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ArchiCAD MEP Modeler

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
Some time during this coming week, we can anticipate an announcement from Graphisoft concerning their new MEP Modeler for ArchiCAD.

Various people that you know from these forums have been beta testing it for some time, but of course have been sworn to secrecy. We've just been released from our non-disclosure.

So, I can start the 'leak' of information here. 😉

Personally, I have no real-world MEP experience, so my opinion doesn't carry a lot of weight compared to other people that you may hear from.

I'm really impressed with the MEP Modeler. It's fun to use and has quite a bit of intelligence. Routing and editing is easily done in 3D as well as 2D, and the various parts snap together intelligently...including smart connection 'ports' on both new MEP objects as well as related objects in the standard library (sinks, WCs, washer/dryer, furnace, etc). Touching elements can be treated as an assembly.

Conflicts with other building elements are easily highlighted with a Collision Detection feature that really works well and is cleverly integrated with the markup features of ArchiCAD. Only collisions between MEP elements and any other element are detected. (It is not a general-purpose collision detection feature: it will not detect a column that penetrates a floor, for example.)

The MEP Preferences let you pre-define the typical sizes and lengths used for ducts, pipes and cable carriers to make it easier to work with components that correspond to actual building elements.

The MEP Systems dialog lets you define the various systems to be used in your building and how elements in each system should appear. For example, ductwork is for air, but you can define systems for Cooling, Exhaust Air, Heating, Return Air, Recovery Air, etc as desired, all of which would use ductwork, but might display themselves with different pens, materials or line styles - and which would be selectable as systems.

There are a couple of unique work methods, but nothing big - just have to learn it. For example, if you select multiple MEP elements and want to modify them together, you cannot use the Object Settings dialog or Edit Selection Set, instead there is an Edit Selected Elements dialog. But, since that dialog is customized for MEP, it is actually cleaner, once you are used to it.

There are new pet palette options for editing, and there is a connection library part that one can assemble along with other AC elements and save a custom MEP part with smart ports without programming in GDL. For example, if you needed a floor grate for a conditioned air system, you could create it with tiny walls or beams (etc), place the connection object as desired under it, and save the bits as a new lib part. When you route ductwork to this floor grate, it will snap to the port.

This is just a way-cool and long-awaited addition to ArchiCAD.

I have no information on pricing, etc.... so am staying tuned for the announcement like everyone else. We're told that a WIBU protection keyplug is required to run the MEP Modeler within ArchiCAD: it can be either the same keyplug that has your ArchiCAD license, or a separate one.

Cheers,
Karl

PS There is also a new plug-in for AutoCAD MEP 2008 and 2009 that allows you to export AutoCAD MEP systems into ArchiCAD via IFC. I did not test this, so can't offer any comments.

PPS I do not receive any compensation from Graphisoft for this post or any of my time/work on these forums or the wiki.
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6, iMac Pro
63 REPLIES 63

solitaire
Newcomer
Thanks for the detailed information Karl, much appreciated, especially since all this work is pro bono as far as GS is concerened.

I did dabble a bit with Vico constructor a couple of months ago, just to use the MEP module included there, but I was dissappointed because it gave the impression of being pre-beta. One of my pet peeves with that was it would would only offer imperial sizes. Can you confirm that this module will be metric too?

Thanks again.
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Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
solitaire wrote:
I did dabble a bit with Vico constructor a couple of months ago, just to use the MEP module included there, but I was dissappointed because it gave the impression of being pre-beta. One of my pet peeves with that was it would would only offer imperial sizes. Can you confirm that this module will be metric too?
Thanks.

The AC MEP Modeler is either imperial or metric, picking up units as per preferences. The beta version was INT, and installed with metric defaults in fact. I switched to Imperial, redefined sizes under MEP Preferences, and worked normally there as well.

I have no experience/knowledge of whatever might have been bundled with Vico, but the new AC MEP Modeler felt robust at its last beta - ready to work with. Of course, I know of various 'wishes' (when will we not want more?) - and once released, it will be interesting to see how many of those are echoed by users.

Cheers,
Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6, iMac Pro

crazyASD
Newcomer
Please told us any info about pricing, demo version, and avilablity in countries.

Thanks.
ArchiCAD user since 2002y
ArchiCAD: 15 3004 | 14 3862 | 13... ...8.1 VBE, MEP
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--
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Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
crazyASD wrote:
Please told us any info about pricing, demo version, and avilablity in countries.
Graphisoft will provide that information when they make their official announcement. Only they know these details.

Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6, iMac Pro

TomWaltz
Newcomer
The last time I had seen it, it looked pretty cool. One guy on our team commented that the duct tools would make really good stair railings.
Tom Waltz

Erika Epstein
Participant
The MEP Beta was everything Karl said it was. Even the manual was extremely well written.

The MEP modeler was so easy to use and for the most part intuitive as to how to use it. The graphic ease working in both 2D and 3D with which you could create, edit and check for clashes was impressive. The interface for editing was unusual but easy. Adding or moving intersection points or shifting a length of parallel segments is akin to editing a slab/roof/mesh/polyline.Sounds odd, but so easy.

I tested it on a restaurant, house and hospital. I too work in Imperial, not metric, so first switched the files accordingly. The hospital's many MEP systems were easy to replicate and coordinate. Connecting the systems from floor to floor was literally a 'snap' with the embedded smart snap hotspot at the ends of each MEP element.You can also create custom MEP library parts. If you embed the included special MEP library connector part, your custom parts will behave like the the included ones and 'snap' together.

I am an architect, not an MEP engineer. I tested it by replicating systems from MEP consultant drawings. Typically, as many architects do, I have routinely crudely model MEP as well as structural systems in my projects to insure adequate space and to resolve coordination during design not construction. The MEP modeler does this much faster,more accurately and efficiently. Have I mentioned how QUICK & EASY it is to use? This gave me realistic sections, elevations, RCP etc. and in so little time. The result is better coordination of disciplines. Incorporating and working with the various MEP systems with this modeler aids our designs, instead of fight it.

It was almost too much fun playing with it. I hope a similar structural add-on will be forthcoming.
Erika
Architect, Consultant
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"Implementing Successful Building Information Modeling"

Dwight
Newcomer
Erika: So it would make stair railings that climb?
Dwight Atkinson

TomWaltz
Newcomer
Dwight wrote:
Erika: So it would make stair railings that climb?
Is there another kind of stair?
Tom Waltz

Dwight
Newcomer
Just making sure… punk.

Wouldn't want the imagination to get carried away without the harsh and potentially disappointing reality of an explanation from someone who was there.

SO: please confirm that i could make a proper and real handrail.
Dwight Atkinson

__archiben
Newcomer
Dwight wrote:
please confirm that i could make a proper and real handrail.
too easy . . .
b e n f r o s t
b f [a t ] p l a n b a r c h i t e c t u r e [d o t] n z
archicad | sketchup! | coffeecup

Rob
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
it is very good to hear / see this...(thanks Ben)
Now I am regretting that I did not try to fiddle with the beta version I have had.
::rk boss of your boss

Dwight
Newcomer
Thanks, Ben.

"Ooo. Baby!"
Dwight Atkinson

Aaron Bourgoin
Booster
Handrails?

Who'd a thunk it.
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Aaron Bourgoin
Booster
Dwight, itsa trick
Think Like a Spec Writer
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Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
Aaron wrote:
Dwight, itsa trick
actually…
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
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__archiben
Newcomer
it can even make handrails for canadian geriatrics...
b e n f r o s t
b f [a t ] p l a n b a r c h i t e c t u r e [d o t] n z
archicad | sketchup! | coffeecup

~/archiben wrote:
Dwight wrote:
please confirm that i could make a proper and real handrail.
too easy . . .

........soooo, I guess the obvious question begged here would be, is there any reason why this kind of modeling robustness isn't part of, or integrated into an actual new and improved Stair tool, the current version of which as we all know, handles handrails (pun intended) and handrail modeling like gang-busters?

I recall asking this same question back in ArchiCAD 9 when the MEP modeler existed as the DuctWorks add-on, and basically wondering why in the hell Graphisoft didn't just employ the same kind of intelligence in their Stair tool, or certain aspects of the Roof tool (Fascias and such), as opposed to forcing their users to have to resort to ludicrous work-arounds. Of course, back then Ductworks, wasn't owned by GS and was developed by a third-party company, which folded shortly afterward. But GS did buy out the Ductworks technology and even integrated it into Constructor. So the question again remains, if you can have a system that handles modeling a discrete construction element (handrails for a start) with the sort of ease that's sorely lacking in their much-decried Stair Tool, why do we still have a lame Stair Tool in AC12 when they have been sitting on this kind of technology since AC9 ( and not counting the cameo in Graphisoft/VICO Constructor in between).

Oh I forgot, we have to pay for it now. On top of the license fees. And then we can enjoy the privilege of using it as a work-around to the still lacking Stair Tool.

P.S. This MEP modeler sounds pretty impressive, btw, from what we've seen and been told so far; so don't get me wrong. Again, it's just too bad that GS now seem like they will make their customers pay for it after, I recall them promising that it would be a free upgrade for existing customers sometime last year - but I guess since that wasn't an official announcement, it didn't really count.

Erika Epstein
Participant
Thanks Ben.
Erika
Architect, Consultant
MacBook Pro Retina, 15-inch Yosemite 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Mac OSX 10.11.1
AC5-18
Onuma System

"Implementing Successful Building Information Modeling"

Peter Clark
Newcomer
Thanks for the info!

Is this MEP thingy just an add-on, or is it a completely separate version of AC?

How do the features compare to, say, Revit MEP? Is there any automation? Can it calculate duct & pipe sizes automatically, depending on loading or length etc? Any sort of duct auto-routing between outlets?

How does the new 'add-on'(?) deal with plumbing and electrical systems? Are the editing tools similar too?

I assume the parts created are fully schedulable per branch/circuit?

I find it slightly amusing most peeps seem to be more excited by the handrail modelling possibilities! It kinda shows how limited the current toolset is for such basic tasks!
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