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.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could easily give a Revit schedule any view name that you want and have a different title appear at the top of the schedule on a sheet? You can!
By default, the View Name parameter in the Properties of the schedule will appear as the title for the schedule. As of Revit 2014, you can edit the title to be what you desire, regardless of the view name. That allows you to name the schedule whatever you desire to aid with project browser organization and providing a good description of the schedule’s purpose. Continue reading →
Autodesk introduced dependent views to Revit several releases ago and they have been a popular feature when you have a large building with multiple units/areas in order to show the entire floor plan at a scale of say 1/8″=1′-0″. When they were introduced, they were great as they allowed us to break up a large floor plan into manageable units and control the visibility of all units by only modifying one view. We were able to get good consistency and increased speed, along with having view reference tags for adjoining views. I thought is was a great feature.
However, is the use of dependent views still as important at it was when they were introduced? My belief at this time is that they are not as important for everyone. I think some users will get good benefit from them, but others will get benefit from not using them.
I was recently exposed to an issue with electrical panel loads that illustrated what I feel are unique characteristics of how Revit circuit loads and Load Classifications affect the values that you see on the electrical panel schedule. If everything is utilized in Revit exactly as Revit is designed and intended, everything works fine. However, that rarely happens. Engineering firms create and customize families, and change or set Load Classifications which can impact the proper loading calculations.
Many companies have electrical panel schedules which display the Loads Summary at the bottom of the panel. This summary section separates each Load Classification into its own line so that you can see how much Connected Load exists for each different type of Load Classification and the Estimated Demand for each Load Classification. Those load values are then displayed as the Total Connected Load and the Total Demand Load that should include everything on the panel. The Total Connected Load is then displayed on a Switchboard panel schedule from which that panel is served. There are many different variations of how this information is displayed, but the general process is the same. Subpanels may also be involved, but the same issues exist with those loads.
In reviewing the issue, there were 2 different problems that were manifested in the panel loading. This article is an attempt to describe those 2 problems to help others understand what may be happening when load numbers don’t add up. I recommend everyone read the Autodesk Knowledge Network’s explanation of how Load Calculations are supposed to work. Read it at About Load Calculations.