Leverage Your BIM Data with MCERF’s CMT, a Free Revit Add-In
The Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) has released the MCERF Complexity Measurement Tool (CMT), a building analysis add-in for the Autodesk Revit platform. The CMT, developed in collaboration with the software developers at BuildingSP, analyzes and documents a building’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) spaces for congestion and complexity. MCERF also funded a video explaining the rationale behind the CMT.
Free to Acquire and Use
The MCERF CMT is provided free of charge for use by the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. This distribution is aligned with MCERF’s goals of outreach and industry support.
The MCERF CMT – Providing Metrics, Answering Questions
The MCERF CMT enables MEP practitioners to engage in new and exciting forms of building information analysis. For example, it can provide metrics to answer the following questions:
- How does congestion vary by project type?
- How does congestion grow from design into coordination and then into construction?
- By what percentage do design models differ in routing from design through construction?
- How do project scope changes alter congestion and affect coordination?
- How does congestion vary down a corridor and what strategies are successful for managing the most challenging congestion?
- What MEP congestion levels and characteristics lend themselves to maintainability? Constructability?
Figure 1: This is a high-resolution output of a high-congestion area at the building core at 50% completed drawings (CD). What can we learn from this image and the accompanying metrics?
Why was the MCERF CMT Created?
The MCERF CMT was created because complexity and congestion of spaces with MEP can be major obstacles, cost drivers, and schedule shifters for all construction projects. While the shift to BIM has transformed the industry, MEP subcontractors have a significant challenge to coordinate increasingly complex projects. The MCERF CMT will raise awareness of MEP congestion and complexity through measurable, reportable, and standardized values.
Figure 2: This is a medium-resolution CMT output, shown in Revit in 3D. Areas shown in blue are fully filled by MEP systems.
How the MCERF CMT Works
The MCERF CMT is a computational BIM tool that uses the Revit API to analyze, measure, report, and store information about complexity. The general theory of the MCERF CMT is to break up the building’s interstitial spaces into discrete columnar elements and measure how “filled” they are with MEP systems, structures, and other Revit families. Measured volumes that are highly filled are obviously congested. The CMT then uses Revit’s analytics graphics to overlay a “heat map” on the plan view. The color gradients in this heat map correlate to low and high levels of congestion. Blue is the most congested (from 90% to 100% filled) and green is the least congested.
Figure 3: This side-by-side comparison of a standard Revit model with the output from CMT demonstrates how the added insight from the CMT is important to understand potential coordination problems.