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Thread: Project as single MEP file, or separate M, E, P files?

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    Default Project as single MEP file, or separate M, E, P files?

    Hello all,

    We're about to start our first large-scale Revit MEP project (2012) after doing a smaller-scale pilot project and working with some other Revit files along the way. (We're an MEP design consulting firm.)

    My question: in your experience, what are the advantages/disadvantages to keeping the Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing components in a single central file, versus having three separate files (one for each discipline) and linking them together?

    From what I know, the biggest thing driving the three-separate-files boat is to keep the overall file size down. We recently inherited a Revit project from another consultant where everything was combined in one file and it was a pain to navigate because it made Revit run extremely slow, even on our 'top of the line' machines.

    Also, it will likely help keep the Views on our CDs clean by being able to turn-off the linked models of other disciplines, rather than having a stray plumbing line showing up in our ductwork drawings.

    However, from what I know of Revit, it's designed to have all the disciplines kept in a single central file. If that's the case, what are your recommendations to keep the file size manageable and crisp (short of upgrading our machines, my specs are listed below)? As well as how to keep the disciplines separated in Views for the CD Sheets? Should Worksets be used to accomplish this?

    Thanks in advance!
    -Brad

    system specs:
    Revit MEP 2012
    Vista SP2 64-bit
    12 GB RAM
    Nvidia Quadro FX 580 - 512MB

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    Default Re: Project as single MEP file, or separate M, E, P files?

    I prefer a single MEP model, however your points are to be considered whenever you start a project: potential file size and performance issues may make the broken up model more appealing. Keeping the single model purged and compacted will help alot with performance, as well as keeping the calculation settings turned off. Also, the single model helps in coordination, such as the electrical being able to easily circuit up the mechanical equipment. There is no right-wrong method, just which works for you and your project.

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    Default Re: Project as single MEP file, or separate M, E, P files?

    DON'T throw more hardware at Revit, it's a small noticeable increase with modeling. I know we all can use a little extra time here and there and it does add up. Where we have seen the performance is with opening and printing. With my old machine it took me 34 minutes to print to PDF with my new machine it takes 7 (100 sheets). All of my other programs are crazy fast, ridiculously noticeably faster.

    My CPU specs are
    3.7 Turbo GHZ
    Zeon E3 i7 extreme quad dual 8 core
    2G Radeon 6950
    16G 1866 memory
    120G Solid state hard drive piggy backing a terabyte D drive
    With a Windows rating of 7.6


    This machine is sick. I just wished revit was much faster. So I understand your dilemma.

    Well the obvious reason to model 1 file is the system connections. If your pumps are in the mechanical file you will not be able to connect the pipes to them. If your not concerned about systems and calculations than I would suggest 3 separate files strictly based on performance.
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    Default Re: Project as single MEP file, or separate M, E, P files?

    Quote Originally Posted by bradg View Post
    However, from what I know of Revit, it's designed to have all the disciplines kept in a single central file. If that's the case, what are your recommendations to keep the file size manageable and crisp (short of upgrading our machines, my specs are listed below)? As well as how to keep the disciplines separated in Views for the CD Sheets? Should Worksets be used to accomplish this?
    I'm curious about this as well; I'm currently the only Revit user in my office, and I've been able to work off my machine only, without a need for a shared central file within the office.

    If we were to split the mechanical and plumbing portions of a job today, I'd do it with worksets. I'm not sure this would be the best for you, but I think this is what worksets were originally created for. (I've also used them as a way to control visibility within a model, but that's another story.)

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    Default Re: Project as single MEP file, or separate M, E, P files?

    Thanks for the input thus far.

    I'd prefer to keep everything in one file, but the current direction of our CAD department is leaning toward splitting them up. In my mind, the biggest thing you lose with a split model would be any project-wide changes you need to make to the Architectural & Structural model display would need to be made three times, instead of just once.

    I assume you also lose the ability to make connections between disciplines (e.g. connecting power to a mechanical heat pump), but could this be accomplished through copy-monitoring certain shared elements?

    It seems that most users keep the three disciplines together in one file, but I'm both encouraged and surprised that no one has come forward yet to say that it MUST be done this way (or at least with any significant consequences of splitting them up).

    I'm curious - for those that keep everything in one file, do you use Worksets to separate the three disciplines? Either way, what have you found to be the best way to hide each discpline from the rest (e.g. hiding plumbing lines on a ductwork (or piping) sheet)? Through extensive tweaking of the visibility graphics, or is there something easier out there?

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    Default Re: Project as single MEP file, or separate M, E, P files?

    For everyone interested in this thread, I just noticed that there was an article in yesterday's AUGI Newsletter that addressed this exact issue titled "Strategies for Memory Management" (available on page 45 here: http://www.augi.com/images/uploads/a...W201109_lr.pdf ). I guess if I had been a good little AUGI member I'd be a lot better off.

    The short of it is the author recommends splitting up the files by discipline for large projects (300,000+ sqft), and cross linking the discipline files into appropriately named worksets.

    Anyone out there have success (or fail) stories of this approach?

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    Default Re: Project as single MEP file, or separate M, E, P files?

    If you choose to separate them into individual models keep in mind you may have open connectors, or families that are in a different model that you technically want to attach to. If the family/object you want to connect to is in a different model (atelast in RMEP 2011) you would need to build fake connectors to connect to. If you are on the other end of the model where you have a family/object that has an open connection, you'll want to build some sort of fake system to close that connector out. Otherwise your model(s) will run slow.

    It is nice to have M, E, P in their own model to cut down on the number of views and sheets. These can get cumbersome on some projects. The more views you have the slower your model will run.

    Worksets from what I hear and have used are a good idea no matter if there are 3 separate models or 1 model w/ all 3 disciplines in it.

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