Before handing an ARCHICAD file over to an MEP engineer using MEP-specific software, certain simplifications have to be made to the architectural model. Like structural engineers, MEP experts need only certain parts of the project – those which are relevant to their work. Naturally, the workflows of the two disciplines are not exactly the same. While the structural specialist must often modify existing parts of the project (e.g. widening a slab, increasing or decreasing the diameter of beams and columns, or changing their position) as well as adding new elements, the MEP engineer typically adds equipment, while trying to avoid the designed geometry of the load bearing structures.
The first step of data exchange between ARCHICAD and external MEP software is the export of the architectural model. In order to optimize data exchange, export only the building elements and information the MEP engineer needs (e.g. load bearing structures, elements of the building envelope, boundaries of the interior spaces, lighting placement, built in equipment and furniture, suspended ceilings, space functions and numbering).
For MEP experts who work in a 2D design environment, create DWG files from the ARCHICAD model, preferably using a Publisher Set with preconfigured settings, in order to enable easy repeated documentation of the most current state of the project.
For providing 3D data to engineers with MEP software, use GRAPHISOFT’s translator-based IFC data exchange feature.
When handling architectural data provided by ARCHICAD in MEP software, use the architectural content as an external reference. MEP software users using 2D solutions are advised to Xref the architectural DWGs, while 3D MEP software users using model applications are encouraged to create a project link.
From 2D design environments, MEP data arrives as DWG (including the structural grid) and is placed as Xref or as Drawing into the ARCHICAD building model.
Data from model-based MEP programs arrive in IFC format, via software-specific export translators, developed by GRAPHISOFT or the MEP software manufacturer, allowing seamless design integration. GRAPHISOFT MEP Modeler users can modify MEP objects or detect collisions between them and ARCHICAD model elements, since external MEP elements brought in via IFC file import translate automatically into native GRAPHISOFT MEP Modeler objects (see MEP Modeler, above).
ARCHICAD users without valid GRAPHISOFT MEP Modeler license receive MEP objects as individual ARCHICAD Objects (Library Parts).