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Thread: Multi-disciplinary collaboration

  1.    #1
    Member anthonyB's Avatar
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    Multi-disciplinary collaboration

    What is current best practice for collaboration with regard to not duplicating elements across disciplines please? On past projects in our architects office we have duplicated the structural columns, walls and floors etc. Same same for MEP. A new project requires the model element authors only to place their elements in the models.

    I am interested in the process of development and documentation.
    * Do I model those elements first as an indication for the engineers as to where I want them, and then when they do model them, I remove them from my model?
    * How do I get their wall to appear as I want in my model? Do I ask them to apply my material to their wall? Do I use view filters? How do I Paint a structural wall or a portion of a wall?
    * Do I show the engineer where I want the penetrations for doors and windows? How do I place a door/window hosted in the precast concrete wall if it is not in my model? Do I maintain a dummy wall in the location? Do I need to create non-hosted versions of my families?
    * How do I place light fittings, awnings, signage, plumbing fittings on walls that don't exist in my model? Should I be using face-based or free-standing items?
    * How do I get my tags and schedules to appear correctly? Do I ask the engineers to add my Shared Params to their model and populate the fields with my codes and data?
    * Is it safe to dimension these walls in the linked model? Because of much past pain at losing scores of dimensions that were reading elements in linked files, my best practice for a number of years has been not to tag or dimension elements in linked models. Is this practice OK now?
    * Would a kitchen bench be in my model, but the sink and tapware be in the plumbing model?
    * Are there challenges in setting out a ceiling item plan where all the fixtures are now not in my model but in the Elec, Mech and Fire models? Do I provide a drawing/view for exactly the layout I desire and them wait for them to move the items accordingly? Do I place dummy items first and delete them when the engineer has placed theirs? Do I dimension their items?
    * What other challenges will there be that I have not thought of?

    Has this been discussed in another thread that I cannot see please?

    Thanking you in advance.
    Last edited by anthonyB; October 11th, 2020 at 12:53 PM.

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    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyB View Post
    What is current best practice for collaboration with regard to not duplicating elements across disciplines please? On past projects in our architects office we have duplicated the structural columns, walls and floors etc. Same same for MEP. A new project requires the model element authors only to place their elements in the models.
    I think if you ask this question to ten people, youre going to get ten slightly different answers.

    We have an entire chapter in our BIM Execution Document, that deals with "Discipline Overlap" (which is planned and expected for, by us). It also goes on to stipulate which discipline is responsible for dimensional control vs specification, as well.

    But, not all of the items in your list are in that chapter. Certainly not Structural Columns or Framing. Way too much chance for something to end up wrong, in the Architectural Model. I would show them in early design as a general layout until structural is involved, sure. But the MOMENT structural is there, its a 100% delete (not a visibility trick, not a hide, not a workset, they are GONE once structural is there). But the other things in our models, the duplicates SO live on, and have to be planned for:

    -Structural Walls
    -Structural Slabs (sometimes)
    -Structural Roofs (sometimes)
    -Electrical Fixtures/Lighting Devices/Data/Comm (switches, outlets, network ports, sensors)
    -Light Fixtures
    -Plumbing Fixtures (just about all of them)
    -Some Air Terminals
    -Some Equipment

    I am interested in the process of development and documentation.
    * Do I model those elements first as an indication for the engineers as to where I want them, and then when they do model them, I remove them from my model?
    Thats what we do for Columns and Framing. The rest of the items (walls, floors) stay in both models, get coordinated, and get corresponding Filters set up to remove the structural ones from architectural views (Filters, not categories, and not worksets).

    * How do I get their wall to appear as I want in my model? Do I ask them to apply my material to their wall? Do I use view filters? How do I Paint a structural wall or a portion of a wall?
    * Do I show the engineer where I want the penetrations for doors and windows? How do I place a door/window hosted in the precast concrete wall if it is not in my model? Do I maintain a dummy wall in the location? Do I need to create non-hosted versions of my families?
    All of this and more is why it just makes sense to both have the walls in your models. Plus: Unless they have all the necessary Parameters in their walls, for your Wall Tags and Fire Ratings, NOT having the walls means kludgy drafting garbage, for Fire Ratings. Doors, would have to be done IN the structural model. (Or yeah, you would need unhosted ones and they would need to punch holes, OR you could have dummy walls and they would have to punch holes. They have to punch holes regardless, frankly).

    * How do I place light fittings, awnings, signage, plumbing fittings on walls that don't exist in my model? Should I be using face-based or free-standing items?
    So, regardless of this issue, you shouldnt have "Wall Hosted" items unless the item needs to know the THICKNESS of the wall, while cutting a hole out of it. Thats the ONLY use case for Wall Hosted, these days. Face Based, or even Unhosted with Voids, and Cuts with Voids enabled. Doors kind of NEED to be WH because they depend on the wall thickness data, for parametrics.

    * How do I get my tags and schedules to appear correctly? Do I ask the engineers to add my Shared Params to their model and populate the fields with my codes and data?
    If you do... i want to be in the meeting when you have them change your parameter data for the fifth time, on the same structural wall. Hehehehe.

    * Is it safe to dimension these walls in the linked model? Because of much past pain at losing scores of dimensions that were reading elements in linked files, my best practice for a number of years has been not to tag or dimension elements in linked models. Is this practice OK now?
    Not much has changed about the *fundamentals* of how this works. Dims and Tags can still get lost, can still prompt you on File Open, and can still trap your team in the "everyone needs to sync in a certain order because we ALL told it to delete those dims when opening the model, and NONE of us immediately did a SWC after opening."

    Its better in some ways, since some orphaned tags can now be fixed, and they dont always full-on delete themselves. But... i still personally dont dimension to stuff in other files, if i can help it.

    * Would a kitchen bench be in my model, but the sink and tapware be in the plumbing model?
    * Are there challenges in setting out a ceiling item plan where all the fixtures are now not in my model but in the Elec, Mech and Fire models? Do I provide a drawing/view for exactly the layout I desire and them wait for them to move the items accordingly? Do I place dummy items first and delete them when the engineer has placed theirs? Do I dimension their items?
    These are why i would recommend you ALSO have the items in your model.

    Hell, we dont even Copy Monitor (or, at least, i dont). I have a set of dedicated coordination views, where all disciplines are showing everything, and i go REVIEW my consultants work, and check it against mine. Sounds awful, right? Its 1000% better than fussing with CM, for sure.

    YMMV though. Lots of opinions and theories on the matter.

  3.    #3
    Member anthonyB's Avatar
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    Thank you for the detailed reply. Good information.

    Taking on board the above, my sheets will contain my work, but when sharing the model with the consultant team and the client's appointed BIM lead, should I have a designated Coordination / Navisworks view where all my duplicated elements are filtered out, so the federated model only has a single source of truth?

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    Hi Anthony,
    All important questions for sure.
    Where to start -
    First off I tend to agree with Twice on many items there that he listed.

    I would say that I am looking at the project from an engineers office point of view, and how it was done at other offices successfully that I have worked on. There is less need for placing families on faces etc. in a structural model so that is definitely an important point to consider. My first reflex to that is, yes, use level based models rather than face based.

    There are some workflow issues that should be broached with your project partners though, and that is to not delete items wherever possible but change types, so columns, walls and beams these can all be modified by changing a type rather than deleting the object and modeling the new type in its place. This will allow the copy/monitor tool to work as it was designed, but also if they do need to remove an object entirely and replace it - it should be documented somewhere so it can be deleted properly from the copied/monitored model and the replacement copied in. There are some "best practices" that if everyone follows will make the process smoother. That said, its not easy to get other offices to conform to best practices.

    Twice is 100% right about materials, but there are ways to deal with that, for example making your composite wall to place over the structural wall (with the structural element empty leaving a gap where the struct wall places inside your wall) then you have your layered finishes over that element. I have seen that work well. Otherwise you need structures to have your walls in there with your materials, and you would need to share your materials library with them and basically that is a nightmare.

    I agree that structural elements need to be in the hands of the owners, so that means you dont have them in your model, you are not responsible for them, so don't take the risk of having an error in your model. If its wrong its entirely their fault. A double item is a risk of error, so manage the risk by removing as much source of error as possible. The moment you put an object into your model you take responsibility of it, so leave it in the respective disciplines hands as much as possible.

    As far as plumbing goes, I worked on a large hospital project for Sydney in a plumbing and fire services office, and our contract was to connect to the linked model items. So the architect models had to incorporate the correct connectors in their objects at the correct placements. It was a bit of an issue because often they were not quite correct, again a question of LOD and who is responsible for the items. This should be part of a well thought out BIM Execution plan.

    Navisworks views are not a bad idea - but these you can also set up inside navis so its not that much of an issue. These are refered to as "MVD" Model View Definitions. Often if you work with a group that does project coordination they will tell you what the MVD's are and you will set up views according for export at publish dates. If you are the lead on the project, its a good idea to think about MVD's so you can easily sort and do your checks in things like Navisworks or Solibri. It can be a good idea to create a project template with standard MVD's in place so you can just transfer project standards and copy the pre-set view definitions into each new project.
    Last edited by Karalon10; October 12th, 2020 at 07:19 AM.

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    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyB View Post
    Thank you for the detailed reply. Good information.

    Taking on board the above, my sheets will contain my work, but when sharing the model with the consultant team and the client's appointed BIM lead, should I have a designated Coordination / Navisworks view where all my duplicated elements are filtered out, so the federated model only has a single source of truth?
    I personally wouldnt.

    You are going to have to have data in the components for Filtering it out of your views (or the other consultants views) regardless. Simply pass that information to the folks using Navisworks, so they can Search set your items the same. Its more VALUE to have both sets of objects in the model: Heaven forbid the Architect and Plumbing Engineer have Sinks or Toilets in different spots... it will show up, if they are both in Navisworks.

    Sounds silly, but it comes up on just about every job we touch, during Construction coordination.

    Our Navisworks files have Search Sets that make removing the duplicates easy, so you are only seeing what should be *real* when its time to do actual clash detection, but a second coordination check is never a bad thing, PARTICULARLY on items that make get modeled differently: Plumbing Fixtures, Light Fixtures, Electrical, Data, etc.

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