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Build2Perform2023

G&H Group streamlines MEP design with Trimble’s Stabicad for Revit

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G&H Group has been reaping the benefits after adopting Trimble’s Stabicad for Revit to bring all its MEP designs and calculations into a single live design environment, with improved accuracy, time savings, and streamlined processes.

G&H Group is a market-leading mechanical, electrical, and public health (MEP) provider. Its 180-strong experienced team design, manage, deliver, and maintain every aspect of MEP schemes. Since the company was established in 1998, it has evolved and grown to become a multi-million-pound business. Its five divisions - building services, projects, maintenance, engineering services, and air conditioning – offer a full range of services to projects of all sizes and in every sector. These include heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R), plumbing and drainage, renewable power, lighting, and energy management.

The challenge

Before investing in Trimble’s Stabicad for Revit, G&H Group was utilising several different solutions for its design work. All designs and calculations for the MEP systems were carried out using a relatively basic, older-generation software solution. Meanwhile, the building model and drawings were created using Revit. This required the MEP designs and data to be replicated in Revit, with details and values often entered manually. In 2021, G&H Group decided to investigate what other software options were available that would better suit its current and future needs.

Daniel Brook, Mechanical Design Engineer at G&H Group explained: “After looking at what was available, the advantages of Stabicad became clear. Our extensive use of Revit meant that Stabicad ticked a lot of boxes for us as it sits within the Revit platform, and the big selling point was the level of integration. Because Stabicad enables all calculations and analysis to be carried out directly within the live 3D environment in Revit, the MEP systems don’t need to be modeled twice.

This single design environment also means there is no need to switch between software packages to complete different elements of the design. Having everything in one place enables a more streamlined flow of data, providing productivity gains and eliminating errors when transferring data from one place to another. It also makes any design changes simple, as they can be made once in Revit, with no chance that updates will be missed.”

The solution 

G&H Group purchased a total of seven Stabicad licenses, with four used by the electrical and mechanical designers and three by the Revit technicians. The long-term nature of construction projects means that G&H Group has progressively been increasing its use of Stabicad in the last 12 months as new projects have begun, with the Stabicad software now used for all work.

To help smooth the transition from the previous software to Stabicad, Trimble has delivered a detailed training and onboarding program to the G&H Group team and provided ongoing assistance.

Commenting on this, Daniel added: “The support from Trimble has been excellent throughout and, from our perspective, is one of the big advantages of choosing Stabicad. The team fully supported us through the setup and onboarding process and has been on hand every step of the way as we have used more and more of Stabicad’s features and capabilities.”
 

The results

As G&H Group has used Stabicad more extensively, the team has been able to benefit from its various tools and features, as Ian Judge, Electrical Design Engineer at G&H Group commented: “On the electrical side, features such as the autorouting of cables in the 3D model has simplified what is often a time-consuming task. This has been used extensively on a recent project and it saved us all a lot of time and effort.”

This feature automatically routes cables through the cable management systems in the model at the click of a button, meaning the designer does not need to manually measure each of the circuits. On large projects with thousands of cables, this provides considerable time-saving.

Ian continued: “The additional information, tags, and detail that can be added to the Revit model also helps both us as the designers and the teams on site. For example, electrical distribution board information was previously provided in a separate document, which our site teams didn’t always have access to. Now everything is in the drawings and model.”

The Openings for MEP tool for generating builders' work openings and the Nodesolver tool for connection designs have also helped streamline the teams’ design work further. The Openings for MEP tool makes it easy to identify clashes between services and architectural or structural elements in the model and can efficiently generate compliant builders' work openings through the use of pre-set parameters. Similarly, the Isometric Nodesolver tool helps achieve accurate solutions to complex connections. When using the Nodesolver tool in Stabicad, various viable generic or manufacturer-specific options for connecting pipes and ductwork are shown. The designer can simply select the preferred one, which is then applied to the design automatically.

Daniel explained: “The tools and features available within Stabicad have saved us a lot of time. As an example, the Openings for MEP tool means we can now create builders' work openings about 70% quicker. Overall, it is helping us to speed up the completion of designs, and as we become more familiar with Stabicad this is increasing. We believe that soon Stabicad may help us to achieve as much as a 50% time saving, which will have a dramatic effect on us as a business and the level of work we can take on.”

A further benefit of Stabicad for G&H Group is the manufacturer-specific product information that is available through the integration with MEP content. This provides instant access to more than 600,000 BIM items from MEP product manufacturers.

Ian commented: “We are increasingly using manufacturer-specific, rather than generic, data in our designs as more projects now require full BIM integration. Stabicad allows easy and fast access to the BIM data, and where we have found certain products are missing, the Trimble team has helped quickly source the required information from the supplier.”

Stabicad has also supported G&H Group in its ongoing drive to ensure work is standardised. The Stabicad templates, which can be adapted to the needs of each business, have been integrated into G&H Group’s existing processes to make standardisation even simpler.

Additionally, Stabicad calculations for air, heating and cooling water, domestic water (BS EN 806 and BS 8558), and drainage systems are CIBSE SVA-verified, which is shown by the CIBSE logo on the calculation output. Daniel outlined why this is an important benefit for the business: “The CIBSE SVA approval not only allows us peace of mind that the design is compliant with the latest standards, but it also helps give our clients confidence in what we have produced.”

For more information about Stabicad visit: https://mep.trimble.com/en-GB/products/stabicad

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