2D is and will always be inferior to 3D since you can easily extract 2D views from a 3D model anyway. The 3D model is not just a shape you can use to show off your work (elements, products, rooms, buildings, pipework, etc.) as you can add data to your models. The data, such as materials - including the mass, color, density, mechanical properties - make your model smart and highly efficient in coordination between the design, production and construction teams.
Klimaoprema, like many other companies, has used AutoCAD for various jobs. However, working on a more complex project (including concept design, detailed design, manufacturing, and installation, including HVAC installations, BMS, validation, laminar flow, and cleanroom furniture) we realized that working in AutoCAD was too much to handle in the given timeline. The obvious decision was to turn to 3D modeling, so the design team started to use Revit. At first, mechanical design engineers used Revit for their products (HVAC, ducts, support systems, air distributors). The cleanroom solutions with the panel systems followed, and then architecture and EI&C department. To this date, we have designed over 100,000 m2 of cleanroom space in Revit; which greatly accelerated the communication between our departments; and consequently the submission of documentation, but most importantly - it reduced the chances of error and doubts on the construction site.
Using Revit is straightforward. You can design your Revit families to your liking and use them to make complex 3D models. Family is a single product/shape, 3D or 2D, used in the Revit project environment. You can also import other file types such as .nwd for coordination or STEP files to use in your models. Also, you can use Microsoft Excel to import various data or to make parametric family types that use the same data.
In Klimaoprema’s case, the design team uses it to design high-efficiency cleanrooms, which includes architecture, cleanroom panel systems, HVAC, and EI&C. There are numerous families we use and some of them are quite complex, but Revit makes them easy enough to use. Families can be as simple as a 2D square shape used in annotation and as complex as a 3D model can be. It is important to know which category to put the family into so you can use schedules to extract the data you need because not all categories have the same capabilities in extracting data.
Different disciplines (architecture, HVAC, EI&C, clean utilities...) usually don't work in the same Revit project file at the same time. Instead, each has its own project which is linked to the others. Each discipline then syncs its changes which should be visible to disciplines that are linked in when synced. This is great considering companies that work in design, manufacturing, and construction usually have more than one discipline in their scope of work. Everyone can coordinate with each other with a push of a button.
Revit has a few options for exporting 3D models. We regularly export files into the .nwc file, used in the Navisworks environment. Most companies Klimaoprema has worked with, use Navisworks for 3D coordination of the building between disciplines on complex projects. It is a tool with many options and the “clash detective” feature is what makes it great to use. Clash detective is a command that scans your Navisworks models and detects clashes between each element/discipline. You can then see the list of clashes and decide if it is really a clash or not (for example, pipe going through HVAC system is a clash, but pipe insulation is not a clash between the insulation and pipe even though they are touching). If you think a clash is, in fact, an issue you can assign the issue to a member of the team so they know they are responsible for solving it. This makes solving issues in the pre-construction phase far more efficient and it can be clearly seen how many there are to be solved and have a clash-free model/project.
Since we use Revit, our technical department started to use Inventor for 3D modeling and 2D documentation. That way we can use the benefits of the Autodesk suite of products. Now we can do extremely complex projects with far more efficiency than it would be possible using only AutoCAD 2D environment or tools from a different publisher.
Likewise, in some special cases, designers also conducted airflow simulations of the complete HVAC installations as well as the laminar flow devices in the Autodesk CFD software.
Autodesk provided a new tool that can go even further in coordination, planning, and document management for your projects, Autodesk Construction Cloud (ACC). We have recently started using it and we can already see it is an improvement from the workflow we used so far. Syncing is easier and it makes it impossible for something to go wrong. This used to be an issue, especially when multiple people were working on/in the same model and syncing at the same time. Like all tools, it takes time to set it up the way that suits your workflow and needs, but it surely makes a difference.
Since Klimaoprema has started to use Revit and Navisworks, both design and production take less time to finish the design and to manufacture elements we use on the construction site. The construction team on-site can easily coordinate with the design team and see what, where and when something needs to be built.
Once the design phase was completed, the project was handled in Autodesk 3Ds Max. This allowed the designers to create customer-facing visualization and provide a complete walkthrough animation of the technical zone in Autodesk Revit enabling multiple teams and users to work simultaneously in a single digital model.
Considering the pandemic the world has faced, pharmaceutical companies got even more jobs for us. Now, we have a document with workflows to be followed, education for tools we use, defined templates, and many more to come all thanks to Autodesk. In the future, we can adjust the ACC even better and educate our design team to improve and make the most of the tools we use. It is the only way we can go further and beyond with design, coordination and build projects successfully.