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Software Recomendation for Mechanical Contractor


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We are a plumbing and HVAC contractor looking for a 3D piping package for coordination drawings and prefabrication in the future. We do not do sheetmetal.

I have heard that Revit MEP is overkill for what we are doing but on the otherhand also heard its the future.

We are leaning twords AutoCad MEP but have been told that the librarys are not as up to date as a product like CadPipe or TSI which i believe are add ons??

Both CAD operators are very comfortable with AutoCad.

It seems that alot of companies have revit models available for their equipment. If we went with a package other then Revit are these useless or can they also be imported into AutoCad MEP?


Thanks in advance for he feedback.This forum has been a huge help to me.

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First off, AutoCAD MEP (aka: AMEP) is exactly what you'll be looking for. Technically TSI CAD-Pipe is a great alternative, but not for the price IMHO. Plus, TSI CAD-Pipe is a 3rd party add-on that has many inherit issues, and once designers get used to "their tools" it's hard to wing them with any other application. Furthermore, AMEP still works just like AutoCAD, so the learning curve is nowhere near as steep as TSI CAD-Pipe and surely not as hard as Revit MEP would be.


And although Revit MEP does have some support with content, it's nowhere near the level of AMEP. AMEP has a huge selection of ANSI standard content right out of the box, especially in the plumbing/piping area. They have copper fittings, weldpipe fittings and flanges, socket weld fittings, PVC fittings, even some general Victaulic fittings that are dimensionally accurate. They also have all the general valves, Y-strainers, triple duty's, PRV's, etc. Even so it's easy to add custom content if you're already used to AutoCAD. If you try and pick up Revit MEP, it's a whole other beast to learn.


Revit MEP works great and is definitely the future, but for fabrication it stinks at the moment. You'd have to do so much customization it would be overwhelming. Plus you can't just reference a DWG file and start "drawing" as certain things have to be hosted by walls, floors, or ceilings, so essentially you have to create a "dummy architectural" file for things to work. Revit is not like AutoCAD in any sense of the word. Someone with tons of experience in both would be able to use it in a contracting/fabrication environment but if you're just starting out, I would strongly encourage to get the Revit MEP Suite and learn Revit in downtime, and use AMEP from here on out.


In a nutshell, here's my opinion:


  • Stay away from TSI CAD-Pipe. I know their presentations are great, but don't fall for their overpriced product.
  • AutoCAD MEP took a lot of ingenuity from Revit MEP. Since AutoCAD MEP works like AutoCAD, the learning curve is far easier, but it also works/functions like Revit MEP in a lot of ways so it "preps" you to understand the concept of Revit as well.
  • AutoCAD MEP has plenty of content right out of the box for plumbing/piping. You'll have everything you need to get started no problems at all.

Hope this helps.

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