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    Question Best Autodesk Software or Suite for Electrical Contractor

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    Hi all.

    My company is fairly large for an electrical contractor, and we're all over the board in CAD experience. We have people that started as hand drafters back before computers (and STILL prefer hand Drafting over CAD or 3D CAD or even BIM), and we also have a couple proficient in BIM, and everyone else in between.

    We have been using AMEP for about 4 years now, but I can say that the only functions we've used on a regular basis were Conduit & Cable Tray, and NOTHING else. We've coordinated with other trades using Navisworks Manage for Collision Detection Analysis, but that's about as far as we've gone.

    For the past few weeks I've been exploring AutoCAD MEP and all of the other features it has to offer, and I must say I love it. Plus, it seems pretty powerful and flexible, and a great migration step to working in Revit MEP. However, not many of our jobs that are coming in use or require AMEP, let alone Revit.

    So my question to you all is, which software or Suite is best. Keep in mind we typically receive files from an Architect or Engineer in 2D format, receptacles are blocks (not Devices), etc. I would like to try to find some justification for moving MEP, but at the same time the more I think about it, the more I come to realize that as a contractor, it might not be worth it where 80% of the jobs we do are post-Engineer-Design.

    Of course on jobs that we're the Engineer, that's totally different, I would definitely try to use AMEP where applicable. Or even if the Arch/Eng firms provide us with all files necessary (APJ files, EPD files, etc), we could use that.

    Are there any Electrical Contractors out there on the same boat that could share their experience with the capabilities of AMEP or even Revit MEP.

  2. #2
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    The justification for maintaining a license of AutoCAD MEP is this: When a BIM job comes up, you're prepared.

    The term "BIM" has many different definitions depending on who you ask. Most people in the contracting business think "BIM" is 3D modeling with clash detection. For a general contractor, BIM means complete project scheduling and management. For the engineering firm, BIM means each discipline in each department collaborating together, sharing necessary engineering information and coordinating a building design efficiently.

    For the contractor, all you need (usually) to provide when BIM gets involved is a 3D representation of where your sh*t is gonna be in 3D space. But some General Contractors are requiring Revit to be used (especially since Revit Server has launched) to offer live real-time coordination that they can visualize and control much easier than accumulating exports from everyone and throwing them in Navis for running a daunting interference report with weekly meetings. Also, COBie and QTO is coming into the mix which is putting even more strain on the contractors.

    What's good about AutoCAD MEP, is that it's still AutoCAD. So you can decide for yourself to use as much or as little of the "MEP" part as you need. Revit is a different story, however. Be sure you fully understand that Revit is not AutoCAD by any stretch of the imagination and it is extremely hard for Contractors to justify using Revit in most cases. The biggest reason why is because AutoCAD MEP already comes with a ton of content right out of the box, where as Revit doesn't - you are responsible for creating basically everything from scratch. What is good about AutoCAD MEP is that you can always export as an IFC file which is more than acceptable for importing into Revit, so sharing your three dimensional as-builts are easier than you would imagine.

    Hope this helps some.

  3. #3
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    As a fellow electrical guy, i prefer MEP. its been a while since i was in just standard acad butthe power that MEP has is just phenominal. so i agree with every thing StykFacE had to say as well. in addition, Revit MEP is, at this point, Pretty rough on us sparkies. the few times ive tried it out we had to customize plumbing pipe to run as Conduit. i hear its getting better but CAD already has such a great library.

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    Luminous Being tzframpton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartjacks View Post
    in addition, Revit MEP is, at this point, Pretty rough on us sparkies. the few times ive tried it out we had to customize plumbing pipe to run as Conduit. i hear its getting better but CAD already has such a great library.
    The problem is that most people want to "draw" in Revit. That's a big no-no, as Revit MEP is not a "drafting" program. It's an engineering tool. Once that is grasp, Revit becomes extremely useful. I'm almost to the point of never touching AutoCAD again now that I've been using Revit full time for two years now.


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