Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rooms, Spaces and Zones

Before we talk about Revit MEP spaces, a brief overview of Revit Architecture Rooms and Revit MEP Spaces is generally helpful. Revit Rooms and Spaces are independent components used for different purposes. Rooms are an Architectural component used to hold data about the occupied space (Figure 1).
F1.png
Figure 1 - Room properties
Spaces are used exclusively by the MEP disciplines and are used to hold data about the areas in which they have been place that can be used to perform heating and cooling load analysis (Figure 2).

Rooms and Spaces have some common characteristics. Both are created within room-bounding elements such as walls, floors, ceilings, roofs, and room separation lines that are present in the Architectural model. So objects that are used to define a Room in the Architectural model define the Space in the MEP model.
F2.png
Figure 2 - Space properties
Using Spaces, the Mechanical Designer can model the HVAC loads within the program or export the space load data via a gbXML file for importing into various external simulation software packages. Within Revit MEP, Spaces can be used to:

·      Perform heating and cooling analysis
·      Perform conceptual energy analysis
·      Analyze duct and pipe system pressure

Creating spaces is a very quick process that begins after you have linked in the Architecture model. Select the Architecture model and in the Properties palette, select Edit Type to edit the Type properties for the linked file (Figure 4).
 F3-MS1.png
Figure 3 - Selected Linked Architecture Model and Properties Palette
This opens the Type Properties dialog (Figure 4) and allows you to enable Room Bounding by checking the Room Bounding Switch. This option allows the boundaries of the Architectural model to be used to define the boundaries of the MEP spaces. Check the checkbox to enable Room Bounding then click OK to close the Type Properties dialog.

TIP: If you do not enable the linked file to be Room Bounding and you try to place a Space, you will get a warning that the placed Space is not in an enclosed region. If you try to run any analysis without having defined spaces, Revit will not be able to calculate loads.
 F4-MS1.png
Figure 4 - Enabling Room Bounding of the Architecture model
To place Spaces in the model, click on the Analyze tab (Figure 5). The Spaces & Zones panel provides us with the options needed to create both Spaces and Zones. To create a space we can either place the space manually or allow Revit to locate and place spaces automatically.
 F5-MS1.png
Figure 5 - Adding Spaces
To automatically generate Spaces, click on the Space button in the Spaces & Zones panel. This will bring up the Modify | Place Space tab and click on the Place Spaces Automatically button (Figure 6).
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Figure 6 - Modify | Place Space tab
Revit will then automatically place all the Spaces in the model and will report how many spaces were created (Figure 7).
 F7-MS1.png
Figure 7 - Automatic Space creation number of spaces reported dialog
TIP: If you are going to create Spaces automatically using the automatic mode, make sure that all the spaces created are what you actually intended. Remember that Revit MEP spaces will be generated from room bounding components in the Architecture model. Areas such as utility chases, air spaces in wall construction were not included.

TIP: If a Space was created automatically that should not exist, resist the temptation to select the space in a view and delete it. This will delete the space from the model, but the space is still present in the model.

Space Schedule


After you have created your spaces in the model, it is a good idea to create a schedule of the building space properties. The schedule can be to validate that the space usage, components, internal loading and areas are correct. Creating a schedule within Revit provides a quick means for accessing this data. It is assumed that this schedule is being utilized for internally for design purposes and not to be placed on a sheet to be provided to the client.

As an example, in Figure 8 I have created a basic Space Properties schedule that contains the following information. This information can and should be modified to fir your desired workflow and means and methods.

Name:                         Name of the Space
Number:                     Number of the Space
Space Type:               Description of how the Space will be utilized
Number of People:    Occupancy of the Space
Area:                           Area of the space
Construction Type:   Physical Construction of the Space
Condition Type:         Type of Space Conditioning
Occupiable:                Will the space be occupied
Zone:                           Zone Space is associated with
 F8-MS1.png
Figure 8 - Space Properties schedule

Space Name and Numbers


When we create spaces, Revit MEP will automatically name the Space “Space” and automatically start numbering the rooms. This naming and numbering process probably does not match the room naming and numbering used by the Architectural model. For coordination purposes, naming and numbering spaces to match the corresponding architectural rooms makes sense and Autodesk provides a Space Naming Utility Add-In (Figure 9) for renaming Spaces to match Architectural Rooms.
 F9-MS1.png
Figure 9 - Space Naming Utility
The Space Naming Utility (SNU) can be found in the Add-Ins tab on the Space naming Utility panel. Clicking on the Launch SNU button opens the Autodesk Revit MEP Space Naming Utility dialog (Figure 10). The SNU provides you with the option to coordinate the Room Name and/or Numbers with Spaces. You also have the option to select with Levels you want to coordinate the Room/Space names and/or numbers. Clicking the OK button runs the command and the results are shown in Figure 11.
 F10-MS1.png
Figure 10 – Space Naming Dialog
TIP: If there is not a corresponding Room for each of the Spaces that have been generated in Revit MEP, then the Space name will not be updated.
 F11-MS1.png
Figure 11 – Space Properties Schedule

Zones


Once we have our Spaces defined, we want to start grouping similar Spaces into Zones. Placing Zones is simply a matter of assigning Spaces to a Zone. When a Space is created, it is automatically assigned to the “Default” zone.

Prior to assigning Spaces to Zones, I like to switch to a working Plan View that is a Plan View that will not be dropped on a sheet for printing. I then apply a Space Tag to each Space that also contains the Zone information (Figure 12). This step is not required, but can be helpful to make sure that you place the spaces in the correct Zones.
F12-MS1.png
Figure 12 - Space Tag with Zone
To create a Zone, on the Analyze tab, in the Spaces & Zones panel, click on the Zone button (Figure 13). This opens up the Edit Zone tab. By default, the tool that is active is the Add Space button. You can immediately go to the plan view and click on Spaces and they will be added to the zone. Clicking on the Remove Space button allows you to remove a space from a Zone. When finished, clicking on the Finish Editing Zone button ends the current Zone editing session. You can only create one Zone per Edit Zone session.
 F13-MS1.png
Figure 13 - Zone button and the Edit Zone ribbon.
To edit an existing Zone, select the Zone and then on the Modify | HVAC Zones tab, click the Edit Zone button.

When you click on a Zone, Zone data will appear in the Properties Pallette. The physical data about the zone (area, volume perimeter) and the calculated heating and cooling loads and zone airflow (after heating and cooling analysis has been run) are available (Figure 14). Zone names can be adjusted in a schedule or by selecting the Zone and updating the Zone name in the Properties Palette.
 F14-MS1.png
Figure 14 - Zone data from Properties Palette

Deleting Spaces


When working with Spaces, it is a good idea to think of a Revit Space object as two parts. One part is an object that we place in the model and we can click on it and gets its properties. The other is an analytical like part that doesn’t have a physical component that we can manipulate. If you need to delete a Space, it is very important that the Space is deleted properly, so that it doesn’t impact future building analysis.

For example, Figure 15 shows a portion of a plan view with the Stair Space selected and the System Browser with the same Stair highlighted. If we click on the DELETE key to delete the space in the model, Revit will throw up a Warning message (Figure 16), the Space geometry will be deleted, but the space will still be present in the model (Figure 17).
 F15-MS1.png
Figure 15 - Highlighted Space and System Browser`
F16-MS1.png
Figure 16 - Space Warning message

F17-MS1.png
Figure 17
To completely delete a space from the model, in a Space Properties schedule, select the row that contains the space that you want to delete. To delete multiple spaces, drag the cursor across the rows that contain the spaces that you want to delete.

4 comments:

zombiekiller said...

Thanks for writing this up; has helped me get going with REVIT MEP...

Question:

Existing condition; one large space is conditioned by two separate pieces of equipment and thermostats. Would you recommend modeling this as two 'spaces', using the 'space separator', even though there is no physical boundary? Or should it be modeled as a single connected 'space' for load purposes, which could then be allocated to two pieces of equipment?

thanks again for putting this up, d.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this up; has helped me get going with REVIT MEP...

Question:

Existing condition; one large space is conditioned by two separate pieces of equipment and thermostats. Would you recommend modeling this as two 'spaces', using the 'space separator', even though there is no physical boundary? Or should it be modeled as a single connected 'space' for load purposes, which could then be allocated to two pieces of equipment?

thanks again for putting this up, d.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this up; has helped me get going with REVIT MEP...

Question:

Existing condition; one large space is conditioned by two separate pieces of equipment and thermostats. Would you recommend modeling this as two 'spaces', using the 'space separator', even though there is no physical boundary? Or should it be modeled as a single connected 'space' for load purposes, which could then be allocated to two pieces of equipment?

thanks again for putting this up, d.

Anonymous said...

Interesting question. I would model as a single connected space for load purposes.

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