PLQ2.4 – Mindful Modelling

Hello BIMfans,
After last week’s population of my Mechanical Model; this week I have populated the assets within my electrical model, but before that a quick update on last week’s COBie issues.

I mentioned last week that no matter what I tried I couldn’t get my classification to exchange correctly.  It turns out that I hadn’t defined the classification system in the exporter (oops!), now that I have there are no issues.  Guidance on how to do this in Revit can be found using this link from Evolve Consultancy.  Note:  I still can’t get systems to work, but problem is for another post!

So with that out of the way, let’s talk about mindful modelling; ensuring that you produce your information in a suitable way to satisfy others’ needs.

Much like with inception, the end user needs to be considered for the model to be used effectively; to understand this properly however, we need to go deeper…

How you model can have a BIG impact on the amount of data that can be recorded against an object and depending on what information is needed, it can dictate how something should be modelled.  For example take my living room light:


It is simple enough, I have:

  • Rodd, a free standing floor lamp from Ikea;
  • Hue, a smart LED bulb from Philips; and
  • Nymo, a lamp shade also from Ikea.

While this may look simple, getting the right data about these objects is tricky.

To start with, if I modelled them as a single object how would I deal with the fact that they have two different manufacturers, the cost of each item is different, and many aspects like their expected service life, colour, material, are different?  Also, as I have used a fancy smart bulb, it is the most expensive item here (and therefore the one I care about retaining information on the most).  Here is a breakdown:

I know it’s sad, but I’m really impressed with the inner copper colour showing up on the shaded object.


With this in mind I have opted to model each item separately and create an ‘Assembly’.  If you are not sure what an Assembly is, it is a method of grouping objects into a schedule-able component made up of a number of individual components, if you will components within components; Component-ception (Sorry!).

Once set up it allows each Assembly to be recorded when I export my information into COBie, as shown below.

It is still Work in Progress, but the COBie file this came out of can be accessed here.

These items are also broken down into their components too within the ‘Components’ tab. Each of which can be seen below along with the other 48 electrical components within this model.  Now that they each have their own row I can collect all of the relevant information I need about each object, so this method has worked perfectly for my needs as the end user.

Of course the downside is I now have three times as many properties to populate…

Note:  Due to time constraints (mostly driving to the Brecon Beacons and back!) none of the IFC/COBie properties have been created for these objects, only the minimum information to register them within my COBie ‘Components’ tab for the purposes of answering the current Plain Language Question.

And there you have it, after considering how I want my data to be exchanged I have created a number of assemblies to allow me to capture the information I need in a form I am comfortable with.  At the same time I have also produced my other Electrical objects to that I have a full electrical asset register consisting of lighting, fire detection, sockets, and switches.

As always you can access the work in progress native Revit file, and the exported IFC file

This means that subject to ensuring that the correct property data is attached, I have now fully populated my electrical model; therefore once I have amended my Architectural model Plain Language Question PLQ2.4 will be complete!

Model Generation:
2.1 What existing information is available?
2.2 Is there sufficient information to produce a BEP?
2.3 What is the layout of the house?
2.4 What assets are contained within?
2.5 What asset information can be linked to the graphical model?

Now that I have a pretty strong Electrical & Mechanical model, it’s time to look back at my Architectural model…

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