Your questions answered: Advancing electrical design in building information modeling

Responses to questions from the webcast on Nov. 15, 2016, provided an overview of the challenges BIM creates for today’s consulting engineers and introduce a new solution that saves both time and space.


Wendell Leisinger, Schneider ElectricYou've heard it said that "time is money," but for electrical designs, "space" is equally as valuable. The webcast on Nov. 15, 2016, provided an overview of the challenges BIM creates for today's consulting engineers and introduce a new solution that saves both time and space.

The electrical discipline historically lagged behind other disciplines in usage and efficiency of building information modeling, in part due to software such as Revit's focus on architectural or structural engineering. This webcast will discuss advances to support electrical engineers, including the MEP Revit plug-in LayoutFAST which improves the efficiency of electrical design in Revit.

LayoutFAST is dramatically changing how electrical engineers and designers' layout electrical equipment and move closer towards easy integration into their BIM projects. Responses to questions not addressed during the live event are below.

Question: RFA? What is it?

Answer: See Autodesk Revit dictionary for full definition. It's a product 3-D model

Question: Do you have an RFA for an enclosed breaker housing?

Answer: No not today.

Question: This is great for Schneider Electric/Square D products. Does the LayoutFAST work with other manufacturers, like Eaton or Allen-Bradley?

Answer: No, not today but there are plans for future expansion.

Question: How is your equipment hosted?

Answer: FACE-based.

Question: Do you have busway families?

Answer: Yes.

Question: With regard to panel and switchgear schedules: What are the family parameters used for scheduling purposes (i.e. instance parameters, shared parameters, etc.)?

Answer: None of our parameters will be scheduled in your project; you're able to map your shared parameters to the model.

Question: Obviously LayoutFAST is Schneider Electric-based. Can other manufacturers also be imported and accessed?

Answer: Not now, but in the future.

Question: How do you handle RFAs for switchboards, which are customized for each project (size, breaker layout, etc.)?

Answer: There is a simple selection process in LayoutFAST. You're able to answer questions to customize. This is demonstrated in the on-demand version of this webcast.

Question: What do these families look like in plan view?

Answer: This is demonstrated in the on-demand version of this webcast.

Question: Is there a procedure to request a family if one is not present?

Answer: Yes, please hit the expert access button to request a new family or contact your local Schneider Electric contact.

Question: Can you change the clearance dimension dashed lines to adjust for 208 versus 480 V requirements?

Answer: Yes, you can change it, but if you change the RFA and we update it in the future, you may need to redo the RFA in the future.

Question: How does your switchgear work is it one family?

Answer: No each section is a family.

Question: Can we see a plan view of the switchboard room or the disconnect switch?

Answer: Yes this is showed in the on-demand version of this webcast.

Question: How do I install LayoutFAST in my computer??

Answer: Go to and click download; it will prompt you through instructions and ask you to enter your information.

Question: Can we manipulate the family plan view if needed to match company standards?

Answer: Yes. Only note is that if we update RFAs in future years, you may need to update.

Question: How do you actually input and calculate load using this?

Answer: Our equipment RFAs work like any other Revit RFAs.

Question: What about local availability of the products? I can design anything just to realize the product is not available in the area

Answer: We utilize the most common high volume products in LayoutFAST, which are available locally. If you want a highly unique feature, please contact us.

Question: How would the engineer maintain design control through CD and eventually as-builts?

Answer: Same was as today: We speed up the process but don't change the fundamental process.

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