I have “been there, done that” when I added an extrusion based upon a higher reference plane and then had it disappear when I finished the extrusion. If you don’t understand what just happened, it can alarm you and frustrate you.
As I work with electrical engineers who are migrating to Revit, a common question that I get is “How do I create one-line diagrams in Revit”. One-line diagrams, also called single-line diagrams, are an important part of electrical drawings for construction documents, so it is a subject that needs to be addressed. They are a simplified method of representing a 3-phase power system that shows distribution boards, switchboards, transformers, panels, breakers, etc., with lines illustrating the connectivity of the components of the distribution system. The diagram is not just for physical construction of the building’s electrical system, but developed by the electrical engineer during early stages of design.
The problem that you run into with creating one-line diagrams inside Revit is that the one-line diagrams are generally created before the equipment is actually placed in the Revit model. The electrical engineer will design the building’s electrical system by developing this diagram, then placing the electrical service equipment based upon the diagram.
Unfortunately, Revit does not provide a way of coordinating the one-line diagram with the actual electrical components placed inside Revit, either before the electrical equipment is placed or after the equipment is placed in the model.