A short guide to BIM and Revit files for healthcare designs

BIM and Revit® files play a huge part in building design nowadays, and our design team deal with them every single day. The government have made it clear that all construction work will move from CAD to BIM in the near future, so it’s important for anyone involved in design work to get to grips with the latest systems.

Our team often help architects and others who are involved in healthcare design, whether it’s a hospital, hospice, care home, or even a SEN school. We advise on ceiling hoist track layouts, bathrooms layouts, and other areas that can be quite intimidating to people who aren’t familiar with the equipment.

We wanted to put together a quick guide for anyone who’s using BIM files or Revit to design a healthcare environment.

What is BIM?

BIM is an acronym and stands for Building Information Modelling, which quite simply, is a method or system we can use in the design of a building, infrastructure, or civil engineering project from initial concept to construction and beyond.

B – stands for Building; the building we are creating, constructing even if it’s a bridge or a road for example.

I – stands for Information. All building projects come together from a great deal of information, often many separate trades working towards the finished result. BIM allows us to consolidate and coordinate that information into a single database. This means potential clashes between the various bodies working together can be identified, and once the project commences on site, fewer mistakes are made reducing costs.

M – stands for model. It relates to the Revit software in that this produces the actual 3D model and subsequent 2D detail, but also the information model in terms of schedules, quantities, massing detail, air flows, creating so much more than just a set of drawings.

What is the difference between BIM and Revit?

BIM is not a piece of software, whereas Autodesk Revit is. This is the programme we use to actually model our designs both in 3D and 2D detail.

The Benefits of BIM

It is much quicker to use Revit than different forms of CAD software. As well as the added advantage of 3D modelling, many of the sections, elevations, and perspectives you would input manually into CAD are produced automatically from the model by Revit.

Much of the project information is automatically coordinated for you. Elevations and sections always match plans. A change to any one item in the model, plan, elevation, or section automatically gets updated in every view.

You can analyse and test your designs before you get to the site. Because all trades are involved in a Revit model we can run clash tests for plumbing, heating, electrical installations etc.

Revit gives the entire project team the ability to collaborate and work together efficiently with a single Building Information Model.

Free BIM & Revit files for download

There’s a large range of free downloadable BIM and Revit files available on the Innova website so you can just drop them right into your project. All you have to do is register, then we’ll send you an email to confirm your account so you can start downloading them.

A list of relevant downloadable materials can be seen at the bottom of each product, or there is a complete list of every BIM or Revit file we have available right here. If you’re looking for something that isn’t listed then we can probably put it together for you, so get in touch.

How do I work Revit?

The opening screen for Revit shows your current projects and the family files which can be loaded into a project. The project file is the master file for your building holding the 3D model plans, views, elevations and sections and sheets for printing.

Family files could be a special type of door for example or a bracket or piece of equipment which is bespoke and specifically modelled for your project.

The Autodesk Revit welcome screen
Autodesk screen shots reprinted courtesy of Autodesk, Inc.

Once you have opened your project file Autodesk Revit uses a ribbon menu interface for all the main commands and tools (similar to many CAD packages and software such as Microsoft Office).

A screenshot of the Revit interface
Autodesk screen shots reprinted courtesy of Autodesk, Inc.

Usually, the main command ribbon is located across the top of the screen (this can be moved elsewhere if preferred) where you have the tools for creating, drafting and editing.

Two other very important screens are the properties palette and the project browser. The properties palette gives us a lot of detail about the wall, door, or object we are inserting or editing and can be used to change parameters of size, material, colours, finish etc.

The Project Browser holds information about the different views as we create them including plans, elevations, sections, and 3D views, and also contains the list of sheets for printing.

Things to think about when laying out in BIM

The main difference between 2D drafting and Revit is we are working in a 3D environment, which means objects have to be placed at the correct level either vertically or horizontally. For example, an item might need to be located floor standing or it might have to be suspended from a ceiling. It might have to attach to a wall or face of an object.

The creation of families is also affected by this. Some families, like hoist Revit families or doors for example, will not be able to be loaded into a project standalone but will need a “host” wall before they can be inserted.

Different family templates are available for various attachment points and these are known as hosted templates wall based, ceiling based etc.

It is also important to understand how far to carry the 3D model in terms of detail. Every nut, bolt, and washer could be created in 3D.

However, this would be very time-consuming and takes up a lot of hard drive disc space, therefore increasing the file size and potentially slowing down computers. There will be a considerable amount of 3D modelling required to get the basic design of the project but at some stage, this will then be filled out with 2D detail on the plans, elevations and section sheets for construction purposes which will be view specific.

An example of a finished BIM drawing.

We hope that this gives you a brief introduction to the world of BIM and Revit and how it can be used for healthcare designs. Our team was one of the first in the industry to embrace BIM formats and offer them for free downloads, so feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions. We’re always happy to help!

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