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16 December 2020
Nitesh Panchal

Why Is It Becoming Imperative for HVAC Component Manufacturers to Create Revit Families?

Manufacturers in the AEC industry deal with special requirements, special equipment and special clients. There is an equally special process – the BIM (Building Information Modelling) process – which manufacturers, specifically HVAC component manufacturers, can be part of and which can help them produce high-quality components efficiently for construction projects. The BIM process includes the development of BIM models, among various other tasks, and BIM models consist of BIM families and other BIM content. For manufacturers of HVAC components, using Revit BIM families developed by mechanical engineering design services is currently one of the most dependable ways to create intelligent, parametric models for component design. However, creating Revit families requires specialised skills from a mechanical design services company.

Revit is a design and documentation software that facilitates efficiency in the architectural, structural and MEP aspects of construction design. Revit family creation thus becomes a crucial skill to create parametric families for HVAC components. Modifying Revit families can qualitatively improve the quality of component models, can show equipment parameters and can also graphically represent the geometric features of boilers, heaters, air conditioners, etc. Other advantages of Revit family creation include the following:

  • Improved surface finish of components through the use of formula and imported data
  • Accurate models of any size or design
  • Model re-sizing that is practical and cost-effective
  • Coordination of components in diverse parts of a model
  • Realistic model with reliable construction documentation, can be used for scheduling and estimating

For some time now, HVAC manufacturer have used digital models to design components, normally with 3D mechanical CAD (computer-aided design) software. These models can contribute to an efficient manufacturing and assembly process. When these manufacturers create BIM models with the right level of detail, it helps in the planning, designing, construction and management of building products and also helps HVAC manufacturers garner more business. Manufacturers can share component information on the same BIM model with other stakeholders, so that everyone concerned is updated in case of modifications in mechanical design services.

So, what kind of HVAC components can be manufactured by creating Revit families?
A few of them are:
  • Radiation dampers
  • Dryers
  • Air separators,
  • Expansion tanks
    • Convectors
    • Dryer jacks
    • Thermostats
    • Dryer wall vents
      • Flanged buffer tanks
      • Exhaust fans
      • Ceiling heaters
      • Industrial unit heaters
        • Cartridge circulators
        • Outdoor air systems
        • Ceiling cassettes – cooling and heating
        • Plate and frame heat exchangers
          • Boilers – condensing, gas, gas oil

          In many Western nations, BIM is becoming increasingly mandated as part of the construction process. It has been found to solve challenges arising from budget restrictions, accelerated deadlines, demands for skilled labour and clashes in plans. However, creating BIM-ready content is not always simple. Some of the challenges include the following:

          • Manufacturers typically create models from scratch for special components, which means using in-house talent or seeking third party expertise, resulting in rising costs.
          • Sometimes the BIM content does not correspond to the other components in the model.
          • Different configurations for the same component may cause clashes with other components or systems, affecting the efficiency of the process.

          Creating Revit families to help design HVAC components can help deal with the above-mentioned challenges. Here’s how:

          • Revit families of components can be re-used in the same project or for future projects.
          • If a particular component does not match the rest of the system or does not fit in with existing MEP connections, creating a Revit family can help identify those inconsistencies.
          • Revit families can be shared with subcontractors, so that any specification errors can be rectified, waste can be minimised and components can be manufactured off-site for pre-assembly and fabrication.

          With the right expertise, it’s possible to create accurate Revit families for HVAC components as long as the family parameters are specified.

          Revit Family Parameters for HVAC Components
          • Density
          • Cooling Load
          • Friction
          • Heating Load
          • Power
          • Slope
          • Power Density
          • Factor
          • Pressure
          • Cooling Load divided by Area
          • Temperature
          • Heating Load divided by Area
          • Temperature Difference
          • Cooling Load divided by Volume
          • Velocity
          • Heating Load divided by Volume
          • Air Flow
          • Air Flow divided by Volume
          • Duct Size
          • Air Flow divided by Cooling Load
          • Cross Section
          • Area divided by Cooling Load
          • Heat Gain
          • Area divided by Heating Load
          • Roughness
          • Duct insulation Thickness
          • Dynamic Viscosity
          • Duct Lining Thickness
          • Air Flow Density

          In addition to dealing with the challenges of creating BIM content, Revit family creation can benefit manufacturers of HVAC components in a few crucial ways.

          Benefits of Revit Families for Manufacturers
          • All technical aspects of components can be presented to all project stakeholders throughout the design process, so any required changes can be made easily.
          • Manufacturers have time to design and develop their products well in advance.
          • A 3D object can be created of any component and can be put on a website for downloading and trial. Designers can try various options and select what works for their project. Components can be purchased during project implementation, thus helping manufacturers to sell more of their products.
          • A component can be displayed from different angles to all stakeholders, who can zoom in to examine component elements in detail.
          • Using Revit families, the weight and volume of materials required for an HVAC component can be calculated, helping to avoid waste and minimise costs.
          • The shape and size of components can be shown accurately.
          • Unique components can be designed and approved for specific projects, saving time and resources.

          Ultimately, by creating Revit families and providing other HVAC design services, HVAC component manufacturers can effectively represent the technical details of their products in a simple way and can then improve or modify those details for future use. Manufacturers have the option of using HVAC mechanical engineering consultants to help create Revit families and offer their 3D models to existing and potential clients. Thus, to maintain efficiency in product delivery, it has become imperative for HVAC component manufacturers to create Revit families and use of Revit BIM services.