Autodesk Research

Electrical Model of 210 King
February 28, 2011

Electrical room line diagram
Figure 1: Single line diagram of electrical room on the 6th floor of 210 King building.

In this blog entry we briefly highlight some important aspects of creating our BIM electrical model for the 210 King building. In general, our electrical model includes the power, system, and lighting layouts that are based on our existing set of electrical drawings. Using these drawings we were able to quickly place components such as transformers, electrical panels, receptacles, and lighting fixtures throughout the building. Placing these elements was only a small step in building a BIM model and additional information was required to define circuits and logical connections. It is also important to note that we were not able to incorporate power switches in this model since our existing drawings of light switches do not correspond to the actual built condition. Instead we focused on proper circuiting of all the light fixtures and power receptacles.

Our process started by understanding the single line diagram (Figure 1 & 2) that illustrate the overall electrical flow and distribution of electrical panels throughout the 210 King building. This drawing was greatly helpful in modeling our electrical room layout while defining the distribution systems and voltage definitions in Revit (Figure 3).

Building electrical line diagram
Figure 2: Single line diagram of electrical distribution in 210 King building.

Electrical settings
Figure 3: (Top) Distribution system. (Bottom) Voltage definition.

The next step was to model the electrical rooms by placing all the electrical panels, transformers, and disconnect switches. In case of the 210 King building, there are two electrical rooms per typical floor covering buildings 1 & 2 and building 3. There are also some additional electrical closets per floor as part of building 4. Figure 4 displays a sample electrical room on the 5th floor of 210 King building.

Electrical room model
Figure 4: A typical electrical room in 210 King building.

Similar to any BIM object we need to provide our electrical panels with certain semantic information before we can fully define a circuiting system. Figure 5 highlights panel name, Max #1 Pole breakers, and distribution system as three main semantics that had to be defined for each electrical panelboard in our building.

Panelboard properties
Figure 5: Semantic information for a typical electrical panelboard.

Having finished all the electrical room layouts and placed all the electrical fixtures, we were now ready to define circuits pertaining to receptacles and light fixtures. We also had to make sure that all our electrical components had electrical connectors, otherwise we would not be able to include them in a defined system. As mentioned we relied on our existing drawings for circuiting. Our drawings had a tag for each electrical device representing their corresponding circuit and electrical panel. For instance, Figure 6 shows a sample label for a receptacle. According to the label, this receptacle connected to panel 5B and circuit 5. Following this information, Figure 7 shows all the lighting fixtures on a selected floor after being circuited and labeled in Revit.

Panel label
Figure 6: A typical label showing the corresponding electrical panel and the circuit.

Lighting fixtures line diagram
Figure 7: Illustrating all the light fixtures on a selected floor after being circuited and labeled in Revit.

When circuited properly, we can see how by selecting one light fixture causes all fixtures that belong to the same circuit to be highlighted (Figure 8). Creating a circuit schedule is also an important part of this process. Panel schedules display information about the panel, the circuits connected to the panel, and their corresponding loads.

Lighting circuit line diagram
Figure 8: A series of lights that belong to the same circuit.

Our current electrical model represents a very comprehensive documentation of the existing condition. Our Revit electrical families were also carefully chosen to be as close as possible to the existing scenario. However, in the future we hope to have a larger selection of manufactured products as part of a BIM library. A complete catalogue of all electrical fixtures can be implemented within the Revit model for asset management and other related facility management activities. For the time being, our model presents a complete lighting layout for the entire 210 King building in addition to full circuiting of the three floors utilized by Autodesk.

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