Traditionally, scheduling has been used in the design and documentation process as a way to convey project information in an organized table that various stakeholders can review and use. Whether it’s a door schedule, equipment schedule or means of showing room finish information for estimators, schedules were created by manually entering values into columns and rows, either directly in drawings or in spreadsheet form to be added or included in drawing sets.
A model based delivery process, and more specifically Autodesk Revit, provides scheduling tools that automatically extract data contained in objects present in the model. The biggest advantage over traditional schedules is that data need only be entered once, it is kept up to date as model changes occur and it is coordinated across multiple schedules automatically.
In my latest webcast I took a look at Revit’s scheduling tools and explored how we can speed up data entry, ensure that it’s consistent and, once in the model, how we can use it to investigate and validate your model. When you have the time be sure to take a look on our You Tube channel. In the meantime I’ll use the example of a room finish schedule to highlight some of the tips I offered up.
Speeding up data entry
Just as I do when working in plan views I always recommend creating a working schedule where I do most of my data entry and manipulation without the worry of affecting my final plotted output. A room finish schedule will, at a minimum, typically contain LEVEL, ROOM NUMBER, ROOM NAME, and various fields for floor, wall and ceiling finishes.
We can manually enter information for each room but that can be tedious, time consuming and prone to errors. If we have similar rooms that share common finishes (e.g. Classrooms, Corridors or Washrooms will each have the same floor, wall and base finishes) we can use tools on the Sorting and Grouping tab of the schedule properties in Revit to contract the schedule so that we only need to enter data once and it will be applied to every room sharing similar properties. (Refer to the image)
Making data entry more consistent
The approach outlined above can be helpful but it does have its limitations. Although rooms may have finishes in common, that may be the only property they have in common. For example Classrooms that share those common finishes may be named, Grade 1 Classroom, Grade 2 Classroom etc. so finding unique names may not work as effectively.
We can use Schedule Keys to create a common set of values that can be applied to an object (in this case rooms) by assigning the Key to that object.
To create a schedule key we create a new schedule of the same object category but select Schedule Key instead of Schedule Building Components. Once we click OK we are presented with a list of available fields.
Add the fields that you want the Key to control and create the schedule. From here we add some data rows to name each Key value. In our case we’ll create a key for Classroom, WC, Lab and Corridor room types. Enter the finishes we want for each of these key values. The last step is to open your master room schedule and add the KEY parameter to your schedule. Revit will fill in the parameters based on the values stored in the key schedule.
The biggest advantage of this approach is that when we need to make a change all we need to do is open the Schedule Key and make the change once to have it propagate to all room objects.
Manipulating, Investigating and validating model information
Revit schedules will only report the information we put into the model. In the end it is still up to us to decide how we want to leverage that information. Rather than sifting through pages of tabular information trying to find errors and inconsistencies, we can create additional parameters, define calculated values and apply conditional formatting to schedules so Revit can inform us of problems or help us make design decisions.
- Highlight rooms where the actual area is above or below target design area by x%;
- Show me which steel members exceed the lift capacity of the crane the contractor has on site;
- List all curtain wall glass panels where the panel area will exceeds the local fabricators ability thereby triggering a cost increase;
- Create a schedule listing all mechanical and electrical equipment where the sub-trades are responsible for submitting shop drawings
The examples here are just a few of the ways schedules can be used for more than just counting things. Be sure to check out the complete webcast for more tips and information on how you can get more value from your Revit models and the data they contain.
If you follow that up with a call to Summit, then you can be sure that the value will more than add up!
Go here to view his most recent webinar – Revit Schedules you can count on… and so much more.